NORMAN, OK - NOVEMBER 26: Quarterback Landry Jones #12 of the Oklahoma Sooners looks to throw under pressure in the first half on November 26, 2011 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma leads Iowa State 23-6 at the half. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
The list of Oklahoma football players transferring is huge and expected to grow. Is this good or bad for the program?
JTE: I can't help but feel it's bad for the program. I don't think you can put it 100% on either the coaches or the players respectively, but anytime you lose this number of players in one season it has to be a sign of some pretty serious internal problems IMO. I would hope that the coaches take it as a sign that they need to seriously re-evalutae how they do things, but what I fear and what I believe is more likely is that they use it as an excuse to just keep doing things the same way they've always done them.
OnlyOne: The turnover at the rate that Oklahoma has done it this season is never a good sign for a program. It would appear that this is a tale-tale sign of the inner workings beginning to break down. There is something internal that needs to change, that is obvious. Pin-pointing it is the hard part. However, you also have to consider the fact that recruits are being recruited by current players (ex. Kenny Stills and Tony Jefferson). How does that look and what will a kid say about the program once he is gone or how will these caliber of players leaving reflect on a recruit?
CCM: Clearly its a bad thing for depth. Oklahoma is razor thin at running back and receiver going into Friday night's bowl game and the fact that the Sooners offered another JUCO receiver over the weekend could be telling us that more receivers are leaving. Any injury to one of these two positions on Friday night could be a crushing blow to the Sooners.
From the other perspective, if the rumors are true that there were some chemistry problems or work ethic issues with several of the players leaving then ultimately its going to be a good thing for OU. If all of the issues led to a divided locker room and lack of focus this season then what's to say they wouldn't have done the same thing for the next several seasons?
With Landry Jones at quarterback the Sooners would be the favorites to win the Big XII in 2012. Should Landry choose to opt for the NFL who would you pick as the conference favorites next season?
JTE: A great question. I was talking about this very thing with a co-worker a couple days ago and couldn't really come up with a prohibitive favorite. If Landry leaves and RGIII comes back, then I think it's pretty much a no brainer that Baylor would be right up there. If both Landry and RGIII are not back, then I'm not sure the favorite wouldn't be TCU. Which is weird to even type seeing as how it would be their first year in the conference, but if not them then who else? Texas? No. OSU? No. I mean maybe K-State, but I kind of feel like that would be a reach. Maybe OU, even without Landry?
TCU loses a couple of guys up front on the o-line and arguably their best player on defense, but other than than returns virtually every starter on both sides of the ball. I'm going with TCU.
OnlyOne: I have been a big advocate of Landry Jones through the seasons and what his potential is. With that said, I still think Landry Jones would be a big loss for this program after this season. The battle between Drew Allen and Blake Bell will be a tight one and I fully expect Blake Bell to have made up some ground by the time the season rolls around. With Blake Bell at the helm, Oklahoma will look a little bit different along with Dominique Whaley back. While there are some other good options such as Collin Klein and Kansas St. or Baylor assuming Robert Griffin III comes back, as well as an incoming school in TCU. If Landry leaves I'm not confident the scheme and defensive end situation could keep Oklahoma on top. My pick is Kansas St. and Bill Snyder coupled with the leadership Klein brings to the field. They have a chance to be just as good next season if not better.
CCM: I've been telling everyone (including ccm jr) who's wishing Landry would just move on to be careful what they wish for. Think about this for just a second. We're hoping that a guy who scouts have as a first round NFL draft pick will move on so that a guy who has yet to prove he can pass the ball can take over. Much like Josh Heupel's offensive game plan I have to ask, in what world does this make sense?
Like it or not, Landry Jones in Oklahoma's best shot at winning the 2012 Big XII championship. Should he go then I would put West Virginia as the early favorites for 2012. Unless an injunction prevents them from joining the conference next season the Mountaineers will leave the Big East as the defending conference champions and join the Big 12 with the most pieces in place to make a run at a championship.
Insight Bowl Players of the Game: Make your predictions for offensive and defensive players of the game.
JTE: Offensive Player of the Game - Trey Millard
I'm going to try and be the "creative" one and pick somebody besides Landry Jones. With Roy Finch and Brennan Clay being the only other options, I don't think Josh Heupel will have any choice but to use Millard much more in the run game. That is of course unless he decides to throw it 75 times, which given some of his game plans this year isn't necessarily out of the question.
Defensive Player of the Game - Tony Jefferson
Again, I'm going to try and take a not so obvious guy IMO. I think this game could be tailor made for Jefferson in that I'd expect Iowa, even without Marcus Coker, to do a lot on offense within 5-10 yards of the line of scrimmage. And as we all know that is where Jefferson does most of his damage from that Roy-back spot. The risk in this pick for me is the possibility that he plays more of that true safety spot which the coaches seem to be working him in more often possibly in preparation for a permanent move in 2012.
If I had a backup pick, I'd go with Tom Wort who I think could have a big game for a lot of the same reasons above.
OnlyOne: Offensive Player of the Game - Kenny Stills
Josh Heupel has shown the unwillingness to change his game plan for the majority of the season. Oklahoma likes to pass early and often and if that's the case, let's hope the wide-outs take the oven mitts off for this one. Stills has been somewhat of a let down this season though due to injuries. While I do not expect him to be 100%, he is still the main target and Iowa will have their work cut out against him. I hope I am right when I say "you can't stop him, you can only hope to contain him" in this game.
Defensive Player of the Game - Frank Alexander
I have to go with a senior here. Alexander has been a dominating force off the edge all season long. A quick look at what I expect to happen...Alexander will swim to the outside while Jamarkus McFarland rips pushing his blocker toward James Vandenberg. Now, the strong side of the line is simply bull rushing straight ahead while the weak side of the pocket collapses. Vandenberg will be forced to roll to the right leaving him a couple of decisions. He will either have to take the sack from a pursuing Alexander or force a throw (that is assuming he can feel the pressure from the weak side and if he doesn't he will). Lookout for Frank to make his living in the back field while having a huge impact on the game as he should have a mismatch talent wise all day.
CCM: Offensive Player of the Game - Roy Finch
This game has the potential to be a statement game for Finch. He's just a sophomore and to be quite honest his toughness has been questioned this season despite his talent being evident. There aren't very many options for spelling running backs in this game which means Finch could have the most carries of any game this season.
Defensive Player of the Game - Travis Lewis
I don't know how he can't be the pick. He's the vocal leader of the team playing in his final game as a Sooner. I would love to see him in the locker room getting hyped before this game. I'm sure its a spectacle that will leave a lasting impression on his teammates.
Big XII Basketball - Rank the conference from first to worst based on play so far.
JTE: Well if we're just going on play so far and not in predicted order of finish I'd have it like this.
8. Iowa State
9. Okie State
10. Texas Tech
Missouri looks really good so far, but they'll be in some games where their outside shots aren't falling and they'll be in real trouble. Baylor hasn't always done it pretty thus far, but they keep winning and as usual they have a ton of talent. Also as usual, they'll go as far as Scott Drew's mediocre coaching ability will take them. I had to give K-State the edge over OU, albeit a slight one, because of their schedule compared to ours. As for OU, I think I've made my feelings for this team and Coach Kruger very well known. KU is exactly the team I thought they'd be - Thomas Robinson and nobody else. Texas just isn't very good which is kind of surprising because while Rick Barnes will never be confused for a competent coach, he's never really lacked for talent. A&M and ISU are just kind of blah so far. Okie State is also exactly the team I'd thought they'd be and the same team Travis Ford has had every year. A bunch of individual, one-on-one players. Can't play a team game because Ford doesn't know how to coach a team game. He is robbing T.Boone blind with that ridiculous 10 year deal he conned them out of. Tech is Tech, nuf said.
1. Missouri Tigers
2. Baylor Bears
3. Kansas Jayhawks
4. Kansas St. Wildcats
5. Oklahoma Sooners
6. Texas A&M Aggies
7. saxeT Longhorns
8. Iowa St. Cyclones
9. Oklahoma St. Cowboys
10. Texas Tech Red Raiders
3. Kansas State
7. Texas A&M
8. Oklahoma State
9. Iowa State
10. Texas Tech