Big 12 Power Rankings Week 7: OU fires Stoops, Texas is rolling

Big 12 Power Rankings Week 7

The Big 12 sustained quite the shakeup with the outcome of the Red River Showdown. And while that shakeup could have lasting results on the conference as a whole, it’s anyone’s guess how Oklahoma will battle through adversity. In any event, if the Sooners were looking for a potential competitor for the Big 12 Championship, the Longhorns stepped up in a big way, and we could be looking at a repeat in Dallas.

With Texas Tech and TCU having bye weeks, Week 8 should be set up for a more telling story as to how the Big 12 could play itself out for the rest of the season, but with Week 7 already in the books, here’s how the Big 12 Power Rankings Week 7 turned out.

10. Kansas

The Jayhawks might be looking at a 2-4 record, but that’s not the whole story. In their 22-38 loss last weekend at West Virginia, Kansas’ defense had the most significant impact, with five sacks, 10 tackles for loss, three interceptions, and one fumble recovery. The Jayhawks knew Will Grier was turnover prone and took advantage when they could.

While Kansas still struggles to establish a legitimate offense, scoring 22 points on a good West Virginia defense is an uptick in the right direction for David Beaty’s squad. With Texas Tech in Lubbock on 10/20, this bye week should help with their film study.

9. Kansas State

Following its 37-34 loss at Baylor last weekend, Kansas State is now on a three-game losing skid, and it might not get any easier. While K-State managed to tie the game against Baylor at 34-34 apiece and under 4:30 to play, the Wildcats just couldn’t get a critical stop, which allowed Baylor kicker Dalvin Warmack to kick a game-winning field goal.

While once again, the loss highlighted K-State’s continued deficiencies, the offense had a good game, with quarterback Skyler Thompson throwing for 149 yards and a touchdown, and running back Alex Barnes finishing the day with 250 yards on the ground for three touchdowns. It shows that despite terrible special teams play if K-State can continue scraping by, offensively, they could keep games close. Against an equally struggling Oklahoma State team at home this weekend, the Wildcats have to get it together this week.

8. Oklahoma State

The Cyclones showed, once again, that Oklahoma State is in trouble this season. The Cowboys show improvement one week, then go backwards the following week. And against Iowa State, that was proven once again.

Offensively, OSU was great, starting with quarterback Taylor Cornelius, who connected on 19 of 33 passes for 289 yards, four touchdowns, and an interception. Cornelius also scored a rushing touchdown and finished with 46 rushing yards. Six receivers got touches, and minus a negative play by senior punter Zach Sinor, the Cowboys had 126 yards on the ground.

Iowa State was struggling to find an identity, so this loss has to sting a bit, but with Cowboys looking for a rebound, an equally struggling K-State team this week on the road will present challenges. But if OSU can etch out a win before hosting Texas on the 27th, they’ll have forward momentum they desperately need in Big 12 play.

7. Iowa State

Iowa State pulled off a much-needed win against a ranked Oklahoma State team last weekend, and as previously mentioned, with struggles to establish an identity this season, this win couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.

After the win, Cyclones’ head coach Matt Campbell said, “I’m really proud of our football team today.” With David Montgomery out with an injury, Brock Purdy stepped up in a big way, completing 18-23 passes for 318 yards and four touchdowns. The performance certainly had the conference’s attention, and if the Cyclones can continue improving, it should make for an interesting season.

6. TCU

TCU made headlines during their bye week when news broke that they were allegedly preparing to face Texas Tech by watching film from the Kansas City Chiefs. The reason being, TCU head coach Gary Patterson wants to dissect the similarities between how Tech and the Chiefs utilize RPOs, which can only help its struggling defense prepare, and add some technique to its offense. With just a few weeks to prepare for Texas Tech’s continually reinvented offense, however, it’s anyone’s guess as to how this aggressive film study will go for the Horned Frogs.

Another story that came out of Ft. Worth this week, was within the quarterback position, where Patterson said injured quarterback Shawn Robinson would play, but not necessarily start. With that said, there are plenty of things to follow on Thursday, as TCU hosts the Red Raiders.

5. Baylor

Baylor kicker Connor Martin had a rough day, but after missing three field goal attempts and an extra point against K-State last weekend, with just: 08 seconds left in regulation, Martin split the uprights to give the Bears the win, and a 4-2 record.

The Bears showed a lot of promise and grit in this win, but if they want to continue to grind this season out on a positive note, they need to learn to finish drives. Thankfully, the were able to rely on their secondary to keep K-State out of the end zone, and more importantly, the offense was able to turn those takeaways into points. Baylor also controlled the time and tempo in its 37-34 victory, but converting on 10 third-down attempts, Baylor should have run the score up.

With Texas this weekend, that might be harder to accomplish, but then again, this is the Big 12.

4. Texas Tech

The Texas Tech Red Raiders dodged a serious bullet when quarterback Alan Bowman sustained a partially collapsed lung during a brutal hit against West Virginia. After spending a few days in the hospital, Bowman is back with the team and participating in practices. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury hasn’t specified whether Bowman will play on Thursday against TCU. However, it is suspected that all three quarterbacks will make the trip and suit up.

3. West Virginia

Quarterback Will Grier is back to throwing turnovers, and at some point, it’s going to catch up to him. In West Virginia’s 38-22 win over the Kansas Jayhawks last weekend, Grier had four touchdowns, and as many turnovers–including three interceptions. While 509 total yards of offense is impressive, the West Virginia defense only had one QB hurry and just three sacks against Kansas. Those are things Tony Gibson has to stress, especially in November.

2. Oklahoma

While Oklahoma lost last weekend, you can’t forget that the Sooners’ offense mounted a 21-point comeback in the 4th quarter, and was one defensive stop away from sending the Red River Showdown to overtime. Unfortunately, that defensive stop merely kept the Longhorns out of the end zone, not between the uprights.

The bigger issue for the Sooners is how they’ll respond following the abrupt firing of defensive coordinator, Mike Stoops. While the defensive leadership will be replaced by Ruffin McNeill on an interim basis, that doesn’t change the fact that OU defenders haven’t been successful this season on tackling in space, or limiting explosive plays. Moreover (and as Big 12 history will tell us), if McNeill isn’t chosen as the Sooners’ full-time defensive coordinator at the end of the season, could this mean an entire defensive rebuild in 2019?

There are plenty of questions that remain, but with the Sooners facing TCU after the bye, they have some time to try and figure some things out.

1. Texas

It’s hard to deny the Longhorns weren’t the best team in the Big 12 conference last weekend. Texas entered the Red River Showdown as a major underdog, and not only did the ‘Horns shut out Heisman frontrunner Kyler Murray from producing double-digit points in two quarters, “Dicker the Kicker” became a household name on a 40-yard field goal to give head coach Tom Herman his biggest marquee win, so far.

With the Longhorns’ 48-45 victory, it catapulted them from the No. 19 spot in the AP Poll to No. 9. And with Baylor just beginning to establish a rhythm, expect a Texas team on Saturday looking to stifle that.


Want More? Check out Red River Showdown: Texas-Oklahoma earn highest FOX Sports TV ratings

Red River Showdown: Texas-Oklahoma earn highest FOX Sports TV ratings

Red River Showdown

According to FOX Sports PR, the Red River Showdown between No. 7 ranked Oklahoma and No. 19 Texas was the highest rated football game of the 2018 college football season. The network says that the event recorded a 4.3 metered market rating, meaning a designated market area that can receive a televised event.

The game wasn’t without its share of hype in the lead up, however.

Texas freshman defensive tackle Keondre Coburn tweeted, “I’m so happy to finally be a Longhorn, baby. This has been the hardest process, ever, but it’s over and my next journey is in Austin, and with my boys in this Revolution Class, and I promise, we will beat OU and the rest of them. ” Former OU quarterback Baker Mayfield responded with, “This is what we call being naive. Kid has no idea what it’s like stepping into the Cotton Bowl. So here’s how it works… The team north of the Red River doesn’t flinch. But it’s okay, you’ll see for yourself, wish you the best.”

At kickoff, Oklahoma had a 75.6 percent win probability, according to ESPN. But with a balanced approach on offense, the Longhorns managed to gas the OU defense, controlling the clock for 33 minutes and 50 seconds of total possession, and finished the day with 177 total rushing yards, and 501 passing yards. After Texas stunned the Sooners with a 48-45 victory, Coburn posted:

The 2018 Red River Showdown was the highest rated sports event yesterday, according to FOX, which is quite the turnaround from two seasons ago, when the game produced its lowest television rating in 16 years. The 2016 game, which was shown on FS1, had just a 2.0 television rating.

Here’s the official release from FOX Sports PR:

While yesterday’s game exposed several deficiencies in he OU defense, it also showed that Texas defensive coordinator Todd Orlando has his hands full, too, as the Longhorns allowed OU quarterback Kyler Murray to finish the day with 304 total yards and four touchdowns. The Sooners also clawed its way out of a 21 point deficit with fourth quarter domination.

Despite that second-half performance, Texas moved from No. 19 in the nation in the recent AP Poll, to No. 9, and the loss sent OU to No. 11.

Want More? Unafraid Show’s College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 7: Party Crashers

Unafraid Show’s College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 7: Party Crashers

College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 7

College Football is the only sport that can show you what it’s like to simultaneously feel alive and like you want to die! That is why is it is by far the greatest sport there is! Before we get to College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 7, you can reference the Unafraid Show’s College Football Top 10 Rankings for Week 6.

The two most frustrating parts of being a college football fan are the biased polls and the terrible non-conference schedules. I cannot change the schedules but I can rank the college football top 10 teams by the correct criteria: quality wins, schedule played, and dominance. Most polls including the College Football Playoff Committee give college blueblood teams a massive “benefit of the doubt.”  I don’t believe in that. The best teams who play the best schedules will always be ranked highest. Only the games have played matter. I re-rank the top 10 every week from scratch. The previous week’s rankings do not factor into the next week. So, the rankings will change, sometimes drastically every week because we will have new information.

1.  Alabama (6-0) Last Week: #1

Tua Tagoviloa still has not attempted a 4th quarter pass this season. He was 10/11 for 334 yards and four touchdowns before halftime against Arkansas. The Crimson Tide defense was dominant as well. I cannot pretend I am extremely impressed by this win because North Texas beat Arkansas 44-17, so an Alabama destruction was a foregone conclusion. This team has been impressively dominant, but they haven’t played anyone. I wonder if the student section will show up next week vs. Missouri.

2. Notre Dame (6-0) Last Week: #2

At this point, Notre Dame has earned the #2 ranking.  The Fighting Irish have quality wins over Michigan, Stanford, and Virginia Tech. In each of those games, Notre Dame was in control of the entire game and was never in any real danger of losing a game. Since moving Ian Book into the starting lineup, the Irish have an explosive offense that can complement their dominant defense.

3. Ohio State (6-0) Last Week: #4

Dwayne Haskins and the Buckeyes offense were back to putting up insane passing numbers against Indiana. He finished with 455 yards passing and six touchdowns. Ohio State will breeze through the next month until they close out the season against Maryland and Michigan. Unless the Buckeyes show up with their C-game, I’m not sure how this team doesn’t finish undefeated.

4. Clemson (6-0) Last Week: # 6

Clemson apparently did not like everyone questioning how good they are. They took a potential “trap game” against Wake Forest and turned it into a public whipping. Their defense finally played at the level they are capable. They held Wake Forest to three points and only allowed 74 passing yards. The Tigers can beat anybody (including Bama) if they continue to bring their A-game defensively, and Trevor Lawrence stays healthy.

5. Texas (5-1) Last Week: # NR

It is OFFICIAL. Texas is back. And “Dicker the Kicker” is the best nickname in college football history. Tom Herman’s team dominated Oklahoma through 3 quarters but ultimately held on for a 48-45 victory in the Red River Showdown. Sam Ehlinger has improved his passing and decision making so much that Texas is now a College Football Playoff Contender. The Longhorns defense has played well all year and did as good of a job as anyone can do against Oklahoma. Texas has quality wins over TCU, USC, and Oklahoma this year.

6. Georgia (6-0) Last Week: #8

Many Georgia fans want Kirby Smart to replace starting quarterback Jake Fromm with true freshman Justin Fields. Against Vanderbilt Fromm proved that he would not be relinquishing his spot without a fight. Finally, the time has come for Georgia to play some good football teams. Over the next four games, they get LSU, Florida, Kentucky, and Auburn. If they win out, they could shoot all the way up to the #1 spot in the Unafraid Show College Football Top 10 Rankings.

7. Washington (5-1) Last Week: #7

Washington continues to win football games. I am extremely concerned about how this team faired against UCLA. The Huskies may have looked past UCLA to next week’s date at Oregon. However, their usually very stout defense was porous against the Bruins. Jake Browning’s steady play at quarterback has made Washington tough to beat. He rarely makes mistakes, and give his team a chance to win every game, but won’t be a superhero. Browning is the Alex Smith of college quarterbacks.

8. West Virginia (5-0) Last Week: #10

I like Dana Holgorsen’s football team. But, I did not like seeing Will Grier, and the Mountaineers struggled mightily against Kansas. The offense moved the ball well, but Grier proceeded to throw three red zone interceptions. Despite a bunch of offensive turnovers, the defense locked it down and allowed West Virginia to pull away in the 4th quarter. It will make or break time when Texas comes knocking in a few weeks.

9. Central Florida (5-0) Last Week: #NR

The analyst and experts want to ignore UCF. They are hoping UCF will lose a game so they can be ignored. Going back to last season the Knights have won 19 straight games. Last year UCF proved they could hang with the big boys when they beat Auburn in the 2018 Peach Bowl. So, if the Knights go undefeated again and are left out of the College Football Playoffs outrage will ensue. Their dominance has earned them a spot in the College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 7. They have won every game by at least 28 points.

10. Florida (5-1) Last Week: #NR

Dan Mullen has restored the Florida program to relevance. But, he hasn’t fully corrected the offensive struggles that have plagued the Gators for the last four seasons. It took a pick six at the end of the game to pull off the upset against LSU. They will need to find some offensive prowess before the Florida Georgia game to pull off a victory. That game will be for all the marbles in the SEC East. The winner will coast to the SEC championship game.

Next Up:

Michigan, Oregon, LSU, Oklahoma, Penn State

I know some of you are steaming mad right now because your team is ranked too low or is unranked. Take a breathe and realize that your fandom is causing irrational thoughts. Leave a comment or shoot an email:… Yes, that is the real email address.

Big 12 Power Rankings Week 6: Oklahoma rolls, and is Texas back?

Big 12 Power Rankings

The Big 12 is on pace for a pretty exciting year. Teams pundits anticipated to be at the top, have fallen significantly in the last few weeks, and others continue to progress, even if wins don’t tilt in their favor.

Aside from injuries that impacted teams’ game plans, this was a fairly standard weekend, in terms of what we expected from some of the Big 12 teams this season. Will those injuries have longterm impacts on personnel, is anyone’s guess at this point. However, with the uncertainty, we have to take a look at depth charts to see which teams have the best shot moving forward.

Without further ado, here’s the Week 6 Power Rankings for the Big 12 Conference:

10. Iowa State

The Cyclones were one of the Big 12’s most highly anticipated teams coming into this season, but so far, they’re leaving a lot to be desired. with losses against Iowa, Oklahoma, and now a TCU team that’s struggling to establish an identity this season, Iowa State might be in trouble.

You could make the argument that Iowa State almost had TCU if it hadn’t been for the late Horned Frogs’ field goal to seal the victory, and sure, defenses do win championships, however, quarterback Zeb Noland only threw for 79 total yards, with a single touchdown for the day. Most Big 12 teams are bolstering their defenses, but their offenses are averaging in the triple digits, too. Iowa State had just 198 total yards of offense, which would be acceptable in other leagues, but head coach Matt Campbell has to find a rhythm before heading to Stillwater this weekend.

9. Kansas

Kansas, Kansas, Kansas… we’re all rooting for them, but like Iowa State, the Jayhawks can’t seem to click. After Kansas fired athletics director Sheahon Zenger back in May, that made David Beaty’s hot seat scalding.

Quarterback Carter Stanley threw for an impressive 249 yards and three touchdowns last weekend, while Jayhawks’ running back Pooka Williams Jr. put up a rushing touchdown, and receiver Steven Sims put up a touchdown in the air, contributing to an overall balanced offensive approach. Unfortunately, the Jayhawks are suffering from the same defensive deficiencies as Iowa State, as they were routed in a 48-24 loss to Oklahoma State.

The Jayhawks will face a massive test against a West Virginia team that is looking to send a message after being shut out by Texas Tech in the second-half last weekend.

8. Kansas State

Bill Snyder signed a contract extension back in the Summer that will keep him on the sidelines through 2022–if things play out the way they should. Unfortunately, the Wildcats are 2-3 overall, 8th in the Big 12, and haven’t won a single in-conference game.

With the Longhorns rising in rankings every week, they already make for a tough opponent, and while it was a relatively low scoring game (by Big 12 standards), it does spell concern for the Wildcats, offensively.

K-State had just 217 total yards of offense in its 14-19 loss in Manhattan, but what’s more concerning is the pass average. The Wildcats are averaging just 4.4 yards-per-pass, and rank No. 117 in the nation in total offense, averaging just 4.97 yards-per-play and just nine offensive touchdowns. With a Baylor team that’s shown more confidence this season than in the two seasons prior, it could be a very long afternoon for Bill Snyder.

7. Baylor

Baylor is at 3-2 on the season following a major 33-66 loss at Oklahoma last weekend. While the Bears’ defense presented some issues to the Sooners, the offense is still showing concerns, particularly in the run game. So far, the Bears rank No. 88 nationally in the run game, averaging just 155.8 yards-per-game and 4.45 yards-per-carry. While that’s not a terrible statistic, it does help in clock management, controlling the tempo, and wearing defenses out faster.

While most of the Big 12 is working to master the balanced approach, it could be an interesting season for Baylor if they can’t focus on that and soon, especially with Baylor facingKansas State this weekend, and No. 19 ranked Texas in Austin next weekend.

6. TCU

TCU barely beat Iowa State on a field goal to win it last weekend to end a two game losing slump. The Horned Frogs were supposed to be one of the top teams in the country headed into the season, but with the way they’ve been playing as of late, it might be difficult to get out of the middle of the conference, and even more difficult to prevent the downward trend.

TCU’s defense stepped up in a major way in their 17-14 victory, so the momentum is nice as TCU will have a bye before facing Texas Tech in Week 7.

5. Texas Tech

Texas Tech’s defense has managed consecutive back-to-back shutouts against ranked opponents, which proves that at least in one phase of the game, Tech is a second-half team. Unfortunately, against a West Virginia team at home, the Red Raiders just couldn’t get it going on defense in the first half, and capitalize on knowing Heisman hopeful Will Grier was prone to turnovers. Even more unfortunate was the violent hit to true freshman quarterback Alan Bowman which resulted in a partially compassed lung.

Thankfully for Tech, they have a much needed bye this week before facing TCU next weekend, and while Bowman likely won’t return for some time, look for Coach Kingsbury and offensive coordinator Kevin Johns to draw up packages for McLane Carter and Jett Duffey; both of which are very talented quarterbacks, as long as turnovers are limited.

4. Texas

Is Texas back, or are the Longhorns just playing decent football against overrated teams? Whenever throwing that debate into the ring, it’s only fair to assess every variable, but with a field goal victory over a struggling K-State team, it’s certainly the motivation for Texas as it heads into Red River Rivalry against Oklahoma on Saturday. The biggest issue here is whether the offense and defense will be in sync, and with each game so far presenting major issues in all three phases, it’s truly any guess which Texas football team will show up.

3. Oklahoma State

Overall, the Cowboys looked good last weekend, but a win over Kansas is a win over Kansas. It’s hard to tell just who this Oklahoma State team is, until they play teams that rival Texas Tech in terms of balance, or even a semblance of a defense, such as Oklahoma, or even more challenging, West Virginia.

Much like Oklahoma, Oklahoma State has yet to defeat a Top 25 opponent this season, but with the No.6 ranked offense in the nation, games down the stretch should be pretty fun to watch,

2. West Virginia

West Virginia dominated Texas Tech, both offensively and defensively through the first half of play against Texas Tech, but that half-production performance won’t cut it as the season continues. The Mountaineers are certainly a Top 10 team, but they make Tech look every bit a Top 25 team in the second-half, by scoring just a single touchdown.

Will Grier stepped up and eliminated turnovers, thus finishing the day at 27-41 for 370 yards and three touchdowns. Moreover, the Mountaineers put up 119 yards on the ground, and finished the day at 50 percent on third-down conversions. One area of concern for West Virginia moving forward is in penalty yards. WVU had 12 for 115 yards, compared to 7 for 60 for Texas Tech. The Mountaineers will have to clean that up, especially in the back 1/4 of the season.

1. Oklahoma

Oklahoma still remains king in the Big 12, and while Kyler Murray was benched to start the game against Baylor, he came back and threw six touchdowns for 432 yards in the Sooners’ 66-33 route over the Bears.

With Oklahoma undefeated through the first five games of the season, it’s truly OU vs. the Big 12 at this point. Just what team will the Sooners face in Dallas in November is anyone’s guess, but it’s certainly going to be fun to watch.


Want More? Check out: Athlete Activist: Athletes Should “Just Do It” and Stand for Their Beliefs

Hot Take House: Game 163, Brees GOAT, Jimbo Fisher Fail, CFB Worst Calls Ever

Game 163

These are hot takes and fun from the weekend. Send us your hot takes to, and they may make the next week Hot Takes House. Do not read any further if you are easily offended. If you do, share with a friend.

Game #163

If the NFL can figure out the field playoff in 16 games, NHL and NBA in 82, why can’t the MLB figure it out in 162? How on earth do they play 162 games in the MLB, but still need one game tie-breakers to decide who wins the division? Game 163?

There are about 62 meaningless games in baseball. Teams and players are going through the motions. If those games were more important, we wouldn’t need a 163rd before playoffs.


1. All the garbage roughing the passer penalties are actually increasing the NFL fan experience. They add one more thing for you to talk smack talk about in your fantasy leagues, with your friends, and be outraged about. We love outrage.

2. My question is why won’t they just put flags on the QBs? They would rarely hit the ground then. Guys would be able to grab the flags, and that would be a sack. Guys are losing thousands of dollars just doing their job. Something has to change.- Richard Sherman

3. The Khalil Mack trade looks worse and worse every week. Mack is the runaway NFL defensive MVP at this point. The Raiders have no pass rush, and the two first rounders they get from the Bears will be 12-16 because the bears no longer suck.

4. Josh Allen is back being to who we thought he was. Don’t be mad Bills fans; facts are facts. Swing and a miss

5. #FitzMagic is dead, and VF Castro doesn’t like it. LOL

6. Drew Brees will need 201 passing yards next Monday night at home against Washington to become the NFL’s all-time passing yards leader. Why is he not in your top 10 quarterbacks of All-Time? I’ll wait…

7. Remember a long time ago last week when Tom Brady was old and the Patriots sucked? They are bullies for what they did to the Dolphins.

8. The Steelers will cave in on LeVeon Bell. James Connor is a good back, but he’s the FitzMagic of running backs. It was fun for a little while, but it’s a novelty.

9. Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper May Change the NFL by signing Eric Reid.

College Football

1. “Kelly Bryant has an opportunity to extend his football life & actually control his own future… and you think it’s selfish??? Give me a break.” – Joel Klatt

2. Holding on the running back? WTH!


3. The original worst football call of the day was Louisville up by 3 with 1:56 left in the 4th quarter on the Florida State 21 yard line calling a pass play instead of a run. The pass was intercepted, and Louisville lost in regulation.

4. The actual worst football call of the day belongs to James Franklin and Penn State. They had two timeouts on 4th and 5 to run this play:

5. Jimbo Fisher needs to be suspended. If the player were to do this to Jimbo, he would be finished in college football!  There is no reason any coach should be getting physical with a player to get his point across.

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Send us your hot takes to, and they may make the next week post.

Unafraid Show’s College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 6: Crushing the Competition

College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 6

Best weekend of college football this year.

There were multiple quality games and near upsets on at every time slot. College Football is the only sport that can show you what it’s like to simultaneously feel alive and like you want to die! That is why is it is by far the greatest sport there is! Before we get to College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 6, you can reference the Unafraid Show’s College Football Top 10 Rankings for Week 5.

The two most frustrating parts of being a college football fan are the biased polls and the terrible non-conference schedules. I cannot change the schedules but I can rank the college football top 10 teams by the correct criteria: quality wins, schedule played, and dominance. Most polls including the College Football Playoff Committee give college blueblood teams a massive “benefit of the doubt.”  How else can you explain Georgia at #2 when they haven’t played anyone, or Wisconsin ranking above Cal and BYU before this week? I don’t believe in that. The best teams who play the best schedules will always be ranked highest. Only the games that have been played matter. I re-rank the top 10 every week from scratch. The previous week’s rankings do not factor into the next week. So, the rankings will change every week as more games are played.

1.  Alabama (5-0)

Alabama won a game with their starting quarterback Tua Tagoviloa only attempting 8 passes. I know it was only Louisianna, but that is still impressive. Teams typically move down in the College Football Top 10 Rankings when their schedule is not particularly impressive. But, Alabama combats their schedule with an unmatched dominance. It will be interesting to see how the 2018 Crimson Tide respond when someone puts up a fight. We may have to wait till November when they get LSU and Auburn.

2. Notre Dame (5-0)

A quarterback change has taken Notre Dame from a really good football team to a playoff contender. Brandon Wimbush could only beat you with his legs. Ian Book can beat you with arm and legs. Against Stanford, he regularly extended plays and escaped sacks to complete passes for 3rd down conversions. The Notre Dame defense is fast and extremely physical. This is not your typical Fighting Irish team that is overrated. Dominant wins over Michigan and Stanford make them an easy choice at #2 in the College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 6.

3. LSU (5-0)

LSU keeps piling up wins. They didn’t beat Ole Miss as bad as Alabama did, but Joe Burrow and company still showed offensive dominance. Burrow threw for 292 yards and three touchdowns and added another 92 yards and a touchdown on the ground. I cannot remember the last time LSU had a dynamic passer at quarterback who could also hurt you with his legs. I am salivating thinking about their matchup against Georgia in two weeks. They are one of the few SEC teams that have played a quality schedule so far.

4. Ohio State (5-0)

Penn State had the game in sewed up, but Ohio State pried a victory from the jaws of defeat. Dwyane Haskins stats looked good again, but the truth is in the film. The majority of his 270 pass yards came off screens to backs and wide receivers. The Ohio State vs. Penn State game felt a lot like the Stanford vs. Oregon game last week. The team who dominated and looked better lost the game. However, there are no moral victories in sports. The Buckeyes won, so they reap the rewards in the College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 6.

5. Oklahoma (5-0)

Kyler Murray is the Black Doug Flutie. He is small, but he can play! He and Oklahoma bounced back from that narrow escape against Army with an offensive explosion. Murray finished with 432 yards passing and 8 total touchdowns (1rush) against Baylor. I truly believe Oklahoma’s offense is more explosive this year than last year with Baker Mayfield. Most people expect Murray to hang his cleats up and play in the MLB. Oklahoma has the best receiving corps in the country.  I would love to watch Alabama try and stop this offense.

6. Clemson (5-0)

The Tigers are breathing a sigh of relief. Kelly Bryant decides to transfer, and Trevor Lawrence gets hurt while they are down to Syracuse. All signs pointed to a loss for Clemson. But, Dabo Swinney cashed in all his good Karma from doing the right thing for Kelly Bryant, and they got the win. You are always rewarded in life for doing the right things. Every top team faces a couple of gut-check games each season, and this was one for Clemson.

This team is good, but they have not been nearly as dominant this season as I expected.

7. Washington (4-1)

The Huskies has the best defense in the nation not named Alabama. Washington has stepped up their game since their close week 1 loss to Auburn. This week the Huskies undressed BYU, who beat a highly regarded Wisconsin team. It was a dominant performance. Jake Browning is real close to shutting me up about his inconsistent play against good teams. Their matchup against Oregon in two weeks will be an epic showdown.

8. Georgia (5-0)

New week, weak opponent, Georgia Wins. Rinse. Repeat. Georgia has played no teams currently ranked in the top 25. Unless Georgia starts demonstrating some Alabama-like dominance, it will be tough to rank them as higher until they get to the heart of their schedule. Please don’t try to tell me the South Carolina game was a good game. They just got beat up by Kentucky. I believe the Bulldogs could be a playoff team, but they will need to get more production out of Fromm or Fields at quarterback.

9. Auburn (4-1)

It took Auburn all four quarters to put So. Miss away. They were only able to rush for 96 yards on 36 attempts. The win was extremely unimpressive. War Eagle needs to figure out how to get their running game on track, or they will get tripped up against Miss State, Ole Miss, or Texas A&M in the next month. The only way the Tigers make the College Football Playoffs is if they do so on the back of Jared Stidham.

10. West Virginia (4-0)

500 yards of total offense seems to be the norm for West Virginia in 2018. Will Grier will find himself a finalist for the Heisman if he keeps playing like this. We still don’t know a lot about the Mountaineers defense. Their schedule has been relatively light so far, but their dominance has them narrowly ahead of the teams Next Up. Dana Holgorsen has a shot to get West Virginia over the hump in the Big 12 this year.

Next Up:

Michigan, UCF, Texas, Oregon, Penn State

I know some of you are steaming mad right now because your team is ranked too low or is unranked. Take a breathe and realize that your fandom is causing irrational thoughts. Leave a comment or shoot an email:… Yes, that is the real email address.

Big 12 Football Week 5 Power Rankings: Is Texas Tech the real deal?

Big 12

The Big 12 has been a wild ride so far. And with a couple of major upsets over the weekend that led to the removal of potential Big 12 title contenders from the AP Top 25, it’s anyone’s guess how things will pan out the rest of the season.

From overtime to upsets, Big 12 fans questioned whether Texas was back, if Texas Tech was the real deal, and if TCU’s offense was just riding off a decent defense. Perhaps the real question after 25 percent of the season is over should be what team will be playing Oklahoma for the Big 12 Championship?

In any event, here’s how the teams stack up through Week 5:


The Cyclones remain at the bottom of the conference after a 1-2 start, and an uninspiring first win of the season over Akron. Quarterback Zeb Noland threw for 233 yards and a touchdown, and the Cyclones had 132 rushing yards for a touchdown. Interestingly enough, the Cyclones defense was its weakest link, allowing 244 total yards, and lacking in the turnover department, which is becoming an increasingly necessary objective for teams in the conference.

Iowa State opens its conference schedule this weekend against a TCU team that is licking its wounds following a Week 4 loss in Austin. And unless Matt Campbell wants to reverse the Cyclones’ progress throughout the years, they have to find a way to win.

9. TCU

Over the weekend, I read a Tweet that questioned whether TCU offensive coordinator was just an average play-caller, and if the offense relies too heavily on a defense that was struggling. Those are valid points to consider, especially following back-to-back losses for TCU against Ohio State and Texas. The Longhorns ended a four-year streak of losses to TCU, and that should have TCU head coach Gary Patterson worried.

While 372 total yards of offense is acceptable in the Big 12, TCU also had four turnovers against Texas, and struggled to control the clock. If the Horned Frogs want to get the season back on track, this is the perfect weekend to to so, as they face an Iowa State team that’s struggling to find serious momentum, or identity.


The only reason Kansas is ranked higher than TCU and Iowa State is because it’s likely downhill from here, unless David Beaty’s team can pull out another epic upset this season. While the Jayhawks’ 7-26 loss against Baylor looks bad, there are some things they should be proud of. Kansas allowed just 7 of 14 third down conversions, and 4.9 yards-per-carry. Kansas was also more disciplined, which is surprising considering this was an away game, as they finished the day 7-55 yards, compared to Baylor, which finished 13-141.

Those types of stats are important down the stretch, and if anything, Kansas highlighted some areas to fix for Baylor. With Kansas facing an angry Oklahoma State team at home on Saturday, ESPN matchup predictors only give the Jayhawks a 16 percent win probability, but just as Tech was the underdog last weekend, anything is possible.


Kansas State was handed an embarrassing 6-35 loss at the hands of the Mountaineers last weekend to open Big 12 play, and it’s a game that has a lot of people wondering if things will turn around for the Wildcats this season. Quarterback Skylar Thompson threw for just 145 yards against a tough West Virginia team, but managed zero touchdowns and averaged just 1.5 yards-per-carry. Comparing his rushing stats to more mobile quarterbacks in the conference, it’s an area of major concern, considering that’s how many of these offenses are able to stay on the field.

What’s more, Kansas State’s defense allowed 464 total yards of offense by the Mountaineers, which includes 8-12 third down conversions. And despite four turnovers including two interceptions by Will Grier, the Wildcats just couldn’t cash out and tilt the needle.

With K-State hosting Texas this weekend, there’s time to get back on track, but it’s going to be an uphill battle.


Oklahoma State not only had an 80.1 win percentage at kickoff, Texas Tech hadn’t won in Stillwater since Kliff Kingsbury was playing at Tech. To say this loss was a shocker to the Cowboys would be an understatement. After a hot 3-0 start which included a 44-21 win against then, No. 17 ranked Boise State, every possible variable was in Oklahoma State’s favor headed into Saturday night. Unfortunately, the Red Raiders’ defense held OSU to just 386 total yards of offense, 18 first downs, just 18:43 in total possession, and a complete second-half shutout.

While it’s too early to hit the “panic button” in Stillwater, Kansas is this week’s unlucky rebound opponent, but it might take a few weeks of solid wins for the Cowboys to work their way back into the polls.


Baylor has started the season with a 3-1 start, which is considerable progress for a team that has spent the past few years in a complete rebuilding phase. Over Kansas last weekend, quarterback Charlie Brewer finished the day with 221 passing yards, and three touchdowns. Baylor improved in rushing, with six players –including Brewer–rushing for double-digit yardage to finish the day with 190 total yards on the ground. This type of balanced approach is becoming increasingly important, as teams are looking to control the time and tempo. As Baylor looks to continue the upward momentum of a balanced approach, opponents are also retooling to defend them, so if you’re a Big 12 fan, that’s a big point of emphasis for defenses.

Baylor takes on Oklahoma this weekend, and with the Sooners controlling the tables right now, this will be the Bears’ biggest test to-date.


Is Texas actually back? Nobody knows. It’s a question we ask ourselves every single week, but after toppling the formerly 17th ranked TCU Horned Frogs last weekend, Texas is back into the AP Top 25 poll at No. 18.

Momentarily, at least, Texas is back, but the most impressive area during the game was at the half, where Texas defense held TCU to just a field goal to start the second-half. Statistically, both teams were about the same in the major categories, but a place that helped catapult Texas to the stunning win was in turnovers. TCU gave the football up four times, including a fumble, and three interceptions. And in this league, ball control is a crucial difference-maker.

The Longhorns look to keep the streak going on the road against a struggling Kansas State team on Saturday on FS1.


West Virginia has emerged as one of the top programs in the country through three games, however, with its toughest opponent (NC State) cancelled due to Hurricane Florence, the sample size in terms of comparable competition is relatively low. Kansas State has been struggling this season, so it was a little disconcerting to see quarterback Will Grier struggle with ball control in the Mountaineers’ 35-6 win on Saturday. The Heisman hopeful threw for 356 yards, five touchdowns, and two interceptions, yet the West Virginia offense was shut out the last quarter of play.

The Mountaineers, however, spent 33:23 of the game on defense and only gave up a total of six points, but keeping your defense on the field for that long adds up over the course of the season, especially if substitutions are limited, as tends to be the case in they league. From a durability perspective, the offense will need to balance it out a bit, but against a Texas Tech team coming off a monster upset in Stillwater, it could be a challenge.



As mentioned previously, the last time Texas Tech won in Stillwater was when Kliff Kingsbury was the quarterback, and it had been nine years since Tech beat Oklahoma State in any other venue. To say knocking off the 14th ranked team and entering the polls at No. 25 is an accomplishment for a team with plenty of red flags headed into the season, would be grossly understated.

True freshman quarterback Alan Bowman threw for 397 yards, and two touchdowns, but with two interceptions thrown into tight windows, he needs to focus on locating the DBs to avoid those mistakes in the future. The Red Raiders dominated in almost every statistical category, but the critical areas were in time of possession, play-calling, and on defense. With Tech able to keep a high powered offense off the field, it wore their defense down, giving Tech the ability to put together its most complete game in the Kingsbury era. The 806D also managed a complete second-half shut out, which is the momentum they need as they prepare this week to face Will Grier at home on Saturday.


What a week for the Sooners.

Former quarterback and reigning Heisman winner Baker Mayfield was named the Browns’ starter after its historic win last week, and Oklahoma is off to a 4-0 start, but not without an upset watch.

In their 28-21 OT victory over Army, Heisman hopeful Kyler Murray was limited to just 165 passing yards, but that didn’t stop the gunslinger from racking up three touchdowns, including a 10 yard pass to CeeDee Lamb in the end zone to seal the victory. The Sooners’ offense was held to a second-half shutout, just 19 first downs, and only controlled the clock for 15:19. Those are certainly areas of concern Oklahoma will have to correct this week against Baylor, and especially before the gritty portion of the Big 12 schedule.

Side Note: Very classy, Sooners. Thank you to Army Football for your continued service.

Want more Big 12? Check out: Q/A: Former Texas Tech quarterback BJ Symons on Kingsbury, Quarterbacks, and more

Unafraid Show’s College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 5: Stanford Wants a Word

College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 5

College Football is the only sport that can show you what it’s like to simultaneously feel alive and like you want to die? That is why is it is by far the greatest sport there is! Before we get to College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 5, you can reference the Unafraid Show’s College Football Top 10 Rankings for Week 4.

The two most frustrating parts of being a college football fan are the biased polls and the terrible non-conference schedules. Last week the AP poll had BYU (2-1) ranked #25, but Cal (3-0) who beat BYU only received enough votes to be #30. And it had Wisconsin who lost to BYU but had played nobody ranked above both teams. These are the kinds of things that regularly happen in polls. I cannot change the schedules but I can rank the college football top 10 teams by the correct criteria: quality wins, schedule played, and dominance. Most polls including the College Football Playoff Committee give college blueblood teams a massive “benefit of the doubt.” I don’t believe in that. The best teams who play the best schedules will always be ranked highest. Only the games that have been played matter. I re-rank the top 10 every week from scratch. The previous week’s rankings do not factor into the next week. So, the rankings will change every week as more games are played.

1.  Alabama (4-0)

Alabama is so good that Nick Saban has asked the media to write about the things they don’t do well. He needs something to show his players, so they don’t get complacent. The only thing that can stop the Crimson Tide right now is complacency. Tua Tagoviloa is improving on his near perfect play at quarterback. This week against Texas A&M he threw for 387 yards and four touchdowns. Granted, his job is a lot less stressful knowing Alabama’s defense and running game always show up.

2. Notre Dame (4-0)

My biggest knock on Notre Dame was their inability to throw the ball with their quarterback Brandon Wimbush. Brian Kelly must have read the Unafraid Show’s College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 4 because he replaced Wimbush with Ian Book. Book was impressive throwing the football against Wake Forest. I am extremely close calling Notre Dame a playoff team. Next week they get a test at home from Stanford.

3. LSU (4-0)

LSU only played Louisianna Tech this week, but they dominated. And the Tigers still have two quality wins over Miami and Auburn. LSU’s Achilles heel has not changed in nearly a decade. They do not have a dangerous passing attack. LSU will lose one or two games this season if Ed Orgeron cannot turn Joe Burrow and the passing attack into a real threat. The LSU defense continues to be stout. We will see what they are made of in a couple weeks when they play Georgia.

4. Stanford (4-0)

I almost threw up at the end of this game. The bottom line is that despite being dominated by Oregon all game, Stanford made plays when it counted. The best player on Stanford’s team is not Bryce Love, it’s KJ Costello. David Shaw’s team is always run first. But he will need to use the pass to set up the run if the Cardinal hope to make the College Football Playoffs. Stanford is boring to watch, but they win and are tough to beat.

5. Oklahoma (4-0)

Oklahoma squeezed out an OT victory against Army. Army was 19 seconds shy of having three entire quarters of possession. Every top team faces a couple of gut-check games each season, and this was one for the Sooners. Ordinarily, a team could take a huge fall after a close game against an unranked non-power 5 opponent. However, any time you play a triple option service academy, you could be in for a dogfight. Kyler Murray and the Sooners still look great at the #5 spot.

6. Clemson (4-0)

It appears Dabo Swinney is going to turn the quarterback reigns over to Trevor Lawrence. Kelly Bryant is a good quarterback, but the situation at Clemson is the same as Alabama. There is an incumbent quarterback who has won a ton of games, but the young kid is just making the team undeniably better. When teams this good have a legit passer it makes them a clear top 10 team. After Virginia Tech lost to Old Dominion today, it doesn’t look like there will be much opposition for the Tigers in the ACC.

7. Ohio State (4-0)

Ohio State got Urban Meyer back from “suspension” and didn’t miss a beat. Dwyane Haskins feasted on Tulane for lunch. He is the best passing quarterback Urban Meyer has coached since Alex Smith at Utah (No Cam Newton doesn’t count for this discussion. The Buckeyes are extremely fast, strong, and athletic. Ohio State may be the only team in the country who can line up athlete for athlete with Alabama. The Michigan game may be the only time Ohio State is challenged for the rest of the season. That TCU win doesn’t look so hot after they got beat up by Texas this week.

8. Georgia (4-0)

Georgia is EXTREMELY talented, and I believe they are a good team, but the fact remains that their schedule has been extremely soft so far. Their best wins are against South Carolina and Missouri. Neither one of those teams has beat anyone of any significance. So, until Georgia gets some quality wins, they will rank way below where their potential lies. Jake Fromm and his wide receivers seem to be getting in a good grove. If he can continue to play at a high level, the Bulldogs will have a shot to knock off Bama in the SEC championship.

9. Washington (3-1)

Washington knocked off Arizona State who beat Michigan State. That looks like a solid win. The Washington vs. Stanford game in a few weeks will be for a spot in the College Football Playoffs. I still believe that Washington has the second-best defense in the country behind Alabama. They are fast and physical. The good news for the Huskies is that Jake Browning had a solid game. If he can occasionally be special against good teams, Washington will be in the conversation for a top 4 spot.

10. West Virginia (3-0)

Will Grier had a week off and only got stronger. The Mountaineers  Kansas State led by Grier’s 356 yards and five touchdowns. Their schedule provides many opportunities to move up the rankings. Next week West Virginia has a showdown with Texas Tech who opened up a can of whoop-ass on the #10 team from the Unafraid Show’s College Football Top 10 Rankings for Week 4, Oklahoma State.

Next Up:

Penn State, Texas, Michigan, Oregon (all need a quality win)

I know some of you are steaming mad right now because your team is ranked too low or is unranked. Take a breathe and realize that your fandom is causing irrational thoughts. Leave a comment or shoot an email:… Yes, that is the real email address.

Big 12 Football Week 4 Power Rankings: Upsets and offensive dominance

Big 12

The Big 12 had some major upsets this weekend, but the real storyline was Texas Tech’s offensive dominance over Houston that not only broke records but catapulted the Red Raiders as national stat leaders. Some teams rose, others fell, and there are a few that are shocking the conference–both in good and bad ways.

Here’s how the teams stack up through four weeks:


After taking it to ACU and UTSA to start the season, Baylor took a 40-27 loss to Duke on Saturday. Between quarterbacks Charlie Brewer and Jalan McClendon, the Bears had 270 passing yards and just one touchdown in the air. Baylor was a little more effective running the ball, but even with higher numbers, the Bears finished the day with just a single double-digit run by Jalen Hurd.

With three fumbles by the offense and zero sacks by the defense against a Power 5 team, this could help paint a more accurate picture as to what we can expect from Baylor this season.


There was a lot of hope and excitement regarding the Cyclones headed into the season, and yet here they are, sitting on a 0-1 start following a crushing loss against the Sooners on Saturday. While it was only a 10 point loss, Iowa State had issues controlling the clock at home. Moreover, the Cyclones’ defense allowed OU quarterback Kyler Murray to throw for 348 yards, averaging 12 yards-per-pass. With other Big 12 teams firing up high-powered offenses early this season, it could be an issue with the Cyclones’ secondary moving forward.

8. TCU

Facepalm. TCU and Ohio State originally scheduled a home-and-home series, but for a bigger payout, the game was moved to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, and that loss of home advantage could have been a difference-maker against the No. 4 ranked Buckeyes.

TCU started as an underdog against Ohio State, but simple mistakes prevented this game from being closer than it should have been. Quarterback Sean Robinson has thrown just five touchdowns this season but was plagued by turnovers on Saturday, and the Buckeyes capitalized off the mistakes, putting a fumble return for a touchdown, and a pick-6 on the board. While TCU has the talent to recover, a visit to Austin to play the Longhorns this week following their win over USC won’t provide the Horned Frogs much time to make adjustments.


Kansas is 2-0, and most people are actually really excited for the Jayhawks, whose only marquee win in years was against the Longhorns back in 2016. Sure, the Jayhawks’ 55-15 blowout victory was at home against Rutgers, but a few points emerged. Kansas has a serious issue with quarterbacks, but did manage four rushing touchdowns, and hauled in two defensive touchdowns on three interceptions thrown by Rutgers.

Kansas heads to Baylor this weekend, and with the way the Bears are playing, there’s a huge possibility the Jayhawks start in-conference play with a win over a team that’s still rebuilding.


Unfortunately, West Virginia’s Week 3 matchup against NC State was canceled due to Hurricane Florence, so there isn’t a lot of data to go off before the Mountaineers square up against Kansas State this week.


Kansas State beat UTSA, 41-17, and between quarterbacks, Skylar Thompson and Alex Delton, put up three touchdowns. Thompson established himself as QB1, throwing for 213 yards, with 66 rushing yards and a touchdown from one yard out.

UTSA head coach Frank Wilson said, “We held them to some third-down opportunities, but we just couldn’t get them off the field.” This is interesting because UTSA controlled time of possession, but Kansas State averaged 15 yards-per-pass compared to just 3.7 yards-per-rush. Kansas State faces a West Virginia team that had plenty of time on Saturday to study the Wildcats, who have been struggling in several areas to start the season. Bill Snyder will have his team’s attention, but West Virginia is hungry to get back on the field, so this will be a game to watch.


Texas got revenge on the No. ranked USC Trojans in its 37-14 victory in Austin on Saturday, but the win wasn’t without controversy. On a keeper from the end zone, USC defenders sacked Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger in what was a clear safety, but the officials said the football broke the plane. That missed call gave the Longhorns momentum throughout the first half, and USC just couldn’t make the necessary second-half adjustments, which have plagued the Trojans since its Stanford loss two weeks ago.

This upset was a morale booster as the Longhorns head into Big 12 play, and with the No. 12 ranked TCU Horned Frogs on the schedule this week, Texas should be riding high, while Gary Patterson will have to refocus TCU following its loss against Ohio State.

It’s also worth mentioning that Texas’ upset over USC is its 900th win in program history.


While Texas Tech rolled Lamar in Week Two, the Red Raiders were an underdog at home on Saturday, as they hosted the Houston Cougars who were riding high off a victory against Arizona the week prior. With heightened expectations by Houston’s Heisman talk surrounding Ed Oliver, the Red Raiders knew it was a tall task and responded with a 63-49 upset victory. Texas Tech true freshman Alan Bowman looked at that challenge and threw bullet after bullet, finishing the day with 43 of 59 for 605 yards, five touchdowns, zero interceptions, surpassing Patrick Mahomes’ single-game passing yards for a freshman.

As if one record wasn’t enough, Texas Tech wide receiver Antoine Wesley had 13 receptions for 261 yards and three touchdowns to set the record for single-game receiving yards. This was exactly the kind of quality win Tech needed as it hosts Oklahoma State this weekend to open a tough Big 12 schedule.

See:  Q/A: Former Texas Tech quarterback BJ Symons on Kingsbury, Quarterbacks, and more


Oklahoma State routed the No. 17 ranked Boise State Broncos in a 44-21 victory to wrap up its slate of non-conference games to start the season at 3-0.

Fifth-year senior Tyler Cornelius threw for 243 yards and a touchdown, with two rushing touchdowns on the day. Boise State senior quarterback Brett Ripien paid compliments to the Oklahoma State defense in the post-game. “Their D-line, I thought, did a good job,” Rypien said. “You don’t want to get into third-and-long against that defense.” That’s definitely advice the rest of the conference can use as we begin theBig 12 schedules.


Oklahoma dominated once again. Not only did the Sooners stay undefeated, but they also did so in a tough Jack Trice Stadium in Ames to go into Big 12 play at 1-0. Kyler Murray finished the day with a 90.5 percent quarterback rating and continues to help the Sooners retool their offense.

The OU defense was a different story, however. Allowing 10 yards-per-pass by Iowa State quarterback Zeb Noland doesn’t bode well for future Big 12 play, which also has offenses that continue to retool.

Want more? Check out The Big 12’s Week Three Power Rankings.



Q/A: Former Texas Tech quarterback BJ Symons on Kingsbury, Quarterbacks, and more

Texas Tech

Texas Tech fans, coaches, and players alike all have plenty of comments to make about the football program, but regardless of how many wins or losses that mount up at the end of the season, adjustments are made, problems are diagnosed, and everyone moves on with equal parts uncertainty and excitement. Unfortunately, pundits tend to discuss the “State of…” ad nauseum levels, and the opinions tend to create a narrative that former players might agree, or disagree with. The problem is, few seem eager to reach out to the guys who have shed blood, sweat, and tears in the trenches for expert analysis.

Former Texas Tech quarterback B.J. Symons was kind enough to sit down and discuss the biggest areas of concern regarding the 2018 season: Kliff Kingsbury, and quarterbacks. 

Q: In a situation when a team faces a quarterback battle, how does a coach know when a guy is the guy? Does the team tell him?

BJ: I think it’s different for every coach. I can only speak from experience. I admire Kliff Kingsbury as a coach, as a fan, and as a person. He’s committed to giving players the opportunity to prove themselves and earn the job as a starter. It seems like ever since Kliff got the [head coaching] job dating back to Baker Mayfield as a walk-on, he felt like Mayfield gave him the best chance to win over Davis Webb, who was a scholarship player, so they competed.

Mike Leach for example, when he got the job at Texas Tech in 1999, Kliff ran with the 1s from Day 1 and I ran with the 2s. And that’s not a knock against Kliff or the situation, that was just the reality. There was never a competition to earn the starting job, and honestly I think that had a lot to do with Leach, who came from Oklahoma the year prior when he was coaching with Bob Stoops. Our last game–my true freshman year when I was redshirting and Kliff was a FS/F our starting quarterback–Rob Peters was injured so Kingsbury started that last game of the season against Oklahoma, and he had a decent game and we won. So I think that played into that when Leach was hired at Texas Tech. He had the mindset that, “This guy started against us last year and played well.” I knew Leach because he recruited me to come to Oklahoma out of high school, so when he got the job at Tech, I was pleased with that. I knew him, he recruited me and I knew the offense he ran, but there was never a competition, And I guess I’m making that point because Kliff [has always been] committed to letting these guys each have a chance to compete and I think that’s  because he needs to know what he has in each of them, and if you know someone is the guy you’re not gonna invest reps in two other guys in practice if you think one of them is your starter. I don’t think Kliff knew [who the starting quarterback was this year], but from the outside, he really did give them all a chance because he wanted to see them prepare, practice and scrimmage, and wanted a sample size.

Going back to your original question, I think it’s different for every coach in how they know. He’s observing everything from afar. For example, how are receivers like in the huddle? What’s the morale of the team one guys in the huddle versus the other? Do guys play harder for one guy than the other? And we see in the news about things that Kliff said about game management and taking care of the football, and I think he just factors everything in. And at the end of the day, Kliff’s proven not only his ability to coach quarterbacks at a successful level dating back to Keenum, and Manziel who won a Heisman, and Pat and Davis and Baker; I think his track record speaks for himself that he’s going to make a decision to play the best guy that he feels is gonna give him the best chance to win.


Q: You were Kingsbury’s backup. Walk us through your thoughts when you knew it was your time to take over.

BJ: I was just excited because I had been a backup for four years one as a redshirt and three as a backup with Kliff as a durable quarterback. It’s really rare in todays game–especially with these offenses and the way you see qbs involved from an athletic standpoint. It’s pretty rare to see a guy not miss a start in three years. Look at the last Tech years at Tech. Mayfield started as a true freshman and had injuries, Davis had some injuries, Pat had injuries, Nik played and McLane started, so to have a quarterback start for three straight years without missing a start is rare. So as a backup, I really had no experience with the exception of blowouts here and there. In my time of being the No. 2, I had maybe thrown less than 50 passes, and it was all mop up duty, whether we were up 40 or down 40. So I think I was just excited to play in a meaningful game because I had worked and prepared for that opportunity. I was just looking forward to competing again at a high level. Part of what makes football so great and why people play it is because of the game and competition, and going out there with your team and trying to win; there’s no better feeling than that, and I had never had that because even when I played (as backup) it was fun, but it was an opportunity to play and have fun again.


Q: Dovetailing from that, what were your personal expectations, and did you use his records as your personal motivation?

BJ: No, I never once had a “I’m gonna set school records” mentality. I don’t even know how many yards or touchdowns Kliff had thrown for, but going into my year starting, I can’t tell you I knew those numbers at the time or set any goals. More than anything, I wanted to prove not only to myself, but to everyone that I was ready to light the world on fire. For me it was kind of like lightning in a bottle because we had so much depth and experience aside from me, so ya, I was starting for my first year but we had multiple-year starters, which made things easier. I just knew that I needed to do what I did in practice for four years. I was always a risk taker. I always tried to throw balls and make “wow” throws and force the issue which was good and bad… and the majority of my interceptions came after I was hurt, but I didn’t have records in mind. I knew we had a really good offense, and I knew what I was capable of.


Q: How does a quarterback carve his own legacy when he’s always being compared to the guy he replaced?

BJ: I don’t think quarterbacks think about carving legacies, but maybe some do. When I was going into my senior year at Texas Tech, I wasn’t think about carving a legacy, so I knew there would be comparisons with Kliff, but I knew my game was different than his and I wasn’t trying to be him, I was just going to go out there and be me. So I think you carve your own legacy by not trying to be the guy before you, and if that’s worthy of a legacy then it will create itself. You play your game and play how you’re coached and legacies come later.


Q: Any advice to the quarterbacks this season?

BJ: Trust your teammates and coaches… put in the work and just play. Don’t concern yourself with what’s going on around you. Don’t pay attention to media–good or bad. Focus on being the best, put in the time, watch film as much as you can, commit yourself to being the best quarterback you can without worrying about the distractions. At the end of the day these kids are student-athletes; they’re going to class, they’re on campus, but going out and doing other things can lead to distractions they can get caught up in and. So I would just say, my advice would be work hard listen to your coaches, study film, take care of yourself off the field, and play ball. Go out without hesitation and ball. [To be fair] I would give that advice now, but I wouldn’t necessarily have followed it. It was hard for me. I wasn’t accustomed to it. Maybe Kliff was used to everything that came with being quarterback at a high level for a D1 team, but for me it was still my first year, so I’m dealing with people in class, and fans at dinner. So it’s easy for me to sit here [now] and say “don’t pay attention to distractions,” but I wouldn’t necessarily expect 18, 19, 20 year old kids to be able to do that.


Q: If you could say one thing to the fans to excite them about this quarterback race, what would it be?

BJ: At the Ole Miss game, Carter was showing something. He was locked in, and I felt bad that he got hurt. I haven’t really seen Duffey play so I can’t give thoughts on him, but I’m excited about what I see in Bowman. Go back to when Patrick Mahomes came in as a freshmen. If I can make an analogy to Mahomes’ first start, he looked awful. Actually, I don’t think he looked awful, I just think he wasn’t ready. The very first action I remember seeing Mahomes he was  a true freshman, and I think Webb was still here and he got hurt, but Mahomes looked lost. I’m not hating on Pat, and I’m one of his biggest fans, but he looked like the lights were too big. What I’ve seen from Bowman makes me excited. It didn’t look like the stage was too big for him. We didn’t win the game, but he showed me a lot, especially in the way he competed. He didn’t make every throw, but he made a lot of good throws, and he’s athletic so he’s capable of making things happen with his feet, whether it be on the run or escaping pressure and making plays. I think about that and think “Wow, this is literally this kid’s first week–well not on campus–but this was literally his first game,” and I think that gets me excited. I’m not favoring him, but it was exciting.

What makes me excited about Texas Tech is the coach that’s coaching them.

Looking at the QB position in a vacuum, I’m exciting at what I see from Bowman. I didn’t see Duffy play, but Kliff gets me excited and comfortable with what we have at QB because he’s proven himself as a coach, and we’ll be fine there, but there are other issues. Penalties are a big one, and he’s the head coach and it’s all gonna fall down on his shoulders, but when you look at the QB position specifically, what’s not to be excited about? We’re gonna be fine at QB, but here’s the thing, with the track record Kingsbury has had with coaching quarterbacks, I think it’s hard to understand what’s been going on recruiting-wise the past three years where you have all this success at QB and a guy that gets drafted in the Top 10, so how do you not have five stars ready to plug in? People are on edge because it seems like we’re in a rebuilding mode and fans want to win now.


On money, infrastructure, coaches, and recruiting: The new facilities will help Texas Tech not get left behind. I love Lubbock but we know Tech isn’t gonna recruit at the level of OU, Texas, and A&M. And I hate to say this… actually, maybe that’s the wrong stance to have as a fan. In fact it is. It’s bullshit to even say that. Why can’t we? Lubbock is a great city. I love going there. It’s a great school, campus, and has great weather, so I think the mentality has to change. It can’t be like “Oh Tech can’t compete with OU…” Why not? Chris Beard is doing it. He’s proven that kind of talk shouldn’t be acceptable. He’s coming on back-to-back NCAA appearances and landing top recruits left and right. Players want to win. High school kids coming out want to do two things: Win and go somewhere that’s gonna get them to the next level… the NFL. The problem is, every kid lives in a false Twitter reality where they think they’re gonna be a star, and a first round pick. That’s not the real world. You having three thousand followers because you’re a four-star recruit doesn’t mean shit. So kids want to go where they’ll have the best shot. You have to put yourself in the position to win, and we’ve done what we need to in terms of infrastructure, but 6-6 isn’t gonna get you five stars. Winning a Big 12 championship is what’s gonna get you to where you’re constantly having a chance to compete for recruits and win.

Fans are nervous because they feel like there’s so much uncertainty and if there’s all this uncertainty, it feels like we’re in rebuilding mode. Then there’s the expectation at defense, but I was more disappointed in the defense than the offense. I get it, we’re down three starters in the secondary, but where was Dakota Allen? You’re preseason all Big 12 All American. I’m not hating on him, but come on, Special Teams? You’re giving a kick return for a touchdown on the second drive of the game after we’ve go 90 yards and get the momentum back and tie the game, and that shit kills the team.

Guys bought into the hype and were humbled. Regardless of what people say, Tech still has a ways to go. But here’s the thing, even if we go 6-6, Texas Tech doesn’t have the bank roll to be going through $5m a year coaches. So fire Kliff? And get who? [When he was hired at Texas Tech] Kliff was a new coach and didn’t have a huge network of assistant coaches who he could go to. He trusted them, and has been doing his job of diagnosing when coaches aren’t working out, and going from there.

I truly think Kliff Kingsbury is the guy who can get us to where we need to be, but with that said, he has to get it done and there’s work ahead, but I don’t think we’re going to find someone whos gonna come in and take us to a title. I could be wrong… look at what Chris Beard did, but let’s also take into account the size of the staff and roster.


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