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Baylor DB Travon Blanchard arrested on family violence charges

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As Matt Rhule was winning Big 12 media days on Tuesday, one of his players was generating an all-too-familiar headline.

Bears defensive back Travon Blanchard was arrested Tuesday night on family violence charges. He was released later Tuesday night on $6,000 bond.

Blanchard was arrested in Waco, but the warrant for his arrest originated out of Fort Bend County, near Houston. Blanchard’s attorney Michelle Tuegel made a statement late Tuesday evening, saying, “we look forward to representing Travon and bringing out the truth in court.”

Blanchard was suspended from the program before Tuesday’s arrest, and Rhule said Tuesday (before news of the arrest broke) that his status remain unchanged.

“Travon Blanchard was suspended from all team activities immediately after learning of allegations made against him in February,” Baylor said in a statement. “That status has not changed and he has had no involvement with the program since that time. The university is aware of the arrest made today in connection with the previous allegations against Blanchard and will monitor the developments of this charge for any additional decision regarding his affiliation as a student-athlete.”

Blanchard appeared in 11 games last season, registering 73 tackles and nine TFLs.

Big 12’s new slogan is “guaranteed” to settle its one true champion issue

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The Big 12 is bringing back the conference championship game this season for the first time since being reduced in size to 10 members. Once the NCAA decided it was OK for conferences with fewer than 12 members to hold a championship game, it was only a matter of time before the Big 12 brought the money-making game 13th data point back to the table for its top playoff and conference championship contenders.

Of course, with the return of the championship game and the start of a new season brings a brand new slogan for the Big 12. As College Football Talk contributor Zach Barnett shows us, the new slogan is a neat little play on words, and may take a jab at its predecessor in the process.

The Big 12 has abandoned the “One True Champion” fiasco, which was doomed from the start, and replaced it with a bonafide guarantee that the Big 12 will once and for all be able to declare an unquestionable conference champion. The top two teams in the Big 12 will square off for the Big 12 championship this season, with the hope that the conference title game will help give a playoff contender one final push to get into the College Football Playoff. The Big 12 has been left out of the playoff mix two out of the first three years of the new national championship model. The Big 12 was ultimately passed over by the College Football Playoff selection committee, and this indecisiveness was believed to have hurt the Big 12’s chances (even though Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and Ohio State had more than fair reasons for being included in the playoff that first year).

In 2015, Baylor and TCU tied for the conference championship. Despite Baylor winning the head-to-head matchup with the Horned Frogs, the Big 12 chose to award a split Big 12 title, thus making a mockery of the conference’s slogan of “One True Champion,” which was built on the emphasis that the Big 12 was the only power conference to play a full conference schedule where every team plays through the entire conference.

Last year, the Big 12 had Oklahoma go 9-0 in conference play to end the season as one of the hottest teams in the country, but two non-conference losses made it a tough uphill battle for the eventual Big 12 champions to get in (especially since one loss came against a playoff participant, one-loss Ohio State).

So here we are in 2017. The Big 12 held off on expanding the conference but is bringing the conference championship game back into the schedule. We will indeed get a guaranteed undisputed champion in the Big 12, but the Big 12 is guaranteed to be setup for a setback if a viable playoff contender is upset in a rematch in the Big 12 championship game.

ACC tops as Bronko Nagurski watch list hits triple digits

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It may not be the biggest award in college football, but it’s certainly the most voluminous.

Watch List Season continued unabated Thursday morning, with the Bronko Nagurski Trophy revealing a group which consists of a whopping 103 FBA players.  Within that triple-digit preseason club, there are 30 defensive backs, 29 linebackers, 25 defensive ends and 19 defensive tackles.

Two 2016 first-team Football Writers Association of America All-Americans appear on the list — Clemson’s Christian Wilkins (pictured) and Florida State’s Tarvarus McFadden.

Conference-wise, the ACC leads with 20 players selected for the initial watch list.  The Big Ten is next with 16, followed by the SEC’s 14, the Pac-12’s 13 and the Big 12’s 11.  The AAC paced Group of Five leagues with 10, with the Sun Belt (6), Mountain West (5), Mid-American (3) and Conference USA (2) rounding out the conferences, while football independents chipped in the remaining three.

The Nagurski Trophy has been handed out annually since 1993 to college football’s best defensive player.  Last year’s winner was Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen.


Baker Mayfield, Kansas pass rusher headline preseason All-Big 12 team

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The Big 12 on Wednesday unveiled its 2017 preseason all-conference teams, led, of course, by Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield. The 2016 Heisman Trophy finalist was named the league’s preseason Offensive Player of the Year and preseason All-Big 12 quarterback. Kansas’s Dorance ArmstrongJr., the conference’s leading returning sack man, was named the league’s preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

Oklahoma, Texas and TCU led the conference with five selections, followed by Kansas State and Oklahoma State with four. Texas Tech and Iowa State claimed two selections, followed by West Virginia and Baylor’s one.

Yes, that adds up to 29 players.

Offensive Player of the Year: Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Defensive Player of the Year: Dorance Armstrong Jr., Kansas
Newcomer of the Year: Will Grier, West Virginia

Offense
QB: Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
RB: Justice Hill, Oklahoma State
RB: Justin Crawford, West Virginia
FB: Winston Dimel, Kansas State
WR: Keke Coutee, Texas Tech
WR: Allen Lazard, Iowa State
WR: James Washington, Oklahoma State
TE: Mark Andrews, Oklahoma
OL: Orlando Brown, Oklahoma
OL: Zach Crabtree, Oklahoma State
OL: Dalton Risner, Kansas State
OL: Austin Schlotmann, TCU
OL: Connor Williams, Texas
K: Clayton Hatfield, Texas Tech
KR/PR: KaVontae Turpin, TCU

Defense
DL: Dorance Armstrong, Jr., Kansas
DL: Poona Ford, Texas
DL: Malcolm Roach, Texas
DL: K.J. Smith, Baylor
DL: Reggie Walker, Kansas State
LB: Travin Howard, TCU
LB: Malik Jefferson, Texas
LB: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Oklahoma
DB: Kamari Cotton-Moya, Iowa State
DB: Tre Flowers, Oklahoma State
DB: Nick Orr, TCU
DB: D.J. Reed, Kansas State
DB: Jordan Thomas, Oklahoma
P: Michael Dickson, Texas

Judge dismisses second lawsuit from ex-Baylor football staffer

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Baylor has been spending a lot of time in court as a result of the fallout from their sprawling sexual assault scandal but the school got a rare win on Friday as a district court judge near Waco has dismissed a lawsuit brought on by former director of football operations Colin Shillinglaw.

The Waco Tribune-Hearld reports that a request for arbitration was also denied. The lawsuit, originally brought in Dallas earlier this year before being refilled locally, took the school and several administrative officials to court over claims of defamation and breach of contract.

Shillinglaw is appealing an earlier decision to dismiss the case in a Dallas court according to the Tribune-Hearld, which required him to pay $325,000 in court and legal costs to the state and various Baylor parties.

At the center of the matter in the second suit is a claim by Shillinglaw that in addition to the defamation, he was owed a roughly $20,000 bonus for the Bears win in the Cactus Bowl. Most notably the school fired back in their response to this claim and others, saying that Shillinglaw was involved in player discipline for the troubled football program and that he did not cooperate with an investigation into sexual assaults at the university by law firm Pepper Hamilton.

With an appeal still ongoing of the other judgement, neither party is out of the woods just yet it appears. That is especially true of Baylor itself, which is dealing with an increasing number of other lawsuits related to the sexual assault scandal at the moment.