To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the Big 12 is headlined by Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield when it comes to the conference’s annual regular season awards.
The Sooners star signal-caller (and prohibitive Heisman Trophy favorite) was named the 2017 Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year on Thursday according to a release, capturing the honor for the second time in three seasons in Norman. Teammate Ogbonnia Okoronkwo also took home some hefty hardware from the conference, as he was named co-Defensive Player of the Year with Texas’ linebacker Malik Jefferson.
Also notable was the Chuck Neinas Coach of the Year Award winner, which went to Matt Campbell after he took the Cyclones to a 7-5 record (5-4 in conference play).
Other Big 12 honors handed out included:
- West Virginia QB Will Grier was name Offensive Newcomer of the Year
- TCU defensive end Ben Banogu was the Defensive Newcomer of the Year
- Co-Offensive Freshmen of the Year were Baylor QB Charlie Brewer and TCU wideout Jalen Reagor
- Co-Defensive Freshmen of the Year were Oklahoma LB Kenneth Murray and TCU DT Ross Blacklock
- Special Teams Player of the Year was Texas punter Michael Dickson, an Aussie who won the trophy for the second straight season
- Offensive Lineman of the Year was Orlando Brown, the Sooners’ left tackle who won for the second year in a row
- Defensive Lineman of the Year honors went to Texas senior DT Poona Ford
According to the conference, Oklahoma won the most individual awards in the 21-year history of the Big 12 with a whopping 39 after this year’s haul. All the selections were voted on by the league’s coaches, which were not allowed to vote for their own players.
No. 12 TCU will be out a defensive starter as it takes on the torrid offense of No. 4 Oklahoma in the first half of Saturday’s Big 12 Championship (12:30 p.m. ET, FOX). Safety Nick Orr was suspended for the first half of the game for his role in the bench-clearing skirmish during the Frogs’ 45-22 win over Baylor on Friday.
In a related note: Oklahoma put up 38 points in the first half of the pair’s Nov. 11 game with Orr on the field.
The Big 12 also suspended Baylor running back JaMycal Hasty for half a game and defensive end D.J. Artis for a full game for their role in the fight. Both suspensions will be served in the Bears’ Big 12 opener against Kansas next season.
“These sanctions are the direct result of clear video evidence which shows Nick Orr and JaMycal Hasty throwing punches at opposing players, and D.J. Artis kicking and punching at TCU players ,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a statement.
Interestingly, Oklahoma offensive lineman Dru Samia was also ejected from the Sooners’ 59-31 win over West Virginia on Saturday for throwing a punch, but no additional punishment has been announced for him as of yet.
Orr ranks third for TCU with 59 tackles to go with three TFLs and two interceptions.
There’s been a ton of movement on the coaching carousel the past few days, but apparently Kansas won’t be involved this time around.
Kansas lost to Oklahoma State Saturday afternoon, dropping their record to 1-11 as they lost the last 11 games of the season. While there’s been speculation that David Beaty would be three-and-done, athletic director Sheahon Zenger indicated in a statement shortly after that latest loss that the head coach would indeed get a fourth season.
KU is now 3-33 — and 1-26 in Big 12 play — in nearly three full seasons under Beaty. For perspective, Turner Gill won five games in his two seasons after replacing the ousted Mark Mangino in 2010, while Gill’s replacement, Charlie Weis, won six games in his three seasons before he was replaced by Beaty in 2015.
With the Week 13 drubbing in Stillwater, the Jayhawks have now lost 46 straight road games, the second-longest streak at any level in college football history.
The Crotch Grab Seen ‘Round the World has found a way to remain in the news cycle, now 72 hours after it happened.
Oklahoma announced Monday that Baker Mayfield will not serve as a team captain and will now start for the No. 4 Sooners against West Virginia on Saturday, and earlier Tuesday Kansas announced that the players who refused to shake Mayfield’s hand will not serve as captains for its own finale against No. 13 Oklahoma State.
But if those mostly-empty gestures weren’t enough to get the players’ attention, surely this will do it: a public reprimand from the conference office.
The Big 12 issued this reprimand to Mayfield for violating the conference’s Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct rules. Said commissioner Bob Bowlsby:
“Mr. Mayfield’s actions are unacceptable and should not be tolerated. I am grateful for the efficient management of this matter by the coaches and administration of the University of Oklahoma. Baker Mayfield is a truly outstanding competitor and I generally appreciate his style of play and the manner in which he competes. However, the behavior he exhibited on the sideline during the Oklahoma-Kansas game was inappropriate and contrary to our sportsmanship policies.”
And here’s Bowlsby’s slap on the wrist to Kansas captains Joe Dineen, Dorance Armstrong Jr., Jeremiah Booker, and Daniel Wise:
“The refusal of these student-athletes to shake an opponent’s hand during the pre-game ceremony is contrary to tradition and inconsistent with common courtesy. The pre-game handshake among team captains is symbolic of good sportsmanship. This breach of protocol is not in keeping with the standards of the Big 12 Conference. I am grateful for the work of the Kansas administration and coaches to resolve this matter.”
The Big 12 noted that this was actually the fifth sportsmanship reprimand it has issued in its history. So there’s that.
Perhaps we can all move on now.
I’m thinking, with this development, we can put crotch-gate to bed.
Three Kansas players serving as captains for the Week 12 Oklahoma game, Joe Dineen, Daniel Wise and Dorance Armstrong, for whatever reason refused to shake the hand of Baker Mayfield during their pregame meeting at midfield. That set the tone for a chippy game that the OU quarterback took to another level by throwing a crotch grab at the KU bench that was caught on camera and led to the Heisman Trophy front-runner being suspended for the start of this weekend’s game.
Mayfield was also stripped of his captaincy, a move that left him near tears as this will be his final game in Norman. While it may not mean as much to them, the Jayhawks trio responsible for the snubbing can certainly sympathize.
“That’s not how this game should be played,” a contrite Dineen told ESPN.com‘s Jake Trotter. “It won’t happen from me or from this program again.”
“First of all, that was absolutely unacceptable. I’ve had a conversation with [OU head coach] Lincoln Riley, and I’ve apologized on behalf of myself and our team,” KU head coach David Beaty said during Monday’s Big 12 coaches’ teleconference. “I want to also apologize to really our stakeholders, our Jayhawk fans, Jayhawks currently and all of the ones before us, because it means more to be a Jayhawk. That was a situation where we needed to make a better decision there. …
“It’s unfortunate, and I apologize to the Big 12 and really to college football, because it’s something that was absolutely unacceptable.”