Joseph Randle

CFT Predicts: the Big 12

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As the 2013 season draws near, we peek into our crystal ball and guess project how each of the five major conferences will play out. Today, we examine the Big 12. 

While we’re at it, be sure to check out our other conference predictions: SECBig TenPac-12

1. TCU (Last year: 7-6; lost to Michigan State in Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl) 
What happened last season?
Thanks to injuries, dismissals and attrition of various varieties, the Horned Frogs tossed a lot of young players into their first Big 12 fire and still managed to win seven games. Included in the list of new faces was quarterback Trevone Boykin, who played out the final two months of the season while Casey Pachall dealt with substance abuse issues. Of all the success Gary Patterson‘s had in Fort Worth, 2012 may have been was his best coaching job, and a young defense buckled down in the final month of the season.

So why are they picked here?
Most of them youngins mentioned above are back. The offense should be fine no matter which quarterback, Pachall or Boykin, takes the field. And they’ll have options at their disposal too. Running back Waymon James averaged nearly 10 yards per carry in two games before going down with a season-ending knee injury. In that vein, TCU’s backfield had its fair share of injuries, but when healthy, it should flourish alongside a solid receiving unit.

And that defense? It should be the best in the conference with just about everybody coming back (minus linebacker and second-leading tackler Joel Hasley).

Anything else?
Some departures just before, and around the start of, preseason camp have put a dent in the offensive line and linebacker units. Defensive end Devonte Fields will miss some early-season action as well. But Patterson is well-respected around these parts and he’s shown as recently as a year ago that he can coach around injuries. Also, the Horned Frogs have some intriguing road games at Oklahoma (Oct. 5), Oklahoma State (Oct. 19) and Kansas State (Nov. 16) that should provide tough tests. Going to Lubbock in the early portion of the season (Sept. 12) and Ames in November (Nov. 9) aren’t always picnics, either.

2. Texas (last year: 9-4; beat Oregon State in Alamo Bowl)
What happened last season?
Texas experienced about as many ups and downs as a nine-win team could possibly go through in one season. The Longhorns got taken to the woodshed (again) by Oklahoma and still couldn’t find a way to beat Kansas State, but a come-from-behind win against Oregon State in the Alamo Bowl cleansed the football palate just enough to make the offseason bearable. The offense, led by quarterback David Ash, was inconsistent and the defense exhibited too many breakdowns in fundamentals and tackling. 

So why are they picked here?
That’s a handsome question considering there wasn’t a lot praise being doled out in the 2012 recap. But the simple answer is Texas brings back among the most experienced group of starters not just in the Big 12, but in the country. There’s no denying the skill position talent on offense, where receivers Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley should be complemented by the deepest backfield in the conference. If the defense can improve even a little — getting Jordan Hicks back should help — this team has the potential to be dangerous.

Anything else?
Yeah, about that Mack Brown. Two BCS championship appearances (and winning one) would normally eliminate Brown from being mentioned as a concern, but media members in Big 12 country didn’t seem to have a lot of confidence in him when they picked Texas to finish fourth in the conference this year. I’m a little more convinced Texas will ascend to the top, or near the top, of the Big 12, which should be wide open this year. But if Brown can’t make it happen this year, it’s hard to see him hanging around much longer.

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Record number of underclassmen enter NFL draft

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We’ve been keeping track of underclassmen who have declared for this year’s NFL draft. This morning, the NFL released its list of 73 underclassmen who have been granted “special eligibility” for the draft by being at least three years removed from high school before declaring.

That number is a new record, breaking the one held in 2012 with 65 underclassmen declaring. In 2011, 56 players left early and 53 took off in 2010. In fact, the 73 who declared this year is 30 more than in 2004.

Of the 73 players, 33 come from SEC schools, or began their careers at SEC schools. That’s far and away the most of any conference. LSU has 11 underclassmen with ties to the program represented.

You can view the NFL’s release HEREbut here’s the alphabetized list.

Keenan Allen WR, California
David Amerson DB, North Carolina State
Alvin Bailey G, Arkansas
Stedman Bailey WR, West Virginia
David Bakhtiari T, Colorado
Dwayne Beckford LB, Purdue
Le’Veon Bell RB, Michigan State
Giovani Bernard RB, North Carolina
Tyler Bray QB,Tennessee
Terrence Brown DB, Stanford
Duron Carter WR, Ohio State
Knile Davis RB, Arkansas
Mike Edwards DB, Hawaii
Matt Elam DB, Florida
Zach Ertz TE, Stanford
Gavin Escobar TE, San Diego State
Chris Faulk T, Louisiana State
Sharrif Floyd DT, Florida
Michael Ford RB, Louisiana State
Travis Frederick C, Wisconsin
Kwame Geathers NT, Georgia
William Gholston DE, Michigan State
Johnathan Hankins DT, Ohio State
Jajuan Harley DB, Middle Tennessee
DeAndre HopkinsWR, Clemson
Justin Hunter WR, Tennessee
Jawan Jamison RB, Rutgers
Stefphon Jefferson RB, Nevada
Tony Jefferson DB, Oklahoma
Jelani Jenkins LB, Florida
Luke Joeckel T, Texas A&M
Jarvis Jones LB, Georgia
Jose Jose DT, Central Florida
Joe Kruger DE, Utah
Eddie Lacy RB, Alabama
Marcus Lattimore RB, South Carolina
Corey Lemonier DE, Auburn
Bennie Logan DT, Louisiana State
Stansly Maponga DE, Texas Christian
Tyrann Mathieu DB, Louisiana State
Dee Milliner DB, Alabama
Barkevious Mingo DE, Louisiana State
Kevin Minter LB, Louisiana State
Sam Montgomery DE, Louisiana State
Brandon Moore DT, Texas
Damontre Moore DE, Texas A&M
Alec Ogletree LB, Georgia
Cordarrelle Patterson WR, Tennessee
Bradley Randle RB, Nevada-Las Vegas
Joseph Randle RB, Oklahoma State
Jordan Reed TE, Florida
Eric Reid DB, Louisiana State
Greg Reid DB, Florida State
Xavier Rhodes DB, Florida State
Sheldon Richardson DT, Missouri
Nickell Robey DB, Southern California
Logan Ryan DB, Rutgers
Ace Sanders WR, South Carolina
Darrington Sentimore DT, Tennessee
Tharold Simon DB, Louisiana State
Dion Sims TE, Michigan State
Akeem Spence DT, Illinois
Kenny Stills WR, Oklahoma
Levine Toilolo TE, Stanford
Spencer Ware RB, Louisiana State
Menelik Watson T, Florida State
Bjoern Werner DE, Florida State
Steve Williams DB, California
Marquess Wilson WR, Washington State
Brad Wing P, Louisiana State
Cierre Wood RB, Notre Dame
Robert Woods WR, Southern California
Tom Wort LB, Oklahoma

Joseph Randle not coming back to Okla. St. for senior year

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As expected, Oklahoma State will be losing significant production from its backfield when it takes the field in 2013.

While the school has yet to announce it, Joseph Randle confirmed to Gina Mizell of the Daily Oklahoman that he’s foregoing his final season in Stillwater for the NFL draft.  The running back told Mizell he has “made my decision not to come back.”

An official release from OSU is expected as early as today, a school official said.

Randle has led the Cowboys in rushing and rushing touchdowns each of the past two seasons.  In 2012, he totaled 1,417 yards and 14 touchdowns.  While the yardage was up over 2011, the touchdown production was way down; he scored 24 on the ground a year ago.

The 6-1, 200-pound junior also totaled 71 receptions combined the past two seasons.  His versatility could turn him into one of the top five or so backs taken in the upcoming draft.

2012-13 Underclassmen Draft Declarations Tracker

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In an effort to keep all of the underclassmen declarations in one handy, easy-to-find location, we’ve created this page and will update it as the official word comes down that a player is leaving collegiate eligibility on the table and making the early leap to the NFL. The deadline for draft-eligible players to officially file their paperwork with the NFL is January 15.

Last year, a record 65 draft-eligible underclassmen left school early.  That shattered the record of 56 set the previous season.

So, without further ado, on to the tracker…

QUARTERBACKS (2)

Tyler Bray, Tennessee (1/4/2013)
Kyle Padron, Eastern Washington (1/13/2013)

RUNNING BACKS (11)

Le’Veon Bell, Michigan State (1/3/2013)
Giovani Bernard
***
, North Carolina (12/14/2012)
Knile Davis
**
, Arkansas (12/12/2012)
Michael Ford**, LSU (1/7/2013)
Jawan Jamison***, Rutgers (1/5/2013)
Stefphon Jefferson**, Nevada (12/31/2012)
Eddie Lacy**, Alabama (1/11/2013)
Marcus Lattimore
, South Carolina (12/12/2012)
Joseph Randle, Oklahoma State (1/10/2013)
Spencer Ware, LSU (1/4/2013)
Cierre Wood**, Notre Dame (1/14/2013)

WIDE RECEIVERS (12)

Keenan Allen, Cal (12/6/2012)
Stedman Bailey**, West Virginia (12/17/2012)
Josh Boyce**, TCU (1/9/2013)
DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson (1/10/2013)
Justin Hunter, Tennessee (12/17/2012)
Brandon Kaufman, Eastern Washington (1/13/2013)
Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee (1/9/2013)
Da’Rick Rogers, Tennessee Tech (12/13/2012)
Ace Sanders, South Carolina (1/15/2013)
Kenny Stills, Oklahoma (1/7/2013)
Marquess Wilson, Washington State (1/11/2013)
Robert Woods, USC (12/31/2012)

TIGHT ENDS (6)

Tyler Eifert**, Notre Dame (1/8/2013)
Zach Ertz
**
, Stanford (1/7/2013)
Gavin Escobar
**
, San Diego State (1/7/2013)
Jordan Reed
**
, Florida (1/4/2013)
Dion Sims
**, Michigan State (1/3/2013)
Levine Toilolo**, Stanford (1/7/2013)

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)

Alvin Bailey**, Arkansas ((12/20/2012)
David Bakhtiari
**
, Colorado (1/9/2013)
Chris Faulk**, LSU (1/9/2013)
D.J. Fluker**, Alabama (1/11/2013)
Travis Frederick
**
, Wisconsin (1/5/2013)
Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M (1/8/2013)
Justin Pugh
**, Syracuse (1/3/2013)
Menelik Watson, Florida State (1/8/2013)
Tom Wort**, Oklahoma (1/9/2013)

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (17)

Sharrif Floyd, Florida (1/3/2013)
Kwame Geathers**, Georgia (1/9/2013)
William Gholston, Michigan State (1/5/2013)
Johnathan Hankins
, Ohio State (12/10/2012)
Brandon Jenkins
**
, Florida State (11/20/2012)
Joe Kruger, Utah (1/2/2013)
Corey Lemonier, Auburn (12/31/2012)
Bennie Logan**, LSU (1/7/2013)
Barkevious Mingo**, LSU (1/7/2013)
Sam Montgomery**, LSU (1/7/2013)
Brandon Moore, Texas (1/11/2013)
Damontre Moore, Texas A&M (12/30/2012)
Sheldon Richardson**, Missouri (11/30/2012)
Darrington Sentimore, Tennessee (1/9/2013)
Akeem Spence**, Illinois (12/21/2012)
Stansly Maponga**, (1/15/2013)
Bjoern Werner, Florida State (1/3/2013)

LINEBACKERS (4)

Jelani Jenkins**, Florida (1/7/2013)
Jarvis Jones
**
, Georgia (1/4/2013)
Kevin Minter
**
, LSU (1/3/2013)
Alec Ogletree
, Georgia (1/1/2013)

DEFENSIVE BACKS (13)

David Amerson, North Carolina State (1/5/2013)
Terrence Brown
**
, Stanford (1/8/2013)
Mike Edwards
**
, Hawaii (1/2/2013)
Matt Elam, Florida (1/3/2013)
Tony Jefferson, Oklahoma (1/7/2013)
Tyrann Mathieu
*
, formerly of LSU (11/29/2012)
Dee Milliner, Alabama (1/11/2013)
Eric Reid, LSU (1/4/2013)
Xavier Rhodes**, Florida State (1/2/2012)
Nickell Robey, USC 1/13/2013)
Logan Ryan**, Rutgers (12/31/2012)
Tharold Simon, LSU (1/4/2013)
Steve Williams**, Cal (1/8/2013)

PUNTERS/KICKERS (1)

Brad Wing***, LSU (1/4/2013)

(*Mathieu was dismissed by LSU and did not play his true junior season in 2012)
(**denotes fourth-year junior)
(***denotes third-year sophomore)

Predictions 101 — Heart of Dallas Bowl

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Purdue vs. Oklahoma State
Tues., Jan. 1 – Noon ET, ESPNU
Dallas – Cotton Bowl

The name of Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy was mentioned here, there and everywhere for job openings. Turns out, he’s staying with the Cowboys. There’s still work to be done.

The Cowboys (7-5) were within a whisker of playing for a national championship in 2011. This season, it’s a New Year’s Day game, but one that is strictly off-Broadway.

Oklahoma State’s offense was dynamite as usual (who can forget the start: Oklahoma State 84, Savannah State 0), but had its defense simply held opponents to five touchdowns in each of the defeats, the Cowboys would be 10-2.

Not sure how Purdue will deal with such a volatile unit. The Cowboys are the nation’s seventh-best passing team and they also feature junior RB Joseph Randle (1,351 yards, 14 touchdowns).

The Boilermakers (6-6) still are making the transition to a new coach. Danny Hope (22-27 in four seasons) was fired, even after winning three straight games to achieve bowl eligibility. It could have been different. Purdue lost to Notre Dame 20-17 and fell against Ohio State in overtime.

Purdue has since hired Kent State’s Darrell Hazell, but his energy will be spent recruiting, not coaching this game. It would be heartwarming to see sixth-year Purdue QB Robert Marve, who began at Miami and suffered three ACL surgeries, to go out with a bang. But Marve can’t stop the Cowboys, either.

Opening point spread: Oklahoma State by 17 1/2

The pick: Oklahoma State 40, Purdue 30

Click HERE to get predictions for the remaining bowl games.