We restructure the college sports landscape by drafting new four new conferences
Welcome to the 2012 NCAA (National Conglomerate of Athlon Authorities) conference realignment draft.
Our esteemed conference commissioners -- Mitch Light, Braden Gall, Steven Lassan and David Fox -- will put an end to the conference realignment madness, which stretched into yet another summer this year, with the first (and hopefully, only) conference alignment draft.
How did the Athlon Sports preseason All-Big 12 team rank as high school prospects?
The 2012 college football season is just around the corner, and Athlon continues its countdown to kickoff with a look at all-conference teams from across the nation. But where did all these tremendous all-league performers come from and how did they get where they are today?
Can Geno Smith lead the Mountaineers to the Big 12 title?
Landry Jones might have been a first-round pick in April’s NFL Draft. Instead, he’s still a Sooner, giving Oklahoma an elite quarterback and the inside track to the Big 12 title. Jones already owns 13 school passing records and must be considered a Heisman candidate.
Athlon Sports ranks the Top 25 best coaches in college football for 2012.
Ranking the coaches in any college football conference is a difficult task. Many factors play into just how successful a coach is at any school. How well are the assistants paid? Are the facilities up to par with the rest of the conference? Can the coach recruit or is he more of an x's and o's manager? Are there off-the-field or age issues to take into consideration? Has a coach built a program or continued the success from a previous coach?
Can Mack Brown lead Texas back to a national title?
Athlon's College Football top 25 countdown for 2012 continues with No. 11 Texas. The Longhorns missed out on a bowl in 2010, but rebounded with an eight-win campaign last year. Texas has quarterback question marks, but should contend for the Big 12 title.
David Ash has the edge to start at quarterback for Texas this season.
The Texas Longhorns check in at No. 11 in Athlon's college football 2012 top 25 countdown. Here's a look at our predictions for the most valuable players, games to watch, breakout candidates and other key categories for 2012.
He saw action in 12 games as a freshman, compiling two tackles for loss and a forced fumble in backup duty. The 6-foot-3, 255-pound Edmond will see his playing time increase greatly in 2012 as he takes over at middle linebacker. The Daingerfield product will look to keep the Longhorns defense at an elite level after it ranked sixth in the nation against the run a year ago.
The Wolfforth native is the top lineman on a unit that should be much-improved this season. Walters was named honorable-mention All-Big 12 by the coaches in 2011, and he will be in the hunt for all-conference honors this season. Texas ranked 21st in the nation in rushing offense last year, and the Horns running game could return to prominence in 2012 with Walters paving the way.
The sophomore pass catcher should be a favorite target for Texas quarterbacks this season. He totaled 44 catches for 607 yards and three touchdowns during a solid freshman campaign in which he played 10 games. The younger brother of former UT star Jordan had 100-yard receiving games against Baylor and Iowa State last year, and that number should increase with a clean bill of health.
The junior playmaker will be looked to for major leadership at linebacker with the departures of leading tacklers Emmanuel Acho and Keenan Robinson. A rare non-Texan on the Longhorns roster, the Ohio native had 65 tackles last season with four stops for loss. The Texas D-line and secondary should be excellent, and Hicks’ play could elevate the Horns defense to one of the best groups in the country.
The Lufkin native started all 13 games at cornerback in 2011, and he should be one of the best defensive backs in the Big 12 this year. Byndom had 58 tackles last season, with eight stops behind the line of scrimmage. He also added 15 pass breakups and two interceptions. Quality defensive backs are needed in the pass-happy Big 12, and Texas has the league’s best group with Byndom, Diggs and Vaccaro leading the way.
There was a ton of hype for Brown’s arrival at Texas, and he had an outstanding freshman campaign. His 742 rushing yards ranked seventh on the UT all-time freshman list, and Brown ran for 110 yards and a touchdown in his first start against UCLA. He also compiled 100-yard games against Kansas and Oklahoma State, scoring twice in each of those contests. Brown should have a huge sophomore season.
Diggs was named the Big 12’s Defensive Freshman of the Year last season, and his potential is off the charts. He totaled 51 tackles from his cornerback position, while also having four tackles for loss, four interceptions and two forced fumbles. Diggs’ brother, Quentin Jammer, was an All-America defensive back in Austin, and the sophomore standout seems destined for the same elite status.
The Brownwood native was recognized as an All-Big 12 safety in 2011. Vaccaro compiled 82 tackles last year, including eight behind the line of scrimmage. He also had two interceptions and eight pass breakups. Texas may have the top secondary in the country, and Vaccaro’s all-around game is a big reason why.
He obviously is known for being the son of former Dallas Cowboys’ lineman Jim Jeffcoat, but the junior end has carved out his own outstanding identity with his pass rushing skills. Jeffcoat had 71 stops last season, including 21 tackles for loss and eight sacks. He and Okafor form one of the top defensive end tandems in the country, and they should provide many headaches for Big 12 quarterbacks this season.
The Pflugerville native was a unanimous All-Big 12 selection by the league’s coaches in 2011. His 14 tackles for loss and seven sacks were impressive, as Okafor excelled being back at his natural position of end after moving inside the prior season. He is an unselfish leader who will be an All-America candidate this season, and Texas should have the conference’s top defense and one of the best units in the nation.
In the highest scoring Red River Rivalry game, No. 5 Texas rallied to beat No. 1 Oklahoma 45-35 thanks to big days from roomates Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley. McCoy threw for 277 yards and Shipley returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown and caught TD from McCoy as Texas erased a 21-10 second-quarter deficit. Texas finished the season 12-1 and ranked No. 3 in the final BCS poll.
Earl Campbell tore through Texas A&M for 222 yards and three touchdowns and caught a 60-yard touchdown pass as the Longhorns snapped a two-year losing streak to the Aggies with a 57-28 win. The win lifted No. 1 Texas to 11-0 and Campbell went on to win the Heisman Trophy, one of two the Longhorns have claimed. Texas was upset in the Cotton Bowl by Notre Dame, denying UT a national title.
On a sweltering 90-degree day at the Cotton Bowl, No. 2 Texas trounced No. 1 Oklahoma 28-7. Tommy Ford, Duke Carlisle and Phil Harris ran for touchdowns and Marv Kristynik's only completion of the day went for a touchdown as the Longhorns moved to No. 1 in the polls en route to an undefeated regular season. Texas went on to beat Roger Staubach and Navy in the Cotton Bowl to win the national championship.
No. 1 Texas rallied from a 14-0 fourth-quarter deficit to beat No. 2 Arkansas 15-14 en route to the national championship. President Richard Nixon was on hand in Fayetteville to see James Street complete a 44-yard pass to Randy Peschel on fourth down on the game-winning drive. Jim Bertelsen scored the game-tying touchdown and Happy Feller kicked the extra point to complete the dramatic comeback and give Texas its 19th straight win.
In a game considered the greatest ever played, Vince Young and Texas overcame No. 1 USC 41-38 to win the national championship. Young ran for the winning touchdown with 19 seconds left on fourth-and-five from the eight-yard line to cap a scintillating Rose Bowl that featured over 1,100 yards, 10 touchdowns and five lead changes. Young rushed for 200 yards, threw for 267 and propelled the Longhorns past unbeaten USC and its two Heisman winners -- Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush.