Everyone loves a good trend, and while I may not speak for everyone in the wide world of college sports, I do have the opportunity on Heartland College Sports to discuss some interesting trends revolving around the Big 12 Conference and what’s coming up in the near future.
With this being the fifth iteration of Tillery’s Trends, I plan to discuss players, coaches, teams, betting lines, top stories, and anything else that stands out about the world of college sports.
On the menu for today, we take a look at the health of Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels, Michigan and the mission to steal signs with zero anonymity, and three teams that continue to spice up the race towards Arlington. Enjoy!
WILL WE SEE JALON DANIELS THIS SEASON?
Let me get this out of the way now, Jalon Daniels is a heck of a quarterback, and when he’s on the field he gives the Jayhawks a legit shot to win any game on their schedule.
Now that that’s out of the way, are we going to see him take the field again this season in Lawrence? I don’t know if I buy into all the transfer portal talk or if there is some bigger motive at play here, but Kansas needs to get Daniels back if they want to get over that six-win hump.
Jason Bean has been better than advertised this season and the Jayhawks still are a really talented football team with him under center, but the lack of conversation in the media surrounding Daniels each week, outside of the weekly doubtful status report is deafening for Kansas fans.
Back injuries are a tricky thing to overcome and unfortunately, Daniels has been bitten by the injury bug for the majority of his career. Things are elevating to the point of wondering if we’ll ever truly get to see Daniels at the Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year level we know he can get to due to his constant struggle to see the field.
To steal an old cliche from every old football coach, the best ability is availability, and right now Daniels’ injury history has been more of an inevitability.
MICHIGAN, WHAT HAPPENED?
There are a thousand different pieces of content I could use to justify this question but I will state a few facts that I feel sum up the sign-stealing scandal at Michigan perfectly.
- I’m not advocating for stealing signs when I say this, but how do you purchase tickets under YOUR OWN NAME as a Michigan employee whose sole mission on the day is to record both sidelines in an effort to learn another team’s signs?
- Nothing lasts forever, sooner or later somebody would have to catch on to the scandal, and Sonny Dykes crew did. How do you let your whole program become completely reliant on having somebody else’s signs that Sonny Dykes and the TCU Horned Frogs can punk you on national television by using dummy signals?
- IF you’re going to steal signs at a major sporting event, how do you not think of something more elaborate and secretive than holding your phone above your head and recording the sideline for the duration of the game in plain sight of stadium cameras?
I’ll say it again, what the hell is going on in Ann Arbor?
The last thing I want to mention on the topic is the hilarious stat for touchdown percentage allowed in the red zone to support just how big the sign-stealing scandal is. Chris Klieman and the Kansas State Wildcats are currently in second place in the country allowing a touchdown in the red zone just 30% of the time. Steve Sarkisian and the Texas Longhorns are third in the country allowing a touchdown 31.58% of the time.
Michigan leapfrogged both for the nation’s lead allowing a touchdown 11.11% of the time when opponents reach the red zone. John Harbaugh, Connor Stalions, and the rest of Michigan are certainly setting themselves up underneath the rim for the NCAA to finish off the alley-oop.
DON’T LOOK NOW
For the past few weeks of the college football season, Big 12 fans have dealt with the reality of seeing Oklahoma and Texas square off in Arlington in their last season of Big 12 football. Flash forward to today and that reality has taken a bit of a hit with some dark horse teams proving their relevance in pursuit of a title game appearance.
While the Oklahoma Sooners remain at the top of the pecking order with a 4-0 conference record, Texas isn’t the only team just one game back. Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and Iowa State are all making the case for serious title contenders in 2023.
While Oklahoma State did end up taking down Kansas State when the two teams clashed earlier in the season, Chris Klieman and the Wildcats look to be the biggest threat to an OU-Texas Conference title game. The Wildcats take on the Longhorns in Austin on November 4th but have the luxury of taking the field against Maalik Murphy or Arch Manning with Quinn Ewers sidelines.
Mike Gundy and the Oklahoma State Cowboys have exploded onto the scene this year and will host the Oklahoma Sooners in Stillwater in Week 10 as well. The Cowboys, Wildcats, and Cyclones all have a chance to spice things up one last time before seeing the departure of Oklahoma and Texas to the SEC.