All the talk is about Texas potentially moving to the Big 10 as a part of a plan to create a super-conference. If this happened and Notre Dame was left out we would all have to laugh right? This doesn't actually seem particularly likely but the creation of super-conferences where the best teams would actually play each other can only help the College Football product.
Greg Davis has an excellent excuse for a lackluster rushing performance against UCF early in 2009. They were cheating to get those DL that were able to stonewall the Texas interior OL on that near-safety. Now they have learned a valuable lesson, cheating is for big-time programs that can generate revenue.
Ivan Maisel was entrusted with the task of picking spring breakout players for the Big 12 over at ESPN and he has responded in typically lazy fashion. Guess who he thinks might be better next year for Texas? Garret Gilbert, the guy who was a backup and near-hero in the national championship game. Thanks Ivan, wouldn't have been able to see that coming.
The rest of the Big 12 list is similarly obvious and includes only 4 additional players. There are 2 backups assuming larger roles (Burkhead at NU and Ronnel Lewis at OU) and 2 incoming recruits (Ahmad Dixon at Baylor and Brandon Bourbon at Kansas). I suspect Dixon and Bourbon will have trouble breaking out in spring practice since neither enrolled early and won't be there.
You may remember that I recently tore into Mel Kiper Jr. for listing Gerald McCoy as the 2nd best bet in the NFL draft...well I was premature. McShay is projecting Gerald McCoy as the no. 1 pick in the NFL draft because he is "more disruptive" and a "better pass-rusher".
Allow me to review 2 sets of statistics. The first is the individual performances by Suh and McCoy against Texas:
Gerald McCoy: 3 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack, 5 quarterback hurries and 3-5 false starts/holding penalties.
Ndamukong Suh: 12 tackles, 7 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 2 quarterback hurries and 5-7 false starts/holding penalties.
Interesting, let's move on to season statistics and let's throw in Lamarr Houston for more perspective.
Gerald McCoy: 34 tackles, 15.5 TFL, 6 sacks, 2 PBU, 9 QBH, FR, FF
Lamarr Houston: 68 tackles, 22 TFL, 8 sacks, 4 PBU, 28 QB*, 2 FR
Ndamukong Suh: 85 tackles, 24 TFL, 12 sacks, 1 INT, 10 PBU, 26 QBH, FF, 3 blocked kicks
*the big discrepancy let me to believe that OU wasn't tracking hurries but hits until I verified on their website that McCoy had 5 hurries against Texas. Wouldn't the better pass rusher, if not getting achieving sacks, be at least pressuring the quarterback regularly?
Now allow me to point out a few more points. First these guys all played in the same freaking conference and each of these teams played each other. OU was 0-2, Nebraska 1-1 (barely), Texas 2-0. Secondly, Nebraska played dime defense all the time and relied on Suh to shut down the running game backed by 1 linebacker! Finally, maybe Better Off Red can verify but I'm pretty sure Suh was getting double teamed more frequently then McCoy and certainly Houston. At least, teams were attempting to double team him...
Now, just from looking at those numbers plus whatever you've seen of these guys on film, who would you describe as the "most disruptive"? I feel like my whole argument should be a waste of time. Houston and McCoy are both excellent prospects as 3-tech tackles or 3-4 ends who can get into the backfield. Ndamukong Suh was the best player of 2009 and the best defensive tackle I've ever seen.
Either Todd McShay is a half-wit or he has inside information that the Rams are being run by half-wits. Based on his description of McCoy vs. Suh and his labeling of Sergio Kindle as "overrated" later in the mock draft I'm forced to go with the former.
The McDonald's All American rosters are set and Tristan Thompson, sole Texas recruit for 2010, will be present. Can he be the savior on offense next year? In all seriousness I want to get a good look at the next major post player for the Horns and will have an eye for his effectiveness away from the basket and in the pick'n roll which I feel is absolutely necessary in the Barnes' offense. He may also be immediately the best interior player on the roster if you look at next year's squad:
Lead Guards: Balbay, Brown, Ward, Lucas
Wings: Bradley? Hamilton (I don't think he's gone unless by transfer), Shaun Williams
Forwards: Chapman, Hill, Johnson, Wangmene
The best lineup next year could easily be a Durant or Aldridge-esque set up where Thompson plays the 5 despite being a more natural PF with Johnson and Hamilton as the other forwards. Next year's team will still be deep despite the departure of Barnes' beloved senior class.