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I know you were probably expecting my take on the Baker Mayfield/Arkansas story, but I see that one as a non-story.   My Arkansas sources, Bubba and Joe Bob have informed me that Baker simply came across some bad moonshine while on a Snipe Hunt.  The rules to a Snipe Hunt in Arkansas are simple…The first guy to find someone with a full set of teeth wins…

Unfortunately, winning the prize took longer than expected so the bad moonshine had plenty of time to turn toxic.   Baker learned a lesson.  Stay out of Arkansas and stay away from bad hooch.

Baker will apologize to the Sooner Nation, beat Ohio State on the road and everything will be forgotten…

Now, on with the show…

Today’s story for the 2nd time in six months is Kansas…

Kansas…

Back in the late 70’s Kansas actually went toe to toe with the Sooners and Cornhuskers in recruiting. The player craved by all three was Kerwin Bell, a five star running back out of California.

People were shocked when KU pulled a rabbit out of the hat and landed Bell. Of course just like the Ole Miss. of today, KU ended up on probation two years later.  That did not matter as Kansas like today was desperate.  Bell was the Big 8 freshman of the year in 1980 and the Jayhawks actually became competitive in football and won a few games.

Just like 1978, KU is back in the recruiting business as the Jawhawks are currently ranked ahead of OU and Nebraska in the latest 247sports recruiting rankings for the Class of 2018.

Two things have happened to make this football resurgence possible.   Kansas’ head coach David Beatty has found fool’s gold in the form of Louisiana recruits.  He has sent a young, energetic assistant coach to New Orleans to recruit the town and he has convinced six players, three four-star and three three-star recruits to leave Louisiana for Kansas.

Again, this move may be fool’s goal, because the word on the street is that the run on New Orleans is due to a boycott by New Orleans high school coaches of LSU, but it is a start.   If KU can pick up LSU’s loose change, KU could become competitive in this woefully weak league.

Yes, I know it is early, but this has never happened before and will likely never happen again, so a Kodak moment is in order.  There may possibly be another cause for KU to get back into the football business.

Is it possible that the KU administrators are finally figuring things out…Yes, basketball will always be king at KU, but after paying for Bill Self’s exorbitant salary, having money left over to pay for the other 18 non- revenue sports will always be in short supply.

Renovating or tearing down one of the worst football venues in America and filling it up with live bodies would be much more profitable.   Basketball wins championships, but football pays the bills.   Who knows, this football business may actually catch on in Lawrence.

Tomorrow we will examine the latest 247sports recruiting rankings sprinkled in with information to spice up the rankings.

 

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Baylor…

Several years ago, Baylor hired Art Briles as head coach.   Briles was one of the winningest coaches in Texas high school football history.  As everyone knows Texas high school football is a win at all cost industry so Briles came by his Baylor behavior honestly.

Eventually, Baylor under Art Briles became the poster child for “lack of institutional control.” Rapists disguised as football players wreaked havoc on the Waco campus.  His players also played with a sense of thuggery not seen since the Jimmy Johnson/Miami days.

Briles used his Thug Brigade to beat the Sooners in back to back seasons, which still sticks in the craw of Sooner fans.   As always happens however, the Grim Reaper had the last laugh and the Baylor machine came crashing down.

When push came to shove, embarrassed Baylor officials finally got it right.   Baylor Regents fired Briles along with the Athletic Director and university president and set out to right the ship.  Next, they coaxed long time good guy Jim Grobe out of retirement to coach the Bears.

They also released the recruits from the Class of 2016 to go elsewhere. The new guys jumped at the chance, which left Baylor with the shell of its former recruiting class for that year.

Adding insult to injury members of the Briles coaching staff spent the year looking for new employment. This meant there was no one left in town to entertain in-season recruits.

Losing one recruiting class is one thing, but losing two in a row is the kiss of death.   It appeared to everyone that the Baylor was toast.  And then, it happened for a second time in less than six months, Baylor did something right.

Baylor hired Temple’s Matt Rhule. Rhule had just coached a moribund Temple program to back to back ten win seasons and more importantly, he did it the right way.  The Baylor players on campus bought in to the Rhule rule and recruiting took off like a shot.

It is important to keep in mind that Waco is located in what can be described as the golden triangle of high school football. Positioned between Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas, there are more prime time football players within 100 miles of Waco than in most states.

Baylor went from having one recruit at the end of November to a full complement of players on signing day. Baylor went from a Rivals class ranked #190 to a group just outside the top thirty.

For many OU fans the resurrection of a lifeless Baylor program may not be good news. As for me Baylor will never be a real threat…I blame Mike Stoops for those Baylor losses a few years back.

I instead see Baylor as a buffer to the color orange in Austin and Stillwater. Having a strong Baylor is a good thing.

2017 Big 12 recruiting rankings…

1….. OU (#7 nationally)

2….. Texas (#31)

3….. Baylor (#33)

4….. OSU (#37)

5….. TCU (#41)

6….. Iowa State (#44)

7….. Texas Tech (#47)

8….. West Virginia (#51)

9….. Kansas (#56)

10… Kansas State (#61)

Final recruiting rankings…

 

The more things change, the more things stay the same…The SEC, ACC, Ohio State, Michigan, and USC brought in the best hauls this year. The Rivals100 top ten list is as follows…

1…Alabama……..SEC

2…Ohio State…..Big Ten

3…Georgia………SEC

4…Michigan…….Big Ten

5…Florida State…ACC

6…USC……………Pac 12 – #1 in 2015, #11 in 2016 and #6 in 2017

7…OU……………..Big 12 – #15 in 2015, #14 in 2016 and #7 in 2017

8…LSU…………….SEC

9…Florida…………SEC

10..Texas A&M……SEC

Standard logic tells us that the combination of returning starters and top recruiting classes create a formula for championship series teams.

At this point time you can go ahead and pencil in Alabama, Florida State, the Ohio/Michigan winner for next year’s final four spots.

Alabama will be Alabama again; Florida State will be loaded with five star recruits including the nation’s top line recruit from this year and they play Clemson at home. Ohio State with its likely home game win against OU and with only Michigan to beat in the Big Ten will be #3.

For the fourth and final slot, USC has righted their ship and is now recruiting lights out again.   They also have a ton of NFL-type players returning so these guys are a definite top four team.

As has become accustomed the Big 12 champion will likely be on the outside-looking-in again next year. The only thing that will change this scenario will be a Texas win in the Coliseum over USC (not likely) or an OU win in the horseshoe (equally unlikely).

At the same time OU and the Big 12 must start somewhere and this recruiting class will help the Sooners eventually horn in on the big boys. A close loss to Ohio State and the running of the table against Big 12 teams will give the Sooners a shot.

Long story, short is that the Sooners must continue recruiting top ten classes every year. Unlike Sooner basketball where rebuilding is in vogue, OU football must retool every year. Of course, doing so with five star recruits is a must.

Getting back to the top four nationally will be augmented significantly if we can land T.J. Fledger a five-star running back out of IMG Academy in Florida next year. Fledger will fit in nicely with five-star quarterback Cameron Rising who has already committed to the Sooners.   Those two guys could go a long way in convincing other top flight IMG Academy players to make their way to Norman.

Boomer Sooner…