But if there's one running back who can get the voters to look past the quarterback position this season, we think it's Lache Seastrunk.
And the fact that Seastrunk is one of the fastest and most exciting players in college football will be great for his exposure. He's fun to watch.
It’s been a good plan. Basically, go get as many ridiculously fast and athletic football players as possible, stick them in a system that accentuates the positives of ridiculously fast and athletic football players, put a smart quarterback under center, and voila – you have one of the best offenses in college football over the last few seasons.
"I know that Coach Briles has coached outstanding quarterbacks. He is one of the best coaches in the nation in my eyes," he said. "I feel that he can take many quarterbacks to the next level, including me, because he has an amazing coaching staff with him and he has many great examples of what he can do in the NFL now."
More than a few folks would love to see Griffin's and/or Briles' name adorning the stadium or the field. Briles could only laugh at the prospect of the latter.
"I’m not one of those people. Now Robert’s name, I’d love to have," Briles said. "Our story hasn’t been written yet. All we’re concerned with is day-to-day operations of trying to be the best we can be every day."
1. Baylor (300-1): I don't think the Bears will win the Big 12 title, but at this point in Art Briles' tenure in Waco, I wouldn't be really that shocked if they did. The Bears are no fluke. They've won 18 games the past two seasons with two different starting QBs. They finished off 2012 in style, hammering No. 17 UCLA, 49-26 to end the season on a four-game winning streak that also included a 52-24 rout of No. 1 Kansas State and a victory over No. 23 Oklahoma State.
Baylor was the best team we played all year. They were the biggest, most physical, athletically gifted team that we played all year and they took it to us pretty good. It was good for us. It was not fun. We would have liked to have a different outcome. But it showed us where we are as a team ...
"The Big 12 is wide-open," Petty says, "more so than ever, really. There’s no kind of distinct No. 1, and that’s exactly the position we want to be in.
"We know that we can win the Big 12. We know that we can go to the BCS. We know that we can win the national championship. There really is no doubt."
Maybe it's also time to stop doubting Art Briles and his Bears. They struggled early in Big 12 play in 2012 but roared to the finish by winning five of their final six games. Tailbacks Glasco Martin and Lache Seastrunk played a huge role in those wins, and the duo finished the season with a combined 1,901 yards and 22 touchdowns. Even scarier is the fact that Martin and Seastrunk averaged 6.1 yards a carry. With such a potent ground game, defenses will have trouble pressuring new quarterback Bryce Petty, who should put up big numbers for Briles just as Robert Griffin III and Nick Florence did.
You've got a point, though. That's a pretty soft 9-4 record. It's more impressive who they [Vanderbilt] lost to (four teams that finished 17th or higher, including Northwestern out of conference) than who they beat (Ole Miss and N.C. State). But as a former voter, I can tell you it's pretty slim pickings when you get to around 20th. My only complaint is the exclusion of Baylor, which, like No. 24 Michigan, went 8-5, but finished with wins over Kansas State (11-2), Texas Tech (8-5), Oklahoma State (8-5) and UCLA (9-5). You could certainly swap the Bears for Vandy, but Baylor has already enjoyed a couple years of glory. Let the 'Dores have a turn.
Second, I continued to be impressed with the all-around game of Baylor’s Isaiah Austin. I wish he would settle for a few less outside shots, but what I love about Austin is how he always looks extremely focused when on the floor. Even if he commits a turnover or takes a dumb shot, Austin doesn’t ever appear to get rattled.