KISS OF DEATH: Oprah, TCU v KST, Upset Alert!

Charlie Strong and Longhorns' players opened up Oprah-style on Monday, including how DB Mykkele Thompson can see clearly now. ... 10 Things You Need to Know about West Virginia ... The Purple Rain Tour breakdown of K-State at TCU and Upset Alerts! It's all in this week's highly anticipated (or not) Kiss of Death column at HD.


With all the true confessions we heard from Charlie Strong and Texas Longhorns’ players on Monday, UT’s weekly press conference turned into what seemed like an episode of Oprah.

Steve Edmond admitted he’s struggling to get over a breakup with a girlfriend.

When he recently tweeted, “I’m feeling empty and lost,” a Baylor fan tweeted back at him, “You should be feeling like trash.”

John Harris acknowledged he thought about using the graduate transfer rule after last season to go to … Texas Tech.

And Charlie Strong went full disclosure by admitting senior defensive back Mykkele Thompson, who has worn glasses since 9th grade, had not been wearing contacts on the football field until midway through this season – after Strong confronted him.

“When he said he didn’t wear contacts during games, I said, ‘How do you see?’” Strong said. “And he said, ‘It’s not that bad.’ I said, ‘How long you been wearing glasses?’ He said, ‘Since ninth grade.’ I said, ‘Did you see that double move against Baylor?’ He said, ‘A little late.’

“He’s wearing contacts now.”

Strong seemed to be suggesting the contacts might have played a role in Thompson collecting his second career interception against Texas Tech on Saturday night. It was an impressive sideline, grab that required getting a foot down before going out of bounds.

“He better keep those contacts in,” said senior defensive back Quandre Diggs. “He’s my best friend, so I give him a hard time. You can’t start 30 games and have just two interceptions for your career.”




Let’s go back to linebacker Steve Edmond for a second. In addition to going Neil Diamond and talking Love On The Rocks, Edmond opened up about how Charlie Strong has become a father figure to him.

Edmond lost his own father, Steve, to a heart attack his sophomore year in high school.

“Coach Strong has put that father figure back in my life,” Edmond said. “I was so used to Coach (Mack) Brown, and Coach Strong will watch film with you. Every week he tells me, ‘If you do this or that, you can become a better linebacker.’

“And this year, I feel like I understand what I’m watching instead of just looking at film. I understand what to look for from offenses pre-snap and how to read plays better.”

Edmond said Strong has helped him to widen his feet when he’s about to make a tackle so he has a more powerful base to bend his knees and explode into the offensive player. Strong has also made him work harder on his hand work to disengage from blocks and still be able to make a tackle.

Strong was also the one who encouraged Edmond to watch as much film as possible leading up to UT’s game against Baylor after Edmond called the Bears “trash” in the spring and got reprimanded by the Big 12.

Edmond played like a maniac against Baylor, recording 17 tackles.

“I was so nervous before that game,” Edmond said. “I felt like I needed to throw up to loosen up my stomach. I felt like I had to back up what I said.”

Asked if he regretted what he said about Baylor, Edmond said no.

But he clarified that he did regret saying Baylor was trash. He did not regret “the experience of people talking down on me.”

Diggs, however, isn’t about to let Edmond feel too bad about his recent relationship breakup.

After Edmond tweeted he was feeling empty and lost and all the Baylor fans started tweeting at him about how he should feel like trash, Edmond said Diggs let him have it.

“He just kept saying to me, ‘You feeling empty and lost, huh?’” Edmond said. “Quandre will make fun of you on Twitter now.”




Texas leading receiver John Harris said he was probably going to use the graduate transfer rule after last season to transfer to Texas Tech and finish his college football career in Lubbock.

Terrance Bullitt, a friend and high school teammate (linebacker) of Harris' at Garland Naaman Forest, who played at Tech from 2010-13 (after redshirting in 2009), had convinced Harris that was the way to go.

But Harris said new Texas WR coach Les Koenning helped convince Harris he’d get a fresh start with Charlie Strong’s staff if he stayed at Texas.

Harris felt like Mack Brown’s staff had given up on him, including trying to turn him into a pass-catching tight end (Harris got up to 230 pounds) after he suffered a broken foot as a redshirt freshman in 2011.

“I’m glad I stayed,” said Harris, who has 48 catches for 814 yards and 6 TDs after posting his third, 100-yard receiving game of the season Saturday against the school in West Texas he thought of joining (5 catches, 165 yards).

It would have been 6 catches, but Harris said he lost sight of a deep ball from Swoopes vs Tech that would have been right in his hands if Harris has looked in the right place. Charlie Strong joked that Harris looked like he lost the ball in the lights.


“I thought the ball was going to be higher than that, so I looked up, and the ball was already on me,” Harris said. “I thought Tyrone was going to put more air under it, but he said once I beat the corner so badly he threw it immediately. It was such a perfect throw, it hit me right in the hands.”

Harris said Koenning has helped push him this season.

“He always says I need someone on me, or I’ll get lazy,” Harris said.

Asked if that’s true, Harris smiled and said, “I don’t need someone on me. But it’s good to have someone pushing me.”




@@@ ... John Harris said WVU quarterback Clint Trickett “reminds me of Case (McCoy) a little bit. Even their size. He’s got some fight to ‘em.”


@@@ ... Charlie Strong calls LB Steve Edmond “Daingerfield” … calls freshman WR Dorian Leonard “Longview” and calls LB Dalton Santos “Van.” (The East Texas towns they are all from.) And when he sees all three of them together, Strong calls the group “East Texas.”


@@@ ... Tyrone Swoopes said he’s still learning to throw the ball away instead of eating the ball for minus-31 yards in sacks like he did in the first quarter against Texas Tech.

“There were definitely a couple times I should have thrown the ball away,” Swoopes said. “It’s just something I have to get better at.”


@@@ ... And there’s no doubt Swoopes likes it when Texas goes up-tempo as an offense like UT did in the second half against Texas Tech. Swoopes has been saying that from the beginning of the season.

“It is easier because the defense doesn’t have time to give you as many different looks,” Swoopes said. “So you can read the defense a little easier.”


@@@ ... Quandre Diggs said his knockout hit on Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes Saturday ranks in his top two hits of his college career.  The other was a hit he had against Kansas State his freshman year.

When asked if he saw how woozy Mahomes was after the hit, Diggs said, “No. I was dancing by that time. I tend to get excited. I have a big personality.”


@@@ ... When told John Harris had compared WVU QB Clint Trickett to Case McCoy, Diggs said, “I don’t like to make comparisons. But I do compare myself to Ray Lewis and Deion Sanders.”





#1 … West Virginia controlled its game vs TCU last week (despite turning it over 5 times). The Mountaineers led by 13 points twice – in the 1Q (13-0) and 3Q (27-14) - and led 30-21 early in the fourth quarter.

But then WVU got conservative, and the Mountaineers suffered three straight three-and-outs while attempting only one pass.

That allowed TCU to put two scoring drives together, including a 7-play, 56-yard drive capped by a 37-yard FG by Jaden Oberkrom as time expired for a 31-30 Horned Frogs’ victory.


#2 … WVU’s QB-to-WR combo of Clint Trickett and WR Kevin White has been as good as any in the country this season.

Trickett is fourth nationally in passing yards with 2,925 while completing 67.5 percent of his passes with 18  TDs and 7 INTs.

White, a 6-3, 210-pound senior,  has 75 catches for 1,075 yards and 8 TDs. White opened the season with a school-record seven straight, 100-yard receiving games. He had a season-high 13 catches for 215 yards in a 40-37 victory at Maryland.

The last two games, White was double covered all over the field by Oklahoma State (3 catches for 27 yards, 1 TD) and TCU (3 catches for 28 yards), bringing his streak of 100-yard games to an end.


#3 … West Virginia appeared to be dead in its game at Texas Tech on Oct. 11. Tech led WVU 34-20 with 7:32 left to play.

But the Mountaineers scored 17 unanswered points thanks to two, big stops by the WVU defense and a school-record-tying 55-yard FG by Josh Lambert on the final play of the game for a 37-34 victory.


#4 … West Virginia’s defense is much improved under new coordinator Tony Gibson (the safeties coach for WVU last year) and former Penn State DC Tom Bradley (WVU’s first-year DL coach).

WVU is giving up 25.7 ppg and is No. 10 nationally in third-down defense (allowing teams to convert third down just 30.1 percent of the time) after giving up 33.3 ppg in 2013.

The Mountaineers had the league’s worst scoring defense in 2012, giving up 38.1 ppg.


#5 … Tony Gibson is Dana Holgorsen’s fourth defensive coordinator in four seasons.

Gibson deploys a 3-3-5 defense that gave Baylor QB Bryce Petty fits in a 41-27 WVU victory over BU. Petty was sacked 4 times while completing just 16 of 36 passes, and WVU held Baylor to just 95 yards rushing on 42 carries (2.3 ypc).


#6 … The low point for the WVU defense this season was allowing Oklahoma freshman RB Samaje Perine of Hendrickson to trample the Mountaineers for 242 yards rushing on 34 carries and 4 TDs in a 45-33 loss to OU in Morgantown on Sept. 20.

West Virginia gave up a total of 301 yards on the ground that game.


#7 … As well as WVU has played in reaching a 6-3 record (4-2 Big 12) after going 4-8 last season, the Mountaineers are big-time turnover prone.

WVU is minus-12 in turnover margin and is 123rd of 125 FBS schools in fumbles lost (13).  WVU turned it over a season-high 5 times vs TCU Saturday (3 fumbles, 2 INTs).

Texas is 115th nationally in FBS with 11 fumbles lost. But the Longhorns’ defense has 12 interceptions this season, second only to TCU (15) in the Big 12 and have a turnover margin of 0.


#8 … Mario Alford is one of the best kick returners in the country (No. 8 nationally in FBS and No. 4 in the Big 12 with a 30.8-yard return average).

Alford has returned two kicks for TDs this season - 100 yds vs Alabama in a 33-23 season opening loss; and 94 yds vs Kansas in a 33-14 victory on Oct. 4.

Alford is also the lethal WR counterpart to Kevin White with 48 catches for 679 yards and 7 TDs – just one less TD this season than White. They both have a 14.1 yards-per-reception average.


#9 … WVU has given up 21 sacks this season. Only Oklahoma State (24) has given up more in the Big 12.


#10 … West Virginia has two of the hardest-hitting safeties in the Big 12 in junior Karl Joseph (No. 8), who has started all 34 games of his college career, and freshman S Dravon Henry (No. 6).

Joseph had 18 tackles against Alabama and 13 tackles against TCU and forced a fumble vs OU and TCU.

Henry had 2 INTs in a 34-10 victory at Oklahoma State, including a 52-yard INT return for a TD to help break open that game in the second half.

Even Quandre Diggs made note of WVU’s safeties.

“I like watching other teams’ defenses, and I know their safeties like to deliver big hits,” Diggs said. “John Harris and the boys better double-buckle their chinstraps.”






I’ve gone back and forth 100 times already.

The QBs:

- Trevone Boykin, a WR last year for TCU, who now has 22 TD passes with just 4 INTs.

- And I look at K-State’s Jake Waters, only 11 TD passes with 3 INTs. But Waters completes 65.2 percent of his passes compared to Boykin’s 57 percent completion rate. (Boykin is coming off his worst game of the year vs WVU – 40 percent comp rate, 1 TD pass, 1 INT).

I look at the QB legs’ comparison: Boykin averaging 52.9 yards per game on the ground, 4.5 ypc, with 4 rushing TDs. And then I look at Waters, who averages 50.5 yards rushing per game (4.3 ypc) with 7 TDs on the ground.

Advantage: Boykin (ever so slightly)


The WRs:

- TCU ... has Josh Doctson (38 receptions for 602 yards, 7 TDs), Kolby Listenbee (24 catches for 541 yards, 3 TDs); and Deante Gray (29 catches for 486 yards, 7 TDs).

- KSt ... has Tyler Lockett (49 catches for 682 yards, 5TDs); Curry Sexton (49 catches for 609 yards, 3 TDs), and Zach Trujillo (11 catches for 179 yards, 1 TD).

Advantage: TCU (ever so slightly)


The defense:

- Scoring defense – K-State, 18.6 ppg; TCU 22.4 ppg

- Rush defense – K-State, 101 ypg; TCU, 140.1 ypg

- Pass defense – K-State, 220.1 ypg; TCU, 229.1 ypg

- Total defense – K-State, 321.1 ypg; TCU, 370 ypg

- Interceptions – TCU, 15; K-State, 10

- Sacks by – TCU, 24; K-State, 13

- 3rd down conversions allowed – TCU, 27.9 percent; K-State, 37.5 percent

- Red zone defense – K-State, 71.4 percent; TCU, 86. 4 percent

Advantage: K-State (ever so slightly)


Special teams:

- Kick return average: K-State, 23.2 ypr; TCU, 19.6 ypr

- Punt return average: K-State, 18.4 yprr; TCU, 8.7 ypr

- Field goals: TCU, 14-of-18; K-State, 12-of-16

- Punting: TCU, 37.7 net punt avg; 33.9 net punt avg

- KO Coverage: K-State, 42 ypr; TCU, 40.1

Advantage: K-State (ever so slightly)



- K-State’s Bill Snyder, 185-91-1

- TCU’s Gary Patterson, 127-45

Advantage: K-State (ever so slightly)


Running game:


- BJ Catalon, 98 carries for 493 yards, 5.0 ypc, 10 TDs

- Trevone Boykin, 94 carries for 423 yards, 4.5 ypc, 4 TDs

- Aaron Green, 45 carries for 378 yards, 8.4 ypc, 3 TDs

- Trevorris Johnson, 30 carries for 199 yds, 6.6 ypc, 4 TDs


Charles Jones, 92 carries for 431 yards, 4.7 ypc, 11 TDs

Jake Waters, 95 carries for 404 yards, 4.3 ypc, 7 TDs

Demarcus Robinson, 80 carries for 332 yards, 4.2 ypc, 4 TDs

Joe Huebner, 17 carries for 101 yards, 5.9 ypc, 2 TDs

Advantage: K-State (ever so slightly)


You throw home-field advantage in there, and I think we have a 28-28 game going into overtime.

But the Wildcats win it in OT, 35-28.



In the post-game of Baylor’s 60-14 rout of Kansas this past weekend, Baylor QB Bryce Petty answered every question with the words, “Ready for OU.”

We’re about to find out.

Baylor is 0-11 in trips to Norman.

Prediction: Oklahoma 34, Baylor 31



If you’re a fan of the Big 12 having a representative in the College Football Playoff, you should probably root for TCU to beat Kansas State Saturday.


Because if K-State was to beat TCU, the Wildcats would still have to go on the road to West Virginia (on a Thursday, Nov. 20) ; and on the road at Baylor on Dec. 6.

That is a much higher degree of difficulty than if TCU was to win Saturday with only trips to Kansas, Texas and back home for Iowa State on Dec. 6.




1) Mississippi State

2) Auburn

3) Florida State

4) Oregon




Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State

Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia

Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska

Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU




- Texas A&M at Auburn (-21) … Aggies have major issues. Kevin Sumlin actually WANTED to talk about that 21-16 vomiting vs ULM in College Station last weekend - anything to avoid talk about QB Kenny Hill's 2-game suspension.

Give me the Tigers to cover

- Alabama (-6.5) at LSU Is Death Valley where dreams go to die? … Again? … I’ll take LSU to cover.

- Baylor at Oklahoma (-6) … I’m on the record with a 34-31 win by OU

- Ohio State at Michigan State (-3) … Spartans win it, 27-24, to keep Big Ten's playoff hopes alive.

- Notre Dame at Arizona State (-2.5) … Taylor Kelly, this is your closeup … ASU 34, ND 28

- Oregon (-9.5) at Utah UPSET ALERT for the Ducks, who eek out a 31-28 win

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