Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk made waves when he predicted he'd win the Heisman Trophy recently. And he didn't back off the claim Tuesday, when pressed by reporters on the topic.
“Why not?” Seastrunk said in reply to the questions. “I had 1,000 yards in six games. Why can I not be a contender? Why should I take a backseat to anybody else?
“Coach (Art) Briles always says be the best in the country. And that's what I feel that I am. That's what we all are; the Heisman is a team award and I have the best talent around me. Why not?”
Seastrunk earned the media vote for Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year. And his big finish to the 2012 season suggests he could put himself in play if he produces in his 2013 follow-up.
A lack of confidence certainly won't hold him back.
“I feel like there's no back who can do what I do,” he said. “I know I'm the fastest back in the country. I know I'm the best back in the country. Nobody's going to work harder.
“I'm going to win the Heisman. I'm going to win it in 2013. If I don't, I'm going to get very close.”
NAME CHANGE NEW YEAR'S SIX
Good-bye, BCS. Hello, New Year's Six.
The 2014 season brings not only a new college football playoff system, but a new bowl structure, and the elite level of those games will be called the New Year's Six, according to Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff.
The six elite bowls -- Rose, Fiesta, Orange, Sugar, Cotton and Chick-fil-A -- will typically be played on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Two of the six each year will be national semifinals.
Hancock also said that the champion of the new playoff will not receive the iconic crystal trophy. "We're going to have a new trophy,” Hancock said.
Clearly, college football decision-makers want as much as possible to break away from the much-maligned BCS.
DANA HOLGORSEN TO COACHES AGAINST THE SPREAD OFFENSE: ‘GET OVER IT'
Mike Gundy made his opinions known Monday on the popular debate if up-tempo, no-huddle offenses could cause more injuries because opposing defenses don't have the ability to make proper substitutions.
Tuesday, it was Dana Holgorsen's turn to be asked about the subject. And the West Virginia coach, who has made a living running the Air Raid spread, had a similar opinion as Gundy.
“Get over it, because it's not going to change,” he said. “It's going into the NFL, for crying out loud. There's people being hired in the NFL that have the background in college football to be able to create a little bit more parity. Don't see it changing any time soon. So you'd better learn to adapt to it.”
CAN DAVID ASH DUPLICATE VINCE YOUNG OR COLT MCCOY?
In 2001, Texas was three points shy of the national title game, with Chris Simms at quarterback. In 2005, Texas made the national title game, with Vince Young at quarterback. In 2009, Texas made the national title game, with Colt McCoy at quarterback.
The Longhorns seem to peak every four years. Might Texas, with David Ash at quarterback, be in line for another transcendent season?
“We'll have more experience, we'll have more depth,” said UT coach Mack Brown, who has 19 returning starters off a 9-4 teams. “The leadership's much better than it has been, because we've got more older guys back than we had. They understand nine's not what we want to win at Texas.”
Of course, David Ash isn't Vince Young or Colt McCoy. So far, Ash hasn't even been the much-maligned Simms.
“Vince and Colt won a lot of football games,” Brown said. “Vince was 30-2 and Colt was 45-9 (actually eight). That's a load. But that's our expectation for David. He's learned a lot. He's really grown up. There were times he looked like Colt and looked like Vince. There were times when he struggled.
“I thought his comeback in the Alamo Bowl really, really helped him with our team. I think he'll have a big year.”
WEST VIRGINIA'S CHARLES SIMS TO MAKE AN IMPACT?
West Virginia has an excellent recent history with running backs. Steve Slaton, Noel Devine, Tavon Austin (for one memorable game, against the Sooners).
Will Houston U. transfer Charles Sims be the latest in that line? He's already the preseason pick as the Big 12's Newcomer of the Year after rushing for 2,350 yards on 384 carries in three Houston seasons (2009, 2011-12).
“He knew he'd be able to come in and fit in and get an opportunity to play in the Big 12,” Holgorsen said. “That was his motive. He loves the University of Houston. He got his degree from there. He'll be a Cougar for life, but he wanted to be able to play in the Big 12 to be able to increase his draft stock, which we'll put him in position to be able to get that done.”
It's not like West Virginia's cupboard is bare. The Mountaineers return Andrew Buie, who rushed for 207 yards against Texas last season. Dustin Garrison was a starter as a freshman in 2011, when he rushed for 742 yards. And Dreamius Smith was a sough-after junior-college recruit.
FLASHY BAYLOR HELMET CREATES BUZZ
Baylor's glittering new stadium, which opens in 2014, was a popular topic with coach Art Briles Tuesday.
But before the stadium even came up, the Bears' new metallic-gold helmet created plenty of buzz.
The new lid could be viewed as a meaningless piece of equipment. But in the day and age of wild college football uniforms, Briles is pleased his team remains on the cutting edge.
“I've seen people up here hurt their neck looking back and wondering what was coming at them,” he said. “That's huge. And thank goodness we have people bold enough in our administration and our board of regents that they're not saying, ‘Coach, I don't know…'
“We don't have people walking on glass and wondering if it's gonna break or not. We've got people who are visionaries … that are proactive about being trendsetters. Nobody's gonna follow somebody that did it 15 years ago, not a 16-year-old. But they'll jump on board today if they like what's happening.”
Of course, the shiny stadium and shiny helmets come at a perfect time. Baylor is coming off three straight bowl seasons, including 10-3 and 8-5 records the last two years, and now the Bears are picked fifth in the Big 12. They received the first two first-place votes in the Baylor's Big 12 history.
“I don't know how many people vote, I guess 25,” Briles said (actually 43). “I was wondering why those other 23 didn't believe in us. It just shows, I think, that we're gaining some respect. We're certainly not where we need to be or want to be or going to be, but we got one foot out of the water and on the land. We're gaining ground.
“That's what we'll continue to keep doing by recruiting good kids, coaching them hard, and letting them play hard on Saturdays.”
IOWA STATE BENEFITTED FROM UNORTHODOX SCHEDULE
Iowa State has a funky schedule to open the season. Until Oct. 12-19, the Cyclones have no back-to-back Saturday games.
But ISU coach Paul Rhoads isn't complaining too loudly. He knows what a game on a non-Saturday can do for a program's profile. His 2011 Cyclones upset second-ranked OSU 37-31 in double overtime on a November Friday night that still is paying dividends for Iowa State.
“It was a national stage that recruits, that fans of the game, that fans of Iowa State got to see in all parts of the country,” Rhoads said. “What that really did for us is gave us instant national recognition.
“I don't think some folks in some parts probably recognized Iowa State football as being capable of playing on the national stage, and then I would say, without a doubt, it's the biggest victory in the history of our program.
“So now to walk in as a recruiter or just an ambassador of the university has been magnified several times fold with that victory.”
This season, Iowa State hosts Texas on a Thursday night, Oct. 3.
“The national exposure without a doubt is fantastic for our university, for recruiting efforts, and so forth,” Rhoads said. “Here in 2013, it's what it is. There's some trade in there, and you've got to trade the good for the bad, so to speak, but it is going to create challenges.”
TEXAS SWITCH TO UP-TEMPO OFFENSE TO BENEFIT…DEFENSE?
Texas has switched to an up-tempo spread offense, with Brown highlighting Ash's experience allowing the Longhorns to run that style of system.
But Brown actually thinks the change will most benefit his defense.
“Last year I saw, during the season in our league, defenses having trouble getting defensive calls in the game because nobody was substituting and the ball was being snapped so quickly,” Brown said. “I also saw that players were getting very tired across our league on defense, big guys were having trouble rushing the passer, they were having trouble getting out of the game because people weren't substituting.
“We felt like it was a real disadvantage to our defense that they didn't get to see tempo at any time during practice. They handled it much better this spring because they saw it every day.
IOWA STATE'S WASHINGTON TRIMS DOWN
Iowa State senior defensive back Jacques Washington has transformed his body since the end of last season.
“I've cut my body fat down,” Washington, the senior from Owasso, said. “I've lost a lot of weight, taking care of my body better, stretching and just really trying to stay healthy.”
Washington started all 13 games last season, finishing with 90 tackles and three interceptions.
Washington was one of two former Rams standouts at media days, joining Oklahoma's Aaron Colvin.
“It shows what type of team we had,” Washington said. “Owasso is becoming a powerhouse in Oklahoma. Hopefully they'll turn the corner and win a state championship.”