Big 12 could see an interesting season

FILE - West Virginia quarterback Garrett Greene (6) reacts after a play against Towson during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Morgantown, W.Va., Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022. West Virginia opens their season at Penn State on Sept. 2. (AP Photo/William Wotring, File)

UNDATED (AP) — The days of the Air Raid dominating the Big 12 might be over. In less than a decade, the league has gone from having more than half the conference running some version of the system to dominating opponents on the ground. Five of the 18 running backs taken in April’s draft came from the Big 12. Reasons for the shift include changes in coaching, available talent and the fact that so many schools ran the Air Raid that they have become adept at defending it. That in turn has led to new, more balanced ways of running the system.

AMES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa State confirmed running back Jirehl Brock has left the football program. Brock was among five projected football starters since Aug. 1 to be charged in the state’s investigation of illegal sports wagering by Iowa State and Iowa athletes. All have been charged with tampering with records for allegedly attempting to disguise their identities on a mobile sports betting app account. Brock was the team’s leading rusher last season. He’s suspected of making more than 1,300 illegal wagers totaling over $12,000. He is accused of making bets on three Iowa State football games, two in which he played.

UNDATED (AP) — Just like last year, college football has a returning Heisman Trophy winner. This time USC quarterback Caleb Williams is trying to join the sport’s most exclusive club. Ohio State running back Archie Griffin stands alone, winning the Heisman in 1974 and ’75. Williams will have to be even better this year to join Griffin. He faces stiff competition from an Ohio State receiver and a couple of other West Coast quarterbacks.

UNDATED (AP) — Welcome to the final season of college football as we know it. That might sound extreme, but 2023 has an end-of-an-era feel. Texas and Oklahoma are taking their last lap in the Big 12. The Pac-12 is still a Power Five conference. Will it even be a conference in 2024? The College Football Playoff is a four-team event for the last time this year, before tripling in size. Before the maps are redrawn and the stakes are remade, there is one more season to left to appreciate what is being lost — or long for what’s being gained.

UNDATED (AP) — This will be the last season for some of the Big 12’s biggest rivalry games. There will be no more Bedlam in the Big 12, and the Red River game between Oklahoma and Texas will be in the SEC after those schools switch leagues next year. The Sooners and Oklahoma State have met for Bedlam 117 times since 1904, but have no games scheduled after this season. Same for Baylor against Texas in a series that has been played annually for a century. The Red River game will carry on at the State Fair of Texas, just not in the Big 12 after this season.

UNDATED (AP) — There could be some new rivalries between Christian schools brewing in the evolving Big 12 Conference. There are now three private Christian schools from different denominations in the league with BYU coming in this season. The Cougars, who were the 1984 national champions, played the past 12 seasons as an independent. They are now in the same league with Baylor and TCU, who have an 118-game rivalry that dates back to a scoreless tie in 1899. BYU will play at TCU on Oct. 14. The Cougars aren’t scheduled to play Baylor, but they split a home-and-home series the past two seasons.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Longhorn Network that launched in 2011 is coming to a close. The 20-year, $300 million partnership with ESPN was revolutionary and it sent shockwaves across college athletics. Rivals thought the Longhorns were becoming a runaway train. Twelve years after studio lights flickered on, the network will soon go dark. The LHN will be folded into the SEC Network when Texas joins the Southeastern Conference next summer.

UNDATED (AP) — Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams of USC, Ohio State receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. and Michigan running back Blake Corum are among the returning first-team All-Americans who were selected to The Associated Press preseason All-America team. Notre Dame offensive tackle and Miami safety Kam Kinchens also followed up their All-America 2022 seasons by being named preseason All-Americans by AP Top 25 voters. Two-time defending national champion and No. 1 Georgia has the most players on the first team with four, including tight end Brock Bowers. Ohio State is next with three.