ORLANDO - The Big XII needs to be better on defense. If the league improves in that area, it actually helps UCF in the long-term because there’s more respect from the college football playoff committee casting a vote for a Big XII member, UCF included, sometime in the future.
To help that become more of a reality, the Big XII needs improvements with coaches and recruiting. Here’s a closer look at how it becomes reality and how it impacts the Knights. Here's the podcast detailing the events if that's the version one prefers:
Which Big XII Teams Can Stop the Pass?
If you look at the current defensive rankings, there are two Big XII teams that rank among the top 20 in passing defense. Iowa State (No. 2) and Baylor (No. 15) would be the schools in question.
Towards the bottom of the defensive passing rankings, however, one will find Texas Tech and Texas (tied at No. 85), Kansas (No. 87), West Virginia (No. 91), Kansas State (No. 103), and Oklahoma (No. 108). There are 130 teams competing at the FBS level. Even with Oklahoma and Texas leaving for the SEC in two years, it’s still a bad look for the Big XII that hardly anyone plays real pass defense.
Statistics like these hinder the Big XII, and it will continue to do so when UCF joins the league if two items do not change. The Big XII needs better coaching and better players, specifically defensive coaches, pass rushers and defensive backs.
For that many teams to be towards the bottom of the rankings for defensive passing yards is atrocious. Let’s see which Big XII teams pick up really good assistant coaches after this season to help with coaching, as well as help attract better overall defensive talent. Now onto the discussion about LSU Head Coach Ed Orgeron.
When Orgeron is Fired, the Dominoes Begin to Fall
Assuming he’s fired soon, and it’s only a matter of time, Coach Orgeron's assistant staff could be raided in many different ways. Even coaches in the back office and recruiting assistants could go to schools all over the country. With LSU’s proximity to Texas, it could be impactful for the Big XII.
There’s little doubt that a school like Texas Tech needs defensive help. That starts with recruiting, and to accomplish that task it needs to come through assistant coaches that are familiar with Texas. LSU hits the Lone Star State hard.
Assuming LSU fires Coach Orgeron, and soon, that begins the inevitable dominoes. That means coaches from other schools will be headed to Baton Rouge, La. to start a new job, and the overall movement of coaching assistants really begins to take shape.
Same with head coaches. For what it’s worth, look for Kentucky Head Coach Mark Stoops to be on the shopping list for any program looking to change head coaches. In fact, Kentucky just defeated LSU 42-21 this past Saturday. That might be a school that’s interested in Stoops.
Each time there’s a head coach that’s moving on, it’s a chance for the Big XII to improve as a league. This is a huge year for the Big XII as it prepares for the exit of Texas and Oklahoma, its two primary schools for football.
Regardless of which schools change their head coaches, the Big XII must improve defensively with coaching moves this offseason. If not, the stigma of “no defense” will likely remain.
That’s a problem because it impacts the committee that votes on the college football playoffs.
For UCF insights, college football news, and recruiting information go to: The Daily Knight podcast. It will be found on iTunes and Spotify. For more UCF and recruiting information, go to Twitter: @fbscout_florida and @UCF_FanNation, as well as my YouTube Channel and Instagram page. Like and Subscribe!