NCAA Football News

Important Takeaways from Latest News Reports of the Jameis Winston Investigation

For Jameis Winston and Florida State, Friday was a rather interesting day.

While FSU and its Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback made final preparations for Saturday's game at Syracuse, a trio of stories from major national news organizations came out alleging wrongdoing in the handling of the sexual assault allegations that were made against Winston by a Florida State student.

First came a Fox Sports report from Kevin Vaughan stating that FSU attempted to hinder the investigation in the case.

Florida State responded to the report with a news release declaring that “the continual drumbeat of misinformation about the University's actions causes harm to our students, faculty, alumni, supporters and the FSU community as a whole” and then proceeded to set out its timeline for how the allegations and the case was handled.

Then, a New York Times piece by Mike McIntire and Walt Bogdanich dropped that stated how the Winston case was just a symptom of a larger problem: Tallahassee police consistently and systematically protected Florida State football players in criminal matters that included domestic violence and motor vehicle theft.

Finally, Mark Schlabach of wrote a piece highlighting the fact that Florida State had notified Winston that he will face a disciplinary hearing regarding the sexual assault charges and that he could be charged with up to four violations of FSU’s student conduct code, two of which deal with sexual conduct.

Here’s a look at what we’ve learned from the new reports on the Winston investigation.


Fox Sports report 

Friday afternoon, Vaughan, a Fox Sports reporter and legal analyst, released a lengthy story that referenced multiple documents, claiming that Tallahassee police and Florida State officials actively worked to hamper the investigation and coverage of the allegations against Winston.

According to the story, state attorney Willie Meggs claims that FSU “apparently turned copies of the police report over to Winston’s attorney days before his office even knew the allegation existed.

“Then he starts preparing a defense before we even know there's a case,” Meggs told Fox Sports.

Fox Sports showed that on Nov. 8, 2013, the Tallahassee Police Department forwarded reports of the sexual assault allegation that had taken place 11 months earlier to the Florida State campus police. It then sent the report to FSU senior associate athletic director for internal operations Monk Bonasorte.

The story states that “sometime in the next two days” the report made its way to Winston’s lawyer, but it offers no concrete proof when or if it happened.

Fox Sports also quoted an email noting that had contacted the FSU campus police department seeking information on the case and that deputy chief Maj. Jim Russell had responded to it as a “rumor,” one he was “happy to dispel.”

On Nov. 13, Winston’s lawyer sat down with a pair of FSU teammates who were present on the night of the allegations: Chris Casher and Ronald Darby. They prepared notarized statements that remarked how the sexual encounter between Winston and his accuser appeared “consensual.”

Meggs told Fox Sports that there was “a whole litany of things that we would have done (differently) and called the investigation “a bass-ackwards way of doing things.” He said the fact that Winston’s lawyer knew about the case before he did was a “handicap” in the case.

Much of the information in the Fox Sports report was not new: An April New York Times report by Bogdanich laid out the timeline and also stated that Casher and Darby had spoken with Winston’s lawyer before they talked with police.


New York Times report 

The Times, meanwhile, dropped another very interesting article on Friday afternoon. 

It examined nine criminal cases involving Florida State players over an 18-month period and determined that police have consistently “soft-pedaled” allegations of wrongdoing.

“From criminal mischief and motor-vehicle theft to domestic violence, arrests have been avoided, investigations have stalled and players have escaped serious consequences,” the Times wrote.

It noted a 911 call that stated an FSU player was beating a woman outside their apartment while she tried to leave, claiming the man was “punching” the woman and “grabbing the little baby around the arm.”

The Times found that the complaint was not as thoroughly investigated as domestic violence cases normally are, but the officers did notify Sgt. David McCranie that the man was a Florida State football player. The case was downgraded to a “domestic disturbance” and McCranie signed off on the case, which was considered “unfounded.”

The Times also noted a number of BB gun incidents and battles that involved Florida State players. One, in November 2012, took place from an SUV and injured bystanders. No charges were filed because a suspect could not be identified.

Later that month, 13 FSU players (including Winston and Casher) were involved in a BB gun shootout that shattered windows at an apartment complex that caused $4,200 in damage to 13 windows. The case was investigated as a felony, but no charges were filed after the players paid for the damages.

In June 2013, three FSU football players (Dalvin Cook, Trey Marshall and Jesus Wilson) were involved in a previously unreported BB gun battle that “looked like a drug deal gone bad,” according to a bystander. They damaged tenants’ cars and eventually required the Tallahassee Police Department to use a police helicopter to search for suspects.

TPD investigator Scott Cherry told the state attorney’s office that three suspects were FSU football players and wrote that “the issue would have to be round-tabled with the division chiefs” before proceeding.

The crime was tabled for over two months before the Times inquired in September. The suspects were charged on Oct. 2 with a misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief.

One of the suspects, Wilson, was charged in June with operating a stolen motor scooter. He claimed he had borrowed it from a student named “Drew” but didn’t know the owner’s last name. This was not true, according to the scooter’s owner.

The Times said the case “languished for weeks” and that the TPD had filed an internal affairs inquiry into the fact that a citizen might have been asked not to file charges in a potential felony.

“It didn’t seem like they were pursuing the case much and were waiting to see if I would just forget about it or let it be,” the student told the Times.

In July, Wilson was charged with grand theft auto after admitting he’d taken the scooter with the keys in the ignition. He pleaded no contest and served 30 days on a sheriff’s work detail. He paid $1,000 restitution to the owner and has been reinstated to the team.

While much of the information released Friday had been disseminated elsewhere, an overarching sentiment remains: This is not good for Florida State or Winston, and the story that refuses to go away. Student Conduct Hearing report 

Later Friday, reported that Winston had been notified via letter that he’ll face a disciplinary hearing regarding the sexual assault charges that were made against him as part of FSU’s Title IX investigation into the case.

Winston could be charged with up to four violations of FSU’s student conduct code, two of which deal with sexual conduct.

Per FSU student conduct policy, reported, Winston has five business days to schedule an informational hearing that would inform him of his rights and the student conduct hearing. After that, FSU officials will determine whether he will face charges in the case.

Winston has been told that three outside individuals are willing to hear the case. He and his accuser will both have a chance to “strike,” or remove, one of the individuals from hearing the case.

FSU spokesperson Browning Brooks told Schlabach that an independent hearing officer is allowed under FSU rules.

To ensure an absolutely fair and impartial process, and to avoid any conflict created by the ongoing federal investigation and threatened civil litigation, the University will appoint an independent hearing officer to investigate and make findings regarding this matter. The use of an outside hearing officer is allowed under FSU procedures. Out of fairness to the students involved, we are exercising this option to remove any doubt about the integrity of the eventual outcome.

Winston played as normal at Syracuse. FSU coach Jimbo Fisher told ESPN’s Quint Kessenich on College GameDay that Winston’s status is “an issue that’s been ongoing for a while. We’re here to play a game, that’s what we’re concerned about.”


Florida State University response 

Florida State did not respond specifically to any of the stories but laid out its own timeline as “we expect other stories to appear.”

It said that following the original complaint, it did not file a report with the university’s Title IX administrator (considered a necessary step) because Winston and his teammates described the incident independently as consensual.

When news of the investigation broke in November 2013, FSU said that it “took steps to protect the complainant’s privacy and safety,” advising her of news stories, putting her contact information on lockdown and persuading the FSU student newspaper not to publish her name.

It then also conducted a Title IX investigation and reviewed “voluminous documents connected to the case,” but says it was told by the accuser’s attorney "to cease all contact with her client."

The investigation was originally shelved in February 2014 but reopened in August, and FSU says it is “committed to investigating this matter in accordance with our Title IX obligations” and is cooperating with the U.S. Department of Education investigation in the matter.

It added that “we have begun enhancing our training and examining our policies while putting into place concrete changes” into how it handles sexual assault charges by "strengthening" its response to such charges.

“We did not want you to confuse our silence with idleness, a lack of caring or, as some have alleged, an institutional conspiracy to protect a star athlete,” the statement concluded. “We hope what we've shared with you establishes otherwise.”

It is unclear what discipline would await Winston if he was found culpable in FSU's Title IX investigation, but nearly two years after it occurred and 11 months after the star quarterback was cleared of criminal charges in the matter, the case and Florida State's involvement continue to make news.

Winston's eligibility for a team fighting for a berth in the initial College Football Playoff has to be a concern for Fisher and the Seminoles, and more importantly, FSU's national reputation has taken a major hit. While the university is taking steps to repair its image, how effective it will be both locally and nationally remains to be seen. 

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Tim Tebow Will Not Accept Paul Finebaum's Pathetic Gator Chomp

Tim Tebow seems to be getting more comfortable in his new career as an ESPN analyst.

While making predictions on Saturday morning on SEC Nation, Paul Finebaum made a very weak attempt at a "gator chomp." As the former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback at Florida, Tebow was not happy with his attempt, yelling, "We will not accept that!"

[YouTube, h/t For the Win]

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Jameis Winston Does the 'Shmoney' and Heisman Dances Before Syracuse Game

Despite learning yesterday that he's facing a disciplinary hearing over his 2012 sexual assault allegations, Jameis Winston seemed at ease ahead of Florida State's game against Syracuse on Saturday.

The 2013 Heisman Trophy winner was seen doing a special pregame warmup before the Seminoles' ACC showdown with the Orange.

He started with the flavor-of-the-month "Shmoney" dance, and followed it with a little Harlem Shake action leading to a Heisman pose.

Jameis Winston Shmoney and Heisman dance

— gifdsports (@gifdsports) October 11, 2014

Jameis bein' Jameis. 


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Phillies Pitcher Jonathan Papelbon Makes Guest Appearance on 'College GameDay'

When eccentric Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Jonathan Papelbon was announced as the guest picker on ESPN's College GameDay, many baseball fans surely tuned in to see what surprises he had in store.

Expectations were high:

I'm shocked Papelbon actually had pants on

— Mel (@piney61) October 11, 2014

His swagger level was of high proportion:

Peak Papelbon in the all-maroon suit

— Bob Carskadon (@bobcarskadon) October 11, 2014

There may have been some pregame preparations ...

how drunk is he right now RT @bencelestino: @Lana Papelbon

— Lana Berry (@Lana) October 11, 2014

... and he had some fans on the edge of their seats:

Really though, for a minute there, I thought Papelbon was gonna steal Corso's Bully head and beat him to it.

— Bob Carskadon (@bobcarskadon) October 11, 2014

Ultimately, though, it was a classy affair for all involved.

Papelbon living it up on stage.

— Michael Bonner (@MikeBBonner) October 11, 2014


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Louisville vs. Clemson: Live Score and Highlights

The Clemson Tigers and Louisville Cardinals are set to square off at 3:30 p.m. ET. Both teams are coming off impressive victories, both in conference play.

The Tigers routed North Carolina State a week ago, 41-0, and Louisville was able to take care of Syracuse in a 28-6 win.

Louisville enters this game with the nation's No. 6 defense in terms of points allowed, so the Tigers offense has a big challenge ahead of it. Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson has been very impressive through his first two starts, throwing for eight touchdowns in those two games.

The game will be aired on ESPNU, but stay right here with us for live updates and analysis throughout the contest.

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LSU vs. Florida: Live Score and Highlights

The LSU Tigers look to get back on track as they travel to Gainesville, Florida, to take on the Gators. The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. EDT and will air on the SEC Network.

The Tigers have lost their last two SEC games. They lost their home conference opener against Mississippi State and were dominated by Auburn last week.

They will need more consistency out of quarterback Brandon Harris, who only completed three passes against Auburn.

It won’t be easy for Harris to get going because he is going up against a Florida defensive front that tallied six sacks last week against Tennessee.

However, the Gators have their issues at quarterback as well. Jeff Driskel was benched in the second half of the Tennessee game but will be the starter tonight. But he will need to be on his A-game because the LSU defense is ranked fifth in the conference.

Be sure to come back to this blog when the game kicks off for the latest scoring updates and highlights.

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Best Signs from ESPN's 'College GameDay' Week 7

For the first time ever, ESPN's College GameDay is live from Starkville, and Bulldogs fans are all riled up for Mississippi State's game against Auburn.

The crowd brought the noise, and of course, it brought some hilarious signs.

You knew a Todd Gurley sign was inevitable:

Here is the best of the rest:

[Twitter, 30FPSCollege GameDay]

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Florida State vs. Syracuse: Live Score and Highlights

Florida State 7, Syracuse 0 -- Middle 1st


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Georgia vs. Missouri: Live Score and Highlights

Early First Quarter

Georgia 3, Missouri 0


A strong defensive stand by the Bulldogs was followed by a Georgia field goal.  How will Missouri respond?

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Texas vs. Oklahoma: Live Score and Highlights

Oklahoma 7 Texas 3 - Late 1st Quarter

The Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas Longhorns battle in the annual Red River Rivalry matchup. It may not be the biggest game on the Big 12 schedule this weekend, but try telling that to the folks in Dallas.

We’ll be following along the action on ABC and be providing in-game analysis and commentary.

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Bowl Predictions 2014: Latest Projections Before Saturday's Week 7 Action

Most college football fans will agree that last week’s action was some of the wildest and most unpredictable in years, but the focus for many has turned to the 2014 bowl predictions heading into Week 7.

With top programs like Oregon, Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, UCLA and others losing in Week 6, how each bounces back and how the current projections have the college football postseason shaking out will be the top storyline on Saturday.

Here are the latest bowl predictions as college football fans prepare for Saturday’s action.



Predicting the Four Teams That’ll Make the Playoff

As seen from the turnover at the top of the polls, predicting the College Football Playoff is a difficult task. One constant this season has been the Florida State Seminoles holding the top spot in the rankings.

Despite a slow start to the year, defending Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston is starting to regain his form and the trust of his coaching staff. If the Florida State roster begins to find its rhythm, the rest of the sport should take notice. The defending national champions have depth on both sides of the ball and have showcased the tenacity needed to be victorious again.

The biggest key for the Seminoles is the favorable schedule. If FSU can make it past Notre Dame on Oct. 18, there will be no ranked teams on the schedule for the remainder of the season. Florida State has the ability to run the table and would ensure a spot in the postseason if the team was to go undefeated.

Another team with the chance to make it into the playoff is the Auburn Tigers. The program sits at No. 2 in the AP rankings but has a tough test against Mississippi State on Saturday. If Auburn can manage to beat the Bulldogs on the road, the school will be on the right path toward a championship.

Unfortunately for Tigers fans, the schedule for Auburn is much more difficult than Florida State’s. After playing Mississippi State this week, battles against South Carolina, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Georgia and Alabama could make or break the team’s postseason chances.

For now, though, Auburn is a serious postseason contender. If the program makes it through its brutal schedule, expect the Tigers to be the No. 1 seed heading into the playoff.

One team not getting the respect it deserves nationally is the Baylor Bears. With an offensive unit ranked first in the country, averaging 51 points per game, and a defense that is ranked fifth, allowing just 12.4 points per game, Baylor is on the cusp of entering the national championship conversation.

The Bears take on a tough TCU team this week and have the chance to prove they are legitimate contenders. The schedule gets tougher starting in Week 7, and Baylor will have to make it past Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas State on top of TCU to remain perfect and have a shot at making the postseason.

After watching the Big 12 struggle for the most part this season, the Bears have a legitimate chance to run the table and secure a spot in the College Football Playoff.

The fourth team for the postseason is the most difficult to predict, but Mississippi State is playing so well right now that the program could overcome a loss to Auburn in Week 7 and still be considered a challenger for the national championship.

The Bulldogs have a tough schedule playing in the SEC. Even with a potential loss to the Tigers on Saturday, Mississippi State still has marquee games against Alabama and Ole Miss left to bolster its regular-season resume.

With wins over LSU and Texas A&M earlier this year, the team’s track record would be impressive enough to earn the fourth spot in the postseason.

Regardless of how the playoff shakes out, fans of the sport are excited to see a genuine postseason format instead of the archaic BCS system that held college football hostage for too many years.


*Stats via

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College Football Rankings 2014: Final NCAA Overview of Week 7 Standings

After one of the wildest weekends in recent college football history, the schedule for Week 7 has the potential to be just as wild with five games featuring two ranked teams going head-to-head on Saturday.

With Auburn squaring off against Mississippi State, Ole Miss going to battle with Texas A&M, Big 12 rivals TCU and Baylor in a marquee matchup and more, college football fans will be treated to an enthralling slate of action.

Here are the full rankings heading into Week 7 and the matchups college football fans can’t miss.


*Full Amway coaches, Associated Press and Bleacher Report Top 25 polls found here.


Week 7’s Top Matchups

There are several intriguing college football battles this weekend, but none have the mainstream appeal that the SEC meeting between Auburn and Mississippi State is garnering.

Auburn is one of the top teams in the nation. With a stellar defensive unit only giving up 14.4 points per game and an offense scoring an average of 42 points per game, it will be tough to stop the Tigers. Mississippi State won’t be afraid of Auburn, though.

After beating LSU and Texas A&M in back-to-back weeks, the Bulldogs have confidence and momentum on top of raw talent. While Auburn has the defensive edge (Mississippi State allows 19.4 points per game), the Bulldogs have an offense just as talented compared to the Tigers, averaging 42.6 points per game.

Auburn defensive tackle Gabe Wright told the Associated Press, via the Washington Post, about the problems his team could face against Bulldogs quarterback Dak Prescott:

He puts a tremendous amount of pressure on you. He is a dual-threat quarterback and just saying that, I think that in itself already speaks volumes. Dual-threat means he can both run and pass. And he’s mentally capable to run their offense now. I think he’s more comfortable now.

The resulting war on Saturday could produce the most interesting game of the week.

Another SEC battle worth watching is the red-hot Ole Miss Rebels taking on the Texas A&M Aggies. After Texas A&M lost to Mississippi State last week, a second loss to a team from Mississippi may be too much for the Aggies to handle. The Rebels are coming off a huge win over Alabama and should be able to put Texas A&M away.

The next intriguing game will be the Big 12 battle between the Baylor Bears and the TCU Horned Frogs. The fast-paced, high-scoring offense of the Bears is the best in college football with an average of 51 points per game, but the defense is vastly underrated, allowing just 12.4 points per game.

Baylor hasn’t played a team as good as TCU this season, though. The Horned Frogs took down the Oklahoma Sooners in Week 6, and their 12th-ranked offense and seventh-ranked defense will give the Bears the toughest test they have faced so far this season. The winner of this matchup will gain instant credibility among College Football Playoff voters.

One matchup not getting the love it deserves is the Oregon Ducks against the UCLA Bruins. The Ducks have been one of the best teams in the nation, but a tough loss to Arizona last week has many fans souring on Oregon’s national championship hopes. UCLA is also coming off a loss to Utah, and the resulting matchup will be two ranked teams looking to rebuild their postseason resumes.

There are also several other marquee matchups fans can enjoy—including Arizona vs. USC, Georgia vs. Missouri and many others—but the aforementioned games will steal the mainstream spotlight this week.

With a serious chance of fireworks in each game, college football fans can’t miss Week 7’s action.


*Stats via

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Washington State vs. Stanford: Score and Twitter Reaction

Much of the talk entering Friday night's Pac-12 showdown between Washington State at Stanford centered around Cougars quarterback Connor Halliday after his record-setting performance the week prior. Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan decided to steal the show.

The No. 25 Cardinal outlasted Washington State at home Friday, 34-17 in a game that Stanford controlled from the opening drive. Hogan led the way offensively, going 23-for-35 through the air for 284 yards and three touchdowns to overcome Stanford's early red-zone troubles.

ESPN College Football summed up the result:

Headed by Mike Leach's typical aerial assault, Washington State (2-5, 1-3 Pac-12) refused to go away by trimming the deficit to one possession in both the third and fourth quarters. Halliday went 44-for-71 passing with 303 yards, two touchdowns and one interception while the Cougars ran it just 10 times total.

But when they needed a score to threaten the lead, Stanford's defense simply rose to the task by forcing eight Washington State punts. 

Here's a glance at the final box score:

Stanford (4-2, 2-1) may have been looking forward to coming home after losing at Notre Dame last week, but that feeling changed after seeing Halliday break a NCAA record with 734 passing yards—in a loss—against Cal. After watching film all week, the Cardinal players had a good idea what they were up against.

"It's hard to get reads (on Halliday),"Stanford cornerback Alex Carter told San Francisco Chronicle's Tom FitzGerald. "You just have to focus on your assignment and play your man. Hopefully, he makes a mistake here and there, and we can capitalize on that. I'm going to lock down whoever I’m on."

Stanford's preparation showed off, and one of the nation's traditional defensive powers flexed its muscle early. After its offense drove down the field for an opening field goal, the Cardinal allowed just one Cougar first down before forcing a punt.

Stanford quickly jumped to take advantage. A pair of rushes from Remound Wright and Christian McCaffrey set up Hogan's 39-yard touchdown pass to Eric Cotton.

The game wasn't five minutes old, but Stanford had raced out to a 10-0 advantage.

Halliday quickly mounted an answer, throwing 11 times on an 11-play, 75-yard drive capped off by a nine-yard touchdown to Vince Mayle. But that was all the success Washington State would find early.

The Cougars punted on six of their seven first-half drives, and Stanford's Ty Montgomery had a second-quarter punt return that set up Hogan's second touchdown toss of the game to put the Cardinal up 17-7 at the break.

It wasn't Stanford's lead, but rather its red-zone shortcomings that were the story from the opening half. The Cardinal's last two drives entered the red zone, with only a fumble and a missed field goal to show.

ESPN Stats and Info noted Stanford's horrible red-zone rating:

Jon Solomon of CBS Sports added some context:

Washington State strung together a 14-play drive early in the third quarter, but a brutal intentional grounding penalty on Halliday pushed the Cougars out of the red zone and set up a field goal to make it a 17-10 contest.

Just when Leach and Co. were knocking on the door, Hogan politely shut the door. The Cardinal answered with a nine-play, 56-yard drive. And most importantly, they got it done in the red zone—Hogan threw for his third touchdown on a four-yard toss to Greg Taboada.

David Lombardi of ESPN noticed they let Hogan be Hogan, but most importantly they made it a 24-10 contest:

But as Cal would tell you, Washington State is never out of a game when Halliday is slinging the ball and orchestrating long drives. 

Another lengthy march down the field for the Cougars came, running only twice while throwing 14 times. After a five-minute drive, Halliday escaped the pocket and threw across the field on fourth-and-goal with River Cracraft open for a three-yard touchdown that made it a one-score game yet again.

Rob Rang of broke down how Halliday looked on the play:

Tom Fornelli of CBS Sports gave a more blunt description:

Washington State didn't have its typical success offensively, something that was expected given the step-up in competition. But that required the defense to step up and force stops in key moments, which it proved unable to do.

Stanford again got the ball back with a one-possession game, and again drove down the field for a 34-yard field goal that made it a double-digit game. Halliday got behind the chains on his next attempt to go down the field, and Stanford took the air out of the ball and pounded the rock late to score a late touchdown that put the game out of reach.

While Washington State's defense couldn't rise to the occasion, Stanford's unit did constantly and was able to thwart the nation's hottest passer. College GameDay noted Stanford's 2014 success:

The defensive success is all well and good, but Stanford still has two early-season defeats to make up for—as told by its plummet to No. 25 in the rankings. With ranked opponents in three of the Cardinal's next four games, however, a 17-point win over a dangerous divisional foe could be just the morale boost they need.

Stanford faces No. 20 Arizona State next weekend in a matchup that will decide which of the two squads has a serious chance at contending in their respective division.

As for Washington State, it has already fallen three times in conference play. After nearly toppling Oregon early in the season, Leach and his coaching staff now look for answers heading into a bye week.

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Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Kansas Jayhawks: Complete Game Preview

The Oklahoma State Cowboys came out of the gate a little sluggish last weekend against the Iowa State Cyclones, but right before halftime the kicking game gave them a much-needed boost to give them a 13-6 lead going into the half.

Ultimately, the Pokes managed to turn on the jets in the second half and ride the momentum generated by the special teams to a 37-20 victory.

Kansas hasn't been as fortunate, as the Jayhawks have lost their two Big 12 games by a combined 42 points so far. That's led to Charlie Weis losing his job and has put this team into a bit of turmoil.

On paper, this looks like an easy win for the Cowboys; however, this has the potential for a classic trap game on the road.

Can Oklahoma State take care of business and improve to 5-1 before it hits the meat of its schedule? Read on to find out.

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