In honor of Golden State's Splash Brothers winning their first NBA title this week, our friends over at the SEC blog had a fun idea: rank the conference’s top duos. Which teams are going into the 2015 season with the best one-two punches on offense and defense? Here’s our attempt to rank the Big 12's best pairings:
1. Trevone Boykin/Josh Doctson, TCU: Boykin threw the ball Doctson’s way 111 times last season. Good things happened when he did: 65 connections for 1,018 yards and 11 touchdowns. The big 6-foot-3 target made his quarterback look even better with his acrobatic grabs. Kolby Listenbee should break out this season, but Doctson will still get his so long as Boykin is behind center.
2. Corey Coleman/KD Cannon, Baylor: The only duo of returning 1,000-yard receivers in the country, these two offer speed, speed and more speed. Baylor gained an average of 17.6 yards per play when either Cannon or Coleman caught the ball last season. They’ll make life a lot easier for new starting quarterback Seth Russell.
3. Samaje Perine/Joe Mixon, Oklahoma: One runs right over defenders, the other dances around them. Perine’s 1,700-yard freshman campaign was unforgettable, and now Mixon will try to top it. We haven’t forgotten Alex Ross, who paired well with Perine when he got the ball last year, but Mixon should flash starter's potential in his debut year.
4. DeAndre Washington/Jakeem Grant, Texas Tech: Two of the Big 12’s most versatile and elusive weapons quietly teamed up for 2,404 yards of total offense in 2014. Washington is the conference’s top pass-catching back, and Grant is a menace downfield and in the screen game.
5. Rushel Shell/Wendell Smallwood, West Virginia: Don’t sleep on these two. They form perhaps the conference’s most underrated rushing attack and simply don’t get much attention despite combining for nearly 2,000 total yards (1,510 rushing) in their first season together.
1. Shawn Oakman/Andrew Billings, Baylor: What more could a coach want? Oakman is arguably the most fearsome pass-rusher in college football. Billings is perhaps the nation’s strongest defensive tackle and a monster in the middle. Together, they have 46 career tackles for loss with many, many more to come.
2. Eric Striker/Charles Tapper, Oklahoma: If Tapper can play up to his potential as a senior, this is one nasty pairing. Quarterbacks are in trouble when Striker and Tapper line up together on the left side, as their 24 combined career sacks have proven. Both could be All-Big 12 talents this season.
3. Emmanuel Ogbah/Jimmy Bean, Oklahoma State: The Big 12’s Defensive Lineman of the Year on one side, a likely three-year starter on the other. Ogbah knows he can get even better after his 11-sack sophomore season, while Bean is coming off a year in which he led OSU in strips and QB hurries.
4. Karl Joseph/Daryl Worley, West Virginia: The last thing any Big 12 receiver or back wants to see is Joseph, the league’s hardest hitter, coming their way. Worley has a high ceiling as a cover corner and still has two years left. You could just as easily insert linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski for Worley, too, if you’re seeking playmaking ability.
5. Dante Barnett/Danzel McDaniel, Kansas State: They don’t get the headlines like the rest of the aforementioned defenders, but Barnett and McDaniel love to thump and don’t get enough credit for their physical play and coverage skills. They shouldn’t have trouble topping their combined four INTs from last season.