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Beyond the Fort: Oklahoma has its QB, a wild turn of events in Lubbock & more

It’s time for another round of headlines from across the Big 12.

Rose Bowl Game - Oklahoma v Georgia Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Believe it or not, there will be college football played this Saturday. It may only be Group of Five action at best, but the point remains the same — we’re that close to successfully surviving another offseason.

10 days remain until TCU kicks off its 2018 campaign against Southern University, and as the countdown hits the stretch run, answers to some of the biggest questions are starting to surface. Most notably, Gary Patterson announced last Saturday that Shawn Robinson will be the Week 1 starter for the Horned Frogs. And that’s something for a lot of Horned Frog fans to smile about amid a growing list of players who suffered bumps and bruises in fall camp.

And what’s happening elsewhere in the Big 12 as final preparations continue? Here’s the scoop from the latest edition of Beyond the Fort:

Oklahoma has its starting QB:

Not that it was unexpected, but Lincoln Riley officially named Kyler Murray — the same man who was selected No. 9 overall in the 2018 MLB Draft — Oklahoma’s starting quarterback on Wednesday, per a statement.

Many expected a decision regarding the close “competition” between Murray and Austin Kendall to be during Riley’s media session Monday, and when it wasn’t, some began speculating that perhaps Kendall had put together an offseason for the ages to beat Murray for the job. All of that has now been negated in a hurry.

So sorry, Lane Kiffin. You’re going up against perhaps the fastest quarterback in college football on Sept. 1.

Speaking of QBs.....

We mentioned that Tom Herman has finally named a Week 1 starter for Texas, and that man will be sophomore Sam Ehlinger (Yes, Herman actually beat Riley to the race on this one).

The Austin, Texas native had his impressive moments as a freshman in 2017, though injuries kept him from showcasing his full potential. Now, will he be one of the top offensive players in the Big 12, as some experts at CBS Sports have predicted? Probably not, but 1,915 yards and 11 touchdown passes across 9 appearances last season isn’t exactly bad until factoring in the 7 times he was intercepted. It’s now a waiting game to see how much he has progressed during the offseason — and that could be determined by who on the Texas staff is calling the plays.

A wrongful arrest in Lubbock:

It’s been an interesting and wild past two days for the Red Raiders.

News broke via the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal Tuesday morning that Texas Tech starting running back Da’Leon Ward was arrested on charges of theft between $2,500 and $30,000. The report indicated that the arrest stemmed from an incident involving cell phones in the Texas Tech Student Recreation Center.

The seemingly bleak situation for Texas Tech’s offense took a major unexpected turn on Wednesday, however, when a new report from the Avalanche-Journal indicated that Ward was wrongfully arrested and that a case will no longer be pursued, citing insufficient evidence.

“I’m sorry the young man got arrested,” Lubbock County District Attorney Matt Powell told the Avalanche-Journal on Wednesday “He should have never been arrested, the case should have never been filed.”

For now, that’s the end of a puzzling saga of events for the Red Raiders’ emerging force in the backfield.

The end of the mullet?

Alright, probably an overreaction here. Nonetheless, many fans across college football were alarmed when it was revealed late last week that Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy had considerably trimmed his now-iconic mullet.

Sure, the flow isn’t as punctuated as it may have been 12 months ago. But no, Mike Gundy hasn’t completely gone back to his look circa 2007. So enough with the “sky is falling” narrative. The most interesting 51-year-old man in the (college football) world is back in action for another season of memorable quotes and rattlesnake-hunting tales.