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Wendell Barnhouse is a nationally-known and respected columnist who has spent over 20 years covering collegiate athletics. He has reported from 23 Final Fours and more than three dozen bowl games and has written about the Big 12 and its schools since the conference's beginning. Barnhouse will be updating the Big 12 Insider on happenings and behind-the-scenes information about the conference. 

January 2009

Saturday, Jan. 31

A screwy Saturday before Super (Bowl) Sunday
The six-game Big 12 men's schedule Saturday featured some notable happenings:

* For the second consecutive Saturday, a player scored 40-plus points. Kansas State junior guard Denis Clemente tied the conference single-game record with 44 points in the Wildcats' 85-81 overtime victory at Kansas. Clemente made all six of his 3-point attempts and was 12-of-12 from the free throw line. Kansas State's Michael Beasley set the single-game record last season at Baylor. A week ago Saturday, Iowa State's Craig Brackins scored 42 against Kansas.

* Texas Tech coach Pat Knight erupted like a volcano in the second half of his team's 82-69 loss to Nebraska. With the Red Raiders trailing 56-44 with 9:49 remaining, Knight charged the court after seeing a scoreboard video replay of a rebounding foul called on Tech guard Alan Voskuil. Knight ran past midcourt and unleashed a number of profanities. He was whistled for two technicals and ejected. After nearly leaving the floor, Knight wheeled and charged back on the court, nearly reaching midcourt before being restrained.

* Nebraska, which built a 23-6 lead with 8:31 remaining, allowed Texas Tech to climb within 29-26 with 2:12 remaining in the first half. Following Knights' outburst, Tech built its lead to 60-44. The Red Raiders sliced the lead to 70-65 with 3:49 remaining.

* Kansas State had a 61-44 lead with 7:58 remaining. Texas battled back to force overtime, 74-all. The Wildcats prevailed, 85-81, in the extra five minutes.

* Texas A&M led 36-21 with 53 seconds remaining in the first half. Oklahoma State rallied to pull within 50-48 with 9:55 left in the game. The Aggies held on to win, 76-64.

* Kansas led visiting Colorado 46-25 less than a minute into the second half. The Buffaloes rallied to within 54-52 with 6:18 remaining and was within three points with a minute remaining. The Jayhawks won, 66-61.

Friday, Jan. 30

Comments from ESPN hoops guys's Joe Lunardi in his weekly Bracketology projections for the NCAA Tournament has six Big 12 teams in the field: Oklahoma (No. 2 seed), Texas No. 4, Kansas No. 6, Baylor No. 7, Missouri No. 8 and Oklahoma State No. 12. Lunardi has the Cowboys listed as one of four teams in the "last four in" category.'s Mark Schlabach takes a look at Southeastern Conference basketball in the wake of this week's coaching changes at Alabama and Georgia. He reports that Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel is at the top of the Bulldogs' wish list of replacements that also includes Baylor's Scott Drew. There have been other reports that Missouri coach Mike Anderson is on the list of candidates at Alabama.

Here's a couple of comments on Big 12 teams from's national college basketball writer Andy Katz:

* Missouri can't be expected to beat all similar teams in the Big 12. But the Tigers probably can't afford to lose by 16 to Kansas State if they want to be taken seriously for a bid, unless they start knocking off Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma.

* Nebraska coach Doc Sadler looked positively drained after the Huskers couldn't get past Kansas with a few chances late in the game. Teams like the Huskers get few opportunities for statement wins like they had Wednesday.

Double links for Mr. Double Double
As's national college basketball writer Gary Parrish writes in his blog, Oklahoma has set up a question and answer blog for Sooners sophomore Blake Griffin.

Here's a sample of Griffin's sense of humor. Keaton Homer of Eagle River, Alaska, asked him a question, and Griffin's response was: "Wow, a question all the way from Alaska. I've always wondered ... can you see Russia from there?"

There you go again, Blake. The Big 12 Insider welcomes the competition and promises to avoid trying to post up Mr. Griffin in the low .... "blog." 

Thursday, Jan. 29

Three links worth clicking
Texas A&M is seeking $16 million to renovate 31-year-old Olsen Field, home of the Aggies' baseball team.

Nice analysis by the Lincoln Journal-Star's Steven M. Sipple on how men's basketball coach Doc Sadler is building his program at Nebraska.

Dean Blevins, the former Oklahoma quarterback and sports director at Oklahoma City's KWTV, hopes to be released from the hospital after suffering a severe head injury when he slipped on ice outside his home.

Wednesday, Jan. 28

Special guests
The biggest game in terms of ranked opponents in Big 12 history also featured the first presidential presence. Former president George Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush added to the sizzle of Wednesday night's women's game between No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 3 Baylor.

Bush, whose ranch in Crawford, Texas is about 20 minutes from Waco, said in a television interview last week that he was fans of the Lady Bears. Baylor coach Kim Mulkey invited the Prez and the First Lady to attend the game.

Bush spoke to both the Baylor team before the game. About 90 seconds before tipoff, the Bushes came on the court escorted by Mulkey. The Bushes met with Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale before taking their seats behind the Baylor bench.

Before the game, Bush spoke to a pool reporter about his fan experience.

"Most of all, I was excited to get to say hello to Kim," he said. "I got to know her when they won the national championship and they came to the oval office. She is a dynamic person. She's really one of the country's great coaches."

At the first media timeout, Bush was introduced to the crowd, which gave him a standing ovation. The message board carried the clip of the televison interview where Bush said he was looking forward to relaxing and doing things like attending Lady Bears games.

The Ferrell Center and Baylor campus security along with the Secret Service worked to make sure there were extra precautions taken. The Secret Service parked their SUVs on the concourse inside the Ferrell Center with the doors open, ready to roll at a moment's notice.

Tuesday, Jan. 27

Krause steps down as Kansas State athletic director
This story was posted on the Wichita (Kans.) Eagle's web site Tuesday morning regarding the resignation of Kansas State athletic director Bob Krause:

Kansas State athletic director Bob Krause resigned this morning. The university said Krause would become director of development for the K-State Olathe Innovation Campus effective March 31.

Krause, who spent 21 years as vice president for institutional advancement, was athletic director for 11 months.

In a statement released by KSU sports information, Krause said, “For almost a year now, I have worked with the athletics department since this has been a high priority for the university as it makes a transition of leadership in the president’s office. I believe the department is in very good shape.”

Associate athletic director Jim Epps will be interim AD from March 31 until a new university president hires a new AD.

Krause, 63, who was vice president for institutional advancement for 21 years, took over as athletic director in February 2008 after the resignation of Tim Weiser, who left to become deputy commissioner of the Big 12 Conference.

Last week, details of a consulting agreement between K-State and Weiser were released. Weiser will receive $1.9 million from K-State over five years and may return in a teaching role to the university anytime past 2014.

Krause’s most notable act as athletic director was offering a contract extension and larger buyout for football coach Ron Prince, who was fired four months later. The larger buyout cost K-State $900,000. Krause is paid $295,000 annually, which includes a $75,000 bonus for each year of service completed.

Break through Buffs?
Mike Hugenin of thinks that Colorado will be a team that can break into the top 25 football rankings next season. Here's what Hugenin had to say about the Buffaoloes:

"This will be the fourth season for coach Dan Hawkins. He will be under the gun to produce, and I think his team will come through. The Buffs were ravaged by injuries this season, when they finished 5-7. The 2009 non-conference schedule isn't that tough, and the Buffs get Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska in other words, their main competition in the Big 12 North at home. The biggest concern is at quarterback. Colorado simply has not gotten solid quarterback play the past two seasons. But everything else on offense should be fine, and the defense looks to be good enough for an eight- or nine-win season."

Super Bowl representatives
Here are the Big 12 players on the rosters for the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers, the opponents in Sunday's Super Bowl XLIII:

Arizona Cardinals
Linebacker Monty Beisel, Kansas State
Corner back Ralph Brown, Nebraska
Cener Lyle Sendlein, Texas
Defensive end Antonio Smith, Oklahoma State

Pittsburgh Steelers
Punter              Mitch Berger, Colorado
Nose tackle      Casey Hampton, Texas
Cener               Justin Hartwig, Kansas
Tackle              Tony Hills, Texas
Wide receiver  Limas Sweed, Texas
Punter Daniel   Sepulveda, Baylor (reserve roster)

Three links
Here's an interesting Q and A with Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford that helps explain why he returned for his junior season instead of leaving for the NFL Draft.

ESPN's Research Department has come up with the Prestige Rankings for college football programs. By assigning point values for accomplishments such as national championships, conference titles, Heisman Trophy winners, etc., the analysis ranked Division I-A football programs. Three Big 12 teams finished in the top 10.

The Sporting News ranks the five best coaching jobs so far in college basketball and Oklahoma's Jeff Capel makes the list.

A nice story by USA Today's Marlen Garcia on Oklahoma's Blake Griffin.

Sunday, Jan. 25

Reading Between The Lines?
Former Texas Tech coach Bob Knight apparently isn't interested in talking about Big 12 basketball.

ESPN's College GameDay was in South Bend, Ind., for Saturday night's Connecticut-Notre Dame contest.  During the 60-minute pregame show, host Rece Davis was narrating highlights about Kansas' 82-67 victory at Iowa State that included a 42-point effort by the Cyclones' Craig Brackins.

Knight, one of the four analysts, took the opporunity during the highlights package to talk about ... Butler. "Yeah, I don't care about that," Knight said. "The team I'd like to talk about is Butler. ... That's a team we have not given enough recognition to. These guys (analysts Hubert Davis, Digger Phelps and Jay Bilas) can talk about Kansas and whoever the hell they want."

Thursday, Jan. 22

Oklahoma-Miami moved to Oct. 3
Oklahoma has completed its 2009 schedule by moving its non-conference game at Miami (Fla.) to Oct. 3. The move was necessitated by a scheduling conflict at Dolphin Stadium, the Hurricanes' home field. The Sooners will have their open date on Sept. 26 and will face eight teams that played in bowls last season.

Oklahoma's 2009 schedule

Sept. 5  BYU (Arlington, Texas) 
Sept. 12 Idaho State 
Sept. 19  Tulsa 
Oct. 3 at Miami (Fla.)
Oct. 10 Baylor 
Oct. 17 Texas (Dallas) 
Oct. 24  at Kansas 
Oct.  31 Kansas State 
Nov. 7  at Nebraska
Nov. 14  Texas A&M 
Nov. 21  at Texas Tech 
Nov. 28  Oklahoma State 

Click and read
Dana O'Neil of has this wonderful read about the family of Texas A&M senior Josh Cater.

The Topeka Capital-Journal delves into a costly rift into the Kansas State's athletic department about who was and is in charge.

Two profiles on Texas Tech coach Mike Leach: This one by Bruce Feldman in ESPN The Magazine and this one in Texas Lawyer magazine.

Stewart Mandel of offers an early look at his top 25 for the 2009 college football season. He has three Big 12 teams ranked in the top six.

Oklahoma State completed its football staff restructuring by hiring Bill Young as defensive coordinator. Young was the defensive coordinator at Kansas in 2007 before spending last season in the same role at Miami (Fla.)

Sunday, Jan. 16

NCAA President Myles Brand has pancreatic cancer
Myles Brand, who has been the NCAA President since 2003, announced in a written statement that he has pancreatic cancer and that his long-term prognosis was “not good.”

The 66-year-old Brand was unable to attend last week's NCAA Convention in Oxon Hill, Md. The NCAA said Brand was absent due to health reasons. The annual "state of the NCAA" address given by the president at each convention was delivered by Wally Renfro, one of the organization’s vice presidents. Renfro said Brand would remain in charge with no change in duties.

“I am currently undergoing chemotherapy, and I am receiving excellent care” Brand said in the statement. “I will know in the next several months the success of this treatment.”

Big 12 officiating boss working NFC game
Walt Anderson, the Big 12's supervisor of officiating, is the referee of the crew that is calling Sunday's National Football Conference championship game between Philadelphia and Arizona.

Friday, Jan. 16

OU's Griffin a Jay Bilas mid-season All-American's Jay Bilas selected his mid-season All-American team. Oklahoma's Blake Griffin was a first-team selection. Here's what Bilas had to say about the Sooner sophomore.

Blake Griffin, Oklahoma: The best frontcourt player in the country, Griffin is leading the nation in rebounding and leads the Big 12 in scoring and field goal percentage. Griffin takes a pounding in the post, but delivers more haymakers than he takes. He is averaging 22.4 points, 13.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.5 blocks while shooting 64 percent from the floor, 60 percent from 3 (3 of 5), but only 60 percent from the free-throw line. Griffin is the best combination of power and skill in the country, and no big man has played better.

J'Covan Brown still ineligible
J’Covan Brown, who when he signed with Texas was considered a possible backcourt contributor as a freshman, has failed to qualify academically for the spring semester.

Brown, who is from Port Arthur, Texas, failed to qualify academically for the fall semester. Considering that the Longhorns have four perimeter players who will join the team next season, Brown's future with UT is uncertain.

Friday links
Jason King of Yahoo!Sports writes that Jeff Capel is proving that he was the right choice to be the Sooners' coach.

Former Baylor star David Wesley, who played in the NBA for 14 seasons, has returned to school to earn his degree. He's serving as basketball manager for the Bears.

Former Oklahoma State coach Sean Sutton tells the Tulsa World that he is anxious to return to coaching and hopes to land a job next season.

Going and staying
The list of Big 12 football underclassmen who have announced they're returning to play in 2009 or have declared themselves eligible for the 2009 NFL Draft.

Michael Crabtree, wide receiver           Texas Tech
Josh Freeman, quarterback                  Kansas State
Jeremy Maclin, wide receiver               Missouri
Brandon Williams, defensive end          Texas Tech

Sam Bradford, quarterback                  Oklahoma
Jermaine Gresham, tight end                Oklahoma
Trent Williams, offensive tackle            Oklahoma
Gerald McCoy, defensive tackle           Oklahoma
Colt McCoy, quarterback                      Texas
Sergio Kindle, linebacker                      Texas
Russell Okung, offensive tackle           Oklahoma State
Ndamukong Suh, defensive tackle       Nebraska

Tuesday, Jan. 13

Hot links
Oklahoma freshman guard Willie Warren gets and the Q and A treatment from's Luke Winn.

Texas A&M quarterback Stephen McGee, who will play in the East-West Shrine Game Saturday in Houston, has been invited to the NFL Combine next month in Indianapolis. Aggies coach Mike Sherman went to bat to help McGee land the invitation.

Colorado coach Jeff Bzdelik is disappointed with his team's rebounding.

If you can't wait for the 2009 football season, here's one writer's early predictions for the Big 12.
Here's a look at the Waco Tribune-Herald's all-time Baylor football team, as selected by writer Brice Cherry. 

Monday, Jan. 12

News and notes
* Oklahoma gymnast Hollie Vise thought she was finished with gymnastics when an injury kept her from making the 2004 United States Olympic team. Vise, though, has rekindled her love for the sport and is a top competitor on the Sooners' squad.

* Mike Hugenin of gazes into his crystal ball and believes that veteran quarterbacks will be the key to the national championship race in 2009.

* The Dallas Morning News reports that Dallas Cowboys linebackers coach Reggie Herring interviewed Sunday with Oklahoma State. The Stillwater Cowboys are looking for a new defensive coordinator. Herring has been with the NFL team since last February. From 2005-07 he was Arkansas' defensive coordinator and was the interim head coach for the Razrobacks in the 2008 Cotton Bowl.

* Tyree Graham, who had played as one of the first guards off the bench for Texas Tech this season, has left the team to return home to Durham, N.C. Graham told coach Pat Knight that he had issues to take care of at home. Here's the story in the Lubbock Avalanche Journal.

Sunday, Jan. 11

Now it can be told
Turns out that two key players for Big 12 teams had undisclosed injuries going into their bowl games.

Matt Doyle of the Tulsa World reports that Oklahoma State sophomore running back Kendall Hunter had arthroscopic knee surgery after the Cowboys lost to Oklahoma in the season finale. In Oklahoma State's 42-31 loss to Oregon in the Holiday Bowl, Hunter had 13 carries for 37 yards. Hunter's injury coupled with an in-game injuries to receiver Dez Bryant and quarterback Zac Robinson hampered the Cowboys' offense.

Dave Matter of the Columbia Daily Tribune reports that Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel sprained a ligament at the base of his the thumb on his throwing hand. It's uncertain when the injury occurred; Daniel said he thought it happened some time during the last four games. Missouri trainer Rex Sharp said Daniel was injured in the Big 12 Dr Pepper Championship game. Seven of Daniel’s 18 interceptions came in the final three games but Daniel didn't blame his mistakes on the injury.

Thursday, Jan. 8

Terrible TV
Fox has no business televising college football. The fans in Dolphin Stadium got better and more timely replays than those watching at home.

How do I know this? My view from the press box prevented me from seeing the replay board but I could hear the fans yelling when a replay was shown. Most of the time, Fox was either showing former Florida quarterback Chris Leak standing by himself on the Gators' sideline or quickly switching to a commercial.

Twice a Florida player was hurt and Fox used the break to go to a commerical. The second time, Florida fans were screaming in anger when the stadium replay showed Percy Harvin's ankle being yanked by Oklahoma's Nic Harris. Fox was showing a promo for "24."

Opportunity knocks, Sooners not home
Halftime of the BCS National Championship Game and it's a 7-all tie. Oklahoma, the nation's top red zone (inside the 20) team, was 76-of-80 in the red zone - 69 touchdowns, seven field goals.

The Sooners twice had red zone opportunities in the second quarter. Both times OU failed to score. The first drive ended on a fourth-and-one and the second on an interception with three seconds remaining in the half.

The Sooners failed to score in the first quarter for the first time this season and were shut out in a quarter for the first time since playing Texas A&M on Nov. 8.

Oklahoma limited Florida to 213 total yards and twice intercepted quarterback Tim Tebow. The junior quarterback had thrown two interceptions during the entire season. The Gators gained 69 yards rushing but 49 came on one play.

Giving both sides the business
Ron Cherry, the referee for the Atlantic Coast Conference crew working the BCS National Championship game, is famous for his description of a call during an ACC game. Describing a penalty call on his microphone, Cherry said the player "was giving him the business."

So far, the crew working the game is giving both teams the business. Cherry three times has said things when his microphone was live. He announced a review of an incomplete pass then corrected that by saying there was a correction on the game clock. A timeout was called, originally charged to Florida, then charged to ... neither team. The crew also failed to call a second consecutive false start on Florida because they said the clock expired.

And on Florida's first touchdown - a bang-bang play at the goal line that appeared to cry out for instant replay - replay official Ted Jackson was asleep at the switch and failed to call for a replay review.

Florida receiver Louis Murphy, who scored the Gators' TD that wasn't reviewed, made a clutch catch for a first down. He jumped up and signalled first down. Nothing special. The refs flagged him for excessive celebration. The zebras are missing a good game.

Four Big 12 players named freshmen All-Americans
Kansas State defensive end Brandon Harold, Oklahoma linebacker Travis Lewis, Texas safety Earl Thomas and Iowa State kick returner Leonard Johnson were named to the Football Writers Association of America announced Thursday. No other conference had more than the four Big 12 players that were named to the team.

Wednesday, Jan. 7

A case of premature celebration?
The photo accomanying this post was taken by someone who works at the airport in Tulsa, Okla., snapped this picture. The sign displaying Oklahoma national championship stuff was being displayed on Tuesday, two days before the Sooners face Florida in the BCS National Championship game. Any bets on whether or not copies of this picture will be placed in each Gator's locker at Dolphin Stadium?

Opposite sides
When it comes to the Texas-Oklahoma rivalry, the heat is rarely this intense. Considering how the tiebreaker in the Big 12 South put the Sooners (who by the way lost to the Longhorns, 45-35) in position to win the national championship, the emotions are high.

Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables said that he wasted "good running time" by watching the Texas-Ohio State game in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

"I stayed up way too late," Venables said. "And I just can't root for them. You want your rival to be down and stay down."

Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp apparently feels the same way Venables does. Muschamp told the Dallas Morning News that he won't be cheering for Oklahoma to beat Florida in the BCS National Championship Game Thursday night.

"I'm not rooting for them," Muschamp said. "I might watch the game but I'm not rooting, I guarantee you that."

Flip your calendars or fire up your Palm Pilots and note the date of Oct. 17. That's when Texas and Oklahoma hold their annual Red River Rivalry game in Dallas.

Tuna's suprise
The media golf outing Tuesday - yeah, yeah, I know, it's a tough life - was held at Grande Oaks Golf Club in Davie, Fla. The course happens to be the location where much of the Caddyshack moview was filmed.

It's a high-toned track and one of its members is Bill Parcells, The Big Boss of the Miami Dolphins. Parcells arrived in his black Cadillac Tuesday morning and wished to golf. He was turned away because the media was out divoting up the course.

He probably headed back to his office and cut a backup left tackle out of frustration.

Escort service
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and Florida coach Urban Meyer arrived at the media hotel Wednesday morning to provide their final pre-game thoughts on Thursday night's BCS National Championship game.

Both coaches were escorted by two security men who definitely get their suits at Big And Tall outlets. They were large and in charge, they were Secret Service-level serious. I almost wondered if they would "take a question" for their coach if someone lunged forward with a tape recorder.

When Meyer needed to use a restroom, his two escorts made quick work of clearing a path through the puny media types who were clogging the way.

Tuesday, Jan. 6

It's not one coach, one vote
It wasn't surprising when Texas coach Mack Brown stood on a platform on the field at the University of Phoenix Stadium and declared he planned to vote the Longhorns No. 1 in the final coaches' poll.

But it doesn't matter. When the Bowl Championship Series debuted in 1998, the American Football Coaches Association, as part of its agreement to be part of the BCS formula, declared that its final poll would list the winner of the BCS title game at No. 1. Coaches who vote in the final poll are asked to rank teams No. 2 through No. 25.

The Longhorns finished 12-1 with their 24-21 Fiesta Bowl victory over Ohio State Monday night. They defeated Oklahoma, which plays for the BCS title Thursday night.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, whose team finished 13-0, is also a voter in the coaches' poll. He said he would vote the Utes No. 1.

"This poll is not, since 1998, to select the national champion," AFCA executive director Grant Teaff said of the final poll. "The winner of the (BCS championship) game is the winner of the (BCS) trophy, which means the coaches do not vote for No. 1, they vote for No. 2 down."

Doug Gottlieb's take
ESPN college basketball analyst (and former Oklahoma State point guard) Doug Gottlieb assessed the six BCS conferences on Here are this thoughts on the Big 12:

What we think
Barring a trade for a point guard, Texas looks very tough, but not elite. Kansas should only get better. Mizzou has the best one-two punch inside, but their erratic guard play and substitution pattern may do the Tigers in. Oklahoma defends and shoots the 3, but its point guards are not able to break pressure, break an opponent down or break the rhythm of really talented guards. Oklahoma State will shoot a lot of 3-pointers and has five really good players, but none are inside scorers. Baylor is talented and better inside at both ends.

What we know
That four teams will dance for sure: Oklahoma, Texas, Baylor and Kansas. The schools that make up the North Division in football are weaker than the South in hoops as well. Don't believe me? How about the same night Iowa State lost at home to South Dakota State, Nebraska lost at home to Maryland-Baltimore County?

What we wonder
* Can Missouri use its advantageous Big 12 schedule to go dancing?
* Who will Oklahoma State shoot out of Gallagher-Iba Arena?
* Will Baylor beat Oklahoma?
* Can Willie Warren really be the point guard that allows OU to go big? How does A&M coach Mark Turgeon do in year two of Big 12 play?
* Is former JUCO All-American Mario Little as good as Kansas believes he is? What becomes of Kansas State in the post-Michael Beasley era?

OU vs. BYU in Dallas Cowboys new stadium
ESPN announced Tuesday that, as part of a new five-year agreement with the Dallas Cowboys, it will televise Oklahoma vs. BYU on Sept. 5 in the Cowboys' new stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The season opener for both the Sooners and the Cougars will be on Labor Day weekend in prime time. It will be part of ESPN Kickoff Week Presented by Gillette, which will feature extensive college football content across multiple ESPN outlets during the first week of the season.

“We are excited to host such strong traditional college football programs as those at the University of Oklahoma and Brigham Young University in our first-ever college football game at our new stadium,” Dallas Cowboys Owner and General Manager Jerry Jones said in a statement distributed by ESPN. “I don’t think there is a better place than Texas to celebrate the kickoff of the 2009 college football season, and I don’t think you will find a better stadium for watching that football action than our new home in Arlington.”

Hot links's Ivan Maisel and Pat Forde provide wonderful reads on Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford and Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.

USA Today offers an interesting tale of the tape comparing the Big 12 with the Southeastern Conference.

Tom Dienhart of writes in his Whispers column about where former Kansas State coach Ron Prince might wind up and possible candidates for the defensive coordinator job at Oklahoma State. 

Sunday, Jan. 4

News to note
* Texas sophomore quarterback John Chiles won't transfer after being assured he'll remain at quarterback. Coach Mack Brown issued a statement Sunday that said, "John is fully committed to being a quarterback, he's really worked hard and is getting better every day. He will not be playing other positions and will focus solely on being a quarterback." Early this season, the Longhorns coaching staff experimented with ways to work Chiles in as a running back and wide receiver but the experiment failed.

* Former Iowa State coach and new Auburn coach Gene Chizik is raiding Oklahoma State's staff. Chizik received permission to interview Cowboys assistant Trooper Taylor after hiring Oklahoma State's Curtis Luper as the Tigers' running backs coach.

New Year's links
OK, so you're probably back at work, starting another year after a four-day holiday weekend. Maybe it's a little hard to get the nose back on the grindstone. Here are some links that will keep you idle. Make sure the boss doesn't find out.

Texas Tech coach Mike Leach was the subject of a segment on "60 Minutes" Sunday. The link includes  a text version of the segment plus a link to the video.

Texas quarterback and Heisman Trophy runnerup Colt McCoy, who will lead the Longhorns' offense i Monday night's Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State, likes to keep things simple.

Olin Buchanan, the senior college football writer for, breaks down the Fiesta Bowl.

Over the last 15 months, 13 Colorado players have ran afoul of the law. Buffs coach Dan Hawkins vows to crack down and he is instituting measures to hold players accountable.

New Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads made a savvy hire by snagging Rice's Tom Herman to be the Cyclones' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. The Owls finished 10-3 and averaged 41.3 points and 470.9 yards per game.

Friday, Jan. 2

Just before kickoff
* Former Baylor coach and current American Football Coaches Association executive director Grant Teaff gave the invocation.
* An online vote of fans determined the greatest moment in the 73 years of the Cotton Bowl at its namesake stadium. The winner? The Bench Tackle. In the 1954 Cotton Bowl, Alabama fullback Tommy Lewis came off the Crimson Tide sideline to tackle Rice running back Dickie Maegle, who was on his way to a sure touchdown. Maegle was awarded a 95-yard touchdown run.

Greetings from Fair Park
After 73 games, today's Texas Tech-Ole Miss Cotton Bowl will be the final game in the Cotton Bowl Stadium (aka The House That Doak Built; young folks, Google Doak Walker). The city of Dallas has expanded the facility to seat approximately 92,000. Ironically, there should be a record crowd in the last hurrah before the Cotton Bowl moves to the new Dallas Cowboys stadium.

Here are some pre-game notes and observations:

* About three hours before the game, Fair Park in South Dallas was shrouded in London-quality fog. By 10:30 a.m., the fog was burning off and by 11 a.m it was all clear. Conditions should be sunny with a temperature in the low 70s.

* As I waited at a traffic light just outside the stadium, I glanced to my left and saw Pat Summerall in the passenger seat of a courtesy car. The legendary announcer is calling the game for Fox Sports.

* For wireless Internet access in the press box, the password was historic and appropriate: sammybaugh. "Slingin'" Sammy Baugh, who passed away on Dec. 17, was TCU's quarterback in the first Cotton Bowl played in 1937.

Thursday, Jan. 1

Baylor to hold service for player's deceased mother
Baylor will hold a memorial service at 3 p.m. Sunday for Shannan Barron, the mother of Baylor Lady Bear basketball player Morghan Medlock. The service will be held at Baylor’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary. Ms. Barron passed away on Friday, Dec. 19 at Little Rock, Ark.

Those wishing to donate should make checks payable to Baylor University and indicate in the memo section that the donation is to the "Medlock Fund." Checks may be sent to: Baylor University Athletics Department, Attn. Medlock Fund, 1500 South University Parks Drive, Waco, TX 76706.

Bilas on Kansas, Baylor
Basketball analyst Jay Bilas offers some thoughts and observations as college basketball moves into 2009. You can read it all here but here are some of his comments on two Big 12 teams. 

Kansas youth movement: Bill Self has a really young team, but Kansas is going to be good before the end of the season. The Jayhawks are not as big or as deep as they were last season, but there is young talent on that roster that will beat a lot of people. The key will be the play of Sherron Collins on the perimeter and Cole Aldrich inside. Aldrich is really good and will only get better and better. He's a tough guy and can shoot really well. Aldrich put up 13 points and 11 rebounds against Temple with the flu, and he is one of only two players in the Big 12 to average a double-double (Blake Griffin is the other). If Marcus and Markieff Morris can toughen up and finish plays, the Jayhawks will be in the thick of the Big 12 race. Brady Morningstar and Tyrel Reed did a great job on Temple star Dionte Christmas, limiting his open looks and forcing him to make one-on-one moves to score, which is not a strength.

Baylor defense: The Bears can really score. With Curtis Jerrells, Tweety Carter, LaceDarius Dunn and Henry Dugat, Baylor can put up points in a hurry. To be an elite team, however, the Bears need to upgrade the defense and become really tough to score upon. One of the new pieces that can help make that happen is freshman Quincy Acy, who brings energy, defensive rebounding and shot-blocking. If Baylor gets a better and tougher defensive identity, this can be a very good team.

New Year's Day notes
* "60 Minutes" might be worth checking out Sunday night on CBS. The news magazine show will have a segment on Texas Tech coach Mike Leach.

* Texas A&M third-ranked women's team moved its record to 11-0 with an 83-51 victory over No. 25 New Mexico Tuesday night in College Station. The Aggies have defeated three ranked teams this season and the margin of victory over the Lobos set a school record for largest against a ranked foe.

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