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September 2008

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. 

Tuesday, Sept. 30

Major props to Texas Tech for its Heisman Trophy web site. With two viable candidates - senior quarterback Graham Harrell and sophomore wide receiver Michael Crabtree - the school went with an election year theme entitled You Choose 2008. Coupled with the View-Master campaign that Missouri cooked up for Chase Daniel, the Big 12 has two memorable and clever promotions in play.

Texas Tech didn't play last Saturday and that created some unusual free time on a weekend for the coaching staff.

Interesting story about how Kansas considered dropping football nearly a century ago.

Kansas State's recent defensive problems might make it difficult for the Wildcats to upset high-powered Texas Tech.

Missouri is favored to win at Nebraska Saturday. If that happens, it will be the first time since 1978 that the Tigers return from Lincoln as winners.

Baylor plays host to top-ranked Oklahoma as first-year coach Art Briles continues to restructure the football culture in Waco.

Monday, Sept. 29

National exposure on Oct. 11
Four Big 12 games will receive national television coverage on Oct. 11 thanks to a unique conversion of cooperation between the conference and its television partners.

ABC announced before the season that it would carry Texas-Oklahoma at 11 a.m. CT in a national telecast. ABC/ESPN and Fox Sports Net agreed to juggle their telecast windows on Oct. 11 to maximize the conference's TV exposure.

That means that ESPN2 will carry Colorado at Kansas at 11:30 a.m. CT and FSN will air Nebraska at Texas Tech at 2 p.m. CT. Fox College Sports will carry Iowa State at Baylor at 6 p.m. CT. The Oklahoma State at Missouri game will be played at 7 p.m. and will air on ESPN or ESPN2. The network decision was announced Sunday.

Sunday, Sept. 28

A television audible for Oct. 11
When the Big 12's Oct. 11 television schedule is announced Monday morning, it will shake out differently than typical Saturdays.

The Texas-Oklahoma game will be televised at 11 a.m. by ABC (that game was scheduled for that time slot before the season). But with the Big 12 having six teams in the top 25, the conference's television partners are looking to maximize the national exposure.

Instead of selecting another Big 12 game for a 2:30 p.m. regional telecast, ABC/ESPN will instead televise a Big 12 game on either ESPN or ESPN2. That will allow Fox Sports Net to televise an afternoon game that will receive more national clearances. ESPN will televise another Big 12 game the night of Oct. 11.

Check back Monday morning at Big12sports.com for the official TV schedule for Oct. 11.


Bill Murray's Longhorn Day
Talk about your Cinderella story ... or cats and dogs living together.

Actor/comedian Bill Murray was in Austin for a film festival. A noted golfer and sports fan, Murray decided to drop by The Forty Acres to see if he could get a tour of Darrell K. Royal/Memorial Stadium. (Actors tend to be able to get affirmative answers to those kinds of requests.)

Here's part of the report posted on the UT football web site:

"We really just wanted to see the stadium, and we thought, ‘Is there just a way we can get in there?’ Then someone took us on a route that rolled through Mack Brown’s office. So I got to sit in a really nice saddle (see picture at right; click to enlarge) that was in there, because Mack wasn’t in there.

"I could have tried on all of his clothes.

"Then Mr. Brown showed up and he couldn’t have been nicer. I’ve always had a great impression of him, not only when he won the championship, everybody can be gracious then, but I’ve always thought he was a good sport. I always thought that really came across – his real essential personality – came across.

"He just really validated that today. He couldn’t have been nicer ... and of course, I get this shirt, this crazy shirt (holding a replica Texas jersey).

"They printed this Texas shirt with my name on it, with Murray as a starter. They got it done in about 90 seconds. I don’t know how. But then we got to go on the field and meet the grounds crew and the greens keeper. And (the stadium) is big. It’s quite a place. It’s really cool."

We'll forgive Murray for referring to the head of UT's grounds crew as the "greens keeper." Maybe he was having a Caddyshack flashback.

OU No. 1, five other Big 12 teams ranked
Oklahoma is No. 1 in both the media and the coaches polls, replacing USC. The Sooners have a a narrow lead over No. 2 Alabama in the media rankings. In the coaches' poll, Oklahoma received 57 of the 61 first-place votes.
Other Big 12 teams ranked in the coaches poll: 3, Missouri; 5, Texas; 8, Texas Tech; 16, Kansas; 22 Oklahoma State. In the media poll: 4, Missouri; 5, Texas; 7, Texas Tech; 16, Kansas; 21, Oklahoma State.
The Big 12 has had six teams ranked in a regular-season media poll on eight other occasions, the most recent the week of Sept. 24, 2002. The conference has had six teams ranked in the regular-season coaches poll seven times; the most recent was Sept. 7, 2003. 

Saturday, Sept. 27

Sympathies to the Slocum family
Mary Lou Slocum, the mother of Texas A&M Hall of Fame football coach R.C. Slocum, passed away late Thursday at a nursing home in Bryan, Texas. She was 88. Visitation will be held at Claybar Funeral Home in Orange, Texas, on Monday, Sept. 29 from 5 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. The funeral services will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 30 at 2 p.m. at the United Pentecostal Church at 3406 Edgar Brown Drive in Orange. The family requests donations be made to the 12th Man Foundation, PO Drawer L-1, College Station, TX  77844-9101. 

Thursday, Sept. 25

USC fails pop 'quiz'
Oregon State pulled off the first huge upset of the 2008 season Thursday night. The Beavers, who came into the game 1-2, stunned top-ranked USC - aka The Best Team In History - 27-21 in Corvallis, Ore.
Freshman running back Jacquizz Rodgers, who is listed as 5-7, darted and danced for 186 yards on 37 carries to lead Oregon State to a 21-0 halftime lead. The Beavers converted a late Mark Sanchez interception into the clinching TD.

Don't play on Thursdays
Sure, it was an upset. But it's not that surprising that Oregon State shocked top-ranked USC. The game was played on a Thusrday night on ESPN.
Since 2006, there have been 15 upsets of ranked teams. A visiting team has been the victim in 14 of those games and 12 of the 15 winners have been unranked.

2008
at Vanderbilt 24,                         No. 24 South Carolina 17
at Colorado 17,                           No. 21 West Virginia 14
at Oregon State 27,                    No. 1 USC 21

2007
at Miami (Fla.) 34,                       No. 20 Texas A&M 17
at No. 11 South Carolina 38,      No. 8 Kentucky 23
at Wake Forest 24,                    No. 21 Florida State 21
at Rutgers 30,                            No. 2 South Florida 27
at Arizona 34,                            No. 2 Oregon 24

2006
BYU 31,                                      at No. 17 TCU 17
at North Carolina State 24,         No. 17 Florida State 20
at Boston College 22,                 No. 22 Virginia Tech 3
at Virginia Tech 24,                    No. 10 Clemson 7
at No. 5 Louisville 44,                 No. 3 West Virginia 34
at No. 15 Rutgers 28,                 No. 3 Louisville 25
at Miami (Fla.) 17,                       No. 18 Boston College 14

Tuesday, Sept. 23

This and that
Cleaning out the computer files that for news and notes from around the Big 12:

* There's a good chance that the Women's Basketball Championship will sell out in advance for the first time. After one week's sales, 1,205 tickets have been sold for the event, which will be held in Oklahoma City. In 2007, the last time the event was held in Oklahoma City, it set a total attendance record of 48,990 and the championship game between Oklahoma and Iowa State had a record crowd of 12,413.

* The November issue of SLAM Magazine has Oklahoma ranked No. 1 in its women's basketball pre-season Top 10. OU is ranked No. 7 by Athlon and No. 10 by Lindy's in those two magazines' pre-season issues.

* Kansas athletic director Lew Perkins finished first in a TIME Magazine poll that listed the best sports executives ... in the world. Perkins is the only college sports administrator to make the list of 35 individuals, which includes team owners, team managers, league commissioners and other executives in the wide, wide world of sports.

* Kansas State basketball coach Frank Martin and Missouri coach Mike Anderson will attend the Coaches vs. Cancer Season Tipoff Reception on Oct. 7. The event will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the College Basketball Experience, which is located adjacent to the Sprint Center in Kansas City. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.kcseasontipoff.org/.

* "Bill Self: At Home In The Phog" is a book about the Kansas basketball coach written by Oklahoman columnist John Rohde. All proceeds from books sales will go the Assists Foundation, which was founded by Self and his wife Cindy. The foundation is to help provide young people access to better lives. The book will be available Oct. 1 and can be purchased at http://www.assistyouth.org/.

* Members of Kansas' men's national championship basketball received their rings at a ceremony Friday. The rings were made by Balfour and cost $299 each.

* When Nebraska's volleyball team hosted LSU at the Devaney Center on Sept. 12, the crowd of 13,412 set a NCAA record for the largest regular-season crowd.

Hot links
One of Oklahoma’s oral commitments has been a football fan all his life. The twist is that for the first 13 years of that life, football meant soccer.  Read more about his story and when he started playing American football five years ago after his family moved to New Braunfels, Texas.

Troy, which beat Oklahoma State 41-23 last season, expects the Cowboys to be fired up for Saturday's rematch in Stillwater. "They want our heads on a platter," Troy running back DuJuan Harris said.

Last season, Missouri used its bye week to make some adjustments on defense that led to a second-half surge. What will the Tigers do with this season's off week?

Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman might be leaning toward using two quarterbacks _ Stephen McGee and Jerrod Johnson _ when McGee's sprained shoulder is healed.

Interesting idea by Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express News. Based on the season thus far, he predicts seven moments where one play could be the decisive factor.

Come early, stay late, spend hours in traffic. That's how it could be in Austin this weekend. Texas' rescheduled game with Arkansas Saturday is on the same weekend as the Austin City Limits Music Festival. The game will draw over 98,000 fans, the festival about 60,000.  

Missouri's Pinkel in the (ESPN) house
With a bye week, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel is saying hello to the ESPN family of networks Tuesday.

Pinkel will be in Bristol, Conn., on the World Wild Leader's "campus." Here's his schedule of appearances (all times Central):

9:50 a.m.: First Take on ESPN2

10:15 a.m.: College Football Digital Media (Jay Soderberg is the contact)

10:30 a.m.: ESPN.com chat.

11:10 a.m.: ESPN Radio with host Colin Cowherd (also carried on ESPNU).

11:30 a.m.: Lunch with Missouri alums.

12:25 p.m.: ESPN Radio with hosts Mike Tirico and Scott Van Pelt.

1 p.m.: Taped segment with College Football.

1:35 p.m.: ESPNews, College Football Overdrive.

Also, Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel will be a guest on "Rome Is Burning." Daniel will appear via satellite from Columbia. That will air at 3:30 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 22

TV bonanza on Oct. 4
There will be Big 12 football games on the air from before noon until nearly midnight on Oct. 4, the first week of conference play. Here's the schedule (all times are CST):

Network      Teams                                  Time
FSN               Oklahoma at Baylor                11:30 a.m.
Versus          Kansas at Iowa state            11:30 a.m.
ABC              Texas Tech at Kansas State   2:30 p.m.
FSN               Texas at Colorado                   6:00 p.m.
ESPN             Missouri at Nebraska               9:00 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18

Click and read

Oklahoma defensive tackle DeMarcus Granger, who injured his left foot against Washington last Saturday, will hope that rehabilitation will get him back on the field. The other option was season-ending surgery.

A year after being named Oklahoma State's starting quarterback in a moved that sparked a YouTube frenzy involving coach Mike Gundy, Zac Robinson said he's comfortable being the leader of the offense.

The Iowa State-UNLV series, which continues Saturday night in Las Vegas, has a short but colorful history.

Gale Sayers, aka The Kansas Comet, will be on hand when Kansas plays host to Sam Houston State Saturday.

When Miami visits Kyle Field to face Texas A&M Saturday, it will match two programs seeking a return to national relevance.

Texas coach Mack Brown is pleased that none of his running backs have fumbled this season and he doesn't care who the main back is as long as the Longhorns are successful gaining yards on the ground.

Thursday, Sept. 18

Final: Colorado 17, West Virginia 14
Aric Goodman's 25-yard field goal gave the Buffs (3-0) an upset of the 21st-ranked Mountaineers in overtime. The Mountaineers moved inside the 10-yard line on their possession but senior Pat McAfee missed a 23-yard field goal that would have given West Virginia a three-point lead and put more pressure on Colorado's possession. McAfee's kick banged off the left upright. 

Linkage
Kansas State's defensive effort against Louisville might have looked familiar to those who watched the Wildcats' meltdown over the last four games of 2007. The players insist what happened Wednesday night was not the same.

Want to read about former Texas coach John Mackovic's take on the proliferation of spread offenses? Click here.

Desmond Conner of the Hartford (Conn.) Courant weighs in on Baylor freshman quarterback Robert Griffin prior to the Bears game with Connecticut Friday night.

Miami's apparent edge in speed could be a big factor when the Hurricanes face Texas A&M Saturday in College Station.

John Rohde of the Oklahoman solicited comments from national writers about a possible USC-Oklahoma national title game.

Texas Tech senior safety Daniel Charbonnet wasn't sure if he would be a starter for the Red Raiders; after three games, he leads Division I-A in interceptions.

The day before Colorado played No. 22 West Virginia, Buffs sophomore quarterback Cody Hawkins was busy ... campaigning on campus. He was helping drum up support for Amendment 58, which would funnel $157 million more per year to scholarships for Colorado students.

Bruce Feldman's crystal ball
ESPN.com senior writer Bruce Feldman's predictions on selected Big 12 games:

West Virginia 30, Colorado 27: The Mountaineers' ground attack really hasn't gotten cranked up yet, but I think it will. However, CU's young line, which also has struggled, should acquit itself fairly well against an inexperienced WVU D that didn't do a very good job of containing ECU. In the end, Pat White will outshine young Cody Hawkins.

Connecticut 27, Baylor 17: This is an interesting matchup featuring two very productive running games. Baylor QB Robert Griffin is one of the most exciting freshmen in the country. He's not as polished as Pat White, but he is faster. And White has dominated the UConn defense the past two years. Expect Griffin and the Baylor backfield to break some big runs, but underrated UConn RB Donald Brown, who has been fantastic in the first month of the season, will prove too much for the Bears' D.

Missouri 52, Buffalo 17: No team's offense has been sharper than the Tigers. Chase Daniel's passes have barely touched the ground. Mizzou probably won't be able to stay quite as hot as it has been the previous three games, but the Tigers still have too many weapons for the improving MAC squad. But don't be surprised if Buffalo's offense provides a few fireworks in the first half.

Texas 55, Rice 14: QB Colt McCoy and the Horns have been impressive early on, and UT has a good history of putting up big numbers against the Owls, breaking the 50-point barrier in each of the last three meetings. Rice's offense isn't bad, but keeping it close in Austin is too much to expect.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

Final: Louisville 38, Kansas State 29
The Cardinals dominated time of possession and number of plays in handing the Wildcats their first loss of the season. In victories over North Texas and Montana State, Kansas State allowed 396 total yards. Louisville finished with 578 yards total offense and had a 303-30 edge in rushing yards. Freshman running back Victor Anderson, who is from Louisville, had 176 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 18 carries. Wildcats quarterback Josh Freeman passed for three touchdowns but also had two interceptions and lost a fumble on a shotgun snap.

And you are ...?

Listed on the roster at 5 feet, 11 inches - which is stretching the tape measure to the breaking point of credulity - Todd Reesing is not a big man on campus. But he is the Energizer Bunny of a quarterback who led Kansas to a 12-1 season in 2007 and continues to keep the Jayhawks in the national picture this season.

Monday afternoon, though, Reesing was Just Another Guy.

The Lawrence Journal-World has an "On The Street" column that features questions of the day and comments from average folks. News reporter Robert Riley was on Massachusetts Avenue Monday asking the question. After getting tepid responses asking about the stock market collapse, Riley he called an audible.

He chose to ask people to react to the Jayhawks' loss at South Florida the previous Friday. Riley first approached an average-looking college student waiting outside a store for friends to finish shopping. Here's how the conversation went:

Riley: "Has the KU football team's recent loss shaken your faith in the team?"

Student: "I sure hope not."

Riley: "Why's that?"

Student: "I'm on the team."

Riley: "What position do you play?"

Student: "I'm the quarterback."

Reesing talked with Journal-World sports columnist Tom Keegan about the brush with anonymity.

"I thought it was more funny than anything," Reesing said with a laugh. "I don't even know what to say. It was a funny thing, though. I was trying not to laugh too hard. (Riley) was pretty cool about it."

As was Reesing.

ESPN.comLink it up
ESPN.com's Pat Forde leads off his must-read "Forde Yard Dash" discussing the Big 12's talented quarterbacks. Forde writes: "These guys are so good they have run other quality quarterbacks out of the league or out of the position. Allan Evridge left Kansas State and is now the starter at Wisconsin, Jevan Snead transferred from Texas and is starting at Mississippi, and Kerry Meier moved to wide receiver last season at Kansas and has excelled there."

Texas Tech center Stephen Hamby explains how quarterback Graham Harrell faked out SMU's secondary SMU on one of Michael Crabtree's touchdown passes.

Thank goodness it's only September or this would be setting off warning bells in Big 12 Country. This week's projected Bowl Championship Series standings by the BCS Guru has USC No. 1 and ... Georgia No. 2. Oklahoma is No. 3, Missouri No. 5. This season's first BCS standings will debut on Oct. 19.

Iowa State has lost its last 12 road games, a streak the Cyclones hope to end when they play at UNLV on Saturday.

All those big scoreboard numbers in the first three weeks? They mean that the Big 12 leads Division I-A in scoring ... by a large margin.

Neill Woelk of the Boulder Daily Camera writes that playing a team like No. 22 West Virginia is good for Colorado but a victory would be better.

Missouri tied a school record by scoring 69 points Saturday against Nevada but coach Gary Pinkel says the Tigers were not running up the score.

Buffalo coach Turner Gill, the former Nebraska quarterback who went 3-0 as a starter against the Tigers, is familiar with playing Missouri in Columbia.

Baylor coach Art Briles says to be a good team you have to be "tough" on the road. The Bears' first trip of the season takes them to Connecticut to play the 3-0 Huskies.

Kansas coach Mark Mangino says the Jayhawks need to find ways to boost the production of their running game.

Tuesday, Sept. 16

Daniel expands lead in Heisman poll
Missouri's Chase Daniel is on top of a Heisman Trophy straw poll for the second consecutive week. And his lead is expanding.

This week's HeismanPundit.com/Orlando Sentinel Heisman Poll has Daniel in first place with 44 points and four of the 10 first-place votes. USC quarterback Mark Sanchez _ who is one of Daniel's good friends _ vaulted into second place with 30 points and four first-place votes.

Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, who won the Heisman last year, dropped to third. He has 28 points and three first-place vote.

Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford is fourth and Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree is seventh. Missouri receiver/returner Jeremy Maclin is in a four-way tie for eighth.

The Heismanpundit web site and the Florida newspaper are conducting a weekly poll of 10 Heisman Trophy voters. They list their top five candidates. Each first-place vote receives five points, second-place four points, etc.

Click, read
Tales of Hurricane Ike: Texas players and coaches relate how the weekend weather disaster impacted them.

Steve Weiberg of USA Today digs into some of the huge numbers being posted by Big 12 quarterbacks.

Kansas State running backs spend time studying their offensive line's zone blocking schemes to improve their ability to find running room.

Iowa State coach Gene Chizik is stressing that the upset of Arizona State by UNLV, the Cyclones' opponent Saturday night, was not a fluke.

Kansas fans who attended Friday night's game in Tampa against South Florida say the home team's fans were less than hospitable.

Texas coach Mack Brown, whose team has had success running the ball in its recent games with Rice, says it's fine to have a crowded backfield.

The opposing view
Links to stories about some of the Big 12's opponents this week:

The secondary coach for Miami (Fla.), which plays at Texas A&M Saturday, is a a former second lieutenant in the Army Reserve who commands respect from his players.

Rice, which visits Texas Saturday, played at Vanderbilt Saturday and because of Hurricane Ike stayed in Nashville through Monday.

West Virginia coach Bill Stewart on Colorado, his team's opponent Thursday night: "They make plays and they're fun to watch if you don't play them, if you know what I mean."

Louisville's defense is concentrating on how to stop Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman.

Monday, Sept. 15

Daniel, Bradford top SI.com's Heisman list
SI.com's weekly Hesman Trophy watch list has Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel at No. 1 and Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford is No. 2. Jeremy Maclin, the Tigers' sophomore receiver/returner, is No. 5 and Texas Tech sophomore receiver Michael Crabtree is No. 8 on the 10-player list.

ABC twin bill for Big 12
For Saturday, Sept. 27, ABC announced Monday it will televise the Arkansas-Texas game at 2:30 p.m. CST and Virginia Tech at Nebraska at 7 p.m. CST. That same day, Colorado will play at Florida State, a game that will be televised regionally at 2:30 p.m. CST on ABC. In some markets, Colorado-FSU will be seen on ESPN. Texas A&M's game with Army will be televised at 11:30 a.m. at by Versus and TCU at Oklahoma will be televised at 6 p.m. by FSN.

Hot links, served fresh
Texas Tech had its best offensive showing of the season in Saturday's victory over SMU but coach Mike Leach still finds aspects of the attack that need improvement.

Kansas coach Mark Mangino is upset that his wide receivers have a "high school" attitude when it comes to helping out with down-field blocking assignments.

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini had tepid praise for the Cornhuskers after their first two victories. Pelini saw more of what he wants in Saturday's drubbing of New Mexico State. "I'm starting to see the things that we're asking them to do — the consistency, the focus, the right mind-set, the attitude," he said. "I like our approach."

Oklahoma State is on pace to rush for 4,000 yards but coach Mike Gundy says that the offensive line can play better.

If you haven't read enough about the spread offense and how it is dominating the playbooks in the Big 12, here's another explanation of the revolution.

After losing at Iowa Saturday, Iowa State faces another road game when it travels to Sin City to face UNLV - which upset Arizona State Saturday night.

Two Louisville players who participated in a 2006 victory in Manhattan expect a hard-hitting game when the Wildcats visit Papa John's Stadium Wednesday night.

Colorado, which plays host to West Virginia Thursday night, will have to figure out how to block the Mountaineers' quirky 3-3-5 defense.

Freshman quarterback Robert Griffin's electric play-making has Baylor fans fired up.

Sunday, Sept. 14

Polling places
Oklahoma moved from No. 3 to No. 2 in both the media and the coaches' polls released Sunday.
The 3-0 Sooners blasted Washington, 55-14. Coupled with Georgia's hard-fought 14-7 victory at South Carolina, OU vaulted past the Bulldogs to take the No. 2 spot.
Missouri, a 69-17 victory, moved up from No. 6 to No. 5 in both polls.
Texas was idle (its game with Arkansas Saturday was postponed to Sept. 27 because of Hurricane Ike) but still moved up one spot to No. 7.
In the coaches' poll, Texas Tech moved up two spots to No. 10. That gives the Big 12 five teams in the top 10 of the coaches' poll. (The Southeastern Conference has five teams in the top 10 of the media poll.)
Kansas, which dropped a 37-34 decision at South Florida Friday night, dropped to 19 in both polls.
The coaches' poll is one-third of the formula used to determine the Bowl Championship Series standings. The Harris Poll, another one-third of the formula, will make its 2008 season debut on Sept. 28.

Saturday, Sept. 13

ABC announces Miami-Texas A&M game time
ABC will televise Saturday's Miami-Texas A&M game at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. 

One offensive possession into the second half Saturday, these are Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel's passing numbers in his last two games: 35 of 39 for 593 yards and seven touchdowns. Daniel played less than a half last Saturday against Southeast Missouri State so Daniel's numbers are basically for one game.

Nebraska will play Miami (Fla.) in a home-and-home non-conference series. The Hurricanes will play in Lincoln Sept. 20, 2014, and the Huskers will play at Miami on Sept. 12, 2015. Earlier in the week, Nebraska announced it will play Fresno State in 2011, 2014 and 2016. Fresno State will play twice in Lincoln and once at Fresno.

A deluge in Lubbock Thursday swamped the field at Jones AT&T Stadium. The Lubbock Fire Department, along with help from campus groups, worked most of Friday to pump an estimated 800,000 gallons of water out of the stadium and fixing its overwhelmed pump system. Texas Tech plays host to SMU. “I figured we’d get it pumped out,” Tech coach Mike Leach told the Lubbock Avalanche Journal. “It was kind of amazing how much water we had in there.”

Friday, Sept. 12

Final: Baylor 45, Washington State 17
Freshman quarterback Robert Griffin, in his first start against a Division I-A team, had 346 yards in total offense as the Bears dominated the Cougars in a game rescheduled from Saturday because of Hurricane Ike. Griffin completed seven of 15 passes for 129 yards. He also had a game-high 217 yards rushing on only 11 carries. Baylor had 426 yards rushing and 555 yards in total offense.

Final: South Florida 37, Kansas 34
Freshman kicker Maikon Bonani, in his first college game, made a 43-yard field goal as time ran out to give the 19th-ranked Bulls the victory. The kick, which barely slipped inisde the right upright, ruined an inspired comeback by the 13th-ranked Jayhawks, who trailed by 14 points in the fourth quarter. Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing, who perhaps got too greedy with a deep pass, was intercepted by South Florida's Nate Allen and returned it to put the Bulls into field goal range.

What rain? What water?
Texas Tech went through with its usual Thursday night scrimmage even though a day-long deluge had turned parts of Lubbock into wading pools.

Kansas State basketball players gain perspective
Coach Frank Martin's players were up early on Thursday. On the seventh anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, Kansas State's basketball team arrived at Fort Riley, which is a few miles from campus, at 7 a.m. The players experienced some of what it's like to be a soldier. Martin organized the field trip so that his players could gain a greater understanding of what soldiers endure and to gain a perspective on how their problems compare to those serving our country.

Texas pondered several options
Texas considered playing its game with Arkansas on Friday or moving it to Dallas and the Cotton Bowl on Saturday. In the end, with Hurricane Ike the deciding factor, UT decided to postpone the game until Sept. 27.

“We spent a tough week (weighing the options),” athletic director DeLoss Dodds told the Austin Longhorn Club. “We wanted to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.”

That decision upset some Longhorns players who were anxious to play. Also, it makes Texas' schedule tougher. Instead of an open week before Big 12 play starts on Oct. 4, the Longhorns will play nine consecutive Saturdays.

"We've just got to manage it and handle it," coach Mack Brown told reporters on Thursday. "The thing that we will explain to the players today is - how selfish of us to feel sorry ourselves that we don't get to play. There are a lot of people this weekend that have got a lot more problems than we have, and we need to pray for them."

Crystal ball
Here's what Bruce Feldman of ESPN.com predicts for some of this weekend's Big 12 games:

USF 24, Kansas 17: KU has surrendered only 10 points in two games, but Matt Grothe and the USF attack are a big step up from the Jayhawks' first two opponents, Florida International and Louisiana Tech. Then again, KU's Todd Reesing is more of a threat than the UCF bunch that took the Bulls to OT this past Saturday. Expect USF's speed on the edges of its D to force some mistakes and be the difference. That, and a spirited home-field edge.

Mizzou 38, Nevada 14: The return of safety William Moore to the Tigers' defense will be a huge boost. In addition, Nevada's stacked backfield took a hit when the Pack's Luke Lippincott was lost for the season with an ACL injury this past weekend. Nevada's D did give Texas Tech's passing game some troubles, but the Tigers' ground game should be more of an answer.

Texas Tech 59, SMU 17: Graham Harrell wasn't sharp this past weekend, but SMU's defense isn't as good as Nevada's. The Mustangs gave up 465 yards to a Texas State offense that has nowhere near as much firepower as Tech.

Oklahoma 45, Washington 14: Jake Locker's team battled hard against a good BYU team, but the letdown and the haze from all the talk about last week's celebration penalty will be too tough for the Huskies to overcome as a loaded OU team comes to town.

Wednesday, Sept. 10

Hurricane Ike postpones Arkansas-Texas
Saturday's Arkansas at Texas game has been postponed until Sept. 27 because of Hurricane Ike.

“We have been monitoring this situation since Sunday and, at this time, feel confident this is the right thing to do,” Texas athletics director DeLoss Dodds said in a statement. “A football game becomes less important when you are dealing with the safety of the people of Texas.”

The hurricane is forecast to hit the Texas coast some time this weekend. Forecasters say that the storm could be a Category 3 to a Category 4 when it reaches land fall.

No kickoff time or television coverage has been determined. Both schools had an off week so rescheduling the game was relatively simple.

Finding hotel rooms in Austin that weekend could be more difficult. The Austin City Limits music festival start Friday, Sept. 26 and runs through Sunday, Sept. 28.

UT keeps eye on Hurricane Ike
As Hurricane Ike makes its way across the Gulf of Mexico and heads toward the state of Texas, University of Texas officials are making contingency plans regarding Saturday afternoon's Arkansas-Texas game in Austin.

The game's status could depend on what government officials decide. Highways in Central Texas that would be carrying game-day traffic might be commandeered for evacuation routes. Also, the UT campus could be used to house evacuees.

Both Arkansas and Texas have an open date on Sept. 27 so the game could be moved to that date. However, that's the same date as the Austin City Limits music festival so finding hotel rooms in Austin could be difficult.

Missouri's Chase Daniel tops Heisman poll
Missouri's Chase Daniel, who played less than a half in Missouri's demolition of Southeast Missouri State, moved to the head of the class in a Heisman Trophy straw poll.

This week's HeismanPundit.com/Orlando Sentinel Heisman Poll has Daniel in first place with 42 points and four first-place votes. He replaced Florida junior quarterback Tim Tebow, who dropped to second place with 38 points and five first-place votes.

The Heismanpundit web site and the Florida newspaper are conducting a weekly poll of 10 Heisman Trophy voters. They list their top five candidates. Each first-place vote receives five points, second-place four points, etc.

Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford was fourth in the voting. Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree was in a three-way tie for 10th. 

Linking up
A great read in the Tulsa World about Oklahoma senior safety Nic Harris. He overcame a difficult childhood _ born to teenage parents who turned him over to relatives _ Harris is a three-year starter on course to graduate.

Kansas coach Mark Mangino says Friday's game at South Florida isn't a make or break game. Some of his players don't agree with that assessment.

Oklahoma State had a perfectly balanced offense last season - 3,161 yards rushing and 3,161 yards passing. The Cowboys again are producing in near-equal amounts on the ground and through the air.

Baylor coach Art Briles says his team won't have any difficulty being prepared to face Washington State, a team coming off a 66-3 loss to California.

New Mexico State, which opens its hurricane-delayed season at Nebraska Saturday, has an unorthodox defense to go along with its spread-it-and-pass-it offense. New Aggies' defensive coordinator Joe Lee Dunn uses a 3-3-5 alignment.

Oklahoma has been impressive in its two victories and is expected to easily win at Washington Saturday. But under Bob Stoops, the Sooners are 27-11 on opponents' home field and have lost their last two games at Pacific-10 Conference schools.

Tuesday, Sept. 9

Hot links
The state of Oklahoma (and Oklahoma City) now has Seattle's NBA team. The city's college football team - the University of Washington - will try to take a measure of revenge against Oklahoma.

Texas Tech's defense made a statement with its effort in Saturday night's victory at Nevada.

Kansas senior linebacker Joe Mortensen was planning on signing a letter of intent with Nebraska in 2003. But then the Cornhuskers pulled their offer on signing day and Mortensen wound up playing for the Jayhawks.

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel explains why he decided to play freshman quarterback Blaine Gabbert against Southeast Missouri State. Senior Chase Patton and Gabbert will basically share the backup role behind Chase Daniel.

Even with a 2-0 start, Iowa State coach Gene Chizik isn't pleased with his running game's lack of production.

Ron Higgins of the Memphis Commerical Appeal says that Mississippi quarterback Jevan Snead, who started his career at Texas, is already the third-best quarterback in the Southeastern Conference.

Monday, Sept. 8

Week Four offers TV bonanza
ABC is using one of three six-day selection opportunities in regards to televising games on Sept. 20. The network has advised the Big 12 that it will televise Miami (Fla.) at Texas A&M on Sept. 20 but it will not announced the game time until this Sunday. The game will either be at 2:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. on Sept. 20.
Week Four of the season will be TV week for the Big 12. Seven conference games will be televised from Wednesday through Saturday. Next week's TV schedule:

Sept 17
ESPN2 - Kansas State at Louisville, 7 p.m.

Sept. 18
ESPN - West Virginia at Colorado, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 19
ESPN2 - Baylor at Connecticut, 7 p.m.

Sept. 20

ABC – Miami (Fla.) at Texas A&M, 2:30 p.m., or 7 p.m.
FSN – Rice at Texas, 6 p.m.
FCS – Sam Houston State at Kansas, 6 p.m.
The Mountain - Iowa State at UNLV, 8 p.m.

ABC to televise Miami-Texas A&M game
ABC is using one of three six-day selection opportunities in regards to televising games on Sept. 20. The network has advised the Big 12 that it will televise Miami (Fla.) at Texas A&M on Sept. 20 but it will not announced the game time until this Sunday. The game will either be at 2:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. on Sept. 20.
Check back for updates regarding telecasts of other Big 12 games on Sept. 20.

Sunday, Sept. 7

Big 12 teams move up in poll
The Big 12 has five of the top 12 teams in this week's coaches' poll. Oklahoma moved up to No. 3, Missouri moved up to No. 6, Texas was up to No. 8, Kansas is No. 11 and Texas Tech is No. 12. Nebraska, Oklahoma State and Colorado also are receiving votes. The coaches' poll is one-third of the formula used by the Bowl Championship Series to determine the two teams in the national title game.

Kansas' Kendrick Harper released from hospital
Kansas cornerback Kendrick Harper, who was injured in the first quarter of Saturday night's game with Louisiana Tec, was released from the hospital Sunday. He had been taken off the field on a stretcher after suffering an apparent neck injury.

"He underwent a battery of tests and everything seems to be fine and he feels a lot better," Kansas coach Mark Mangino said in a statement Sunday. "I am glad he is doing well, and that is the main thing. We will discuss football stuff when he comes over."

Nebraska's Barry Turner breaks leg
Barry Turner, a senior defensive end, suffered a broken bone in his left leg early in Nebraska's 35-12 victory over San Jose State Saturday. It appears he'll be out for the rest of the season.

"It looks like it, which is unfortunate for him, unfortunate for us, but I'm more concerned about him right now," Nebraska coach Bo Pelini told the Lincoln Journal-Star. "But we move on. It's part of the deal."

Pierre Allen, a sophomore who played well in Turner's absence Saturday, probably will take over as the starter.

Turner would be a likely candidate for a medical hardship year, which could allow him to return for a fifth season at Nebraska.

Oklahoma State's Dez Bryant honored
Oklahoma State sophomore wide receiver Dez Bryant was named the Walter Camp Foundation’s National Offensive Player of the Week honor.
Bryant's production sparked the Cowboys' 56-37 victory over Houston Saturday night Stillwater. He caught nine passes for 236 yards and three touchdowns. Bryant also returned a punt 74 yards for a TD. He finished with 311 all-purpose yards. 

Saturday, Sept. 6

A Kansas letter man
Darnell Jackson had one of his dreams come true when he signed a three-year guaranteed contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Another of his dreams came true when he helped Kansas win the 2008 men's basketball national championship. Jackson wrote a letter of appreciation to Jayhawks fans for their support during his sometimes-rocky five years in Lawrence. 

Friday, Sept. 5

Women's hoops on FSN
A total of 19 regular-season games plus seven seven Phillips 66 Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championship matchups will be televised on FSN's women's basketball telecast schedule for the upcoming sesaon. Two non-conference games are on the schedule with the rest of the regular-season games conference contests.

The schedule:

Sunday, Dec. 14 Tennessee at Texas 1:00 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 28 Arizona State at Nebraska 12:00 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 10 Oklahoma State at Iowa State 3:00 p.m.

Sunday, Jan. 18 Texas A&M at Oklahoma 3:00 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 24 Kansas State at Kansas 11:00 a.m.

Saturday, Jan. 24 Baylor at Texas Tech 1:00 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 24 Iowa State at Nebraska 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, Jan. 25 Texas at Oklahoma 12:00 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 31 Nebraska at Colorado 2:00 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 1 Texas at Baylor 3:00 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 7 Kansas State at Baylor 11:00 a.m.

Saturday, Feb. 7 Kansas at Missouri 1:00 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 8 Oklahoma at Oklahoma State 12:30 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 14 Texas Tech at Nebraska 12:00 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 21 Texas at Texas A&M 11:00 a.m.

Sunday, Feb. 22 Iowa State at Kansas 12:00 p.m.

Sunday, March 1 Texas A&M at Kansas State 12:00 p.m.

Thursday, March 5 Oklahoma State at Texas A&M 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, March 8 Oklahoma at Texas 2:30 p.m.

Friday, March 13 Big 12 Championship Quarterfinal 1 11:00 a.m.

Friday, March 13 Big 12 Championship Quarterfinal 2 1:30 p.m.

Friday, March 13 Big 12 Championship Quarterfinal 3 5:00 p.m.

Friday, March 13 Big 12 Championship Quarterfinal 4 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 14 Big 12 Championship Semifinal 1 12:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 14 Big 12 Championship Semifinal 2 2:30 p.m.

Sunday, March 15 Big 12 Championship Final 12:30 p.m.

Injury updates
• The Columbia Daily Tribune's Dave Matter reports that Missouri senior safety William Moore will not play Saturday against Southeast Missouri State. Moore suffered a sprained right foot in the opener. Sophomore receiver/returner Jeremy Maclin, who suffered a strained tendon in his left ankle, is expected to play.

• Texas starting offensive guard Charlie Tanner will miss Saturday's game at UTEP with an injured left ankle. Sophomore Michael Huey will start in Tanner's place. Reserve linebacker Keenan Robinson also is out.

• Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman said that senior fullback Jorvorskie Lane will play more Saturday at New Mexico. In the opener, Lane was in for just a few plays and had no touches. Lane has been recovered from a neck and head injury suffered in mid-August.


 Linking up
Nebraska linebackers coach linebackers coach Mike Ekeler says of Sean Fisher, a 6-6, 225-pound linebacker, "He's a good-looking cat." Fisher is one of two freshman who played in the season opener.

Using a tape measure and scales, Rick Dean of the Topeka Capital-Journal sizes up Big 12 quarterbacks.

Some background on how Texas wound up scheduling Saturday night's game at UTEP.

Kansas players say that Louisiana Tech has their full attention.

John Werner of the Waco Tribune-Herald delves into the background of Baylor freshman quarterback Robert Griffin, who will make his first collegiate start Saturday.

Thursday, Sept. 4

Just because
Read this story. It isn't about the Big 12 Conference, it's not about college football. But it's about sports, kindness, the human spirit and how a bunch of strangers helped turned a family's tragedy into a cherished memory. Warning: Handkerchiefs or tissues required.

Linking up
Texas is considering starting its own state-wide cable network and Internet delivery system that would carry the school's sports teams.

Ron Prince thinks the non-conference schedule sets up well for Kansas State, which dropped a game with Fresno State so it could play Division I-AA Montana State Saturday.

Check out the post from one of my fellow bloggers _ Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne.

ESPN's Chris Fowler, the outstanding host of College GameDay, has some suggestions for five neutral-site non-conference games that would spice up the season's first month. Two of his dream games: Texas vs. LSU in Houston's Reliant Stadium and Nebraska vs. Iowa in Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium.

Nice read in the Omaha World-Herald about Nebraska safety Matt O'Hanlon, a former walk on who is now the starting safety.

Baylor's defense produced just four quarterback hurries and one sack in its season-opening loss to Wake Forest. The Bears are working on improving their pass rush.

Texas Tech has plenty of room to improve, says Jimmy Burch of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in his weekly collection of notes and game predictions from around the conference.

Wednesday, Sept. 3

Fore! (Well, three, actually)
Three golfers with Big 12 ties were selected for the U.S. team that will play in the Ryder Cup Sept. 19-21 at Valhalla in Louisville, Ky.
Former Oklahoma State golfer Hunter Mahan was one of four captain's picks announced Tuesday. Anthony Kim, who played at Oklahoma, and Justin Leonard, who played at Texas, were among the eight golfers who qualified for the team.
Mahan nearly double-bogeyed his chances of being selected by captain Paul Azinger.
In a recent magazine interview, he criticized PGA of America for the extravagance of the Ryder Cup and claimed PGA officials don't care who wins as long as they make money. He apologized to Azinger and the PGA of America last month.

Daniel No. 2 in Heisman poll
Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel, who passed for 323 yards and three touchdowns in the Tigers' season-opening defeat of Illinois, moved up to No. 2 in the weekly Heismanpundit.com/Orlando Sentinel Heisman Poll.
Daniel replaced Ohio State running back Chris Wells, who was No. 2 in the first week of the poll.
Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, last year's Heisman winner, was No. 1 in the poll for the second consecutive week. Tebow received five first-place votes and 34 points. Daniel had one first-place vote and 31 points.
Missouri wide receiver/returner Jeremy Maclin was tied for seventh with four points. Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree and quarterback Graham Harrell were tied for ninth with three points each.
The Heismanpundit web site and the Florida newspaper are conducting a weekly poll of 10 Heisman Trophy voters. They list their top five candidates. Each first-place vote receives five points, second-place four points, etc.

Click to read
• Texas Tech coach Mike Leach gets credit for the Red Raiders' potent offense, but  coordinator Lincoln Riley is the team's eyes in the press box and in constant communication with Leach during games.
• Colorado faces a Division I-AA team Saturday in Eastern Washington. Two years ago, the Buffs opened the Dan Hawkins era with a loss to I-AA Montana State.
• Kevin Sherrington of the Dallas Morning News weighs in on Texas A&M after the Aggies opened with a surprising loss to Arkansas State.
• UTEP and the city of El Paso is at a fever pitch for Saturday night's game with Texas at the Sun Bowl.
• Oklahoma senior receiver Manuel Johnson had an outstanding season opener and he might be in position to become the Sooners' go-to receiver.
• Kansas coach Mark Mangino says that Saturday's opponent Louisiana Tech - which opened the season by shocking Mississippi State - "will not be an easy game."