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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. 

October 2010

Friday, Oct. 29

Nebraska's Henery in select company
Alex Henery, Nebraska's senior kicker and punter, was named as a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award, which goes to the nation's top kicker, and also was named to the watch list for the Ray Guy Award, which goes to the nation's top punter. He's the only student-athlete on both lists.

Iowa State's Kirby Van Der Kamp is one of three freshmen among 51 nominees for the Guy Award

A punter from the Big 12 has won the Guy Award four times since 2002.

Big 12 has three Lombardi Award semifinalists
Three of the 12 players named semifinals for 41st Rotary Lombardi Award are from the Big 12 Conference. Texas defensive end Sam Acho, Oklahoma defensive end Jeremy Beal and Nebraska defensive tackle Jared Crick are on the list. The winner will be announced Dec. 8 in Houston.

Four Big 12 kickers are Groza Award semifinalists
The Big 12 has placed four kickers among the 20 semifinals for the Lou Groza Award, which is presented annually to the nation's top kicker. Missouri's Grant Ressel, Oklahoma State's Dan Bailey, Nebraska's Alex Henery and Baylor's Aaron Jones are on the list. Jones is the only freshman named as a semifinalist. The Groza Award winner will be announced on Dec. 9 during the ESPNU College Football Awards Show.

Big 12 has third-most NBA players
The Big 12 Conference had 51 players on NBA rosters at the start of the 2010-11 season. That's the third-most. The Atlantic Coast Conference has 56 players on NBA rosters while the Big East Conference has 54.

UCLA had 14 NBA players, most of any college team. Duke and Kentucky each have 13, Kansas and North Carolina each have 12 while Texas and Arizona each have 10.

Colorado's Shane Harris-Tunks out for the season
Colorado sophomore Shane Harris-Tunks, a 6-11 forward/center, is out for the season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Harris-Tunks figured to be a key front-court contributor.

"I am extremely disappointed for Shane," first-year coach Tad Boyle said Friday. "He has worked so hard putting himself in position to be a positive contributor on this team. He gained 25 pounds in the offseason and without a doubt was the team's best ball-screen defender."

On guard in the Big 12
Jeff Goodman of FOXSports.com ranked his top 12 collegiate backcourts. Two teams from the Big 12 made the list and one is on the "waiting" list:

Colorado: I'm not sure if new Buffs coach Tad Boyle has anything up front, but he's got guards - and two really good ones. Alec Burks was the Big 12 Freshman of the Year last season, and Cory Higgins averaged 18.9 points. The key will be Aussie point guard Nate Tomlinson.

Missouri: Kim English is a proven shooter, and Mike Anderson has added the perfect floor leader for his system with freshman Phil Pressey. Anderson also has Marcus Denmon and Michael Dixon, who give the Tigers four more-than-capable perimeter players.

Kansas: This one depends on the availability of freshman Josh Selby. If the freshman point guard is cleared by the NCAA, Bill Self will have one of the premier backcourts with Selby, Tyshawn Taylor, Brady Morningstar, Travis Releford and Tyrel Reed.

Now hear this
Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III was asked about how the Bears' bowl eligibility might change the perception of the program:
"I don't think it ends all the disrespect. But it does gain us some respect. We're at the top of the Big 12 South. We're doing good things and becoming a better program. But we still have to play with that chip on our shoulders. Some people are still going to doubt us. It's our job to make them become believers."

Nebraska offensive lineman Keith Williams, who is from the St. Louis area, on Saturday's Missouri game:
"I hate to say it, but I want to beat Missouri. People give me crap for coming here, so I want to beat Missouri."

Kansas tight end Tim Biere on the Jayhawks, who have lost their last three games by the combined score of 159-24:
"We get scholarships to be football players and we can't be babies about it. "We're supposed to go out there and perform, and the way we're performing right now isn't good enough. We gotta do something, obviously."

Kansas State fullback Braden Wilson on the mood of the Wildcats after last week's 47-42 loss at Baylor:
"There is a lot of frustration right now. Nobody is real happy about Saturday's loss. We came in with pretty high expectations for ourselves, and no one wants to lose again."

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini on senior kicker/punter Alex Henery, who is averaging 46.3 yards punting and has made 59 of 66 field goals in his career:
"I have never looked at kickers as an auxiliary part of the team. I've won and lost a lot of football games on the foot of a kicker, as a coach and a player. It's an important job, and believe me, we feel very fortunate to have a guy like him in that position."

Hot links for a Friday
Former Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum talks about two of his former assistants who will meet Saturday in College Station - Aggies coach Mike Sherman and Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville.

Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne has offered words of encouragement to his former quarterback, Kansas coach Turner Gill.

Tom Dienhart of Rivals.com writes that Missouri is unbeaten so far thanks to a vastly improved defense.

Mike Jones of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram wonders if Oklahoma sophomore quarterback Landry Jones has the "it" factor.

Blake Griffin, the former Oklahoma star and Big 12 Conference player of the year, is healthy and should be a dominant force in the NBA this season after missing his rookie season with a injury.

Here's a look at the men's basketball recruiting rankings for the Class of 2011 following some recent verbal commitments. Three Big 12 teams are in the top 11.

Tuesday, Oct. 26

Nebraska at Texas in volleyball Wednesday
Second-ranked Nebraska will try to sweep No. 10 Texas when the teams meet in Austin Wednesday night in a Big 12 Conference volleyball showdown. The match starts at 8 p.m. in Gregory Gymnasium and will be televised on ESPNU.

The Huskers enter the week with a two-match lead in the Big 12 standings. Nebraska also faces third-place and 12th-ranked Iowa State Saturday in Lincoln.

Nebraska (19-1, 11-0) hasn't swept Texas (14-5, 9-2) since 2006. The Huskers are 7-0 on the road while the Longhorns are 10-1 at home. UT's only home loss came on Sept. 3 against Illinois. Texas has a 10-9 edge on Nebraska in matches played in Austin.

One writer's Big 12 crystal ball
Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com this week broke down all the conference races in college football. Here's what he had to say about the Big 12 Conference.

North Division
Leader: Missouri (7-0, 3-0)
Who wins: Nebraska
The No. 6 Tigers are coming off a 36-27 upset of then-No. 1 Oklahoma on Saturday and now have to play the No. 14 Cornhuskers on the road. Nebraska, which is one game back in the loss column, will be looking for a boatload of revenge after losing to Missouri 52-17 at Memorial Stadium in 2008. It was the Tigers' first victory in Lincoln, Neb., since 1978, and their 52 points were the most scored on the Cornhuskers since 1943.

South Division
Leader: Baylor (6-2, 3-1)
Who wins: Oklahoma
The Bears, who have already won six games and are eligible for a bowl game after not playing in one every season since 1994, will probably have only a temporary stay at the top of the division. The Bears still play at Texas and Oklahoma State and host Texas A&M and Oklahoma. The Sooners, a game back in the win column, play at Baylor and Oklahoma State in the Bedlam game. The Pokes, who are also one game behind the Bears in the win column, play at Kansas State and Texas before hosting the Sooners.
Big 12 champion: Nebraska

Missouri-Nebraska coordinator chess match
Rivals.com, in its weekly overview of upcoming games, says that the matchup between  Nebraska offensive coordinator Shawn Watson and Missouri defensive coordinator Dave Steckel will be a key to Saturday's game.

"Nebraska is coming off an impressive 51-point outing at Oklahoma State. But the Cowboys' are sieve-like on defense, and it's the preceding game - the one the Huskers lost to Texas - that has to worry Watson. Missouri's defense is much closer to Texas' than to Oklahoma State's. Steckel, who doubles as Mizzou's linebacker coach, has gotten high-level play from a unit that lacks star power. Mizzou's linebackers, headed by Andrew Gachkar, have to stand up to the Huskers' option-based attack. Huskers QB Taylor Martinez is coming off a passing performance that saw him throw five TD passes, so will Watson be willing to air it out early?"

Longhorns déjà vu all over again
Ivan Maisel of ESPN.com, in his regular Three-Point Stance feature, points out that Texas coach Mack Brown is having a familiar problem with is team:

"Mack Brown called out his Texas players and assistants for being self-satisfied. It's not as if Brown didn't know this might happen. He saw it in 2006, the year after the Longhorns won the BCS. Players who won rings as backups may think that they earned them when, in fact, many of them watched from the sideline. After Florida won in 2006, Urban Meyer called Brown looking for advice. Meyer had trouble anyway. Coaches learn year after year. But players will always be 19. They must learn how to block, tackle and handle success."

In the name of accuracy
For the record, Missouri fans did not tear down the goal posts when they swarmed the field after the Tigers defeated Oklahoma, 36-27, Saturday night. Missouri, like many other schools, have installed collapsible goal posts that take seconds to lower to the turf at game's end.

ABC's Brent Musburger and the Kansas City Star (in a photo caption on its web site) reported that Mizzou fans tore down the goal posts. And while the students followed tradition by carrying off a section of the goal posts, they picked up what had already been dismantled.

Linked up
ESPN has countered a bid by FOX Sports to operate Texas' proposed Longhorns Network.

Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads discusses the Cyclones' mental approach and their winning game plan against Texas in this Q and A with Tom Dienhart of Rivals.com.

Kyle Ringo of the Boulder Daily Camera writes that senior quarterback Cody Hawkins has taken an unfair amount of abuse from Buffs fans during his career.

Texas coach Mack Brown wants passion from his players and accountability from his assistant coaches.

Monday, Oct. 25

Read all about it
Ivan Maisel of ESPN.com writes that Missouri's victory over Oklahoma erased a lot of bad memories for Tigers fans.

Missouri didn't need any tricks to beat Oklahoma, writes Andy Staples of SI.com.

Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman writes that Iowa State's victory over Texas shows that the Longhorns are listless and lacking leadership.

Dave Matter of the Columbia Daily Tribune writes that Missouri coach Gary Pinkel "finally bagged the big one" with the Tigers' victory over Oklahoma.

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wonders if Missouri can prove that its win over Oklahoma wasn't a fluke.

Iowa State's victory at Texas set off a celebration in Ames when the Cyclones returned from Austin.

See it now
Baylor and Iowa State each recorded significant victories Saturday. BaylorBears.com takes an inside look at the post-game celebration following Baylor's victory over Kansas State that made the Bears bowl-eligible for the first time since 1994. And here's a look at the Iowa State locker room after the Cyclones' victory at Texas Saturday.

Saturday, Oct. 23

Lady Bears' Melissa Jones part of homecoming court
During Wednesday's student-athlete round table at Big 12 women's basketball media day, Baylor's Melissa Jones was asked about being named a student-athlete representative to Saturday's homecoming court. She was a bit surprised and chagrined.

"I don't know how that happened," she said. "Unless coach (Kim Mulkey) had something to do with it or it's a prank."

Jones hasn't been punk'd. The senior guard won't be on the basketball court but she's one of five nominees (from a field of 49 candidates) selected for Baylor's homecoming court. Megan Robinson, representing the Baylor Songleaders and Spirit Squads, was chosen the Queen, Jones and three others will serve as Princesses.

The Thornton, Colo., native, was selected after an intensive interview process. The candidates are selected based on the four categories; scholarship, philanthropy, spiritual commitment and poise.

"I think it speaks volumes about Melissa that she was one of the five selected to the Homecoming Court. She is very deserving of this honor and we are extremely proud of her," Mulkey said.

Thursday, Oct. 21

Two Big 12 players up for Senior CLASS Award
Defensive end Sam Acho of Texas and Oklahoma State running back Kendall Hunter are among the 10 finalists for Lowe's Senior CLASS Award in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. The finalists were chosen by a media committee from the list of 30 candidates that was announced in August.

Texas A&M-Oklahoma State telecast wins Emmy
FSN's telecast of last year's Texas A&M-Oklahoma State game won a Lone Star Emmy for best live sports event in the state of Texas. The Lone Star Emmys honor broadcast excellence in Texas and are presented by the Lone Star Chapter of the National Television Academy.

The Cowboys defeated the Aggies 35-31 in a game played on Oct. 10 in College Station.

Linked up
FOXSports.com's Jeff Goodman stopped at Kansas during his preseason basketball tour and he says the Jayhawks can be an elite team ... if freshman point guard Josh Selby gains eligibility.

Dave Sittler of the Tulsa World writes that the Oklahoma-Missouri rivalry could easily become one of the top games in the reconfigured Big 12.

Sam McKewon of the Nebraska State Paper has an interesting analysis of Nebraska's mood after the Texas loss.

Here's an interesting story that offers suggestions for Missouri fans who might be attending ESPN's College GameDay in Columbia Saturday.

Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com ranks the top college point/combo guards and has Kansas State's Jacob Pullen at the top of his list.

Monday, Oct. 18

Media days become training days
The Big 12 Conference will debut its College Communications Clinic during this week's Basketball Media Days in Kansas City.

A total of 19 students from six Conference schools - Colorado, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State - have signed up to participate. Invitations to the clinic were extended to all Conference schools and local colleges/universities in the Kansas City area. The clinic also was advertised on the Big 12's Facebook page.

During the men's and women's media days Wednesday and Thursday at the Sprint Center, participants who are interested in both print and electronic communications will experience what it's like to cover the event.

The students will be assigned stories on the women's and men's student-athletes attending media days. Their finished products will be submitted to Big 12 communications staffers and will be judged for posting on Big12Sports.com.

The students also will be allowed to use the stories they produce for school projects, schools publications and personal portfolios.

Kansas State planning basketball practice facility
The excitement generated at Friday's "Madness in Manhattan" - the start of basketball practice along with the coverage from ESPNU - was enhanced by a special announcement.

The school unveiled plans to build a 50,000-square foot, $20 million training facility that will built on the east side of Bramlage Coliseum. The building will house both the men's and women's programs with practice courts, locker rooms, sports medicine facilities and offices.

"It's big time," coach Frank Martin said. "We're the last school in the Big 12 to move forward with that. Part of that is all the transition we've had over the last three years. It was hard to move forward until we had some stability.

"We just need one that is our building, that takes care of the stuff we need, a place where we can showcase the great history of this basketball program. That's what that building is going to do."

Athletic director John Currie, who helped close the deal on plans that have been in the works for over three years, hopes to move forward on construction as quickly as possible.

Strong links
Jeff Goodman of FOXSports.com dropped by Missouri's men's basketball practice over the weekend and came away impressed with the Tigers. Goodman's preseason tour also stopped by Kansas State. And here's a video of Missouri freshman Phil Pressey dunking on and over Goodman. 

Iowa State senior Ashley Mass became the Big 12's career leader in digs during the Cyclones' four-set victory over Texas A&M.

This doesn't involve the Big 12 but this is a moving and thought-provoking story about the high school coach of a Rutgers player who was paralyzed from the waist down during Saturday's game with Army.

What they wrote
The state of Nebraska woke up with a hangover Sunday, according to Tom Shatel of the Omaha World-Herald.

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch likes the look of Missouri, which faces a huge game with Oklahoma Saturday.

Dave Sittler of the Tulsa World points out that few thought the undefeated team in Saturday's Nebraska-Oklahoma State game would be the Cowboys.

Kyle Ringo of the Boulder Daily Camera provides a mid-season analysis of Colorado's 3-3 team.

Ivan Maisel of ESPN.com, Stewart Mandel of SI.com, Dan Wetzel of Yahoo!Sports.com, Brett McMurphy of AOL Fanhouse and Thayer Evans of FOXSports.com all weigh in with their thoughts from Texas' 20-13 victory over Nebraska Saturday.

Friday, Oct. 15

High-Definition vs. Standard Definition
It’s good news - bad news for viewers of the Texas at Nebraska game across the country this weekend.  The good news – with ESPN’s ‘reverse mirror’ policy, the game will be available in 100 percent of the United States.  Click here to check the maps, but most of the nation will be receiving it on ABC HD.  For the small part of the country getting the Big Ten game that day, UT at NU will be shown on ESPN. 

The bad news – those seeing it on ESPN will only be able to get it on their standard definition version of the channel, not the amazing sports experience that is high-definition.  ESPN does not have the ability to regionalize its high-def signal.  Thus, the most widely-distributed game in the reverse mirror goes to HD while the smaller game goes to SD (which in this case is Texas at Nebraska - roughly 21 percent of the ESPN window).  Since the technology is not there yet, this is the case for all conferences in the nation, not just the Big 12.  Make sense?  Don’t worry, Your Humble Correspondent had to read that a couple times as well to make sure it was clear.

Quid pro quo
Oklahoma State players, including quarterback Brandon Weeden, receiver Justin Blackmon, running back Kendall Hunter and numerous others, have been corresponding with members of the U.S. military deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

After Wednesday's practice this week, the Cowboys received a personal thank you.

Army Sergeant Michael Heimdale presented coach Mike Gundy and the Cowboys with an American flag that was flown in a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter on a mission in Baghdad. The presentation was made to the football team's support.

Heimdale told the players that he sees many of the Army's values such as loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and leadership in the Cowboys' actions both on and off the field. He also said that as troops serving overseas gather around their televisions on Saturdays to watch the Cowboys play and have noted the team's warrior-like attitude of never accepting defeat, never quitting and never leaving a fallen comrade.

Wide receiver Hubert Anyiam had corresponded with Dustin Hefley of the U.S. Navy, who recently returned home from deployment. Anyiam dedicated his first touchdown of the season to Hefley.

 "We can't say thank you enough to our service men and women fighting overseas who give us the opportunity to do the things we love to do here at home," Gundy said. "Sergeant Heimdale and the U.S. soldiers serving around the world are an inspiration to our team and we hope to honor them in how we play and how we conduct ourselves off the field as well."

Colorado's Marquez Herrod a profile in courage
Colorado defensive end Marquez Herrod has been nominated to receive the Courage Award that is given annually by the Football Writers Association of America.

Herrod, a fifth-year senior, was homeless for a time as a child, reduced to sleeping on a bus stop bench and begging for change from strangers. He never met his biological father, was abused as a toddler by a stepfather and later was taken from his mother by the state. After his mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia, Herrod was sent initially to a children's home, and then lived in several different foster homes.

"I just didn't want to go wrong," he told the Denver Post. "I wanted to settle down with a family. I just wanted to graduate from high school."

Herrod is on pace to graduate from college in December with a 3.0-plus grade point average. He'll earn degrees in psychology and business management.

"To me, it's a resurrection story," Herrod's pastor, John Roberts, told the Boulder Daily Camera. "The circumstances could have made him bitter, but it made him better."

The Courage Award was established in 2003 by the FWAA. This year's winner will be announced in December.

Nebraska to honor first national championship team
On the weekend of one of the most anticipated home games in recent memory, Nebraska is reaching back in its storied history and honor the 40th anniversary of the school's first national championship team.

Players, coaches and support personnel from the Huskers' 1970 team will be honored Friday and Saturday in Lincoln. There will be an interview session Friday followed by a private dinner. During Saturday's game with Texas, the team will be honored on the field at halftime after the band performs.

'Madness' means the start of basketball practice
Kansas State will be one of six schools to appear on ESPNU's coverage of Midnight Madness, the start of college basketball practices for the upcoming season. Four hours of coverage starts at 8 p.m. CT

"Madness in Manhattan" will be held at Bramlage Coliseum and will feature the Wildcats' men's and women's teams. Activities will include scrimmages by both the men's and women's teams, in addition to comments from coaches Frank Martin and Deb Patterson and selected players

"This is a great opportunity to showcase our program to the nation," said Martin.  "We hope that our fans come out show the college basketball world how passionate they are for the Wildcats."

Conference transitions not easy
Ivan Maisel's "Three-Point Stance" is a must read as the ESPN.com college football writer regularly weighs in on three topics from around college football. One of his recent offerings discussed the challenges for schools that will be changing conferences after this season:

Don't underestimate the transition that Nebraska, Colorado, Utah and all those WAC-to-Mountain West schools must undergo next year. A coaching staff has a boatload of information about conference opponents that it builds from studying them year after year. Now the above schools must start from scratch. Huskers coach Bo Pelini said his staff will devote half of a week to each Big Ten team in the offseason. "When we look at them in the fall, it will feel like the second time we've played," Pelini said.

'Dish' discounts at Texas A&M
Texas A&M has lost its last 11 games that have been televised. When the Aggies play host to Missouri at 11 a.m. Saturday, the game will be televised on FSN. However, a contract dispute that has Dish Network refusing to air FSN programming has turned into a ticket-selling opportunity for Texas A&M.

Athletic director Bill Byrne came up with the idea that will sell tickets and boost attendance for a game that is being televised (to anyone who isn't a Dish subscriber).

Those who are Dish Network subscribers have been able to purchase tickets for the Missouri game for half price.

"When I checked (Thursday) morning, we had close to 200 people who had taken advantage of the offer," Byrne told the Houston Chronicle. "Several of them said they had no idea they wouldn't be able to watch the game on Dish, so they're coming to College Station. The more, the merrier."

Dish subscribers can access the ticket offer through the A&M athletics website or call the ticket office at 888-992-4443. Customers must give their name and the last four digits of their Dish Network account number or present a copy of their latest bill from the satellite company.

Thursday, Oct. 14

Happy 27th, Brandon Weeden
Your Humble Correspondent (the oldest - and only - website correspondent in Big 12 history) wishes a happy birthday to the oldest quarterback in Big 12 Conference history - Oklahoma State's Bandon Weeden turns 27 Thursday.

According to Cowboys coach Mike Gundy, offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen can be "unmerciful (and) funny" when he criticizes Weeden on the sideline after an offensive series.

The fact that Weeden spent his early 20s as a minor-league baseball pitcher probably helps deal with a coach who tends to be a tad emotional.

"Weeden does a great job with his demeanor and composure, because Dana rides him all the time," Gundy said. "Brandon handles it well."

Texas Tech's onside kick gaffe goes (You)tubular
It's difficult to fathom but Texas Tech allowed an onside kick to be returned for a touchdown in consecutive games. The second occurred Saturday at the Cotton Bowl against Baylor and has become a YouTube sensation.

The 22-second clip "Texas Tech onside kick goes horribly wrong vs. Baylor," was the most-viewed video of the day on youtube.com as of Monday afternoon, with nearly 2.8 million views.

After Texas Tech's first touchdown, the Red Raiders opted for an onside kick. Coach Tommy Tuberville later explained that film showed Baylor's front line blockers dropping back quickly on kickoffs. However, kicker Donnie Carona's kick traveled just eight yards. As Carona and Tech's Cornelius Douglas stood and looked at the football, Baylor's Terrance Ganaway scooped it up and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown.

Nebraska's Renaissance man
Ivan Maisel of ESPN.com, in his regular "Three-Point Stance" feature, has this to say about a Nebraska player with an unusual academic track: Nebraska fifth-year senior guard Keith Williams is a graphic design major with a minor in art history. His main interest is the early Renaissance, even if he has never seen any works in person. "There are a lot of (trips) offered, but because of my obligations with football ... " Williams said. He didn't consider asking coach Bo Pelini for time off in the summer to visit the great museums of Europe. "I want to see that reaction," Williams said. "He would look at me and say, 'Are you serious?'"

Hot links for a Thursday
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops understands that people are doubting his 5-0 Sooners.

Heading into Saturday's game at Nebraska, a look at how Texas sophomore quarterback Garrett Gilbert is following six seasons of high-level quarterback play.

Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News has an informative Q and A with Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne.

Baylor's Ferrell Center has a new video scoreboard hanging over center court. Here's a photo gallery that shows the beginning to finished product.

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch with a great story about walk-on basketball tryouts at Missouri.

Tuesday, Oct. 12

Where To Find Saturday's Oklahoma State-Texas Tech Game on FOX Sports Plus
Saturday's Oklahoma State-Texas Tech college football game will be televised on FOX Sports Plus, a channel used by participating program providers to simultaneously offer multiple events televised by FOX Sports Southwest. The 2:30 p.m. kickoff from Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock will be available on the following participating program providers in Texas and Oklahoma:

Television Market Program Provider Channel
Abilene Suddenlink Cable 81
Amarillo Suddenlink Cable 81
Austin Time Warner Cable 77
Austin Suddenlink Cable (Georgetown) 95
Beaumont-Port Arthur Time Warner Cable 14
Corpus Christi Time Warner Cable 78
Dallas-Ft. Worth Time Warner Cable 960
Dallas-Ft. Worth Charter Cable 300
Dallas-Ft. Worth OneSource Cable (Keller) 85
El Paso Time Warner Cable 247
Harlingen-Weslaco-Brownsville-McAllen Time Warner Cable 78
Houston Comcast Cable 110
Houston Phonoscope Cable 118
Houston Consolidated Communications (Conroe-Katy) NA
Laredo Time Warner Cable 78
Lubbock Suddenlink Cable 81
Odessa-Midland Suddenlink Cable 81
Oklahoma City Cox Cable 267
Oklahoma City Suddenlink Cable (Cushing) 75
Oklahoma City Cable One (Elk City) 76
Oklahoma City Cable One (Ponca City) 70
Oklahoma City Pioneer Long Distance (Kingfisher) 113
San Angelo Suddenlink Cable 81
San Antonio Time Warner Cable 50
Texarkana Cable One 20
Tulsa Cox Cable 267
Tulsa Cable One (Bartlesville) 77
Tulsa Suddenlink Cable (Drumwright) 75
Tulsa Suddenlink Cable (Stillwater) 75
Tulsa Wehco Video (Tahlequah) 3
Tulsa BTC Broadband (Bixby) 52
Tyler-Longview Suddenlink Cable (Tyler) 96
Tyler-Longview Wehco Video (Longview) 30
Tyler-Longview Etex (Gilmer) 24
Tyler-Longview Suddenlink Cable(Lufkin) 14
Tyler-Longview Consolidated Communications (Lufkin) NA
Waco Time Warner 15
Wichita Falls & Lawton Time Warner Cable (Wichita Falls) 15
Wichita Falls & Lawton Fidelity Cable (Lawton) 33
Wichita Falls & Lawton Windjammer Cable (Graham) 56
Satellite TV DirecTV* 685
Telco AT&T U-Verse 754
* -- Available to DirecTV customers outside Southwest region (Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana) who subscribe to DirecTV sports pack.  

Six from Big 12 up for 'academic Heisman'
Six Big 12 Conference football student-athletes are semifinalists for the "academic Heisman - the 2010 William V. Campbell Trophy.

Derek Epperson (Baylor), Nate Solder (Colorado), Corey Adams (Kansas State), Adi Kunalic (Nebraska), Sam Acho (Texas) and Michael Hodges (Texas A&M) are among the 121 semifinalists for the award.

The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame sponsors and administrates the Campbell Trophy. Candidates are nominated by their schools must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first team player or significant contributor and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship.

The NFF Awards Committee will announce up to 15 finalists on Thursday, Oct. 28. Each finalist will be recognized as part of the 2010 NFAA National Scholar-Athlete Class, receiving an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship. The Campbell Trophy winner will receive a $25,000 post-graduate scholarship. Last year, Florida's Tim Tebow was the recipient.

Several Big 12 student-athletes have captured the award, including Jim Hansen (Colorado), Rob Zatechka (Nebraska), Kyle Vanden Bosch (Nebraska) and Dallas Griffin (Texas).

Projecting the undefeated finishes
Mike Hugenin of Rivals.com took a look at the 13 undefeated teams and predicted how their seasons would finish. Here's what he said about the four undefeated Big 12 Conference teams:

MISSOURI
Games to watch: Oct. 23 vs. Oklahoma, Oct. 30 at Nebraska
Buzz: The Tigers are coming off their best performance, a blanking of Colorado, but when your best win is over Colorado, there still are questions. The defense has been lights out, but no opposing offense has been that good. Still, it's a sign of how far Gary Pinkel has brought this program that it looks as if it could win nine or 10 games.
Verdict: Three losses

NEBRASKA
Games to watch: Oct. 16 vs. Texas, Oct. 23 at Oklahoma State, Oct. 30 vs. Missouri
Buzz: Before the season, this week's game with Texas looked to be the game of the year in the Big 12. But Texas is coming in with a two-game losing streak and suddenly it looks as if the Huskers could get through the regular season unscathed. The defense is nasty and redshirt freshman QB Taylor Martinez has been a revelation running the ball. But, as with LSU, the Huskers eventually will need to make some plays in the air. Can they do it?
Verdict: One loss

OKLAHOMA
Games to watch: Oct. 23 at Missouri, Nov. 27 at Oklahoma State
Buzz: Except for an evisceration of Florida State - a 30-point win that wasn't even that close - the Sooners have been far from dominant. They do a lot of things well but nothing exceptionally - except force turnovers. They lead the nation with a plus-10 turnover margin, which has masked some defensive deficiencies; OU is surrendering 411.6 yards per game, which makes the Sooners 91st nationally in total defense. You figure that is going to catch up to them at some point.
Verdict: One loss

OKLAHOMA STATE
Games to watch: Oct. 16 at Texas Tech, Oct. 23 vs. Nebraska, Nov. 13 at Texas, Nov. 27 vs. Oklahoma
Buzz: Yes, the Cowboys are unbeaten, but their best win is over a mediocre Texas A&M team. The Cowboys have an explosive offense, but the defense once again isn't that good. They have the look of an eight- or nine-win team, which still would be a nice feat considering all the talent they lost from last season.
Verdict: Four losses

Tuesday linkage
Dave Sittler of the Tulsa World writes that Oklahoma State sophomore wide receiver Justin Blackmon is drawing comparisons to Michael Crabtree and Randy Moss.

As Texas gets ready to face Nebraska, is D.J. Monroe the Longhorns' answer as a play-making running back?

Fox Sports has emerged as the front-runner in the competition to partner with Texas on the school's proposed television network.

Tom Shatel of the Omaha World-Herald explains why Nebraska's game with Texas is so important for the Huskers and their fans.

Despite playing poorly, Nebraska avoided a major upset against South Dakota State. That performance helped the Huskers refocus for their blowout victory at Kansas State.

David Ubben, ESPN.com's Big 12 football blogger, offers his assessment of the Conference at the midway point.

After catching his first touchdown pass against Nebraska, Chris Harper (a transfer from Oregon) is ready to make a bigger contribution in Kansas State's passing game.

During a question-and-answer session with students Sunday, Kansas coach Bill Self made it clear that the Jayhawks' goal is a national champiosnhip.

Saturday, Oct. 9

Car accident doesn't stop CU women's golf team
Colorado women's golf team won the Heather Farr/CU Memorial Invitational Saturday but that's not quite the whole story. Julie Williams of GolfWeek.com details the determination shown by the Buffs in this story:
      
Colorado proved it has true grit Saturday at the Heather Farr/CU Memorial Invitational, winning its home event after five players were involved in a multi-car accident the night before the final round. All five players escaped without serious injury, but three withdrew from the tournament.

"They're all OK, they all walked away from it, nobody went to the hospital," head coach Anne Kelly said. "They definitely have the symptoms you have after a car wreck."

Kelly could not comment further on the accident.

At first, Kelly did not plan on fielding a team in the final round, but juniors Emily Talley and Jessica Wallace - who also won the individual title - informed her shortly before tee off that they wanted to play. Each was cleared by a team trainer and hit fewer than 10 balls before heading out to battle wind gusts of up to 25 mph at Colorado National Golf Club in Erie, Colo.

The three players in the accident that withdrew included sophomore Taylor Doyle - who was the fifth player in Colorado's top 5 - and juniors Devin Dougherty and Meaghan Kari. Doyle had been in a tie for third after the first two rounds, and was the leading scorer for the Buffs.

Not only does the team title mark the second victory for the Buffs this season, but the 16-shot win over Colorado State is the largest margin of victory in program history. Colorado has finished in the top 3 as a team in all four tournaments played this season.

"Whether they played or not today, I'm really proud of those girls," Kelly said. "They showed a lot of toughness and fortitude and team unity and all. It's just a tough situation and they just showed a lot of heart."

Wallace recorded her best score in the final round, an even-par 72, to finish at 4-over 220 for a one-shot win individually. Twin sisters Kristin and Jenny Coleman, both freshmen, joined Wallace and Talley to form CU's team Saturday.

"Really, Jenny Coleman was the key to all this today and the freshmen going out there knowing their score's going to count no matter what," Kelly said. "That's a lot of pressure and for a freshman that's even more pressure. I just couldn't be more proud of her, she was really kind of the unsung hero in all of this. She and Kristin."

Friday, Oct. 8

This and that
* Great story by Andy Katz of ESPN.com on how Texas A&M's basketball program is continuing to honor the memory of Tobi Oyedeji. He would have been a freshman on this year's team but died in a car accident last May. Toby's parents will be on campus next week to see their son's memorial locker and a 12th Man plaque that will permanently be displayed on a wall of honor.

* The Texas men's basketball team hopes to get a boost from two freshmen from Canada. Cory Joseph, a 6-3 point guard, and Tristan Thompson, a 6-8 forward, are good friends who are planning to make an impact for the Longhorns this season.

* Colorado is one of six college basketball programs that have two players on the preseason list of candidates for the John R. Wooden Award. Senior Cory Higgins and sophomore Alec Burks are the two Buffs on the 50-player list. Duke, Gonzaga, Michigan State, Purdue and Syracuse are the other schools with two players. The only other CU players to make the prestigious preseason Wooden list are David Harrison (2003-04), Chauncey Billups (1995-96), and Donnie Boyce (1994-95). "Anytime you get recognized for your hard work, it's an honor, especially to be named on this list," Higgins said.

* According to several media outlets, athletic directors at Oklahoma and Nebraska are discussing a future football series that would help commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1971 "Game Of The Century" between the two schools. Nebraska is joining the Big Ten Conference after this season. The schools are considering a two-game series for either 2020-21 or 2021-22. If it happens, the '01 game would be played in Norman, the site of Nebraska's 35-31 victory in 1971, a game that matched the nation's top two teams.

Two 'under the radar' Big 12 teams
Doug Gottlieb, ESPN.com college basketball analyst, selected 30 teams that could make some noise this season but aren't get any attention in the preseason polls. Two of those teams are from the Big 12.

Colorado: Sure, the Big 12 coaches have dissed the Buffs for bringing very little to the conference in terms of national credibility, but this season could and should be different. Tad Boyle, who is a Colorado native and KU alum, returns with a better style for Cory Higgins and Alec Burks. With the "North" still very top-heavy in the last season of the split schedule, CU should be a very tough out.

Oklahoma State: The Pokes lost a ton of scoring with the departures of James Anderson and Obi Muonelo gone, but both point guards return along with Keiton Page, Marshall Moses and Matt Pilgrim. Expect frosh Markel Brown to start immediately and if Michael Cobbins can put on some beef and Darrell Williams can take it off, the Cowboys will be deeper than either of Travis Ford's previous two teams at OSU.

Wednesday, Oct. 6

Big 12 steps up to support Pollard family
Your Humble Correspondent is a sucker for good stories, for "soft" stories that remind everyone that while life can produce plenty of negative issues and comments, the positives have a four-touchdown lead if one simply looks hard enough.

The eight-year-old son of Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard underwent 4½-hour cancer surgery last Thursday. For young James Pollard, it was his fourth surgical procedure to remove a cancerous tumor.

When James Pollard came out of surgery, not only were mom Ellen and father Jamie on hand, there was a Christmas morning's worth of gifts from Big 12 schools. Commissioner Dan Beebe had e-mailed the 12 athletic directors about James' surgery and the response included football jerseys from Texas, Kansas, and Missouri plus a Nebraska football helmet signed by athletic director Tom Osborne and coach Bo Pelini,

How neat is that?

And the best news for the Pollards is that the diagnosis following surgery can be summed up in two words: Cancer free. Here is Randy Peterson's story in the Des Moines Register.

YHC's son was six when he diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. The surgery was successful and Young YHC is a healthy and typical 16-year-old high school junior. YHC and Mrs. YHC endured a difficult week between diagnosis and hospital dismissal but the "C" word wasn't part of the trauma. Kids and cancer is a combo no family should endure.

YHC also likes to think that despite all the acrimony created by conference realignment and the departure of two schools for other leagues, the Big 12 is able to put all the pettiness aside and do the right thing when necessary. Putting a smile on the face of an eight-year-old should make everyone in the Conference feel good.

Tuesday, Oct. 5

Click for good reading
This is a great story by Dave Sittler on the Tulsa World on Oklahoma State linebacker Tolu Moala, whose sleepless night before the Texas A&M game was just another interesting chapter in an interesting life.

Kansas State coach Bill Snyder covers numerous topics in this Q and A with Tom Dienhart of Rivals.com.

Nebraska senior quarterback Zac Lee, who started 12 of 14 games last season, is displaying grace and class after losing the starting job to redshirt freshman Taylor Martinez.

Texas junior forward Alexis Wangmene gained perspective on his basketball career last summer during an extended visit back to his native Maroua, Cameroon. Wangmene also visited South Africa.

UT women's hoops loses Cokie Reed
Sophomore post Cokie Reed will miss the upcoming season after undergoing foot surgery last Friday. The operation removed an extra bone and repaired a tendon in her right foot.

Reed was named to the 2010 Big 12 All-Freshman Team after averaging 8.8 points and 4.6 rebounds in conference action. She averaged 16.7 minutes in 33 games last season.

"My heart goes out to Cokie and our entire team," Longhorns coach Gail Goestenkors said in a statement issued by the school. "Cokie made some huge strides this summer, and we were looking forward to her becoming an impact player for us this season. However, just like any close-knit family that is faced with adversity, Cokie and our team will become stronger because of this."

Monday, Oct. 4

Links to start your week
The 20th anniversary of the infamous "Fifth Down Game" is this week and the teams involved - Missouri and Colorado - meet in Columbia Saturday. Vahe Gregorian of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch does an excellent job of reviewing the Fifth Down Game.

When 3-1 Colorado plays at 4-0 Missouri, the Buffs will be trying to end a 12-game road losing streak.

Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star discusses the future of the Big 12 Conference with commissioner Dan Beebe.

Utah is ranked No. 10 but the Utes are concentrating at Saturday's game at Iowa State, not their poll position.

John Klein of the Tulsa World analyzes the state of Big 12 football after the first weekend in October.

Kansas players are fed up with their roller coaster performances this season.

Friday, Oct. 1

Oklahoma State 38, Texas A&M 35: Second thoughts
Your Humble Correspondent attended and covered Thursday night's Big 12 Conference game between the Aggies and the Cowboys. Here are some left over observations from Oklahoma State's last-second victory.

* Oklahoma State linebacker Orie Lemon had a team-high 14 tackles and played almost the entire game (which meant defending 106 offensive plays) and linebacker Ugo Chinasa had three tackles for loss, two sacks and an interception. But linebacker Tolu Moala also had a big impact on defense. When starter Justin Gent was injured on the game's fourth play, the 26-year-old Moala stepped in and played the rest of the game. He finished with eight tackles. And Wednesday he pulled an all-nighter; he went without sleep because one of his daughters was in the emergency room.

* There were three plays that at the time appeared insignificant which had a huge impact on the game.

1. Late in the third quarter, after Oklahoma State had forged a 21-all tie, Texas A&M was driving and faced a third-and-one at the Cowboys' 32. The play call was a quick swing pass from Jerrod Johnson to Ryan Swope in the left flat. The pass was low and Swope couldn't handle it. On fourth and one, A&M's Christine Michael was dropped for a 1-yard loss.

2. Trailing 28-21, the Aggies' first possession of the fourth quarter produced another good drive. An 18-yard Johnson to Jeff Fuller completion gave A&M a first down on the Oklahoma State 27. On the next play, Fuller ran a slant but dropped a perfect pass. He appeared in position to at least gain a first down or perhaps score. On the next play, Johnson fumbled and Oklahoma State scooped and scored for a 35-21 lead.

3. On the Oklahoma State fumble recovery, defensive end Jamie Blatnick forced Johnson to scramble and the ball slipped from his grasp. A Cowboy appeared ready to recover at about the Oklahoma State 37. However, instead of gaining the ball at that spot, the ball bounced free and Cowboys linebacker James Thomas picked it up and returned it 63 yards for the TD.

* The teams combined to gain over five yards per play and there will be a lot of talk that neither defense displayed any ability. YHC would beg to differ. Texas A&M's defense, which in the second half had some coverage busts and failed to get pressure on OSU quarterback Brandon Weeden, is much improved. The Cowboys had to hold up against the Aggies' relentless pace that produced 106 plays. Oklahoma State forced five turnovers. Despite a lot of young players contributing, the Cowboys are dogged pursuers of the pigskin.

* YHC Tweeted early in the game that the best guess for total number of plays would be 170. The teams combined to run 174. Clip and save. YHC is rarely correct and this case rarely this close.

Nebraska's emergency goalie
Texas A&M, then ranked No. 6, ended Nebraska's home match unbeaten streak at 18 Sunday. There was much more to the Aggies' 2-1 victory, though.

First, Texas A&M had lost its Big 12 home opener on Friday to Colorado. That match was a 1-0 final in double overtime.

Second, the Huskers played 40 minutes against the Aggies with just 10 players and an emergency goalie.

Emma Stevens was the only healthy goalie for Nebraska going into the match and she was red-carded in the 40th minute. A unanimous team vote prior to the game had chosen forward Jaclyn White as the emergency goalie. White said she hadn't played goalie since she was three years old.

For the most part, White acquitted herself well. The Aggies' game winning goal came on a a 45-yard free kick that White popped up to the post above her and then scored by bouncing back down on her head.

"I don't know if I was off my line a little bit or ... I have no clue," White told the Lincoln Journal-Star. "I do not envy our keepers at all. I'm still shaking and nervous. I'm glad I'm a forward."

Nebraska coach John Walker said Texas A&M's game winner "probably wouldn't have gone in against a regular keeper." He was also proud of how his team played about half the match down a player.

"What the girls gave us today with 10 players, I can't ask for more than that," Walker said.

Missouri building new gymnastics facility
Missouri broke ground last Friday for a new facility that will serve the school's gymnastics team plus the Golden Girls dance squad. The $5.625 million, 25,000-square-foot practice facility is scheduled to open in August 2011.

The gymnastics team has called a cramped corner of the Hearnes Center home. When coach Rob Drass took the job over a decade ago, he challenged athletic director Mike Alden to come through with an upgrade. Alden told him that athletic department had more pressing needs.

"I said, 'All right, you know what, Mike, I'm going to make it so that we can't not do it,'" Drass told the Columbia Daily Tribune. "We're going to be so successful that you'll have to do it.' I've tried to live up to my side."

The Tigers have advanced to the NCAA regionals in 10 of the 11 seasons Drass has been the coach. Last year, behind All-American Sarah Shire, Missouri advanced to the 12-team national championships.

Drass said recruiting has been difficult and that he cringed when he had to show potential gymnasts the team's practice facility. The new facility will include a 14,500-square-foot training area for gymnastics, a 3,000-square-foot dance floor, staff offices, lounge areas, a training and cardio exercise room and two locker rooms.

"As we were telling kids we've got a new facility coming," Drass said, "they're going, 'Oh, really?' We're not getting the (phone) hang-up that we used to."

A dream job at Nebraska
If you had accumulated enough wealth for a number of lifetimes, if you had the opportunity to be involved with a sport you've always loved, if you had the connection to be involved helping coach a major program in that sport ... you would do it, correct?

Joe Moglia is living the dream. He works 70 hours a week for no pay as the Executive Advisor To The Head Football Coach at Nebraska. As Huskers coach Bo Pelini says, "It's a great story, it's a wild story. With Joe, it shows how hard some people are willing to go after a goal."

 

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