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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.

 

July 2009

Friday, July 31

From blocking tacklers to hitting notes
Here’s an outstanding and interesting story from The New York Times. Keith Miller, who played fullback at Colorado in the mid-90s, started becoming interested in operatic singing after seeing “Phantom of the Opera.” Later this summer, he will be the bass soloist in the final three performances of the Metropolitan Opera’s Summer Recital Series in New York parks on Friday and on Aug. 7 and 14. The soprano in all three performances will be his wife, Joyce El-Khoury.

Sunday, July 26

 

Former OU All-American Rick Bryan dies
Former University of Oklahoma All-American Rick Bryan has died, according to Barry Switzer, the man who coached him at OU in the 1980s. Switzer said Sunday morning that Bryan, 47, died overnight of congestive heart failure.

Bryan lived in Coweta, Okla., where he attended high school. His son, Mike, is a linebacker on the University of Tulsa football team and his daughter, Jenni, averaged 21.2 points per game last season as a junior basketball player at Coweta.

Rick Bryan was a two-time All-America defensive lineman for OU in 1982 and 1983. He set a record that still stands for most career tackles by a Sooner lineman. He became a first-round draft choice with the Atlanta Falcons. He played nine NFL seasons, all with the Falcons.

"Great, great player," Switzer said. "No one worked harder than him. I remember the Atlanta Falcons' line coach telling me that he would take a truckload of Ricky Bryans and go play against anybody."

Bryan was a three-time All-Big Eight player at OU during his career from 1980-83. He had 365 tackles, surpassing Lee Roy Selmon's school record for a lineman. Selmon had 335 tackles from 1972-75. Bryan had a career-high 19 tackles in a game against Kansas State in 1983.

Big12Sports.com to cover football media days
The 2009 Big 12 Conference football media days start Monday. Big12Sports.com will provide extensive live coverage of the event. Each head coach's media interview will be carried live plus Your Humble Correspondent will be conducting interviews with players, members of the media and other folks connected with Big 12 football.

The coverage starts at 12:50 p.m. Monday. Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Iowa State and Texas A&M are scheduled for Day One. On Tuesday, coverage will begin at 8:50 a.m. with Missouri, Baylor, Kansas and Oklahoma scheduled. Wednesday's coverage will again start at 8:50 a.m. with the final four teams - Kansas State, Texas Tech, Colorado and Texas.

Sunday reading
Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News has this Q and A with Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe.

Steven M. Sipple of the Lincoln Journal-Star uses a computer analogy to describe how Nebraska and Kansas State have tried to restore their football programs. He writes that both used a “system restore.”

And as Bill Snyder begins his second stint as Kansas State’s coach, he’s embracing technology when it comes to recruiting.

Jimmy Burch of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram asks and answers five questions about the Big 12 before Monday’s start of media days while John E. Hoover of the Tulsa World uses the ask-and-answer method with 12 Big 12 questions.

Oklahoma State and coach Mike Gundy have reached the big time according to Berry Tramel of the Oklahoman.

Dave Matter of the Columbia Daily Tribune concludes his Big 12 Summer Countdown, by reviewing the best storylines about to emerge from the “mysterious” North Division.

A one-on-one Red River Rivalry
The Oct. 17 meeting between Texas and Oklahoma in Dallas is the most-anticipated game of the 2009 season. ESPN is already hyping it. Texas quarterback Colt McCoy and Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford got together Saturday at the Cotton Bowl to take part in an preseason interview and competition staged by the network.

An interview with the two quarterbacks aired Sunday on SportsCenter. The majority of the McCoy vs. Bradford "competitions" will air the week of the Red River Rivalry on ESPN's GameDay the week of the game.

McCoy and Bradford competed in a wiffle ball home run derby, basketball game of H-O-R-S-E, closest to the pin golf competition, a football throwing challenge and game of ping pong. Here's a link to a photo gallery posted on texassports.com plus a link posted soonersports.com.

Texas to wear Royal-inspired throwback uniforms at Texas A&M
The 2009 Texas team gave former coach Darrell Royal an 85th birthday present Saturday. For this season’s game at Texas A&M on Thanksgiving night, the Longhorns will wear throwback uniforms that copy the style worn by the team in 1963, Royal’s first national championship team.

Royal was honored with a birthday party Saturday at Royal-Memorial Stadium and the uniform announcement was made during the celebration.

The white road uniforms, designed by Nike, will feature a patch on the hip with Royal’s initials – DKR. UT’s helmets will have each player’s number above the Longhorn logo.

Friday, July 24

Texas tight end Blaine Irby out for season
Texas junior Blaine Irby, who started the first three games last season before severely injuring his right knee, will miss the 2009 season as he continues to recover. The Longhorns had projected him as their starter.

Irby, a 6-3, 235-pounder, had 10 catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns before being hurt in the Rice game. He dislocated his knee and suffered significant ligament and nerve damage. Irby has undergone two surgeries, the second to help repair nerve damage.

"It's always unfortunate any time a young man sustained such a devastating injury, but in Blaine's case it was a real blow to our offense and our team," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "He's such a tremendous leader, player and person. We have a great history of tight ends and Blaine was quickly developing into the type of player to follow in those footsteps."

Texas played much of last season using four wide receivers and no tight end. With Irby out, juniors Greg Smith and Josh Marshall plus freshmen Trey Graham and Barrett Matthews will have the opportunity to play the position.

Crawford leaves Kansas program
Here’s the story from Tully Corcoran of the Topeka Capital-Journal:

Running back Jocques Crawford has left the Kansas football program, KU announced Friday.

"Jocques was looking for an opportunity to get more playing time," Kansas coach Mark Mangino said. "We support his decision and wish him well."

Crawford's departure had been long rumored since he was involved in a vehicular accident that sent teammate Ben Leuken to the hospital in the spring.

The 2007 national junior college offensive player of the year at Cisco (Texas) Junior College, Crawford came to KU expecting to replace Brandon McAnderson as the Jayhawks' starting running back. But he never beat out Jake Sharp for the job and finished his only season at Kansas with 232 yards and four touchdowns on 62 carries.

Crawford's departure, combined with Angus Quigley's move from running back to linebacker this season, leaves KU without an obvious backup to starter Jake Sharp. Rell Lewis took on No. 2 duties in the spring game, rushing 14 times for 64 yards.

Other options are freshmen Toben Opurum and Deshaun Sands. Sands ran for 28 yards on eight carries in the spring game. Opurum was not yet on campus.

Crawford, a Memphis native who ran for nearly 2,000 yards as a sophomore at Cisco, has his best game against Texas Tech, to which he originally committed in high school, running for 44 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.

The media, the frenzy and the Frat Boys
Media days are upon us. The Big 12 will conduct three days of meetings (four teams a day) starting Monday. The reason for these preseason gatherings is to allow reporters from the print, electronic and World Wide Web to quiz coaches and players about the upcoming season.

It’s really about hype. There’s little factual to discuss, no games to analyze. Before the first pads pop finding facts involves asking speculative questions that receive speculative answers.

Your Humble Correspondent has covered dozens of media days and that as we head into the final year of the first decade of a new century he’s here to tell you the train is off the tracks and the car is in the ditch. Some of the topics pursued by the media give new meaning to the word “frenzy” while some of the “reporters” are posers.

Here are two examples of the frenzy:

The Big 12 announced its preseason football poll which was determined by the vote of 32 reporters. Texas and Oklahoma finished tied for first in the South Division. Texas received 17 first-place votes and Oklahoma had 15.

This deadlock had at least one reporter trying to figure out how Texas wound up in a tie despite receiving two more first-place votes. It's a media, preseason poll for Rockne's sake. It is what it is.

Frenzy example No. 2: The Southeastern Conference’s preseason football team is determined by a vote of the head coaches and the coach can’t vote for his own players. That means unanimous selections receive 11 votes. Florida senior quarterback Tim Tebow, a Heisman Trophy winner who has played on two national championship teams, was not a unanimous first-team choice. At Friday’s final day of SEC media days, the four coaches yet to speak will be asked if they left Tebow off their ballots. If one ‘fesses up, it will be treated as Big News.

While we’re on the topic of what passes for news, here’s an example of Reporters Gone Wild. Again, the scene is the SEC media days and the topic is Tim Tebow. During Thursday’s meet the press, the devout Christian quarterback was asked a very personal question: “Are you a virgin?”

Dear readers, if you are near to Tebow in age or if you can remember when you were 21, ask yourself if you would like to be asked that question in private, much less in front of dozens of microphones and a hundred leering reporters (some of whom apparently stuck in the Frat Boy Years.)

Tebow could have/should have said “Next question.” He could have/should have said “None of your business.” He could have/should have said “I’m done” and walked out. Instead, he politely and in good humor answered the question. (Google to find Tebow’s answer; YHC ain’t gonna go there.)

There is a certain amount of Tim Tebow/Florida Fatigue. The Gators are the preseason No. 1 and will attempt to win their third national title in the last four years. Tebow has become a national celebrity garnering far more attention than your typical Senior Quarterback. Tebow has been cast as Mr. Perfect and for some reporters the challenge is finding something, anything that blind sides him off the pedestal.

But that doesn’t excuse or provide a reason for tawdry, titillating and/or inappropriate questions. If this trend continues, we might see media days eliminated. And not just because of cost concerns.

Links to close out the week
Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star takes a look back at the
highs and lows he has observed in the Big 12’s first 13 football seasons.

Dan Hurwitz of the Daily Texan points out the similarities for Texas between the 2005 national championship season and the upcoming season.

Vahe Gregorian of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch profiles Missouri’s two new coordinators who are polar opposites. Offensive coordinator David Yost has gained attention on the recruiting trail for his laid-back attitude and long and unruly hair. Defensive coordinator Dave Steckel is a former Marine who would rather talk about anything but himself.

Steve Wieberg of USA Today delves into the reasons why Bill Snyder came out of retirement for a second tour of duty as Kansas State’s football coach.

Thursday, July 23

Let’s talk hoops
Your Humble Correspondent can read a calendar. He’s knows it’s July. He understands that Big 12 football media days start Monday, that football is the current hot topic. But college sports is more and more a 365-day proposition. And there are reasons to talk about Big 12 men’s basketball.

* ESPN analyst Dick Vitale unveiled his preseason All-Rolls-Royce teams. He listed seven five-man teams. The Big 12 had at least one player on each unit and eight total. The Big Ten and Atlantic Coast each had six players

Kansas teammates Cole Aldrich and Sherron Collins both made Vitale’s first team. Texas’ Damion James was a second-team selection, Oklahoma’s Willie Warren made the third team, Iowa State’s Craig Brackins the fourth team, Oklahoma State’s James Anderson the fifth team, Kansas State’s Denis Clemente the sixth team and Baylor’s LaceDarius Dunn the seventh team.

That’s an impressive Great Eight gaining national recognition from a national analyst whose comments tend to grab the attention of fans.

* ESPN college basketball analysts Fran Fraschilla and Jay Bilas each were at the Nike LeBron James Skills Academy in Akron, Ohio earlier this month. In addition to high school players in attendance, there were 20 college players who were camp counselors who participated in drills conducted by the camp’s coaches.

Here’s what Fraschilla wrote about Oklahoma sophomore Willie Warren: "He's built like a linebacker (and almost broke my ribs in a defensive drill), but is a terrific NBA point guard prospect who didn't force a shot all week and made most of them anyway. And the way he made the game easy for his teammates showed me that he is definitely ready to step into a leadership role for coach Jeff Capel now that Griffin is off to the NBA."

And here’s Bilas’ comments on Warren: "Warren is a power guard who just bounces off people. He can really score and is in attack mode from start to finish. I really enjoyed watching him work."

Fraschilla also had this to say about Kansas junior center Cole Aldrich: "If his low-post game matches his defensive prowess, he could be a First Team All-American."

* Rivals.com debated which college basketball player would be best around which to build a team. Writer Steve Megaree picked Kansas center Cole Aldrich. Here’s what Megaree wrote:

"I thought about going with Notre Dame power forward Luke Harangody before I remembered the Irish couldn't reach the NCAA tournament last season even with a veteran lineup surrounding him. And it was even more tempting to take Kentucky freshman phenom John Wall, but if I could have my pick of one player in the entire country, I wouldn't want to gamble on someone who still hadn't played any college basketball.

"Just about anyone building a team would start out with a point guard or center. Unless you're already sold on Wall's upside, there really isn't a consensus on the best point guard in college basketball? You could make equally solid cases for Kansas' Sherron Collins and Michigan State's Kalin Lucas. So I decided to go with Kansas' Cole Aldrich, the clear-cut choice as the game's best center.

"Aldrich collected 21 double-doubles last season and had developed into one of the nation's top defensive players by the end of the season. He averaged a double-double (14.9 points and 11.1 rebounds) and also delivered 2.7 blocks per game. He even recorded a triple-double in the NCAA tournament, with 20 rebounds, 13 points and 10 blocks in a second-round victory over Dayton.

"Aldrich probably won't end up being the best player in college basketball this season, but you know what you're going to get from him. He's going to win his matchup with the opposing post player just about every game. Aldrich's status as the game's elite center would give my team a rare commodity. As long as I could find adequate guards and forwards, Aldrich's ability to dominate the paint on both ends of the floor would make my team a winner."

Wednesday, July 22

Get ready to hoop it up
If you’re not pumped up about the upcoming Big 12 men’s basketball season, check your pulse. You might need medical attention.

The Conference announced the league composite schedule for the 2009-10 season. The Big 12 likely will have the preseason No. 1 team in Kansas while Texas should be a top five team. Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Iowa State, Oklahoma State and Kansas State all have a shot at being ranked in the preseason top 25.

The Big 12 returns seven of 10 members from last season’s All-Big 12 First and Second Teams. Nine of the league’s top 13 scorers return, with nine of 12 squads overall having at least 50 percent of their scoring back from a year ago. Several top newcomers and transfers will also join the conference, including 21 of the top 90 players from the ESPNU/Scouts Inc. recruiting rankings.

The Big 12 schedule is highlighted by three national television windows each week on ESPN or ESPN2. A total of 79 conference games will be televised nationally or regionally on an ESPN network, ABC, CBS or the regionally-syndicated Big 12 Network. Over the course of the 2009-10 campaign, every school in the conference will be showcased on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC.
Conference games not on the telecast schedule will be selected at a later date for local telecast packages and inclusion on ESPN Full Court - the pay subscription college basketball outer-market service.

Texas Bowl move to ESPN significant
The Texas Bowl has aired on the NFL Network in its first three years. It was an odd marriage of college and pro football. Now, the Texas Bowl – one of the Big 12’s bowl partners – has an agreement in place that will put its game on ESPN.

“This is a really big step in the right direction for the Texas Bowl,” Heather Houston, Texas Bowl manager, told the Houston Chronicle. “Getting the game on ESPN will put the Texas Bowl in the homes of millions of college football fans and increase the exposure.”
The Texas Bowl will be part of ESPN’s Bowl Week. That exposure will benefit the bowl and the Big 12.

This year’s Texas Bowl will air at 2:30 p.m. CT on Dec. 31 from Reliant Stadium and will match Navy, if bowl eligible, and a Big 12 opponent selected seventh.

Former Texas players unveil web site
Your Humble Correspondent is not a fan of reality (read: cheap, tawdry and exploitive) television. That’s why he is heartened to learn that five former Texas basketball players who considered a reality TV show as a vehicle for communicating with fans have opted for a more practical medium.

Ex-Longhorns and current NBA players T.J. Ford, Royal Ivey Kevin Durant, D.J. Augustin and LaMarcus Aldridge this week launched a Web site - www.Texas360now.com.

"There is going to be a lot of cool stuff," Ford told the Austin American-Statesman. "We’re opening our world to people."

Some of the video posted to the site is shot by professionals and some has been shot by Ford and Ivey. The site is not restricted to Longhorns; former Texas A&M guard Acie Law, now with the Golden State Warriors, will have a blog.

Hot links
Steve Weiberg of USA Today writes about the reasons why
Colt McCoy returned to Texas for his senior season instead of entering the NFL Draft.

Bruce Feldman of ESPN.com ranks the 10 most dangerous quarterbacks in spread offenses. Three of the top six selections were from the Big 12.

Jake Trotter of the Oklahoman points out that Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson has been adept at changing the Sooners’ offensive philosophy to match the personnel.

The Oklahoman used EA Sports’ NCAA Football 10 to run a simulation of the upcoming college football season. There were several surprises.

Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman is rallying Aggies fans with his enthusiasm about the football program’s direction and his honesty.

Oklahoma State mega-donor T. Boone Pickens says in a Q and A with The Sporting News that the Cowboys’ offense will be unstoppable. “I don’t think anyone can shut us down.”

Tuesday, July 21

Women’s schedule notables
The Big 12 announced the
2010 women’s basketball Conference schedule Tuesday afternoon. Here are some of the highlights.
* Women’s Conference games begin on Saturday, Jan. 9 and conclude on Sunday, March 7.
* Opening Day (Jan. 9) matchups feature two intrastate rivalries – Kansas at Kansas State and Texas A&M at Texas.
* The final day (March 7) of regular-season play has Texas playing at Baylor while Oklahoma State is at Oklahoma in Round Two of Bedlam.
* Texas A&M was the only Conference team to beat Oklahoma last season (in the regular season and in the Big 12 Championship in Oklahoma City). The Aggies and the Sooners meet for the first time Jan. 17 in Norman.
* Also on Jan. 17 is the first edition of the Border Showdown when Missouri is at Kansas. Each team won on its home court last season.
* Oklahoma plays at Iowa State on Jan. 27. The Cyclones are one of only two Big 12 teams (Texas is the other) with a winning record against the Sooners in Big 12 play.
* Texas travels to Texas Tech Jan. 16 on Jan. 16 while Tech is at Texas on Feb. 6. The teams have split regular season-games five of the last six seasons with the home team winning on its court.
* Two North Division foes will again have to wait before meeting. Colorado plays at Nebraska on Jan. 30 – three weeks into Conference play. Last year, the first meeting between the schools came on Jan. 31.
* Oklahoma State will have incentive for its trip to Nebraska on Feb. 3. Last season, the Cornhuskers beat the Cowgirls in Stillwater.
* Perhaps the hottest rivalry in the North is Kansas State and Iowa State. The second meeting between the schools will occur on Feb. 27 in Ames.

How Zac Robinson spent his summer vacation
Oklahoma State senior quarterback Zac Robinson recently served as a camp coach at the Manning Passing Academy in Thibodaux, La., where he worked alongside some of the nation’s top quarterbacks, along with the camp’s namesakes, Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning. Here's a Q and A with Robinson conducted by okstate.com.

Okstate.com: So what was a typical day like at the Manning Camp?
Zac Robinson: The first day, we got there in the morning and in the afternoon, the college guys threw with Peyton and Eli. The other days, we’d wake up at 7:30 and coach kids. My station was the deep ball. We would have lunch, then another afternoon session, then we’d have dinner and come back for a little seven-on-seven. My team was 4-0 and won. Manning Camp champs. Another night we did something called “Air it Out” where we’d throw to the receivers.

OSU: Who were some of the other quarterbacks there?
ZR: Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy, Jevan Snead from Ole Miss. He was my roommate. T.J. Yates from North Carolina and Jonathan Crompton from Tennessee. There were more, but those were some of the guys that immediately jump out.

OSU: Did you get any time to visit with any of the Mannings?
ZR: I did get to talk to Peyton and Eli. I spoke to Eli for about 45 minutes the first night. Those guys brought us in to answer any questions that we had. They talked about the NFL and what to expect when you get there. That whole session was a great part of the camp because they really want to help you as a college quarterback and teach you some things both on the field and off the field.

OSU: What did you take from those sessions and from the camp in general?
ZR: They said the biggest thing is to just enjoy your senior year because it’s the last time you are going to play college ball and have that camaraderie with your teammates. Don’t even think about the NFL at this point. Just enjoy what you have because it’s a great thing.

OSU: What did they know about you as a quarterback going into the camp?
ZR: They watched a bunch of our games last season. Archie Manning in particular kept up with me because I worked their camp last summer too. He sent text messages to me before a few of the games last season wishing us well. They knew that I am an athletic quarterback who can throw it too.

OSU: Describe what it was like to be around those other quarterbacks who worked camp, some of whom are on teams that you’ll face this year:
ZR: It’s good to be around those guys. Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy and I actually hung out together out at the camp. It’s fun to sit around and talk to those guys about their experiences and kind of compare notes because we are all in a similar situation and we all face the same teams in the Big 12. It’s good to get their input.

Monday, July 20

Links to start the week
FoxSports.com listed the top 10 returning players in college basketball for the 2009-10 season and
five of the players were from the Big 12.

Check this out to find how the late Walter Cronkite, perhaps the greatest broadcast journalist ever, was connected to Oklahoma football.

Dave Matter of the Columbia Daily Tribune continues his Big 12 Summer Countdown by ranking his top dozen story lines for the upcoming season.

Baylor’s apparel deal with Nike means that the Bears will have redesigned uniforms this season that will allow for nine different color combinations.

Interesting read about former Baylor basketball coach Dave Bliss, who said his transgressions at Baylor were even worse than people have believed.

Tim Griffin, ESPN.com’s man on the Big 12 beat, has spent the past few weeks counting down and recapping his top 25 football memories/moments in league history. Check out what he listed as No. 1 (this link also includes the entire countdown with links to each).

Summer league news
The NBA Summer League wrapped up its time in Las Vegas Sunday and several Big 12 players had solid performances.

Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin, the overall No. 1 pick, was named as the event’s Most Outstanding Player. The Los Angeles Clippers selection averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds in five games. In his final game, Griffin went up against older brother Taylor, a second-round pick of the Phoenix Suns. 

Chinemelu Elonu, a former Texas A&M player selected in the second round by the Los Angeles Lakers, had 16 points and eight rebounds in his final summer league game. He apparently played well enough to be invited to the NBA champions’ training camp in October.

Former Missouri players DeMarre Carroll and Leo Lyons also played well. A first-round pick, Carroll helped the Memphis Grizzlies go 5-0 by averaging 12.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Lyons, who was not drafted and his hoping to earn a free agent contract, averaged 7.6 points in 14.2 minutes a game for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Oklahoma State’s Gundy to work at ESPN ‘car wash’
Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy will go through “The car wash” Monday and Tuesday. That’s what they call the process when interview subjects visit ESPN’s campus in Bristol, Conn. “The car wash” is appearing on all of ESPN’s many outlets – television, radio, web site, etc.

Here’s the tentative schedule: Monday – Tape ESPNU College Football podcast; Tape College Football Live to air on ESPN2 at 2:30 p.m.; appear on ESPNews Hot List at 1:40 p.m., Tape interviews for various ESPN Radio shows, Tape segment for SportsCenter. Tuesday – Appear on Mike and Mike in the Morning on ESPN Radio (also airing on ESPN2) at 8:25 a.m.; Tape College Football podcast; appear on ESPN2’s First Take at 9:40 a.m.

Friday, July 17

Movement still happening on the basketball schedules
There are a number of instances where schools have to make the decision about moving games from Wednesday to Tuesday, from Saturday to Sunday or to play a same day men's & women's doubleheader on weekends. In some instances, the Wednesday to Tuesday switch is made to assist schools who don’t want to play at 6 or 6:30 p.m., CT (or earlier) in avoiding exclusive telecast windows on Wednesday nights. The Big 12 is going through that process with schools now as it finalizes the schedule.

Thursday, July 16

Big Monday & scheduling challenges
The Big Monday schedule for men's basketball will be released today.  Check Big12Sports.com for the full release.  One of the difficult parts of the overall schedule is when games are set prior to the students returning from winter break. There are three play dates (Saturday-Wednesday-Saturday) prior to the students returning at Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M.  The situation guarantees that each of those schools will have at least one or maybe two games before the students are back in classes, an unfortunate but unavoidable situation. 

Wednesday, July 15

Checking the in-season "Holidays"
At this point, no Big 12 men’s basketball teams are scheduled to play on Super Bowl Sunday (slated for February 7) - but there could be a women’s game or two that day. Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday in 2010 and most participants should be able to spend the day with a significant other as there are only a couple possible Sunday contests. 

Tuesday, July 14

About Big Monday
The Big 12 will announce the Big Monday schedule prior to the release of the full schedule.  That release is expected within the next week. 

Story Link
USA Today ran a great story on super-runner Jenny Barringer of Colorado.  You can read the full story by clicking here.   

Monday, July 13

Men's basketball 2009-10 schedule work continues
The Big 12 basketball scheduling process continues, but the eight Big Monday games have been set, as well as games for CBS. Kansas and Texas have non-conference games during league play on CBS, which necessitates bye dates on weekends for two teams.  Iowa State and Baylor drew the weekend byes but have filled the dates with non-conference games that will be televised on ESPNU. Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma State and Texas will be involved in the two Big 12 Conference games on CBS in 2010.

Friday, July 10

Athlete of the Year nominees due
The Big 12’s Athlete of the Year nominees for each school will be featured on Big12Sports.com starting Monday, July 13 and continuing with one school per day through July 24.

After each school’s nominees have been featured I the series, fans will then be able to vote on the nominees from July 24-29. The fan vote will be included in the final tally for selecting the male and female winner.

Big 12 basketball schedule update

For the most part, the 2009-10 Big 12 men’s basketball schedule has been completed and has been forwarded to the women’s basketball staff, who is putting finishing touches on their portion.  ESPN has presented its requested list of games for telecast on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and the Big 12 Network, but there are always minor adjustments being discussed between staff and ESPN reps in Bristol and Charlotte along with game times to finalize. The schedule won’t be presented to the schools until times have been set and some adjustments for conflicts (men and women teams playing at home on the same day) have been made.   Check back with the Big 12 Insider next week for DAILY updates on the schedule process.

Linkage
Gary Bedore of the Lawrence Journal World writes that Kansas senior point guard
Sherron Collins is relieved after finding out a cancer scare for his mother turned out to be a false alarm.

Colorado offensive lineman Max Tuioti-Mariner is considering taking the year off to heal from two ACL injuries he has suffered in the last 10 months.

Austin Murphy, Sports Illustrated’s college football writer, has ranked his top 10 most-thrilling players on SI.com. Texas players checked in at No. 1 and No. 2.

Wednesday, July 8

News you can use
* Kansas State hired Reid Sigmon as senior associate athletics director for administration. He will oversee all financial, contractual and legal matters and serve as a conduit between the athletic department, the university counsel and the vice president for administration and finance. Sigmon previously was the executive director of the Tampa Bay Super Bowl Host Committee.

* Derrion Thomas, the son of former Kansas City Chiefs star Derrick Thomas, has announced he'll walk on at Missouri this season. A graduate of Blue Springs (Mo.) South High School, Thomas hopes to become academically eligible by completing course work at a Kansas City area community college. In his only season as a starter, the 6-3, 205-pound Thomas had 11 sacks and was an all-state selection. Derrick Thomas died in 2000, 17 days after being paralyzed in a car accident. He will be inducted into the the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 8. Derrion will give the induction speech.

* Iowa State junior point guard Diante Garrett broke a bone in his right foot Monday night during a workout. It is expected he'll be sidelined up to six weeks but is expected to be recovered when the Cyclones start preseason practice. Garrett has been playing in a Des Moines summer league.

* Texas swimmer Aaron Peirsol reclaimed his world record in the 100-meter backstroke Wednesday night in the U.S. National Championships in Indianapolis. Piersol, a three-time Olympian, became the first person to break the 52-second barrier in the event with his time of 5l.94 seconds. Piersol set a world record of 52.54 in the 2008 Summer Olympics but that mark was broken last week.

Linked up
Colorado women's coach Kathy McConnell-Miller believes her
incoming class of freshmen, led by versatile Janeesa "Chucky" Jeffery, will make the Buffs more competitive in 2009-10.

Oklahoma State will go fishing for a national championship this weekend. Seriously. The school has two students in the 69-team Under Armour College Bass National Championship that will be held in North Little Rock, Ark.

Bronson Burgoon, the former Texas A&M golfer whose clutch approach shot gave the Aggies the 2009 NCAA championship, is focusing on becoming a winner on the PGA Tour.

Tuesday, July 7

Tuesday tips for hot links
Former Kansas football coach
Jack Mitchell, who died Sunday at the age of 85, is recalled as a master motivator and recruiter. Mitchell also was Bud Wilkinson's first quarterback at Oklahoma.

Kyle Ringo of the Boulder Daily Camera goes over some of the questions facing Colorado's football team one month before it starts preseason workouts.

Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com offers his pre-season top 25 college football rankings. Three Big 12 teams are in the top 10 and a total of five are in the top 25.

(Can you tell football season is fast approaching?) Bruce Feldman of ESPN.com breaks down his 10 "must see" games of the 2009 season. Two Big 12 games made the list.

Mike Hugenin, college sports editor for Rivals.com, breaks down the best of the best for the 2009-10 NCAA championship season. Texas A&M was the only school to win three national championships.

Terry Frei of the Denver Post writes that Colorado coach Dan Hawkins believes that his assistants and support staff should work hard but also have time for their families.

Fans of BYU, which opens the 2009 season by playing Oklahoma in the new Cowboys Stadium on Sept. 5, are famous for being frugal. But they're not hesitating to spend big bucks to see the Cougars play the Sooners.

Monday, July 6

Starting the week with links
Baylor incoming freshman
Bryce Petty threw three touchdown passes without throwing an incompletion and the United States won the gold medal at the Junior World Championship Sunday with a 41-3 victory against Canada.

Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford had no idea what celebrity was like until he won the Heisman Trophy. Now he faces a season in the spotlight.

Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne believes that the NCAA national championships won by the Aggies this spring will have a carry over effect for the entire athletic department.

Iowa State teammates Craig Brackins (United States) and Lucca Staiger (Germany) are competing for their country's teams in the World University Games in Belgrade, Serbia.

Dave Matter of the Columbia Daily Tribune continues his Big 12 Summer Countdown by ranking the conference's best offensive backfield stars.

ESPN.com's Pat Forde ranks the top 10 rivalries in college football and college basketball heading into the upcoming seasons. Each list has two entries from the Big 12.

Thursday, July 2

Hot links
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy discussed the high expectations for the Cowboys this season in a
Q and A with the Tulsa World.

Here's another nice read on Iowa State's Craig Brackins, who is getting a lot of national attention for his decision to skip the NBA Draft in order to play his junior season in Ames.

Rarely does a basketball coach hold a teleconference to discuss players who have already committed to his team. But that's what Kansas coach Bill Self did Wednesday to react to Tuesday's flash-point story that Xavier and C.J. Henry were considering withdrawing their commitment to the Jayhawks.

Jason King of Rivals.com wonders if it's such a good thing that Xavier Henry and his brother C.J. have affirmed their intent to play for Kansas this season.

Wednesday, July 1

Two examples of the "power" of the old and "new" media
The Orlando Sentinel is ranking the top 10 national championship teams of the decade. The
2000 Oklahoma team checks in at No. 5.

Your Humble Correspondent spent 35 years in the newspaper business so there is little that surprises him. Still, YHC can be found shaking his head ruefully over what passes as a news story in The Age Of Twitter.

Kansas basketball fans spent much of Tuesday in a panic. On K.C.'s 610 Sports Radio, Carl Henry told listeners how his family was upset about how it was portrayed in a Sunday story in the Kansas City Star. Henry said that his sons - prized recruit Xavier and older brother C.J. - might consider backing out of attending Kansas and go to Kentucky instead.

(The story, by the way, was linked on Big 12 Insider; read it here.) Tuesday night, Xavier Henry sent a text message - what, you're surprised? - to a staffer at 610 Sports Radio confirming his commitment to KU. "I'm goin' to Kansas and that's final," the text read.

YHC assumes that's the end of this particular sensational, 24-hour-news-cycle story.

Another story that didn't even last 24 minutes happened recently in Austin. Dennis Dodd, senior writer who covers college football for CBSSports.com, was in town for some interviews and having dinner with Texas sports information director John Bianco. Bianco's cell phone figuratively blew up.

Turns out there was a rumor goin' round town that Longhorns quarterback Colt McCoy had suffered a compound leg fracture. THIS WAS AND IS NOT TRUE.

Here's an excerpt from Dodd's blog: "... apparently a radio production assistant in San Antonio had heard from a guy who had it on good authority that Texas' quarterback had broken his leg. ... What was troubling was that five of McCoy's teammates had come up to him inquiring about his busted leg. This literally could have been something someone made up. For a couple of hours, it had Texas Nation trembling. That's what scares me. Wherever this came from, someone is likely to blame 'the media.'"

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