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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. 

September 2010

Wednesday, Sept. 29

Big 12 changes baseball championship format
Big 12 Conference athletic directors Wednesday approved a proposal from the league's baseball coaches to change the format of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship. Starting with next season's event in Oklahoma City, the event will use a double-elimination format.

The eight teams that qualify will be split into two four-team pools and will use double-elimination to determine a winner of each pool. Those winners will meet in a one-game championship game.

The Championship will start on Wednesday with four games followed by four games on Thursday. The Friday and Saturday schedules will be determined by on the number of games needed to determine the winners in each pool. The championship game will be held on Sunday.

Big 12 baseball coaches wanted to make the change for two reasons. First, the double-elimination format mirrors what is used in the NCAA tournament. Second, the current four-team pool play format was determined by head-to-head records and last year the two teams that met in the championship game (Baylor and Texas A&M) were determined before Saturday's four games. Those games were basically meaningless.

With the athletic directors approving the change, it will be passed on to the presidential level and must be approved by the Big 12's board of directors at their next meeting in October.

Tuesday, Sept. 28

Defining 'greed'
One of Tuesday's big stories came from the University of California-Berkeley. The school announced it was cutting five sports, including baseball, at the end of the 2010-11 school calendar.

One of Your Humble Correspondents media colleagues Tweeted: "To anyone who's grumbled about 'greedy' colleges changing conferences, anything to make a few $$$, etc. - what's happening at Cal is why."

Making a lucid, rational statement in the 140 characters allowed on Twitter is a difficult task and it's not exactly fair for YHC to take perhaps 10 times that many characters to make a point. However ...

A school in a Bowl Championship Series conference cutting five varsity sports is a sad decision. But it's not a reason to condone the greed of conference jumping or conference expansion. Had Pacific-10 Conference Commissioner Larry Scott pulled off his Great Raid of the Big 12 Conference and expanded his league to 16 teams, it's doubtful that would have prevented Cal from taking a machete to its athletic department.

The state of California is in so much debt the only solution is for Governor Schwarzenegger to pull off some the kind of movie magic that made him The Terminator. For the state government to keep operating, money that goes to higher education has been reduced to in-state colleges and universities.

Cal-Berkeley recently went through a legal battle in order to remove trees from around the football stadium so it could build a new football training facility to keep a football coach who has a 69-36 record as the Golden Bears' coach.

Greed? Sounds more like a school sacrificing five non-revenue sports while trying to keep pace in football. That doesn't meet YHC's standards for greed.

Big Ten says it's done (for now) with expansion
The Big Ten Conference's expansion plans are shelved. That's according to Big 12 Conference commissioner Dan Beebe. He was quoted by the Austin American-Statesman Sunday saying that Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany told Beebe last week that the Big Ten has "zero activity for further expansion.

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, who once held the same position at Iowa State, echoed that sentiment in an interview with The Lantern, the school's student newspaper.

Smith said in the interview that the Big Ten would only consider adding schools that contact the Big Ten, not vice versa.

"We're done with it," Smith said. "We're finished. The only thing that would cause us to look at it further is if someone contacted us. So, we're not going to go out and say we're thinking about expansion."

Hot links, served fresh
Gregg Doyel of CBSSports.com disagrees with those who believe college football players deserve to be paid.

Don Williams of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal points out that Texas Tech starts a stretch in its schedule that features challenging road trips.

With three victories entering Big 12 Conference play, Baylor is halfway to becoming bowl eligible for the first time since 1994.

Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman covers a wide range of topics in this Q and A with Rivals.com.

Monday, Sept. 27

Quotes to note
Texas coach Mack Brown on what he said to his players after Saturday's shocking 34-12 loss to UCLA:
"I told them to get with a family member or friends and don't go out. Think about what you did right. If you played really well, congratulations to you. If you didn't, you've got to pick it up or we'll go get someone else."

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini after his team's lackluster 17-3 victory over South Dakota State:
"Give those guys credit. That football team outcoached us, that's my fault. They outplayed us, that's my fault. I didn't get our football team ready to play. We didn't execute. We played bad football. Tonight we were a bad football team, and that's my fault. It's squarely on my shoulders, I promise you."

Kansas quarterback Jordan Webb on sophomore wide receiver/running back/kick returner D.J. Beshears:
"I guess we gotta bring out a couple of slashes for D.J.. He's an all-around football player. He is electric with the ball in his hands. He wants to get in the end zone every time he touches it."

Kansas State coach Bill Snyder on his defense allowing Central Florida to move the ball but not score despite several red-zone chances:
"I'm not a fan of bend, but don't break. I've been involved in it too much. I'm too old for that. We need to be able to put the brakes on at the other end of the field a little more frequently."

Kansas coach Turner Gill after his team's 42-16 victory over New Mexico State:
"I feel better. No doubt about it, we still have some work to do. I feel good about us going into conference play. Obviously, coming with a win is a good situation for us, but we still have some things to improve on."

Oklahoma wide receiver Ryan Broyles on the Sooners 31-29 victory at Cincinnati:
"It's NCAA football. It doesn't matter who you play. If you don't bring your A-game, you can get beat."

Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads on his 2-2 team:
"We know exactly where we are. We have a young, inexperienced defense, and an offense that has not gotten productive and has not gotten in sync yet."

Links to click
Interesting statistical analysis by the Tulsa World shows where Oklahoma's defense has been struggling.

We'll find out how good Oklahoma State is when the Cowboys host Texas A&M Thursday night.

Kansas freshman running back Deshaun Sands is trying to follow the legacy of his father, former Jayhawks running back Tony Sands.

Texas Tech is using sophomore Cornelius Douglas as a two-way player - wide receiver and defensive back.

Kevin Robbins of the Austin American-Statesman gives a glowing review The Rawls Course at Texas Tech - which Golfweek magazine ranks as the fourth-best college campus course.

The debut and use of an innovative video system is benefitting Colorado's football team.

Friday, Sept. 24

Congratulations to Dru Hancock
Dru Hancock, the Big 12's senior associate commissioner and a graduate of The Ohio State University, will be honored during Saturday's game between Eastern Michigan and the Buckeyes.

Hancock will receive the Phyllis Bailey Career Achievement Award from the Women's Varsity O Alumnae Society. The award is, "designed to pay tribute and extend recognition to those individuals who, through their careers, have contributed to the honor and fame of The Ohio State University through the field of athletics by continuing to demonstrate, in their daily lives, the values learned in intercollegiate athletics and have continued the advancement of women's athletics."

Another 'dinosaur' roar
The more you read, the less you know ... to be true.

Earlier this week, a Washington Post columnist reported on the death of the English language. Journalism is also struggling to survive in the critical care wing. Thee is more evidence that the patient might not survive.

Your Humble Correspondent notes three reports - two involving former Big 12 coaches, another involving a Big 12 school - that surfaced the last few days.

Minnesota coach Tim Brewster was reported to have brought in former Kansas coach Mark Mangino as a "consultant." Mangino was on the sidelines during the Gophers' game with USC Saturday and the two coaches are said to be good friends.

New Mexico reportedly planned to fire coach Mike Locksley and bring in a former Texas Tech coach as a midseason replacement.

Then this was Tweeted Thursday: "Texas A&M fans would rather have Mike Sherman or Gary Patterson? You could have had Patterson. That's a fact."

The Minnesota athletic director said Mangino hasn't been hired. Leach's lawyer scoffed at the New Mexico report. TCU coach Gary Patterson was asked by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about the Texas A&M "fact." His reply: "That's a lie. Nobody at Texas A&M ever contacted me."

Well, OK then. Apparently, the journalistic version of a three-and-out.

YHC has made and will continue to make his fair share of mistakes. The vast majority of those errors has been of the typo variety with others attributable to a memory that sometimes fails. YHC has tried to avoid "reporting" what he has "heard." And yes, that provides further confirmation that YHC is a dinosaur.

Hot links
Kansas State senior William Powell stays quiet but he speaks loudly on the field as a backup running back and kick returner.

And, according to this story by Jason King of Yahoo! Sports, Kansas State senior point guard Jacob Pullen has trimmed his famous facial hair

Kansas had to adjust its offensive play signaling from the sideline in order to comply with NCAA rules.

For underdog South Dakota State, playing at Nebraska Saturday is like a bowl game.

With an off week before an important Big 12 opener at Oklahoma State, Texas A&M is working on a sputtering offense.

Missouri's coaching staff sometimes considers a pass play - a bubble screen used between five and 10 times a game - a running play.

Saturday's home game with Central Florida has Kansas State coach Bill Snyder and his players on high alert.

Tuesday, Sept. 21

Coach To Cure MD This Week
Coach to CureCollege football coaches, including several in the Big 12, will participate in “Coach to Cure MD” during this week’s games.  Coaches will be wearing a “Coach to Cure MD” patch on their shirts.

The coaches are involved in an effort to raise money for muscular dystrophy which is the most common fatal disease among boys worldwide.  Fans can text the word CURE to 90999 to donate $5 to Duchenne MD research.  The charge will be shown on their phone bill.  Fans are also encouraged to make donations at www.CoachtoCureMD.org.  The program is a partnership between Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA).

The college football coaches’ involvement is similar to college basketball’s “Coaches vs. Cancer” program. Former Missouri coach Norm Stewart continues to be one of the driving forces behind that program.

Monday, Sept. 20

Stars in stripes
ESPN's Outside The Lines had an interesting inside look at college basketball officiating with help from the Big 12 Conference. Reporter/writer Mark Fainaru-Wade was on hand for the Great American Shootout, an AAU basketball event in July that also serves as an officiating class room. Curtis Shaw, the Big 12's new men's basketball officiating coordinator, was interview about the conference's new officiating consortium with three other conferences and Fainaru-Wade wrote a story focusing on officials who are trying to work their way up the ladder.

Catch-up quotes
A look back at some of the comments made after Saturday's games:

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops on what he liked about the Sooners' 27-24 victory over Air Force:

"Everyone wants to pick on this or that. But this is a team in my eyes. In the first half, the defense really complemented the offense - they played great. ... In the second half, we come out and the defense isn't so sharp, or they're executing better than us. But the offense complements the defense in the second half by getting a couple of big drives. ... In my eyes, I'm really pleased that the team responded together like they did to win against a good football team."

Missouri sophomore receiver T.J. Moe on his game-winning 68-yard touchdown catch and run that was helped by a block from Jerrell Jackson:

"There's about 10 receivers in the country with the presence of mind to do what Jerrell Jackson did. He was supposed to be running a fade. He turned around, pinned his guy and got me up the sideline. At the 20-yard line I started thinking 'Jesus.' As in thanks for giving me this ability and for saving my butt because I didn't play very well in the first half."

Kansas State senior center Wade Weibert on the Wildcats' running game:

"I think it's safe to say that through the first three games, running the ball is our identity. It's a big pride thing for us. Everyone knows we're going to run the ball. It's not a secret at all to anybody. For us, it's just a stop-us-if-you-can mentality that we're taking up front. Every time we line up they know where it's going usually, so it's just a matter of taking the guy up front."

Kansas State coach Bill Snyder, asked about the career-high 34 carries by Daniel Thomas and if Thomas is the kind of back who gets stronger as the game goes on:

"I know one thing. He doesn't get weaker. ... I thought he was very good. He played well and played hard. He did all the things he always does."

Colorado's running back Rodney Stewart on the Buffs' second-half rally and his fumble that helped Hawaii take a 7-0 lead:
"It is encouraging that we stuck with it. Good players, when you have a fumble or throw an interception, you just have to come back and pick it up and not get discouraged. That's exactly what I did."

Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads on his team's defensive struggles against the run:

"We talked about needing to improve every single week if we're going to grow into a defense that helps you win ballgames. I'm not saying that we're not, but the statistics would reflect right now that we're not improving fast enough."

Nebraska offensive coordinator Shawn Watson on redshirt freshman quarterback Taylor Martinez:
"He's just cool, cool, cool. He gets mad at us because he thinks we're worried about him. I wasn't worried at all."

Fun with numbers
* Oklahoma State sophomore wide receiver Justin Blackmon has eight touchdown receptions. Only five FBS teams (not counting Oklahoma State) have more passing TDs than Blackmon has TD receptions.

* Also, Oklahoma State is leading FBS in passing in this week's NCAA statistics. That's the first time the Cowboys have ever been on top of the passing category.

* San Diego State running back Ronnie Hillman had touchdown runs of 75 and 93 yards against Missouri. Other than those two plays, he gained 60 yards on 21 carries. Take away Hillman's two long runs and San Diego State gained just 272 yards on 75 plays (3.6 yards per snap).

* Texas A&M and Florida International were a combined 7-of-32 on third-down conversions.

* Missouri and San Diego State each finished with 440 yards in total offense.

Linked up
After a 3-0 start, Texas A&M's schedule will get considerably tougher.

Colorado coach Dan Hawkins saw some "breakthrough moments" as the Buffs rallied to beat Hawaii.

Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville wants and needs to get the Red Raiders' running game in gear.

Winning away from Norman will be the key to success for Oklahoma this season.

Washington was out of its league Saturday against a dominating Nebraska team.

Friday, Sept. 17

Kansas State part of Midnight Madness on ESPNU
Kansas State will be one of six schools featured during a four-hour ESPNU Midnight Madness special starting at 8 p.m. on Oct. 15. The Wildcats are ranked No. 5 in ESPN.com's preseason top 25.

In addition to coverage originating from Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, defending men's national champion Duke and two-time defending women's national champion Connecticut will be featured. ESPNU coverage will also include Gonzaga, Kentucky and Memphis.

Big 12's WNBA connections
The Seattle Storm won the WNBA title Thursday night, completing a sweep of the Atlanta Dream with an 87-84 victory. Seattle's three victories in the finals came by a total of eight points.

Alison Lacey (Iowa State) is a rookie point guard on the Storm's roster while the Dream had two players from Big 12 schools - Shalee Lehning of Kansas State and Brittany Raven of Texas. Seattle coach Brian Agler was Kansas State's coach from 1993-96.

Two to watch in Big 12
Ralph D. Russo, college football writer for The Associated Press, selected six players to watch this season. Two are from the Big 12.

Taylor Martinez, quarterback, Nebraska. The redshirt freshman is a dynamic runner like Robinson. He's averaging 13.5 yards per carry in two games against sketchy competition (Western Kentucky and Idaho), but the talent is there for him to be the most exciting Huskers' QB since Eric Crouch.

T.J. Moe, wide receiver, Missouri. The Tigers had to replace Danario Alexander, the nation's leading receiver, and Moe has moved into the role of quarterback Blaine Gabbert's favorite target. The sophomore has 23 catches in two games, reaching double-figures in each.

Hot links for a Friday
Rosalind Ross, a member of Oklahoma's 2002 national runnerup women's basketball team, was shot and killed in Milwaukee.

Interesting read from Vahe Gregorian of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on how Missouri's football team is sharpening its mental approach.

Berry Tramel of the Oklahoman writes that Oklahoma football fans need to show more respect to the national anthem.

Jason King of YahooSports!.com writes that Baylor, with players like freshman Perry Jones, is continuing to attract top basketball talent.

Oklahoma State fans are nervous about quarterback Brandon Weeden's thumb injury, writes Dave Sittler of the Tulsa World.

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini is curious how the hybrid linebacker/safety position in the Huskers' 4-2-5 defensive alignment will fare in the Big Ten Conference.

Texas Tech's decision to wear white helmets last Saturday at New Mexico elicited a range of reactions.

For a number of reasons, it's unlikely that Oklahoma will take Air Force lightly.

New Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg calls for "peace and respect" to help all attention to 11 Days of Global Unity.

Monday, Sept. 13

UT athletic director DeLoss Dodds talks realignment
Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com recently interviewed Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds. In this portion, Dodds discusses the "Summer Of Realignment."

Texas was this close to joining the Pac-10, and Dodds said it was healthy to explore other options. It caused everyone at UT to look at what they do from a different perspective.

"It was a good drill, a good exercise," Dodds said. "I thought it was educational. Good for our staff. I thought we ended in the right place. We seriously looked at doing something different. We didn't do that by choice. We did it because it was being dictated to us by others.

"Our goal from the beginning was to keep the Big 12 together, and we did. I thought it was a great staff study. I think our staff did a great job. Everyone pitched in. It was crunch time, and I think we studied it to the point where we knew exactly where we were and came out with a good result."

There were things that began to nag at Dodds as the moment got closer for Texas to decide if it was going to leave the Big 12 for the Pac-10.

"There were a lot of little things," Dodds said. "I talked to Larry about our exiting fees, whatever they were going to be - $20 million or whatever it was. And the clout we'd take to the Pac-10 was huge - about $200 million in new revenue - big upside for them, obviously for us, too.

"And I talked to them about helping pay our exiting fees with the money from our new TV contract over a period of three years. Part of it, some of it. And they came back with they would loan us the money. We can loan ourselves money. That was a bit of a surprise."

Orangebloods.com reported in the final hours of discussions between the Pac-10 and schools being targeted from the Big 12 that Larry Scott, the Pac-10 commissioner, entertained the idea of swapping out Oklahoma State for Kansas. It was a move that made the initial alliance of Big 12 schools targeted by the Pac-10 uncomfortable, sources told Orangebloods.com.

Dodds wouldn't confirm or deny this development. He would only say, "Oklahoma couldn't separate from Oklahoma State. And Kansas couldn't separate from Kansas State."

Dodds said he was most proud of the way the "Texas family" handled all the possibilities during realignment. Texas had its pick of other conferences, but Dodds said UT officials remained together through all the discussions.

"This place stayed intact the whole time," Dodds said. "And it was fluid. There were a lot of places where people could have jumped on or jumped off and gone public and the process turned out right. Very proud."

Sunday, Sept. 12

OU freshman running back Clay is OK
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said Sunday that freshman running back Brennan Clay has been discharged from a Norman hospital and has returned to his residence on campus.

"We were happy to see big smiles from Brennan this morning," Stoops said in a release issued by the school.  "Everything has checked out well."

Clay was injured carrying the ball late in Oklahoma's 47-17 victory over Florida State. He was tackled hard and spent nearly 10 minutes on the ground before he was strapped to a back board and carted off the field.

Texas reaches out to Wyoming after tragedy
Wyoming's team arrived in Austin with heavy hearts. Early Monday morning, freshman linebacker Ruben Narcisse was killed in a car accident. Three of his teammates were injured. Texas wound up recording a 34-7 victory but in other ways UT was the perfect host.

Narcisse's picture was displayed on the video board before the game.

After the UT band plays the national anthem before home games, it traditionally plays "Deep in the Heart of Texas." The public address announcer, though, told the fans a different song would be played. The band then played "Ragtime Cowboy Joe," the University of Wyoming fight song.

"Texas did an honorable thing," Wyoming quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels told the Austin American-Statesman.

Nebraska volleyball records comeback victory
Going into Saturday's match with No. 3 Illinois, Nebraska had one loss. That came at the hands of No. 4 Florida when the Gators rallied to win in the fifth set.

After dropping the first two sets to the Illini by identical 21-25 scores, the seventh-ranked Huskers faced the reality of being swept at home for the first time in 21 years. But when Illinois' Michelle Bartsch went down with an ankle injury in the third set, Nebraska rallied to win that set and the next two. And in the fifth set, the Huskers were down 13-11 before storming back for a 16-14 result.

The victory came in the final of the Ameritas Players Challenge and on the same night when Penn State's 109-match winning streak came to an end when Stanford recorded a sweep in the Nike Big Four Volleyball Classic in Gainesville, Fla.

"It was a turning point for us because we've never been able to pull ourselves out of it before," Nebraska libero Kayla Banwarth said Saturday's win over Illinois should serve as a confidence boost. "Everybody was just so determined. It was great."

Texas A&M golfers impressive in Japan tournament
The Texas A&M men's golf team set a school record with a 29-under-par 835 and Jordan Russell tied the school record for best three-round total as the Aggies topped the U.S. collegiate field Saturday in the 28th annual Topy Cup in Tanagura, Japan.

A&M, ranked No. 8, posted the best score ever recorded by a U.S. squad in Topy Cup history, but were denied the overall team title at Tanagura Country Club. Tohoku Fukushi University downed A&M by 12 strokes, shattering the all-time tournament record with a 41-under-par 823.

A&M had three of the top four finishers of American collegiate players, led by a second-place finish Russell. The College Station native shot a 13-under-par 203, tying the school record. Yoshinori Fujimoto of Tohoku Fukushi University used a final-round 64 to vault to 17-under and capture his third consecutive Topy Cup title.

"Overall, it was a good way to start the season - 29-under par, second place and heading home," A&M coach J.T. Higgins said. "I like this team a lot, and we know what we need to work on to get better."

Quotes to note from Saturday's games
* Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III on Saturday's game at fourth-ranked TCU:
"We'll be ready to play TCU. I've got a couple of former (Copperas Cove) teammates on their team and I'd like to be the one who comes out smiling at the end."

* Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads on what he told his team at halftime when it trailed at Iowa, 28-0:
"I challenged them (at the half). "I challenged them to play with that kind of effort and they did. When you're down 28-0 you don't go in there and say, 'Hey, we're going to go win a football game'. You talk about having the opportunity to win a football game if you go out there, play well and play with great effort. That's what we did and I'm proud of my kids for that."

* Kansas receiver Bradley McDougald on freshman running back James Sims, who gained 101 yards in the Jayhawks' upset of Georgia Tech:
"He's a real tough runner," KU wide receiver Bradley McDougald said. "He runs with his head down, and he knocked a couple guys down today. He's a young guy still learning and he's going to be much better."

* Kansas State quarterback Carson Coffman, who had his best game in six starts:
"Our goal was to come out and pass the ball a little bit. They stopped the run early, and I'm glad they gave me the opportunity to get out there and throw it. ... There were some positives and some negatives. I missed two deep balls, which I was pretty upset about, but other than that, I think I did OK."

* Missouri freshman quarterback James Franklin made his debut in the Tigers' 50-6 victory over McNeese State:
"The first play, I kind of looked at the crowd more than I needed to. I went out there, and I was looking at the center, I was looking at the defense, but I kind of had my eyes up, looking around."

* Colorado quarterback Tyler Hansen after the Buffs' 52-7 loss at California:
"Cal's a lot faster than Colorado State was and they're a lot more athletic. We knew that going in, but I guess their speed surprised us a little bit. I think we underestimated how fast they were. That was the biggest key."

Links worth your time
ESPN.com national columnist Gene Wojciehowski was in attendance for Saturday's Florida State-Oklahoma game and he writes that the Sooners' blowout victory created more questions than answers.

Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman writes that Oklahoma's dominating victory over Florida State sends a message to the Big 12 and the nation.

A week after one of the worst losses in school history in his Kansas coach debut, Turner Gill and his team bounces back with one of the best victories in school history.

Neill Woelk of the Boulder Daily Camera says that Cal's 52-7 drubbing of Colorado means little has changed for the Buffs.

Don Williams of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal looks ahead to Saturday's prime-time visit by Texas.

Friday, Sept. 10

UT athletic director DeLoss Dodds talks Notre Dame
Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com recently interviewed Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds. In this portion, Dodds discusses the relationship between UT and Notre Dame.

Let's start with the fact that if Notre Dame ever needs a conference home, Dodds wants it to be the Big 12.

Texas and the Irish became the closest of allies during the month of June when the Big Ten targeted Notre Dame as a part of expansion. The Irish were worried the Big East, where the school plays all its sports except football, might be raided by the Big Ten.

Everyone assumes if Notre Dame ever needs a conference home, it will be the Big Ten simply because of geography and the overtures the Big Ten has made toward Notre Dame in the past. But if Notre Dame ever needed a new conference home for football or its other sports, Dodds would do everything in his power to make it the Big 12.

Irish athletic director Jack Swarbrick, who was a finalist for the Big 12 commissioner job awarded to Dan Beebe, and Dodds have become close colleagues.

"Notre Dame was worried about getting decimated to where they were sitting without a conference," Dodds said of the Irish during realignment in June. "And I told Jack, 'Come on down. Keep your football. Come on down.'

"I don't necessarily want to see the Big Ten go to 16. They want Notre Dame. If they can get them, fine. If they can't get them, fine.

"If Notre Dame wants to be an independent and something happens to the Big East, I've told Jack, 'I will fight for you to be a part of this conference in some form or fashion.' I think it would be good for them, and I think it would be good for us."

Sources told Orangebloods.com during realignment that Dodds, at one point, proposed Texas and Notre Dame simply form their own conference and extend invitations to others. But Dodds said nothing should be read into recent football scheduling announcements involving Texas, Notre Dame and BYU.

In the last month, all three schools announced they'll be playing each other.

"There may be a new world out there, but it's not in my lifetime," Dodds said when asked if Texas, Notre Dame and BYU might be angling toward their own conference at some point in the next decade.

Sense and sensibility
Your Humble Correspondent goes into happy happy joy joy mode when something makes sense. YHC also admits that some aspects of football make as much sense as trigonometry (YHC barely survived freshman Algebra One).

That's why YHC is happy happy joy joy in reporting two decisions by Big 12 coaches are making a lot of sense.

First up is Kansas State coach Bill Snyder. In his first tour of duty in Manhattan, Snyder's nonconference scheduling philosophy received national criticism because it was "soft." And since his return, the Wildcats have withdrawn from future series with Oregon and Virginia Tech.

Before Kansas State opened the season with a home game against UCLA last Saturday - a game scheduled while Snyder was on hiatus - Snyder explained that he prefers to play nonconference games not as challenging as the Bruins' visit. (YHC admits that the sensible nature of Snyder's stance was an epiphany.)

Snyder wants his team to be healthy and prepared for conference play. That means, for his program, playing a "softer" nonconference schedule is preferable. Yes, it makes perfect sense. If Kansas State is going to challenge for a conference title, it needs all hands on deck for the most important games. That Snyder wishes to treat nonconference games more like NFL preseason games is perfectly logical.

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini also score a 10 on YHC's Sense Meter last week. The Huskers coach didn't reveal the name of the opening-game starting quarterback (redshirt freshman Taylor Martinez) until 30 minutes before kickoff.

If YHC had been smarter, he would have picked up on a hint Pelini dropped on the Big 12 coaches teleconference the Monday before the Western Kentucky game. He said he had a good idea who the starter would be but wanted to avoid a "circus."

Had Pelini named Martinez instead of senior Zac Lee (who started 12 games in 2009), he would have witnessed a three-ring circus. The local media covering Nebraska would have written stories about Martinez, would have asked why Lee didn't get the job, would have asked sophomore Cody Green what he thought about being the odd man out.

"I didn't want the guys who weren't going to be named the starter who had played well throughout camp to have to go through that either," Pelini said on this week's coaches teleconference. "I wanted them to be able to concentrate on getting ready to play also.

"I don't know if it's right or wrong or indifferent. That's just kind of how we thought it was the best way to go about it as a staff."

It also made best sense.

Linkage for a Friday
Wyoming plays at Texas six days after one of its players died in a car accident. Second-year coach Dave Christensen, who was previously the offensive coordinator at Missouri, is dealing with a player's death for the second time in his coaching career.

Kansas coach Bill Self says that players and their families often are taken advantage of by agents and their runners.

Kelsey Petersen gives the Iowa State volleyball team a "killer" on the front line.

Before he gained 72 yards on just six carries subbing for Daniel Thomas, Kansas State's William Powell was Mr. Anonymous.

Texas Tech's young secondary received solid grades for its play against SMU in the season opener.

Texas coach Mack Brown acknowledges that with Boise State and TCU high in the rankings, a perfect record is probably needed to reach the BCS title game.

While Robert Griffin III is Baylor's well-known sophomore quarterback, Robert T. Griffin is a junior offensive lineman who is gaining attention.

For Missouri State and former Kansas coach Terry Allen, Saturday's game at Kansas State is a trip down memory lane.

Wednesday, Sept. 8

Koll, Bonds nominated for NCAA Woman of the Year
Lisa Koll of Iowa State and Lauren Bond of Kansas are two of the 30 honorees for the 2010 NCAA Woman of the Year award. The award honors female student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate career in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, community service and leadership.

Koll was named 2009-10 Big 12 Female Athlete of the Year. She captured NCAA titles in both the 10,000- and 5,000-meter runs at the 2010 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships. She became the first person to complete this double win since 1998 and only the fifth overall. Koll was a four-time Academic All-American and seven-time member of the Big 12 All-Academic Team.

Bonds placed seventh in the 1,500-meter run at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships to earn All-America honors. She also earned indoor All-America accolades as part of the distance medley relay. Bonds, who holds five school records, was the 2010 Big 12 Champion in the 1,500 meters plus she was an 11-time All-Big 12 performer in indoor and outdoor track. Bonds was a 2010 Prentice Gautt Scholarship recipient and named a 2009-10 University of Kansas Woman of Distinction.

The top 30 honorees were nominated by conference and independent members and are representative of multiple sports. Ten honorees were selected from each of the three NCAA divisions.

Three finalists will be chosen from each division to form the nine finalists for the Woman of the Year award. The national winner will be chosen by the NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics. The recipient of the 20th annual award will be announced during the 2010 NCAA Woman of the Year awards event Oct. 17 in Indianapolis.

One writer's view of Florida State at Oklahoma
Here's what ESPN.com's Pat Forde thinks about Saturday's Florida State-Oklahoma game:

The hype: Seminoles believe they're back under new coach Jimbo Fisher, whose team was dominant against Samford on Saturday. Sooners know they've never left in 12 years under Bob Stoops, despite a narrow opening escape against Utah State.

The history: Last time they met, the Sooners won 13-2 to win their last national title 10 years ago. Florida State's only win in the five-game series came in 1965.

The heckling: Florida State fans can ask how it feels to be owned by rival Texas. Oklahoma fans can ask how it feels to be owned by rival Florida.

The hard part: Can the Seminoles handle Sooners running back DeMarco Murray ran for 218 yards last week, and Florida State's run defense was horrid last year against ranked opponents. It surrendered 6 yards per carry against West Virginia, 8 against Florida, 7 against Georgia Tech and 5.7 against BYU.

The handwriting on the wall: Oklahoma 37, Florida State 31.

Hot links, served fresh
Kevin Haskin of the Topeka Capital-Journal writes that the next athletic director Kansas needs to have a more practical approach to fund raising and budgets.

Kyle Ringo of the Boulder Daily Camera wonders if it's time for Colorado to reconsider its scheduling philosophy.

Cedric Golden of the Austin American-Statesman writes that Texas apparently will have a defensive tackle by committee.

He was third on the depth chart just three weeks ago but De'Vion Moore might be Missouri's best answer at tailback.

Texas A&M has two trophy "fish" (freshmen) on its offensive line.

Kansas State coach Bill Snyder was pleased with quarterback Carson Coffman's performance in the season opener.

Phil and Lori Stephenson are married and are assistant coaches for Texas A&M's soccer team.

Monday, Sept. 6

Paging all kickers
Texas A&M's special teams were inconsistent last season and improving that aspect of the game was a high priority of Aggies coach Mike Sherman.

On the opening kickoff, Randy Bullock kicked it out of bounds, giving Stephen F. Austin its first possession at the 40-yard line. Then, Bullock missed his first field goal attempt with the kick banging off the upright. Bullock made field goals of 32 and 27 yards.

"The first field goal was unacceptable. I'm glad he was able to come back and make the other two," Sherman said Monday. "We're going to continue to work with him and other kickers. It's something I have concern about and will continue to until we have consistency there."

Later during his interview session with the media, Sherman made it sound like he wouldn't mind hearing from kicking candidates.

"If there is someone on campus that can do that," Sherman told reporters today when asked if the kicking position was open. "If someone has any eligibility left in this room we'll look at that as well. We're not locked into anyone."

One down, seven to go
Before Oklahoma State opened the season with a 65-17 thrashing of Washington State Saturday night, the school's biggest benefactor/booster made a prediction. T. Boone Pickens believes the Cowboys will win eight games this season.

Pickens said he was disappointed that Oklahoma State closed out last season with losses to Oklahoma and Ole Miss (in the Cotton Bowl).

"It didn't turn out like we wanted it to, but no question that (coach Mike) Gundy has done a good job. Be sure to write down that I said that," Pickens said. "Our program today is stronger than it's ever been.


"I'm kind of choking on the record with the two big boys in the South (Texas and Oklahoma). We're 0-10 against them (under Gundy), and I want to come up with some wins in there some place.

Injury updates
* Oklahoma defensive end Frank Alexander (sprained ankle) should play Saturday against Florida State. He didn't play in the opener.

* Texas A&M linebacker/defensive end Von Miller sprained an ankle in the first half of the opener and missed the rest of the game. Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman said Monday that Miller is receiving treatment but it's uncertain if he'll play against Louisiana Tech Saturday.

* Texas A&M senior defensive back DeMaurier Thompson tore his ACL in the opener. He'll miss the remainder of the season.

* Missouri sophomore tailback Kendial Lawrence suffered a shoulder bruise in the opener but he is expected to play Saturday against McNeese State.

* Oklahoma State defensive tackles Shane Jarka and Chris Donaldson were injured in the opener. Coach Mike Gundy said Monday that Jarka won't play Saturday against Troy but Donaldson will be available.

* Colorado redshirt freshman Parker Orms, the Buffs' nickel back who had been impressive during preseason practice, will miss the rest of the season after suffering a torn ACL.

Sunday, Sept. 5

Family matters
Kansas State running back Daniel Thomas rushed for a career-best 234 yards in the Wildcats' season-opening defeat of UCLA. Thomas, a Florida native, had several family members in the stands.

"I wanted to go out there and prove I'm the best athlete in the family," said Thomas, whose brother, Jerrett, was watching from the stands. "He played Division II football, and he still thinks he's got it.

"My mom and dad, my brother and my cousin, this is the first time they've seen me play together since high school. I thought about that (Friday) night. I just wanted to go out and play good in front of them."

Opening in style
The top five scoring efforts in a season opener by Big 12 teams:
Year      Opener
2007    Oklahoma 79, North Texas 10
2004    Texas 65, North Texas 0
2003    Texas 66, New Mexico State 7
2005    Texas 60, Louisiana-Lafayette 3
2010    Oklahoma State 65, Washington State 17

Tough night for Kansas tight end
Kansas tight end Tim Biere caught two passes in the season opener. He fumbled both of them. The second ended the Jayhawks' last realistic chance to overcome North Dakota State, which recorded a 6-3 victory Saturday in Lawrence.

After Biere's second fumble, KU fans were loudly booing Biere. After the game in the locker room, his teammates were being supportive.

"I think it is crazy," receiver Daymond Patterson said of the booing. "Sometimes people have bad games. They don't know what ... the fans or people on the outside don't know what we go through and the hours we put in. For them to boo him, I felt bad, because Tim is a good guy.

"I just told him to keep his head up. I'm not really concerned about how bad he felt he played or bad everybody else thinks he played, because I know Tim's a great player."

Word up
*
Texas coach Mack Brown on the Rice game and Game Two against Wyoming Saturday: "I remember two dropped interceptions for touchdowns, I remember a tipped ball for a touchdown, I remember a fourth-and-one that we didn't make at the 1-yard line, I remember a third-and-two that should have kept a drive going, I remember a dropped punt and two missed field goals. ... They better get a bunch better before Wyoming."

* Texas A&M safety Trent Hunter on the Aggies' defense: "You hear countless times about the old-school 'Wrecking Crew,' and how they were so physical. We're striving to get back to that old-school football. We're trying to hit people. We're trying to be very physical."

* Washington State coach Paul Wulff on Oklahoma State's Kendall Hunter (257 yards rushing): "We went up against a running back who is special. He set the tone for their whole offense and the tempo of the ball game. He dictated the game in several ways."

* Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen on wide receiver Justin Blackmon, who had eight catches for 125 yards and three touchdowns: "He's had the best camp from a receiver's standpoint. He's a guy we knew going in had big play capabilities. (Quarterback Brandon Weeden) has confidence in Justin."

* Colorado senior Scotty McKnight on the Buffs having more weapons at wide receiver (eight different players had receptions in the opener): "It's not to take anything away from guys who have played here because I'm still close with a ton of them. But to have Travon (Patterson) and Toney (Clemons) ... those guys are so electric, fast and consistent, which is hard to find. It just makes things so much better and so much easier. It's more of a joy to play."

That's a grand grand
A grand, as in 1,000. That's how many volleyball victories Texas has in program history after battling to a 3-2 victory Saturday night over 23rd ranked Long Beach State in Austin. The second-ranked Longhorns bounced back after being swept by fifth-ranked Illinois Friday night.

Texas jumped to a 2-0 lead but had to hold off the 49ers' rally in the match that ended 25-16, 25-20, 16-25, 20-25, 15-11. Both teams are 5-1 on the season.

"There are a lot of people that were responsible for those victories," UT coach Jerritt Elliott said. "With Jody Conradt being the first volleyball coach and to Mick Haley, and now it is my opportunity. There have been a lot of All-Americans and players that have been a part of that."

Tap the breaks, please

Your Humble Correspondent admits to having the three-day weekend grumps. YHC can't explain why because the opening weekend of the college football season typically puts a spring in YHC's step and a song in YHC's heart.

Perhaps it's because somehow YHC got in the way of dozens of knee-jerk reactions and he's feeling bruised and battered. Part of the media's job is to be critical, to call it as it sees it. Being a press pass carrying member of the media for nearly 40 (gulp!) years, YHC understands how the media functions.

First case in point: With the Big 12 headed to a 10-team configuration, many have written and said that it will be a two-team league - Texas and Oklahoma finishing 1-2 in the standings, the order determined by the teams' annual meeting in Dallas. OK, YHC gets that UT and OU are football powers.

But that doesn't guarantee success in the standings. UT didn't exactly trash Rice in Saturday's opener and OU fans are probably wondering how the Sooners only beat Utah State by a touchdown. There's a reason they play the games. As President Kennedy once said, "Why does Rice play Texas? Not because it is easy, but because it is hard." And because sometimes Rice and beat Texas.

Second case in point: There's an overview, a big picture view that most in the media can easily embrace. It leads to generalities and simple concepts. (See above regarding Texas and Oklahoma dominating.) When drilling down through a subject, the black and white turns gray. The outcome of one game colors what is written about the winner and the loser. That outcome often is influenced by a handful of plays that served as tipping points.

Which means? Overview and big picture analysis of a team after one game often has to ignore the gritty details because those details can become excuses or rationales when in the right (or wrong) hands.

Third case in point: The knee jerk chorus line Sunday was high kicking like the Rockettes. Kansas picked the wrong quarterback ... Kansas coach Turner Gill will have a hard time living down a loss to a FCS school. ... Oklahoma can't beat Florida State Saturday. ... Oklahoma State's Kendall Hunter and Kansas State's Daniel Thomas are Heisman Trophy candidates. ... Texas still can't run the football. ...

The teams/coaches/players being criticized Sunday were all being touted and loved on during the offseason. After one game, the coverage does a 180. Knee jerks lead to whiplash. Hey, folks. It's one game.

Saturday, Sept. 4

Links for Saturday's season openers
Dallas Morning News columnist Kevin Sherrington with a spot on ode to college football, a sport that has us by the heart despite its numerous problems.

Oklahoma's offensive line hopes to quiet the skeptics, writes Dave Sittler of the Tulsa World.

First-year Texas A&M defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter is excited about coaching his first game at Kyle Field.

Rice coach David Bailiff, whose team plays Texas in Reliant Stadium Saturday, remembers when Longhorns coach Mack Brown offered helpful advice.

Oklahoma State's offense needs to reduce turnovers this season.

Colorado junior Tyler Hansen is prepared for what might come his way as the Buffs' starting quarterback.

Two interesting takes on Missouri suspending senior running back Derrick Washington - Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star and Joe Walljasper of the Columbia Daily Tribune.

Wednesday, Sept. 1

Texas good at sellin' stuff
Alabama beat Texas in the BCS championship game last year but the Longhorns continued their dominance when it comes to selling branded merchandise.

While 'Bama moved from No. 5 to No. 2 thanks to its national title in football, Texas was No. 1 for the fifth consecutive season in Collegiate Licensing Company's annual list of top-selling colleges. UT ranked in $10.15 million in royalties for the fiscal year running from July 1, 2009, through June 30, 2010.

The previous fiscal year, Texas took in $8.9 million. It's believe that Texas is the first school to break the $10 million plateau.

Hats and t-shirts are always big sellers, but the hottest new item for Texas this year was ... Snuggies.

In addition to Texas, six other Big 12 schools finished in CLC's top 25 schools that sold the most branded merchandise. Oklahoma was 10th, Nebraska was 14th, Kansas was 17th, Missouri 18th, Texas A&M 21st and Texas Tech 24th.

Walk it out
Several Southeastern Conference teams feature a "player's walk" before games where the players walk through a cordon of fans as they enter the stadium. Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville, who coached at Ole Miss and Auburn, is bringing that SEC tradition to Lubbock.

When the Red Raiders open against SMU Sunday, the "Raider Walk" will begin at the corner of Texas Tech's baseball stadium, Dan Law Field, and the City Bank Auditorium.

"I think those are things that help us," Tuberville said Monday. "We'll get to the game a couple of hours before. They get to see a little bit of the tailgating as we walk through. We'll involve the band, the cheerleaders, pom pom girls and the fans. When you get to the stadium, a lot of times, the players don't realize what went on outside the stadium.

"This lets the fans and players understand the game is coming up and everybody is fired up about it. Hopefully with two hours and fifteen minutes before game time, we'll have a lot of people out here on the west side of the stadium fired up and getting our players fired up."

Speculating on Texas-Nebraska game time
When there is a highly anticipated regular-season game that is scheduled for the middle of the season, there's always lots of interest in the possible kickoff time.

For instance, this year's Texas-Oklahoma game already has been tentatively slotted for a 2:30 p.m. CT kickoff on ABC. Two weeks later, the Texas at Nebraska game is scheduled and there is lots of talk in Husker Land regarding when that game will kickoff.

While the Huskers-Longhorns game would appear to be a great candidate for ABC's Saturday night prime-time slot, that's not going to happen. ABC is committed to showing NASCAR's Bank of America 500 in Charlotte, N.C. Coverage of that race is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m.

ABC has a limited the early morning windows in favor of more telecasts in prime time. That's a possible but remote option for Texas-Nebraska. ESPN does not have a Big 12 telecast window that night through its sublcense with FSN.

What's it all mean? More than likely the Longhorns and the Cornhuskers will play in the 2:30 p.m. CT time slot. The Big 12's television partners select their telecasts either 12 days or six days before a game so that's how long we'll have to wait until we know for sure.

Links worth reading
David Ubben, ESPN.com's Big 12 blogger, followed Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin around campus on the first day of classes - great stuff here.

If you want to find out if your favorite Big 12 team has made changes to its football uniforms for this season, check this out.

Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News writes that Missouri's basketball team has lofty goals for the upcoming season.