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2008 Dr Pepper Football Championship Insider Blog

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. 

Saturday, Dec. 6

Projecting the bowls
The Bowl Championship Series selection show on Fox starts at 7 p.m. CT. Here's how the Big 12 bowl games figure to look when the official pairings are released Sunday:
BCS Championship game: Oklahoma vs. Florida.
BCS Fiesta Bowl: Texas vs. at-large team.
Cotton Bowl: Texas Tech vs. Southeastern Conference team.
Holiday Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Pacific-10 Conference team.
Gator Bowl: Nebraska vs. Atlantic Coast Conference team.
Alamo Bowl: Missouri vs. Big Ten Conference team.
Insight Bowl: Kansas vs. Big Ten Conference team.

Check out the postgame:  One more thing before I head to the field - for complete postgame coverage (analysis, interviews, etc.) make sure to log on to www.Big12Sports.com. The web site plans a postgame wrapup that should supply plenty of interesting information.

Oklahoma 41, Missouri 14, end of third quarter: The Sooners are 15 minutes from wrapping up their third consecutive Big 12 championship. We'll suspend blogging for now. I'll be headed to the field at the 5:00 mark to help chase down some quotes. 

Oklahoma 41, Missouri 14, 3:59 third quarter: Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel hit receiver Tommy Saunders on a nine-yard slant pass for a touchdown with 3:59 remaining. 

Oklahoma 41, Missouri 7, 9:00 third quarter: Jimmy Stevens kicked a 30-yard field goal as the Sooners scored on their first offensive possession of the second half after forcing a Missouri punt. 

Halftime notes: Oklahoma's Chris Brown has over 1,000 yards rushing. The Sooners are the first team in Division I-A history to have two 1,000-yard rushers (DeMarco Murray has 1,002 yards rushing) and a 4,000-yard passer (Sam Bradford). ... The Sooners has surpassed Hawaii's single-season scoring record (656 points in 2006). Oklahoma's 38 points in the first half gives it 678 points. ... OU's 31-point halftime lead was the third-largest in Big 12 Championship game history. Texas led Colorado by 39 (42-3) in 2005. 

Oklahoma 38, Missouri 7, halftime: The Sooners down to their third-team middle linebacker and without its best running back (DeMarco Murray) had little trouble dominating the first 30 minutes. OU outscored Missouri 28-7 in the second quarter. The Sooners scored twice in a span of 2:01 and then scored two more TDs in a span of 2:40.

In last year's Big 12 Championship game between the Sooners and the Tigers, the game was tied 14-all at halftime.

Oklahoma 38, Missouri 7, :53 second quarter: Oklahoma is the avalanche, Missouri is the ski chalet. Oklahoma cornerback Brian Jackson intercepted Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel and returned it to the Tigers' 28. After a 22-yard pass from Sam Bradford to Ryan Broyles, Chris Brown reached the endzone on a six-yard run. 

Following Bradford's completion to Broyles, press box announcer Peter Irwin said "Frank Broyles" before quickly correcting himself. The writers in the box got a good chuckle and then laughed when Irwin corrected himself by saying, "You've seen one Broyles, you've seen 'em all."

Oklahoma 31, Missouri 7, 2:33 second quarter: Third-team tailback Mossis Madu scored on a 12-yard run off the left side. It capped an 89-yard, 15-play drive. Eight of the plays on the drive were runs. 

Oklahoma 24, Missouri 7, 8:59 second quarter: That's 14 points in just over two minutes. The Sooners' scoring drive was set up when Nic Harris hit Chase Daniel on a first-down run. Daniel fumbled and the Sooners recovered. They drove 49 yards in six plays. Sam Bradford, just before he got drilled by Missouri defensive lineman Ziggy Hood, found Juaquin Iglesias for a seven-yard touchdown pass.

Just before the snap, someone from the lower stands fired an orange onto the field. It rolled just past Bradford, who was in the shotgun. In the old days in the Big Eight, OU fans like to toss oranges on the field to celebrate trips to the Orange Bowl.

Oklahoma 17, Missouri 7, 11:00 second quarter: On a third-and-seven from the 11, Oklahoma's Sam Bradford had lots of time, moved in the pocket and eventually found  Juaquin Iglesias for the touchdown.

Just four minutes into the second quarter and we've already had six personal foul penalties. Oklahoma has a 4-2 lead. The most recent PF came on Juaquin Iglesias. It was a non-contact penalty so it involved trash talk or something unsportsmanlike. Because of the penalty, Oklahoma kicked off from its own 15. Missouri returned it to the OU 47.

Oklahoma 10, Missouri 7, 13:09 second quarter: Jeremy Maclin scored on a 22-yard pass from Chase Daniel on a thrid-and-seven. Maclin was isolated on OU linebacker Travis Lewis and caught a short pass over the middle, then ran it in. On the previous play, Missouri came up short on a third-and-two but was flagged for an illegal formation. OU took the penalty instead of giving the Tigers a fourth-and-short.

On the touchdown play, Missouri's Tommy Saunders was called for a personal foul, non-contact. He appeared to make a throat slash motion after Maclin's TD. Missouri kicked off from its own 15. Oklahoma returned it to its own 47.

End of first quarter: The Sooners have a 10-0 lead. In the first quarter, each team had the ball for 7:30. You rarely see the time of possession split 50-50. 

Oklahoma 10, Missouri 0, 2:03 first quarter: The Sooners have no karma issues. OU went 90 yards in eight plays with running back Chris Brown going the last 17 yards on three carries. He scored from the four on a first-and-goal. 

After the touchdown, the Sooner Schooner made its first appearance. At about the 25-yard line, the driver lost the reins. It took a few minutes to untangle the reins from the right front wheel.

4:37, first quarter: Oklahoma has some karma issues. DeMarco Murray appears to be out for the game after being injured and the Sooners committed two personal foul penalties in a five-play series. In addition to Jimmy Stevens' ugly field goal, punter Mike Knall shanked his first attempt 26 yards. So far, this one's a defensive struggle. Who knew?

7:02, first quarter - Missouri's Jeff Wolfert just missed a 48-yard field goal attempt. That's usually well within his range but the kick wound up just short. The Tigers' drive stalled when Chase Daniel was tackled for a four-yard loss on a quarterback draw on third and two from the Oklahoma 26.

DeMarco Murray, OU's leading rusher, appears to have an injury to his left leg. He was on his back and a trainer was stretching the leg.

Oklahoma 3, Missouri 0, 10:55: Jimmy Stevens made a 20-yard field goal. He drilled it. Literally. His kick was about 11 yards high and barely cleared the cross bar. 

Murray is up and walking around but he still is showing his frustration.

7:23 p.m. - Oklahoma running back DeMarco Murray apparently was hurt on the opening kickoff. He has spent the opening drive on the OU bench, pounding his fists in frustration. 

7:16 p.m. - Oklahoma's DeMarco Murray returns the opening kickoff 30 yards. We'll post another update when there's something significant to report.

7:12 p.m. - The team captains are meeting in the center of the field for the coin toss. Oklahoma won the toss and elected to receive and defend the North end zone.

7:11 p.m. - Oklahoma takes the field. The Sooners also gathered in the North end zone.

7:09 p.m. - Missouri has taken the field. The team ran to the North end zone before heading to their bench area.

7:05 p.m. - The natural grass field appears to be in good shape.  A few weeks ago, the Chiefs installed new turf between the hashmarks. The grass between the hashes and the sidelines looks a little beat up but the cold temperatures and the lack of preciptitation appears to have eliminated slippery conditions.

7:03 p.m.  - Official game-time temperature is 32 degrees. 

6:46 p.m. - The teams have left the field. The Sooners had to move through the Missouri marching band that had assembled on the sideline. A few Tigers fans booed.

6:28 p.m. - It's a final in Atlanta in the Southeastern Conference champinship game. Florida scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to surge past Alabama, 31-20. The victory probably assures the Gators a spot in the Bowl Championship Series title game on Jan. 8. Alabama (12-1) will likely wind up in the Sugar Bowl. Florida quarterback Tim Tebow had three short touchdown passes in a performance that will no doubt get the attention of Heisman Trophy voters. Sam Bradford, you're up.

5:39 p.m. - Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe just finished an informal news conference in the Arrowhead Stadium press box.

Beebe said that if there is a change in the tiebreaker rule the process would start during athletic directors meetings in March during the Big 12 basketball tournaments. Any change in the rule would require a 7-5 vote.

"Typically what happens is that Big 12 staff will gather information and distribute it to the schools," Beebe said. "We can look at any changes that the schools might want."

There won't likely be any change in the rule until the conference spring meetings in May.

5:10 p.m. - Oklahoma is in the house. The Sooners, wearing crimson warmups, are checking out the field. Some are in shirt sleeves, some wearing shorts. Mind over nature?

5:03 p.m. - Bowl buzz. Notre Dame is bowl eligible with a 6-6 record. A number of minor bowls have openings and would love to have the Irish.

However, NCAA post-season rules dictate that any at-large teams with records better than 6-6 must be selected before teams with .500 records. The Western Athletic Conference has five bowl-eligible teams, four with 7-5 records, and four bowl tie-ins. The Mid-American Conference also might have an extra team with a record better than 7-5.

There are two likely landing spots for the Irish and both would be created by the Big 12 not having enough bowl-eligible teams to fill their bowl agreements. Notre Dame could play in the Texas Bowl in Houston against Rice. It also could wind up in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La. The Independence matches teams from the Big 12 and Southeastern conferences; neither league will have enough bowl-eligible teams to fill their bowl commitments.

4:55 p.m. - Missouri is in the house. The Tigers, dressed in black warmups, are walking the field, some are kneeling to pray.

4:50 p.m. - More on the Banner Battles. A pro-Texas banner being flown over the stadium had this message: Enjoy The BeatByTexas.com Bowl. Obviously a reference to the fact that Oklahoma and Missouri both lost to the Longhorns.

4:45 p.m. - Greetings from Arrowhead Stadium. It appears the Dr Pepper Football Championship game will be played in cold and dry conditions. The skies are clear. Temperature at kickoff is forecast to be 31 degrees with a wind chill of 22. At 10 p.m., about the time the game should be winding down, it's forecast to be 26 degrees with a wind chill of 18.

Friday, Dec. 5 

8:35 p.m. - Just got back to my hotel room here at the Westin following the inaugural Big 12 Legends reception. The autograph session for the 12 Legends went overtime; they didn't cap the last Sharpie until about 40 minutes ago. This first-time event was quite a hit and its popularity should only grow with each Big 12 championship game.

As Baylor legend Grant Teaff said: "The past is relevant to where we are now."

Each Legend received a crystal trophy - a football on a stand that had the Legend's name engraved. Teaff, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association, noted that the crystal football was a mini version of the $30,000 Waterford crystal football that the AFCA presents to its national championship team. I mentioned that the Legends trophy resembled the NFL's Super Bowl trophy. We agreed the Legends trophy was a hybrid.

Here are some other tidbits/observations from the Legends event:

* Dave Armstrong, who has been broadcasting Big Eight and Big 12 games for 23 years, was the master of ceremonies. The Legends were introduced and brought on stage one by one, preceded by video highlights.

* Kansas State coach Bill Snyder, who retired in 2005, has returned to his job with the Wildcats. When I told him "Welcome back" he gave me a smile but then said, "I'm not so sure." He was kidding. I think.

* After John Hadl (Kansas), Bill Snyder (Kansas State) and John Kadlec (Missouri) were seated, Armstrong remarked, "Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri, all sitting next to each other. That's a photo opportunity." 

* Texas Legend Priest Holmes flashed a wide smile and displayed Hook 'Em signs with both hands. When Texas A&M Legend John David Crow followed Holmes to the head table, Crow "retaliated" with the Aggies' thumbs up Gig 'em sign.

* Iowa State Legend Matt Blair is a photographer of some renown. He has an on-line photo book "Time Never Stops" that can be ordered at www.blurb.com. Blair was busy clicking his Nikon as the group's unofficial photographer.

* Snyder spoke for the 12 Legends: "I'm enjoying the daylights out of this. This is a highlight for each and every one of us. Each and every one of these gentlemen have been special to their universities in so many ways. It's not just about football. These gentlemen have been a conduit from their university to national recoginition. This conference has so many amazing universities with programs and academics of national and world-wide merit. That information doesn't get out that often. But it does when these gentlemen promote this silly game of college football. Everybody pays attention."

* Dennis Poppe, who played at Missouri and is now with the NCAA, was in Kansas City for his grand daughter's birthday but dropped by the Legends reception. Poppe is the NCAA's Managing Director for Football & Baseball. His main football duty involves bowl games and their certification. He's been busy dealing with trying to help officiate bowls that are trying to fill their slots because the Big 12 and the Southeastern conferences don't have enough bowl-eligible teams to fill their contractual bowl obligations.

* Missouri Legend John Kadlec's daughter Peggy lives in Kansas City. She stopped by to say hello. We were high school classmates - Columbia, Mo., Hickman, Class of '72.

3:10 p.m. - Just perusing the Interweb and came across this item on FrontBurner, the blog site for Dallas-based D Magazine. You might remember that during the Texas-Oklahoma game, Dallas towing firm Lone Star Auto Services towed a bunch of cars that had been waved into a pay lot on game day. When they returned, their cars had been towed. The city of Dallas has ordered to cease operations. Here's the kicker, via FrontBurner poster and D Magazine editor/writer Eric Celeste: the company blamed its problems on the BCS.

3 p.m. - Just got back from a trip to a local studio to be hooked up via satellite for an appearance on ESPN's Outside The Lines. The first segement of the show reported on O.J. Simpson's sentencing. So I've got that working for me in the resume department.

1 p.m. -  Coaches Bob Stoops of Oklahoma and Gary Pinkel of Missouri spent the last 15 minutes on stage with Musburger for a Q and A session. A number of questions were submitted by fans who attended the luncheon. Here are some highlights. 

* One question asked each coach if there was one Big 12 player he could add for the championship game, who would it be. "I anticipated that question," Pinkel chuckled. "Actually, I'm happy with my team." Stoops agreed then said, "I'd like to steal (Missouri receiver/returner Jeremy) Maclin."

* Stoops said that quarterback Sam Bradford's thumb injury to his non-throwing hand should not be an issue. "Sam has practiced all week and operated in the same manner he always has," Stoops said. "The difference is we've had the chance to prepare for it and brace (the thumb)."

* On the post-season, both coaches would lean toward a plus-one system that would match the top four teams in bowl games with the winners playing for the national championship. Stoops also said he wants to see the bowl system maintained.

* When Missouri played Kansas last Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium was played in "snowy, rainy, crummy" conditions according to Pinkel. That led to some footing issues for both teams. "They (the Chiefs) got the field in the best shape the could," Pinkel said. "Isn't that a great answer?" Stoops isn't concerned about the field conditions. "We're all playing in same conditions," Stoops said. "We'll play on it whatever it is. I don't concern myself with something that will be both ways for each team."

* A representative from the Rose Bowl won the drawing for the football autographed by both coaches.

12:40 p.m. - Musburger said when he was going through airport security in Missoula, Mont., he was asked to step aside for a special pat down by aiport security. But Musburger said it just emphasized how much interest Big 12 football is generating.  "The guy wanted to ask me if Missouri has a chance," Musburger said.

12:35 p.m. - The Big 12 male and female athletes of the year were honored and recognized - Kansas women's volleyball athlete Katie Martincich and Baylor men's basketball player Mamadou Diene. Also honored and recognized were the Big 12 Special Olympians of the Year. Derek "Tank" Schottie from Sugarland, Texas, and Tabitha Darnell from Davenport, Iowa.

12:10 p.m. - Master of ceremonies Brent Musburger of ABC has made is opening remarks. It's time for the salads.

Noon -  As an appetizer before the lunch, here are some links and nuggets:

ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach writes about the paths that Oklahoma and Missouri took to reach the Dr Pepper Football Championship game.

ESPN.com's Tim Griffin, whose coverage of the Big 12 this season has been outstanding and prolific, explains why Oklahoma's offense might be one of the best ever.

Will he stay or will he go? Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal he plans to return for the 2009 season instead of entering the NFL Draft.

Two Texas A&M players tell Randy Riggs of the Austin American-Statesman their opinion on which Big 12 South team is the best.
Oklahoma's defense will probably try to play some mind games with Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel.

* Via the ever-diligent Joseph Duarte of the Houston Chronicle and the Dan Patrick Radio Show, here's the top four teams in Texas coach Mack Brown's recent ballot in the USA Today/Coaches poll: 1, Alabama; 2, Texas; 3, Florida; 4, Oklahoma. All 61 coaches' ballots will be revealed after Sunday's final regular-season vote but Brown divulged his top four while on Patrick's show.

* Remember the banner flying over Stillwater Saturday that reminded everyone about the score of the Texas-Oklahoma game? Thursday, a single-engine plane flying over Austin towed the following sign: 'HEY MACK BROWN QUIT WHINING YOU KNEW THE RULES!' While Texas fans claimed responsibility for the plane rental last Saturday, it's unclear who paid for Thursday's airborne signage.

* When Texas and Oklahoma meet next October for the Red River Rivalry, there might need to be an air traffic control tower set up at the Cotton Bowl.

* One last comment about the tiebreaker controversy. Those who are blaming the Big 12 Conference are directing their criticism in the wrong direction. The conference administrates for the 12 member schools. The schools decide what goes on. The schools decided on the tiebreaker rules, not the conference. 

11:55 a.m. - Greetings from Kansas City and the start of Dr Pepper Football Championship weekend. I'm currently sitting in the Century Ballroom at the Westin Hotel awaiting the start of the Kickoff Luncheon.

Posting on the blog helps keep me awake. I was in Austin Thursday for Texas' victory over UCLA in the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series. I drove back to Dallas after the game and had an 8 a.m. Southwest flight out of Love Field. Add that all together and it was three hours of sleep for your Big 12 Insider.

 

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