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October 2008

Wendell Barnhouse is a nationally-known and respected columnist who has spent over 20 years covering collegiate athletics. He has reported from 23 Final Fours and more than three dozen bowl games and has written about the Big 12 and its schools since the conference's beginning. Barnhouse will be updating the Big 12 Insider on happenings and behind-the-scenes information about the conference. 

Thursday, Oct. 30

Volleyball upsets
Wednesday night featured two surprises at the top of the Big 12 volleyball standings.

Second-ranked Nebraska suffered its first loss of the season at Colorado, 3-1 (25-19, 27-25, 18-25, 25-16). It's the second time in three seasons the Cornhuskers suffered their first loss at the Buffs' Coors Event Center.

The loss dropped Nebraska to 20-1 overall and 11-1 in the Big 12. But the Cornhuskers remained in first place in the standings as second-place and third-ranked Texas also was upset.

Visiting Oklahoma ended the Longhorns' 23-match home winning streak with a 3-2 (21-25, 25-9, 25-22, 23-25, 13-15) decision. Texas is 16-3 overall and 9-2 in conference play.

The Big 12 regular-season title could come down to Nebraska's match at Texas on Nov. 19. The Longhorns dropped their conference opener at Nebraska in September. Should the Longhorns win the rematch and the teams finish tied in the standings, the Big 12 will have co-champions. However, conference tie-breaking procedures will determine the Big 12's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Colorado's victory gives the Buffaloes a 12-9 record and 6-6 mark in the conference. With the second half of league play coming up, Colorado is in position to earn an NCAA Tournament at-large bid.

Feldman's forecast
Bruce Feldman of ESPN.com makes predictions each week. Here's how he sees some of the top Big 12 games Saturday:
Oklahoma 48, Nebraska 28: The Sooners are still struggling defensively without LB Ryan Reynolds working in the middle of their D. Joe Ganz, one of the country's most underrated QBs, can exploit that void. But Nebraska just doesn't have the athletes to keep up with the slick crew of receivers whom Sam Bradford showcases.
Texas 45, Texas Tech 44: It's not easy going into Lubbock, and Tech will be sky-high for a crack at UT. Tech has a quick passing attack and runs the ball better than it ever has under Mike Leach. The Red Raiders will be a handful for the Texas D, especially that young secondary. Still, Colt McCoy, his sure-handed receiving crew and a better special-teams unit will have enough magic left to send the Horns out of there with a win.
Oklahoma State 54, Iowa State 13: The Cowboys are playing with so much confidence on both sides of the ball. I expect their ground game to roll over the Cyclones, who are 87th in the country against the run.
Mizzou 52, Baylor 17: Chase Daniel and the Tigers are still in a very ornery mood after their consecutive L's. They will pick apart the country's 87th-ranked pass defense.

News and notes
* Three Big 12 men's teams are ranked in the the USA Today/ESPN pre-season Top 25 rankings. Texas is ranked No. 8, Oklahoma is No. 14 while defending national champion Kansas is ranked No. 23. Baylor (47 points), Texas A&M (19) and Oklahoma State (4) also received votes from the college basketball coaches who vote in the poll.
* Texas has seven teams ranked in the top 10 of their sports' polls. Football is the unanimous No. 1 team in the polls. Men's swimming and diving is No. 1 in the initial College Swimming Coaches Association of America poll (as of Oct. 16). Women’s volleyball is No. 3 in the latest CBS College Sports/AVCA poll (Oct. 27). Women’s swimming and diving is No. 7 in the initial CSCAA poll. Women’s soccer is No. 8 in the Soccer America rankings (Oct. 26). Men’s golf is at No. 8 in the latest Golfweek Sagarin Performance Rankings (Oct. 23). And men’s basketball is No. 8 in USA Today/ESPN pre-season poll.
* Senior quarterbacks Chase Daniel of Missouri and Graham Harrell of Texas Tech are among the 15 finalists for the Draddy Trophy, an award that is considered the academic Heisman Trophy. Both Daniel and Harrell will be in New York for the Draddy announcement on Dec. 9. As finalists, Daniel and Harrell are winners of National Football Foundation 2008 Scholar-Athlete Awards, which comes with an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship. Daniel is a business administration major with a cumulative grade point average of over 3.4. Harrell graduated in December with a degree in history and is pursuing a master’s degree in education.

Monday, Oct. 27

Big 12 Big Plays ... Vote Today!
Check out the "Big 12 Big Plays" from Saturday. Plays featuring student-athletes from Baylor, Kansas, Missouri, Texas Tech and Texas are featured. Check out the video replays and vote for your favorite!!!!!

Sunday, Oct. 26

Rank and file
The Associated Press and USA Today/Coaches polls announced Sunday showed continuing respect for the Big 12 Conference.
The Big 12 has four of the top nine teams and five of the top 14 in the AP rankings. In the coaches' poll, three Big 12 teams are in the top five, four are in the top 10 and five are in the top 14.
Top-ranked Texas remained No. 1 in both polls. The Longhorns received all 65 No. 1 votes in the AP poll and 58 (the same number as last week) No. 1 votes in the coaches' poll.
Oklahoma is the top-ranked one-loss team. The Sooners remained No. 4 in the media poll and moved up to No. 4 in the coaches' poll, replacing USC.
Texas Tech, which plays host to top-ranked Texas Saturday, moved up to No. 5 in the coaches' poll and No. 6 in the AP poll.
Oklahoma State, which lost 28-24 at Texas Saturday, received respect. The Cowboys dropped two spots, from seventh to ninth, in the AP poll and from eighth to 10th in the coaches' rankings.
Missouri, a 58-0 winner over Colorado gained two spots, moving from No. 16 to No. 14 in both polls.
Kansas, after consecutive losses dropped its record to 5-3, fell out of the rankings.

The national view
Seven of the top eight teams in the Bowl Championship Series standings were on the road. Six were victorious. Saturday did little to short out the national championship chase.

Top-ranked Texas improved to 8-0 with a hard-fought 28-24 defeat of No. 6 Oklahoma State in Austin. The Longhorns, who have defeated No. 1, No. 12 and No. 6, face another challenge when the travel to Lubbock to face undefeated Texas Tech Saturday.

No. 3 Penn State scored 10 fourth-quarter points to improve to 9-0. The Nittany Lions, with games at Iowa and at home against Indiana and Michigan State, are in position to finish 12-0 and be in strong contention for a spot in the BCS championship game.

No. 2 Alabama (8-0) had little trouble winning at Tennessee. The Crimson Tide will play at LSU on Nov. 8. If Alabama is the Southeastern Conference West Division champs, it will play the East Division champ on Dec. 6.

One-loss teams Oklahoma, USC, Georgia and Florida all won and kept alive their hopes of reaching the BCS title game. The Bulldogs and the Gators face off in Jacksonville next Saturday in a championship race elimination game.

How the BCS top 10 fared
  1. Texas defeated No. 6 Oklahoma State, 28-24
  2. Alabama won at Tennessee, 29-9
  3. Penn State won at No. 9 Ohio State, 13-6
  4. Oklahoma won at Kansas State 58-35
  5. USC won at Arizona, 17-10
  6. Oklahoma State lost at No. 1 Texas, 28-24
  7. Georgia won at LSU, 52-38
  8. Texas Tech won at Kansas, 63-21
  9. Ohio State lost to No. 3 Penn State, 13-6
10. Florida defeated Kentucky, 63-5

Saturday, Oct. 25

A first on Nov. 1
ESPN will send its College GameDay show to Lubbock for the first time. Chris Fowler, Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit will be in town for Saturday's Texas-Texas Tech game, which will air at 7 p.m. on ABC. For those keeping track, GameDay will be on hand for a Big 12 game three out of four Saturdays - Texas-Oklahoma in Dallas on Oct. 11, Missouri-Texas in Austin Oct. 18 and Texas-Texas Tech in Lubbock next Saturday.

Caffeine, please
Your Humble Correspondent has been watching games for nine hours, since 11 a.m. CT. Most of the tube time has been spent watching fireworks displays, aka Big 12 football. Now, I'm keeping track of the Alabama-Tennessee and Penn State-Ohio State. It's like being hypnotized ... I'm getting sleeeeepy ... sleeeepy.

The first Saturday in November
Next Saturday will be another in a series of wonderful weekends for the Big 12.

Undefeated and top-ranked Texas will travel to Lubbock to face undefeated Texas Tech. That game will air at 7 p.m. on ABC. It will be a full natonal telecast. The same time and date, Nebraska will visit Oklahoma in a game that will be televised by ESPN. The game in Norman will feature a reunion of the players who participated in the 1971 game that matched No. 1 vs. No. 2 in one of the greatest games ever played.

Just a half
In the first half of three early games on the Big 12 schedule - Texas Tech at Kansas, Oklahoma at Kansas State and Baylor at Nebaska - the six teams combined for 159 points, 1,723 yards in total offense 63 first downs.
Oklahoma's 55 points in the first half at Kansas State is a school record. The previous high for a first half for the Sooners was 52 against Rice in 1978. It tied the school record for most points in a half. Oklahoma scored 55 in the second half against Texas Tech in 1942. Oklahoma had seven touchdown drives in the first half. That required 29 plays and covered 343 yards. All of the scoring drives were under two minutes; the longest drive required 1:45.
In case you're wondering, the 83 points scored by both teams on the Oklahoma-Kansas State game doesn't come close to the NCAA record for most points in a half. North Texas 49, Navy 45 set the record last year (94).

Condolences to the Prince family
Ernest Prince, the father of Kansas State football coach Ron Prince, died Friday at the age of 90. Ron Prince coached the Wildcats in Saturday's home game against Oklahoma.

Fast break football
In the first quarter of the Oklahoma-Kansas State game, the teams scored six touchdowns. Those scoring drives required 20 plays and covered a total of 301 yards. The longest scoring drive took 1:45. The last three scoring drives each took two plays.

Texas Tech 35, Kansas 14
The Red Raiders outscored the Jayhawks 21-0 in the second quarter. Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell completed 22-of-26 passes for 247 yards and four touchdowns. Kicker Matt Williams, who joined the team as a walk on after winning an in-game kicking contest in September, has made all five of his extra point attempts in his college football debut.

Friday, Oct. 24

Five Big 12 players on TSN Mid-Season team
The Sporting News selected a mid-season All-American team. Five players from the Big 12 were selected - Texas quarterback Colt McCoy, Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant, Missouri tight end Chase Coffman, Oklahoma offensive lineman Duke Robinson and Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo.

Women's basketball media day links
Big 12 women's coach laud the conference's competitive balance.

The number of talented teams raised some eyebrows based on the pre-season rankings.

In her second season, Texas women's coach Gail Goestenkors has a team that should contend for the Big 12 title.

Baylor is making sure that Jhasmin Player is fully recovered from knee surgery before she takes the court.

Entering her senior season, Oklahoma's Courtney Paris has "changed the game" according to one Big 12 coach.

Colorado needs to find a way to replace Jackie McFarland, who averaged nearly 19 points a game last season.

Notes and news: a father plays hooky for his daughter, a coaching legend joins Baylor and a brother-sister act at Texas A&M.

Men's basketball media day links
Kansas coach Bill Self maintains that the Big 12 didn't need a men's national championship to validate its national reputation.

Even with the defending national champions in the conference, most believe this year's regular-season race will be wide open.

After making the NCAA Tournament field for the first time in two decades, Baylor is hungry for a return trip and a longer stay.

Colorado's Jeff Bzdelik, who coached in the NBA for 17 seasons, said that the Big 12 is the most competitive situation he has ever faced.

Missouri has so many newcomers that coach Mike Anderson joked that he needed name tags for the Tigers' first practice.

Notes and news about Texas' point guard situation, how Kansas State will cope without Michael Beasley and Bill Walker, etc.

Monday, Oct. 20

Big 12 Big Plays ... Vote Today!
Check out the "Big 12 Big Plays" from Saturday. Plays from Iowa State, Kansas State, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas are featured. Do your patriotic duty - check out the video replays and vote!!!!!

Nov. 1 TV games
Here's the slate of telecasts for Nov. 1. Four Big 12 games will be telecast, two in prime-time. The 7 p.m. telecasts will on either ABC or ESPN and the network for those games won't be announced until after this Saturday's games are complete.

 

Kansas State at Kansas 11:30 a.m., CT  FSN
Iowa State at Oklahoma State  2:30 p.m.. CT  ABC 
Texas at Texas Tech  7:00 p.m., CT ABC/ESPN
Nebraska at Oklahoma 7:00 p.m., CT ABC/ESPN

 

Saturday, Oct. 18

Network change
Saturday's Texas Tech at Kansas game will be televised on ESPN instead of ESPN2. The change was announced Saturday aftenroon. The game will start at 11 a.m.

Halftime updates
Texas A&M is leading No. 5 Texas Tech, 23-20, at halftime in College Station. The Aggies have forced two turnovers and have dominated time of possession but three trips inside of the red zone wound up producing just three field goals. Leaving 12 points on the table could wind up helping the Red Raiders.
Nebraska has a 21-0 lead at halftime at Iowa State. The Cyclones appear to be playing like a team demoralized by their four-game losing streak.

FWIW
Fort what it's worth, ESPN's GameDay was in Austin Saturday morning. Analyst Kirk Herbstreit said that Oklahoma State should be on "upset alert" playing Baylor. Analyst Lee Corso put on the head of the Bevo mascot to make his pick of Texas over Missouri. However, a fan poll conducted by ESPN had 60 percent of the voters saying the Tigers will upset the Longhorns. 

Friday, Oct. 17

SI's mid-season All-American team features 10 from Big 12
Sports Illustrated selected a mid-season All-American team that featured 10 players from the Big 12. The first team included Texas quarterback Colt McCoy, Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree, Missouri tight end Chase Coffman, Oklahoma offensive tackle Phil Loadholt, Baylor offenisve tackle Jason Smith, Texas defensive Brian Orakpo and Missouri linebacker Sean Weatherspoon. The second team included Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, Baylor running back Kendall Hunter and Baylor punt returner Dez Bryant.

Projecting the national title game
Rivals.com held its weekly round table with their college football writers. This week's topic was projecting the national championship matchup. Here's how it broke down: Terry Bowden, Penn State vs. USC; Olin Buchanan, Penn State vs. Texas; Tom Dienart, Penn State vs. Texas; David Fox, Penn State vs. Texas; Mike Hugenin, Florida vs. USC; Steve Megaree, Texas vs. Florida.

Thursday, Oct. 16

Ten Big 12 players 'mid-season All-Americans'
College Football News.com chose a mid-season All-American team. First-team selections included Texas quarterback Colt McCoy, Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant, Missouri tight end Chase Coffman, Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo and Missouri linebacker Sean Weatherspoon. On the second team were Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree, Oklahoma offensive lineman Duke Robinson, Texas Tech offensive lineman Louis Vasquez and Texas A&M punter Justin Brantly.

Wednesday, Oct. 15

Another BCS sneak peek
Here's how ESPN.com's Bowl Championsnhip Series expert Brad Edwards projects the standings as of this week. Four of the top seven are from the Big 12 South. 1, Texas; 2, Alabama; 3, Penn State; 4, USC; 5, Texas Tech; 6, Oklahoma; 7, Oklahoma State; 8, Florida; 9, Utah; 10, Georgia; 11, Ohio State; 12, BYU. The first official BCS standings for this season will be announced Sunday.

Tuesday, Oct. 14

Chase Daniel nominated for Unitas Award
Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel is one of 10 finalists for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. Other finalists include Fresno State’s Tom Branstater, Rice’s Chase Clement, Clemson’s Cullen Harper, Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell, Utah’s Brian Johnson, Purdue’s Curtis Painter, Alabama’s John Parker Wilson, West Virginia’s Pat White and Buffalo’s Drew Willy.

Only seniors are eligible for the award. The 10 finalists will be narrowed to five on Nov. 5 and the winner will be announced Dec. 2.

Colt McCoy takes lead in Heisman polls
Texas senior quarterback Colt McCoy has been named the winner of SI.com's Halfway Heisman. McCoy and the Longhorns' victory over Oklahoma plus Missouri's loss to Oklahoma State knocked the Tigers' Chase Daniel out of the Heisman lead.

On the SI.com list, Oklahoma's Sam Bradford is No. 2, Missouri's Chase Daniel is No. 3 and Missouri's Jeremy Maclin is No. 5.

McCoy also is the leader in this week's Heismanpundit.com/Orlando Sentinel Heisman Poll. McCoy received nine of 10 first-place votes. Bradford was No. 3 and Texas Tech's Graham Harrell was No. 4, giving Big 12 quarterbacks the top four spots.

ESPN.com's Heisman watch, which has 15 voters, has McCoy with a narrow lead over Bradford. Daniel is third. Harrell is fifth and Maclin is seveth.

Cover boy
Texas quarterback Colt McCoy is featured on the cover of this week's Sports Illustrated. Writer Austin Murphy's story focuses on the Longhorns' victory over top-ranked Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl Saturday.

Basketball dribbles
Midnight Madness is this Friday, the first day of basketball practice allowed under NCAA rules. Here are some notes and story links to get you in a hoops mood:

* ESPN's Dick Vitale's preseason top 40 includes four Big 12 teams: 5, Texas; 25, Kansas; 27, Oklahoma; 30, Baylor. My two cents worth - Dickie V needs to spend a little more time in Big 12 country. He has the Sooners and the Bears rated at least 10 spots lower than they should be.

* Andy Katz of ESPN.com breaks down his preseason rankings a little differently. He has an "elite eight" - teams that are national championship contenders. Oklahoma is on that list. Next he as a "Sweet 16" - teams that are capable of making a deep NCAA run. Texas and Baylor are on that list. In Katz's third tier (teams that could hang around the top 25 all season) are Kansas and Texas A&M.

* Rivals.com is counting down the top 65 teams. Here are the Big 12 teams on the list: 7, Oklahoma; 14, Texas; 16, Kansas; 28, Baylor; 44, Texas A&M; 48, Oklahoma State; 60, Missouri.

* On the recruiting front, here is Scout.com's most recent list of the top 20 high school players and where they have orally committed. You can also click here for Rivals.com's position rankings and find the top players who have orally committed to Big 12 schools. Here's a story on one of the oral commitments to Texas and another story on a player who has orally committed to Kansas.

Notes and links
* Two people with Big 12 ties are mentioned as possible candidates to become the next commissioner of the Big East Conference. According to sources quoted by the Newark Star-Ledger, former Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg (now executive vice president for the Big Ten Network) and Texas associate athletic director Christine Plonsky are on the list of candidates to replace Mike Tranghese, who will step down on June 1.

* Tom Dienhart, senior writer for Rivals.com, writes that Texas Tech coach Mike Leach and Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp will likely be candidates for the head coaching job at Clemson. Tommy Bowden was dismissed as Clemson's coach Monday.

* The father of Texas sophomore quarterback John Chiles was involved in a rescue Sunday just a few miles from the Cotton Bowl where his son played against Oklahoma on Saturday. Chiles' father helped get the driver away from an 18-wheeler carrying more than 7,000 gallons of gasoline before the tanker exploded. (Video link.)

* A short question and answer post with Don Larick, the ESPN employee charged with getting the College GameDay set from Point A to Point B each week. This week, Point A was Dallas and Point B is Austin.

* The fan reviews of the expanded and renovated Cotton Bowl, the site of the Texas-Oklahoma Red River Rivalry game Saturday.

* John McGrath, columnist for the Tacoma News Tribune, believes that money would be the only reason Gary Pinkel would leave Missouri for the (potentially open) Washington job.

Big 12 'On The Mark'
ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach in his weekly "On The Mark" feature had three items that pertained to the Big 12.

The Big 12 is better than the SEC
The Big 12 has six teams ranked in the latest Top 25 polls, including four schools from the Big 12 South. Texas, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech are still unbeaten, but chances are they won't stay undefeated for long. Alabama is the last SEC team with an unblemished record, and Florida and Georgia are ranked in the top 10. Top to bottom, the Big 12 has more depth this season than the SEC.

Which team wins the Big 12?
As many as five Big 12 teams seem capable of winning a BCS National Championship: Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Missouri. Oklahoma State beat Missouri 28-23 on the road Saturday, and still plays road games at Texas and Texas Tech. The Red Raiders needed overtime to beat Nebraska 37-31 on Saturday, and open November with this three-game gauntlet: home games against Texas and Oklahoma State and a road game at Oklahoma.

Who will win the Heisman Trophy?
The preseason odds favored a Big 12 quarterback taking home college football's greatest individual honor. But who really thought it would be Texas junior Colt McCoy? Missouri's Chase Daniel, Oklahoma's Sam Bradford, Texas Tech's Graham Harrell and Kansas' Todd Reesing received more preseason publicity than McCoy. But McCoy stole the spotlight in the Red River Rivalry, and played spectacularly in Texas' first six games. One year after throwing 18 interceptions, McCoy has completed a whopping 79.4 percent of his passes for 1,557 yards with 17 touchdowns and three interceptions. He also leads the Longhorns in rushing with 348 yards and four touchdowns.

Three out of 10
ESPN.com's Bruce Feldman, who was in the press box for Saturday's Texas-Oklahoma game, has three Big 12-related items in his weekly top 10 list. This week's topic - 10 best turnarounds.

Colt McCoy, Texas QB: The junior was outstanding against Oklahoma, never rattling, always coming up with an answer for the Sooners as he again, performed with stunning efficiency, completing 80 percent of his passes. Last year, McCoy tried to do too much. This year, he has become much more patient. Thanks to diligent work in the UT weight room, he's also become stronger and tougher and more of a running threat.

Through six games in 2007, he completed under 65% of his passes with 10 TDs and 10 INTs while running for 78 yards and a 2.1 ypc average. This year, through six games, he's completing over 79% with 17 TDs and 3 INTs while rushing for 348 yards and a 5.9 ypc average. The other thing that people also need to remember is this isn't a Texas offense loaded with first-round type talent. There is no 1500-yard rusher or a Roy Williams playmaking receiver. The great young tight end (Jermichael Finley) left early for the NFL and his replacement Blaine Irby is injured. The O-line is solid, but probably not as imposing as some of the fronts UT QBs a few years ago played behind. Special credit also should go to Horns offensive coordinator Greg Davis, who rarely gets his due, even when he had Vince Young, but the improvement McCoy and this attack have made in one year has been staggering.

Davis and McCoy had great plan for OU as the UT coach had believed that the Sooners struggled with tight end routes so he employed Jordan Shipley to work the creases of the Sooners D by making the 195-pound wideout their tight end for the day in a "10 personnel" package with one back and four receivers.

Kerry Meier, Kansas WR: The former KU QB was productive last year, catching 26 passes for 274 yards in 2007, but now he's making a move at the Biletnikoff Award. His 53 receptions for 608 yards put him near the top of the NCAA leaders. The 6-3, 220-pounder has been dubbed "Old Faithful" by QB Todd Reesing because his hands are so reliable. But Meier's more than just a possession receiver. His athleticism is a lot better than more people give him credit for. According to one rival coach he's one of the few guys who plays faster in the second half than he does in the first. Most impressive of all is that the guy spends less than half of KU's practices working at receiver since he's still prepping as Reesing's understudy at QB.

Oklahoma State: Mike Gundy's team got everyone's attention after the Cowboys went into Missouri and upset the Tigers. OSU is a physical team that can run the ball on anyone. Last season, they were 7-6 and got blown out by both Georgia and Troy on national TV. The OSU D had given up plenty of yards earlier this season, but they really shined last weekend, picking off Chase Daniel three times, which is two more INTs than he had had all season. They also forced the Tigers' starting offensive unit into its first three-and-out. (That actually happened twice.) The D has really emerged in recent weeks. They'd forced just three turnovers in the first three games, but in the last three games, they've generated 11 with seven INTs over that three-game stretch.

Monday, Oct. 13

Not so sweet Lou
For the record, Lou Holtz picked Texas to beat Oklahoma.

Also for the record, Holtz is an unabashed fan of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.

During a "Final Verdict" segment on ESPN around midnight Saturday, host Rece Davis was the "judge" as Holtz and fellow analyst Mark May argued over the attributes of Tebow and Texas quarterback Colt McCoy. May argued McCoy's case, Holtz argued in favor of Tebow. Davis declared May the winner.

Holtz apparently didn't know the segment was still live. He started a rant that he believed was directed only toward Davis and May and not the cable universe.

“You’re talking about one game. One damn game,” Holtz said, adding of McCoy, “The guy was not ó the guy was not a good quarterback last year. He was very disappointing. We’re talking about the best quarterback. Not who had the best day. Not who’s played the weakest damn schedule. Who in the hell has Texas played until they played Oklahoma?”

During a commercial break, the trio reconvened at their desk. After the break, Holtz explained his comments in a rambling fashion.

“I want to apologize to the people for some of my language there,” Holtz said. “I did not know the camera was over. I hate to lose. Hey, Colt McCoy, you’re a leading Heisman, God bless you, I don’t mean anything against you, but I’m representing Tim Tebow. When I represent somebody I’m going to do it to the best of my ability, and I still think it was a bad decision. I apologize. I’m glad we’re on at 1 o’clock in the morning and all the children are in bed.”

Two Big 12 Instant Classics
ESPN Classic will re-air the Texas-Oklahoma and Oklahoma State-Missouri games Tuesday as part of its Instant Classic series. The Longhorns-Sooners game will air at 6 p.m. CT followed by the Oklahoma State-Missouri game at 9 p.m. CT.

TV finalized for Oct. 25
Here's the TV schedule for Oct. 25. (Note: The network (ESPN or ESPN2) Texas Tech-Kansas game will be announced Sunday.):

 

Texas Tech at Kansas   11:00 a.m., CT  ESPN or ESPN2 
Oklahoma at Kansas State   11:30 a.m., CT FSN 
Baylor at Nebraska  11:30 a.m., CT VERSUS 
Oklahoma State at Texas     2:30 p.m., CT ABC 
Colorado at Missouri    5:30 p.m., CT FSN
Texas A&M at Iowa State     6:00 p.m., CT FCS

 

TV picks for Oct. 25
ABC announced it will televise the Oklahoma State at Texas game at 2:30 p.m. CT on Oct. 25. The Texas Tech at Kansas State game that day will air at 11 a.m. on either ESPN or ESPN2 (the network selection will be announced Sunday.

Check back for the Oct. 25 decisons from Versus and FSN.

Monday hot links
The Express: The Ernie Davis Story hit the megaplexes last weekend. A key part of the film focuses on the Syracuse-Texas Cotton Bowl in 1960 and some alleged racism. Ray Buck of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tries to separate the reel from the real.

Gerry Fraley of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch explores the reason why so many Big 12 teams rely on recruiting high school talent in Texas.

Berry Tramel of the Oklahoman writes that the upsets of Oklahoma and Missouri Saturday was good for the Big 12's national status.

Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City Star reminds Missouri and its fans that despite the loss to Oklahoma State, lofty goals can still be achieved.

Baylor coach Art Briles is pleased with his team's overall performance in its 38-10 defeat of Iowa State but he stresses that there is plenty of room for improvement.

Dennis Dodd of CBSSportsline.com points out that staying at No. 1 will be harder for Texas that it was getting there.

Austin American-Statesman columnist Kirk Bohls, who has made a career of writing it like it is, says that Texas proved it was the better team with its defeat of Oklahoma Saturday.

While there appeards to be a quarterback controversy brewing at Colorado, Neill Woelk of the Boulder Daily Camera points out that the Buffaloes' inability to run the ball is the bigger problem.

GameDay in Austin
ESPN's College GameDay will be in Austin Saturday. Top-ranked Texas plays host to No. 12 Missouri at 7 p.m. on ABC. This will be the second consecutive week that the ESPN trio of Chris Fowler, Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit will be on hand for a Big 12 game. GameDay was in Dallas for last Saturday's Texas-Oklahoma game.

Sunday, Oct. 12

Texas sweeps polls
The Longhorns were ranked No. 1 in the Harris Interactive College Football Poll that was released Sunday. The Harris poll is one third of the formula used to calculate the Bowl Championship Series rankings.

Texas vaulted to No. 1 in the media and the coaches' polls, which were also released Sunday.

UT received 72 first-place votes in the Harris poll. Alabama (37 first-place votes) was second and Penn State (four first-place votes) was third.
Oklahoma, No. 1 last week in the Harris Poll, dropped to No. 4. Texas Tech is No. 7, Oklahoma State No. 10, Missouri No. 11 and Kansas No. 16. 

Texas No. 1 in coaches poll
Replacing the team it beat Saturday, Texas is No. 1 in the USA Today/Coaches poll that was released Sunday. The coaches' poll makes up one-third of the formula used in computing the Bowl Championship Series rankings.

The Longhorns, following their 45-35 defeat of Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry, received 44 first-place votes. they have a 53-point lead over No. 2 Alabama and an 89-point lead over No. 3 Penn State. Alabama, which didn't play Saturday, received 14 first-place votes. Penn State, a 48-7 winner at Wisconsin, earned three first-place votes.

Texas Tech, which beat Nebraska in overtime in Lubbock, moved up from No. 7 to No. 5. Oklahoma, ranked No. 1 before losing to Texas, dropped to No. 6.

Oklahoma State used its stunning victory at Missouri to jump from No. 17 to No. 10. The Tigers, No. 2 in last week's coaches poll, dropped to No. 12. Kansas held steady at No. 15 after defeating Colorado.

Texas No. 1 in AP
The Big 12 still has the No. 1 team in The Associated Press poll and the conference still has four teams in the top 10. But there are some differences.

Texas, building off its impressive 45-35 defeat of No. 1 Oklahoma Saturday, jumped from No. 5 to replace the Sooners at the top of the rankings. The Longhorns received 39 first-place votes and were 17 points ahead of second-place Alabama, which received the other 26 first-place votes. Alabama was idle Saturday.

The Sooners fell just three spots and checked in at No. 4. Texas Tech, which needed overtime to defeat Nebraska in Lubbock, held steady at No. 7.

Oklahoma State, which stunned Missouri in Columbia Saturday night, high jumped from No. 17 to No. 8.

The Tigers, who will play Texas in Austin Saturday night, dropped to No. 11. Kansas, which defeated Colorado, remained at No. 16.

Saturday, Oct. 11

Saturday's TV games
ABC has announced it will televise Saturday's Kansas-Oklahoma game at 2:30 p.m. CT and the Missouri-Texas game will air at 7 p.m. CT.

The other TV games that have been selected for Saturday: Texas Tech at Texas A&M, 11 a.m CT on FSN; Nebraska at Iowa State, 11:30 a.m. on Versus. Game times for the Baylor-Oklahoma State and Kansas State-Colorado games have not been decided.

Texas-Oklahoma tidbits
* Oklahoma junior linebacker Ryan Reynolds, who last week at Baylor graded out at 100 percent, is out for the season. He suffered a torn ACL in his right knee with just over 11 minutes remaining in the third quarter.

* Texas senior defensive back Ryan Palmer missed the second half after injuring his hamstring late in the first half. When the Longhorns went to their nickel package (five defensive backs) they were using two redshirt freshmen and one freshman.

* In the first quarter, after both teams drove for scores on their opening drives, they combined to run 16 plays for 20 yards over the last 6:41 of the opening period.

* In the first half, the teams combined for 28 carries that gained 10 yards.

* Of the 11 touchdowns scored, six were scored by players named Johnson. Oklahoma receiver Manuel Johnson had three TDs and Texas redshirt freshman Cody Johnson had three rushing touchdowns.

* Johnson has nine rushing touchdowns on the season. Those TDs have covered a total of 13 yards.

* Texas' final touchdown should have been scored by 295-pound nose tackle Roy Miller. He was lined up at a tight end and was wide open but he dropped the pass. (Johnson scored his third TD of the game on the next play). "We tried to use him as our go-to receiver," Texas coach Mack Brown joked. "He was catching it all week in practice. He was squeezing the air out of the ball. We'll have to re-evaluate that this week."

* Texas took a 38-35 lead courtesy of a Colt McCoy-Quan Cosby two-point conversion pass. Cosby was not the primary receiver. The pass bounced off his hands and high into the air before he jumped to secure it. "That was in the air for-ev-er," Cosby said. "I was saying, 'Come down, come down.' I guess it shows how wide open I was on that play."

* It was a nice weekend for the Shipley clan. Jordan, Texas' senior wide receiver, had 225 all-purpose yards to lead the Longhorns. He had a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and cuaht 11 passes for 112 yards and a TD. Friday night, Shipley's father Bob coached Coppell to a 57-53 double overtime defeat of Southlake Carroll in a battle between two suburban Dallas high schools. Southlake Carroll had won 38 consecutive district games.

* Texas last beat a No. 1 team in the regular season in 1963 when the Longhorns defeated Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl.

 

Nice half; Oklahoma 21, Texas 20
No. 1 Oklahoma leads No. 5 Texas, 21-20, at halftime at the Cotton Bowl. The first 30 minutes of football was the classic heavyweight fight _ a quick opening salvo, an answering flurry, some probing and testing, then a toe-to-toe slug fest.

Oklahoma scored on its first drive for a 7-3 lead and Texas answered with a field goal on its first drive. The rest of the first quarter, the defenses dominated; the teams combined to run 15 plays for 16 yards.

The Sooners went 74 yards in eight plays to take a 14-3 lead with 13:14 remaining. It appeared OU was close to taking control but the Longhorns' Jordan Shipley took the ensuing kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown.

Oklahoma countered when tight end Jermaine Gresham was left uncovered and took a Sam Bradford pass 52 yards for a TD that gave the Sooners their second 11-point lead.

Again, the Longhorns blunted the momentum. Texas drove 80 yards in 12 plays with redshirt freshman banging in from the one-yard line on a third-and-goal. That score made it 21-17.

On a third and three from its 34, Oklahoma went for a big play. Bradford was pressured and his deep pass for Ryan Broyles was slightly overthrown. Redshirt freshman Earl Thomas made a diving interception at the Texas 33. Colt McCoy's 36-yard pass to Quan Cosby sparked a drive that led to Hunter Lawrence's 33-yard field goal on the final play of the half that made it 21-20.

Stay tuned for the second half. It could be a classic.

In a word: wow
Citizens and tax players can debate the wisdom of spending the money on an antiquated facility. But the bottom line is that the City of Dallas got its $50 million worth on the Cotton Bowl's expansion and improvements.

My first view of the new Cotton Bowl came early Saturday morning. What I had heard described and had imagined failed when faced with reality. The expansion from 76,000 to 92,000 was accomplished by connecting the two existing upper decks. What was a three-quarters bowl is now a full bowl. Underneath the new seats are two wide concourses. The video board on the East end fits in nicely.

Another 15,000 fans means the traffic issues remain. That should be eased with the addition mass transportation (light rail) that should be in place for next year's game.

The Texas-Oklahoma game is contracted to be played at the Cotton Bowl through 2015. For the first time in decades, the facility is keeping up with the times.

Thursday, Oct. 9

The tale of the Missouri flag
George Parker grew up in Columbia and while his basketball skills landed him at Nicholls State in Louisiana, he has always been a fan of the Missouri Tigers. (Full disclosure: George and I where high school classmates, Hickman Class of '72.)

Parker retired from the Air Force in 1994 after nearly 18 years of service. He currently works for Lockheed Martin at Buckley Air Force Base near Denver. He bought and displayed a large Missouri flag that disappeared in December of 2006.

The flag was pilfered by co-workers who proceded to send it on a journey around the world. Parker would occassionally receive "ransom" notes with pictures of his flag at various locales. Patches from various military units were added to the flag to commemorate various stops.

Two highlights of the flag's itinerary - it flew in a U-2 at 60,000 feet and in an A-10 Warthog over the North Korea/South Korea DMZ.

The flag made a brief return to the United States and Parker caught a glimpse of it at a company golf tournament in June of 2007 but he wasn't able to capture the flag.

Parker and his flag were finally reunited last month. He points out that while the flag was out of his possession, Mizzou had one of its greatest seasons, going 12-2. Parker, who plans on being in attendance for Saturday night's game with Oklahoma State, is hoping the flag's return won't change the Tigers' fortunes.

Quarterback Bates quits Iowa State
Sophomore quarterback Phillip Bates, who started the season sharing the quarterback job at Iowa State, has quit the team. Cyclones coach Gene Chizik said Thursday the school would honor Bates' request to be released from his scholarship.

Bates did not play during Saturday's 35-33 loss to Kansas as sophomore Austen Arnaud played the entire game. It was the first time this season that Iowa State had used just one quarterback.

In the first four games, Bates completed 11 passes for 137 yards and also rushed for 166 yards, the second-highest total on the team.

Stop the chant
Kansas coach Mark Mangino will try to improve the sportsmanship at the Jayhawks' home games.

The student section at Kansas football home games have adopted an obscene cheer from the 1998 Adam Sandler comedy “The Waterboy.” When the Jayahwks kickoff, the students yell “Rip his (expletive) head off.”

Magino has taped a video message asking for the students to stop using the profane cheer. The message will be e-mailed to the student body and also will be played on the Memorial Stadium video board before Saturday's game with Colorado.

Kansas basketball hires Barry Hinson
Coach Bill Self announced Wednesday that Barry Hinson, former coach at Oral Roberts and Missouri State, has been hired as an administrative assistant for the Kansas basketball program.

Hinson was an assistant for Self for three seasons at Oral Roberts. His duties with the Jayhawks will include administrative work as well as fundraising duties. Hinson can attend practice and games, but will not be allowed to coach players in accordance with NCAA rules.

Hot links
Jason King of Yahoo!Sports.com writes that there's a national buzz building about Oklahoma State and Mike Gundy, a year after Gundy made news for a different reason.

Texas' workaholic, whiz-kid defensive coordinator Will Muschamp was hired to come up with game plans to get the Longhorns in position to win games like Saturday's Red River Rivalry showdown with top-ranked Oklahoma.

Jennifer Floyd Engel of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram weighs in on the who's better argument - The Big 12 or the Southeastern Conference?

Baylor coach Art Briles wants to make sure the Bears' offense doesn't become too reliant on freshman quarterback Robert Griffin.

Tim Cowlishaw points out where the Oklahoma program was before Bob Stoops took over as coach in 1999.

Kelly Whiteside of USA Today connects the dots and explains that Oklahoma has been in the middle of most of the important stories in college football over the last 10 years. 

Wednesday, Oct. 8

Heisman chatter
* Missouri's Chase Daniel topped the Heismanpundit.com/Orlando Sentinel poll for the fourth consecutive week. The web site and the newspaper have 10 Heisman voters submit ballots on a weekly basis. Daniel had seven first-place votes. Oklahoma's Sam Bradford was second and had the other three first-place votes. Colt McCoy of Texas was third and Texas Tech's Graham Harrell was fourth. “Right now it’s a two-man race between Big 12 quarterbacks Chase Daniel and Sam Bradford," said Sports Illustrated's B.J. Schecter, one of the 10 voters.

* Gene Menez of SI.com's weekly Heisman Watch has Missouri's Chase Daniel ranked No. 1 followed by Oklahoma's Sam Bradford at No. 3. Texas quarterback Colt McCoy is No. 4 and Missouri's Jeremy Maclin is No. 5.

* CBSSports.com's Heisman rankings have Missouri's Chase Daniel and Oklahoma's Sam Bradford tied for first with Colt McCoy of Texas tied with BYU quarterback Max Hall for third.

* Pat Forde of ESPN.com has Chase Daniel, Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy ranked one, two, three on his Heisman list this week.

* In his Brutally Honest Heisman Breakdown, Pete Fiutak of CollegeFootballNews.com has Missouri's Chase Daniel as the leader in the clubhouse. He lists Texas Tech's Graham Harrell, Texas' Colt McCoy and Oklahoma's Sam Bradford listed in "The True Favorites" category.

This and that
Emptying some of the information stored in the lap top files:

* Before the season, ESPN College GameDay analyst Lee Corso predicted that Missouri would play for the national championship. But during the season on the show's Saturday telecasts, Corso has been critical of the Tigers' defense.

“Absolutely,” linebacker Brock Christopher said when asked if the team is watching and listening. “We sit in our hotel all day and listen about how good our offense is, which they are, and how we’re not good. We use it as motivation and kind of joke around with it. We take note of what they’re saying and put a chip on our shoulder.”

“Man, it always gets old, but we’ve been hearing that for a while now,” linebacker Sean Weatherspoon said. “Hopefully, he just gives us a little more motivation this week. I definitely make a point to bring it up. On our last walk-through, me, William Moore and Ziggy” Hood “talk about the nay-sayers and how we want to prove them wrong. I think that’s giving us an edge to go out there and dominate.”

* Elsewhere on the motivation front ... Texas Tech players are dealing with the distractions of being ranked No. 7 by ignoring the distractions.
 
“We watch ESPN, because they don’t give us any credit," Red Raiders safety Marcel McBath said with a smile. “That’s the only thing we like watching - ESPN - because they keep us motivated. We don’t watch local channels. Lot of pats on the back, we don’t want that."

McBath said being ranked in the top 10 is not adding pressure.

“Last time I checked, we didn’t win any national championships or anything like that," he said. “We’re not number one. Nobody’s putting a lot of pressure on us. We don’t feel any pressure. We’re just playing football."

* Tulsa leads the nation in average scoring per game while Missouri is second. The Golden Hurricane have scored 282 points in 135 minutes, 18 seconds of possession time. The Tigers have scored 267 in 124:45. Missouri is scoring a point every 28 seconds while Tulsa is scoring a point every 28.7 seconds.

* Sally Brown, the wife of Texas coach Mack Brown, might have trouble applauding the Longhorns during Saturday's Red River Rivalry game. And it will have nothing to do with how the team is performing. Last Saturday morning before Texas played at Colorado, Sally suffered a fractured wrist while hiking the Mesa Trail.

* Pat Forde of ESPN.com points out that Baylor freshman Robert Griffin is one of two quarterbacks ranked in the top 100 in passing efficiency who has not thrown an interception. The other is Mississippi State's Tyson Lee.

Linked up
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops says he has confidence in redshirt kicker Jimmy Stevens, who has attempted just one field goal this season.

Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman discusses his frustrations over the Aggies' slow start.

Tony Barnhart - aka Mr. College Football - of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes that the difference between the Big 12 and the Southeastern Conference is defense.

Few noticed that Rashad Harrell started at cornerback for Kansas State Saturday. But a journey that included a school-wide tryout led to his first career start against Texas Tech.

Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com explains that Texas heads into Saturday's Red River Rivalry flying under the radar. And that the Longhorns are just fine with it.

With some tough road games on the horizon, Baylor realizes the importance of beating visiting Iowa State Saturday.


Monday, Oct. 6

Oct. 18 TV plans firming up
ABC will use the second of three six-day selection options for its games on Oct. 18. Kansas at Oklahoma and Missouri at Texas will be televised that day but the network is waiting to decide the game times. One will be at 2:30 p.m. CT and the other at 7 p.m. CT. The game time for both games will be announced Sunday.

Big 12 televised games that day will feature Texas Tech at Texas A&M at 11 a.m. CT on Fox Sports Net and Nebraska at Iowa State, 11:30 a.m. CT on Versus.

Oct. 18 games on TV short list
ABC and ESPN will wait and assess the outcome of Saturday's games before making any decisions on Oct. 18 telecasts. The network will decide Sunday on airing the Kansas at Oklahoma and Missouri at Texas games. Both games are under consideration for both a 2:30 p.m. regional telecast and the 7 p.m. national telecast.
ESPN College GameDay, which will be at Saturday's Texas-Oklahoma game Saturday, is also considering being on site for either the Kansas-Oklahoma or Missouri-Texas games.

Sunday, Oct. 5

What they're writing
For Oklahoma, beating Baylor Saturday means that the waiting is over; it's finally the week of the Texas game.

Texas' defense continues to be impressive, according to Kirl Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman.

Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News says that victories by Texas and Oklahoma set up a marvelous matchup between the two teams at the Cotton Bowl Saturday.

Tulsa World columnist Dave Sittler says that Oklahoma State's one-sided defeat of Texas A&M indicates that the Cowboys have arrived.

Don Borst of FoxSports.com makes the case, team-by-team, that the Big 12 is superior to the Southeastern Conference this season.

Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City Star says that Missouri could rewrite a lot of history this season.

Iowa State's 35-33 loss to Kansas showed how far Iowa State has come and how close the Cyclones are to becoming a winner under coach Gene Chizik.

Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com writes that even if Missouri's defense might not be national championship caliber, the Tigers' offense might make up for it.

Thursday, Oct. 2

NCAA visits North Texas Final Four site
The first Final Four site visit by the NCAA occurred Wednesday when the NCAA Men's Basketball Committee members and NCAA staff visited the Dallas Cowboys stadium. That will be the venue for the bid that has been submitted by the Big 12 and the Cowboys.

If the NCAA selects North Texas and the Cowboys Stadium, seating capacity for the Final Four could be in the 80,000 to 100,000 range. If the Plaza areas are utilized (as they will for an event like the Super Bowl), seating capacity could balloon to over 100,000. The record for attendance at a Final Four game is 64,959 for the 1987 championship game.

The extra seating would provide unprecedented access for students of the participating schools.

North Texas is one of 10 cities that are bidding for Final Fours to be awarded between 2012 and 2016. Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Phoenix, San Antonio and St. Louis are the other cities that are on the bid list. The NCAA will announce the five host sites in late November or early December.

Wednesday, Oct. 1

Draddy Award semifinal list has seven from Big 12
Seven Big 12 seniors are on the list of semifinalist nominees for the Draddy Award, which is presented each year by the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame. Those making the list are: Mike Rivera of Kansas, Chase Daniel of Missouri, Todd Peterson of Nebraska, Seb Clements of Oklahoma State, Chris Ogbonnaya of Texas, Stephen McGee of Texas A&M and Graham Harrell of Texas Tech.

Semifinalists must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first team player or significant contributor, and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship.

Up to 15 finalists will be selected and that list will be announced on Oct. 29. The winner of the Draddy Award will be announced at the NFF's Annual Awards Dinner on December 9.

Daniel, Bradford top Heisman polls
Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel remains the Heisman Trophy favorite but Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford is gaining ground.

Daniel was atop the Heismanpundit.com/Orlando Sentinel poll for the third consecutive week but his lead over Bradford in this week's balloting was narrow - 46 points to 44. Daniel was first on six ballots, Bradford was first on the othr four.

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

Here are two other Heisman Trophy rankings.

Dennis Dodd, CBSSports.com: 1. Chase Daniel, Missouri; 2. Sam Bradford, Oklahoma; 3. Colt McCoy, Texas; 4. Donald Brown, Connecticut; 5. Javon Ringer, Michigan State.

SI.com: 1. Chase Daniel, Missouri; 2. Sam Bradford, Oklahoma; 3. Charles Scott, LSU; 4. Colt McCoy, Texas; 5. Jeremy Maclin, Missouri; 6. Javon Ringer, Michigan State; 7. Max Hall, BYU; 8. Darryl Clark, Penn State; 9, Matt Grothe, South Florida; 10. Donald Brown, Connecticut.

The season-long playoff
Esteemed colleague Tony Barnhart _ and yes, we often receive each other's mail _ is known as Mr. College Football. He points out on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution web site that all those clamoring for a playoff should just consider the season as one long tournament. He backs up his theory by listing the remaining games against ranked teams for the top 13 teams in the rankings.

1. Oklahoma (4-0): No. 5 Texas in Dallas, Oct. 11; No. 16 Kansas, Oct. 18; at No. 7 Texas Tech, Nov. 22; vs. No. 4 Missouri in Big 12 championship game.

2. Alabama (5-0): at No. 3 LSU, Nov. 8; vs. No. 13 Auburn, Nov. 29; vs. No. 11 Georgia or No. 12 Florida in SEC championship game.

3. LSU (4-0): at No. 12 Florida, Oct. 11; vs. No. 11 Georgia, Oct. 25; vs. No. 2 Alabama, Nov. 8; vs. No. 11 Georgia or No. 12 Florida in SEC championship game

4. Missouri (4-0): at No. 5 Texas, Oct. 18; vs. No. 16 Kansas in Kansas City, Nov. 29; vs. No. 2 Oklahoma or No. 5 Texas in Big 12 championship game.

5. Texas (4-0): vs. No. 1 Oklahoma in Dallas, Oct. 11; vs. No. 4 Missouri, Oct. 18; at No. 7 Texas Tech Nov. 1; at No. 16 Kansas, Nov. 15; vs. No. 4 Missouri, Big 12 championship game.

6. Penn State (5-0): at No. 18 Wisconsin, Oct. 11; at No. 14 Ohio State, Oct. 25.

7. Texas Tech (4-0): at No. 16 Kansas, Oct. 25; vs. No. 5 Texas, Nov. 1; at No. 1 Oklahoma, Nov. 22; vs. No. 4 Missouri in Big 12 championship game.

8. BYU (4-0): at No. 15 Utah, Nov. 22.

9. Southern Cal (2-1): vs. No. 23 Oregon, Oct. 4.

10. South Florida (5-0): vs. No. 24 Connecticut, Nov. 22.

11. Georgia (4-1): vs. No. 19 Vanderbilt, Oct. 18; at No. 3 LSU, Oct. 25; vs. No. 12 Florida Nov. 1 in Jacksonville; at No. 13 Auburn, Nov. 15.; vs. No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 LSU or No. 13 Auburn in SEC championship game.

12. Florida (3-1): vs. No. 3 LSU, Oct. 11; vs. No. 11 Georgia, Nov. 1 in Jacksonville; at No. 19 Vanderbilt Nov. 8; vs. No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 LSU or No. 13 Auburn in SEC championship game.

13. Auburn (4-1): at No. 19 Vanderbilt, Oct. 4; vs. No. 11 Georgia, Nov. 15; at No. 2 Alabama, Nov. 29; vs. No. 11 Georgia or No. 12 Florida in SEC championship game.

Grilling the coordinator
Tom Dienhart of Rivals.com had a brief Q and A with Clint Bowen, Kansas' first-year defensive coordinator.
Q: Have you put your stamp on this defense?
A: Last year, when Coach (Bill) Young was here running the defense, we started to move toward playing more nickel. I have taken that to another step. It's all about getting more speed on the field to match up with the spread offenses in this conference. We sacrifice some size, but we think it's worth it

Q: What area of the defense are you watching?
A: I am looking for more from our linemen. We need some guys to beat their man one-on-one in pass rushing situations. We need pressure off the edges to help out our back seven. But I like the way we are coming together.

Q: What part of the defense has pleased you the most?
A: I have been very happy with the play of our safeties. (Strong safety) Darrell Stuckey has been good. He excels in run support and pass coverage. (Free safety) Justin Thornton has been terrific in helping stop the run. He's a guy who plays downhill.

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