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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. 

 

November 2008

Sunday, Nov. 30

Oklahoma wins tiebreaker
The final word came at 3:33 p.m. CST. The Big 12 South Division representative in the Dr Pepper Football Championship game Saturday will be ...

Oklahoma.

The Sooners earned the tiebreaker thanks to Sunday's announcement of this week's Bowl Championship Series standings. Oklahoma edged Texas .935 to .922. The Sooners, the Longhorns and the Red Raiders finished in a three-way tie with 7-1 records.

Big 12 tiebreaker rules needed to use the BCS standings to resolve the deadlock.

Texas was No. 2 in last week's BCS standings but the Sooners gained enough in the six computer rankings to move past the Longhorns, who dropped to No. 3 ahead of Florida.

Oklahoma, which is No. 2 behind Alabama in the BCS standings. The Sooners will face Missouri in Saturday's championship game. That will be a rematch of last year's championship game played in San Antonio.

How close is close?
Texas gained ground in the USA Today/Coaches poll, gaining 41 points on Oklahoma to close within a single point. That means the Bowl Championship Series standings that will be release at approximately 3:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. CST could have a razor-thin margin between the Longhorns and the Sooners.

This week's BCS standings will be used to break a three-way tie in the Big 12 South Division between Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech. The team highest ranked by the BCS will advance to play Missouri in the Dr Pepper Football Championship game Saturday in Kansas City.

Projected BCS standings have Oklahoma and Texas is a close race for No. 2 in the BCS standings behind top-ranked Alabama. Texas Tech is seventh and doesn't figure to have a chance to finish ahead of the Sooners or the Longhorns.

"If Texas hadn't made that gain in the coaches' poll, Oklahoma could be making its plans for the Big 12 championship game," Jerry Palm, administrator of collegebcs.com, said Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, Nov. 27

Still going to Kansas City
The Border Showdown between Missouri and Kansas will remain at Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium through the 2012 season. The schools made the announcement Thursday, two days before the Tigers and the Jayhawks meet in the Kansas City Chiefs' stadium.

Wednesday, Nov. 26

Heisman Trophy projections
* The Heisman Pundit/Orlando Sentinel poll of 10 Heisman voters has Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford in first place with six first-place votes and 45 points. Texas quarterback Colt McCoy is a close second with 42 points and four first-place votes. Florida quarterback Tim Tebow is third and Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell is fourth.

* ESPN.com's survey of 15 of its writers/analysts has Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford first with 68 points and eight first-place votes. Texas quarterback Colt McCoy is second with seven first-place votes and 64 points. Tim Tebow of Florida is third and Texas Tech's Graham Harrell is fourth.

* SI.com's Heisman projection has Big 12 quarterbacks Colt McCoy of Texas and Sam Bradford of Oklahoma in a virtual dead heat but with McCoy barely in first place. Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell is third with Florida quarterback Tim Tebow fourth.

* The Scripps-Howard Heisman Trophy survey (which has correctly predicted the Heisman winner 18 of the last 21 seasons) polls 10 Heisman voters. This week's poll has Oklahoma's Sam Bradford in first place followed by Texas quarterback Colt McCoy, Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell and Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.

Hot links
This a great day-before-Thanksgiving read. Omaha World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel recounts his interview with Nebraska offensive lineman Matt Slauson. The writer and the student-athlete have one thing in common: stuttering.

Kansas City Star columnist Jason Whitlock graduated from Ball State - undefeated Ball State. He was in Muncie, Ind., Tuesday night to witness the Cardinals finish the regular-season 12-0. Whitlock also talked with Ball State's offensive coordinator Stan Parrish. Who? As Whitlock writes, "Yes, that Stan Parrish, the head coach at Kansas State before Bill Snyder. Yeah, the Stan Parrish who was Ron Prince before Ron Prince."

Here's Austin Murphy's story on Texas Tech-Oklahoma that appears in this week's issue of Sports Illustrated.

The Big 12 Conference's season resonated with the editorial board of the Dallas Morning News. The paper ran this opinion piece in Wednesday's editions.

Bruce Feldman was embedded with Texas Tech last weekend in Norman, Okla. Here's his report for ESPN The Magazine on the Red Raiders' lost weekend.

Monday, Nov. 24

Dan Beebe Q and A
Big 12 Conference commissioner Dan Beebe was on the football coaches' conference call Monday. Here are the highlights of what he had to say:

On the Big 12 South representative (Texas Tech if Oklahoma loses to Oklahoma State) not being in a good position to play in the Bowl Championship Series title game:
"What you're saying is based on Saturday night, a dominating performance by Oklahoma. That doesn't mean that Texas Tech can't come back, should they be a representative in the Big 12 championship team and beat a fine Missouri team."

On the possibility of Texas winding up in the BCS championship game but not playing in the Big 12 championship game:
"That's something that happened in 2001 when Nebraska reached the BCS title game and was discussed in great detail. That loss happened late and there's been tweaking to the system by adding judgment of human polls to take into account late losses. If you do sustain an earlier loss, you can still play yourself back into being one of the nation's two best teams."

On Texas having to root for Oklahoma to beat Oklahoma State to create a three-way tie but hoping the Sooners don't win in dominant fashion to curry more favor with the human voters:
"It goes with what we have as a system. It's fun in some ways to have all this dialogue that heats up during the season. It's premature to judge what might happen. There can be changes over the last couple of weeks, the favorites might not all win."

When did the Big 12 put the current tiebreaker into place?
"In the meetings to decide how to break a three-way tie, there were all sorts of things under consideration - having a vote of the athletic directors, having some sort of external media group vote. Using the BCS standings was the one the athletic directors were most comfortable with and they put it in place as a rule starting in 1998, the first year of the BCS."

Do you sense more momentum building toward a playoff or at least a plus-one game?
"With the president-elect (Barack Obama) coming out and making a statement about the direction he'd like to see the postseason go, it's a powerful 'first fan' who it looks like is going to be involved. Regardless of where we end up, we have to go through a very, very, very careful and considerate process if we're going to change the postseason. It's my judgment in college football we have the best regular season in sports. There's a high level of interest in the regular season. If we ever went to a playoff, we would be sitting here 10 years from now talking about why we did it and the effect it had on the regular sesaon. The NFL has 37 percent of its teams make the postseason. If we did 37 percent in Division I-A we'd need a 42-team playoff."

Kevin Weiberg named CEO of basketball initiative
Kevin Weiberg, who served as the Big 12's commissioner for nine years, was named Monday as the CEO of the joint initiative founded by the NCAA and NBA to enhance youth basketball. The initiative was announced by NBA Commissioner David Stern and NCAA President Myles Brand at the Final Four in San Antonio this year.

Weiberg left the Big 12 in the summer of 2007 to become vice president of university planning and development with the Big Ten Network. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of USA Basketball and was a member of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee from 2001-03.

The initiative will target youth basketball programs at the grass-roots level. Among its core messages will be teaching the value of education and the important lessons of fair play.

Monday, Nov. 23

Snyder returning to Kansas State
Several sources are reporting that Bill Snyder will return as Kansas State's coach. The official word is expected to come at a news conference Monday morning. Read Sunday night's breaking news stories here, here, here and here.

ESPN's GameDay to Stillwater
The crew that moves ESPN's College GameDay set around the country is becoming familiar with Big 12 country.

The two-hour pregame show that airs at 9 a.m. CST on Saturdays will originate from Stillwater, Okla., this week. That's because Oklahoma's game at Oklahoma State is the biggest game of the day.

So far this season, GameDay has been in Dallas (Texas-OU), Austin (Missouri-Texas), Lubbock (Texas-Texas Tech and Norman (Texas Tech-Oklahoma).

Looking back
A look at what was written about Saturday night's Texas Tech-Oklahoma game.

Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com points out that even after a 44-point loss to Oklahoma, Texas Tech still has a good chance of playing in the Dr Pepper Football Championship game.

SI.com's Stewart Mandel writes that Oklahoma's victory turns the Big 12 South race into a riddle.

ESPN.com's Pat Forde said that Oklahoma's victory was impressive but will do little to clear up the national champsionship picture.

Dan Wetzel, columnist for Yahoo!Sports, says that the Big 12's tie-breaking method involving the Bowl Championship Series standings is another example of how college football can't get it right.

The Sporting News' Matt Hayes has a five-point review/analysis of the impact of Oklahoma's victory.

Oklahoma No. 2 in coaches poll
Apparently based on its 44-point victory over Texas Tech Saturday night, Oklahoma jumped from No. 5 to No. 2 in the USA Today/Coaches poll that was announced Sunday afternoon. Check back at http://www.big12sports.com/ for an update after the Bowl Championship Series standings are announced.

This week's BCS will be announced at approximately 6:30 p.m. CT. Jerry Palm, who runs collegebcs.com, a web site that tracks and projects the BCS standings, said Sunday afternoon that he thinks Texas will have a slight lead on Oklahoma and should move up to No. 2 in this week's BCS standings.

However, Palm says that Texas' edge this week in the computer rankings will be further eroded if Oklahoma wins at No. 12 Oklahoma State Saturday. If the computers are close, the BCS standings next week could come down to the voters in the coaches and Harris polls.

Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech all are 6-1 in the Big 12 South Division. If all three win their final games this week - Texas A&M is at Texas, Baylor is at Texas Tech - the South would end in a three-way tie. The tiebreaker would be which team is ranked highest in next Sunday's BCS standings.

In the coaches' poll, Alabama is No. 1, OU No. 2, Florida No. 3 and Texas is No. 4. USC moved up to No. 5 and Penn State jumped two spots from No. 8 to No. 6. Texas Tech dropped from No. 2 to No. 8.

TV lineup
Here's the television schedule for the final week of the regular season:

Thursday
Texas A&M at Texas, 7 p.m., ABC.

Friday
Colorado at Nebraska, 2:30 p.m., ABC.

Saturday
Kansas vs. Missouri, Kansas City, 11:30 a.m., FSN.
Baylor at Texas Tech, 2:30 p.m., Versus.
Oklahoma at Oklahoma State, 7 p.m., ABC.

Saturday, Nov. 22

Hearing from a hero
Texas Tech offensive lineman Brandon Carter is a huge fan of Mankind, the World Wrestling Entertainment performer whose real name is Mick Foley.

Carter, who spikes his Mohawk haircut and wears black makeup during games, has received attention this season as the Red Raiders started the season 10-0. That attention found its way to Foley, who was flattered that Carter has mentioned Mankind as his hero.

During a team meeting Thursday, the team watched a video sent by Foley. The wrestler said that since his brother in law is Oklahoma offensive line coach James Patton, his rooting interests were divided for Saturday night's game in Norman. However, Foley said that he would make every effort to be on the sideline for Texas Tech's bowl game.

Busy weekend
All of the attention on Saturday night's Texas Tech-Oklahoma game overshadowed a busy weekend for Sooners sports.

Friday night the women's second-ranked basketball team defeated Arizona State in the semifinals of the Preseason Women's National Invitational Tournament. Saturday afternoon, the 12th-ranked OU men's team held off Gardner Webb (the team that won at Kentucky last season), 80-76. And Sunday afternoon, the OU women will play No. 4 North Carolina for the Preseason WNIT championship.

Notre Dame loss could help Nebraska
Syracuse's 24-23 victory at Notre Dame Saturday could help Nebraska reach the Gator Bowl.

The Fighting Irish are 6-5 and close their season at USC. Assuming Notre Dame loses to the Trojans, its record would be 6-6. Gator Bowl officials have said they're not interested in inviting the Irish if they're bowl-eligible at 6-6.

The Gator Bowl, which invited Texas Tech last season, is interested in inviting Nebraska if the Cornhuskers finish 8-4 (they finish the season playing host to Colorado Friday). If Nebraska is in the Gator Bowl, the other team could be Florida State - a rematch of the 1993 Orange Bowl that saw Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden win his first national championship.

Wednesday, Nov. 19

What they're writing
The announcement that Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp will be the Longhorns' next coach when Mack Brown decides to retire was a hot topic for sports columnists.

Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman weighs in on the move to hire Mack Brown's successor-in-waiting.

Kevin Scarbinsky of the Birmingham News says that Will Muschamp "hit the lottery" in agreeing to become "the richest young apprentice head coach in the game."

Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express News says that Texas' bank account allowed it to make sure Will Muschamp won't leave for another job.

Kevin Sherrington of the Dallas Morning News says that hiring Will Muschamp as the coach-in-waiting is a "genius" move.

Men's basketball rewind
* No. 12 Oklahoma advanced to the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off in New York with its 82-78 defeat of No. 21 Davidson Tuesday night in Norman, Okla. The Sooners will face UAB, which won at Arizona, 72-71.

* Davidson's Stephen Curry, the star of last year's NCAA Tournament, had a career-high 44 points. Another pre-season All-American, Sooners sophomore Blake Griffin, had his own career night by grabbing 21 rebounds. Griffin scored 21 of his team-high 25 points in the second half.

* According to the Oklahoman, the game attracted 19 NBA Scouts plus several members of the Oklahoma Thunder (including Kevin Durant, the former Texas star). The paper reported hearing this exchange between two of the NBA scouts. One scout: "That was a treat.” The other scout: "Truly outstanding.”

* Texas junior center Dexter Pittman attended the 32nd annual Pete Newell Big Man Camp in August. Newell, one of college basketball's coaching icons, was known for his ability to teach the nuances of post play. Newell died Monday at age 93. The 6-10, 298-pound Pittman had 10 points and six rebounds in 15 minutes in the seventh-ranked Longhorns' 76-51 victory over Tulane Tuesday night. "He told me I was a beast and he was trying to joke around," Pittman said of Newell. "(His death) was kind of shocking. He was a nice guy."

* Texas had five players in double figures, made 16 steals, forced 25 turnovers that were converted into 39 points and had 17 fast break points. "We have a chance to be a great defensive team," Longhorns coach Rick Barnes said. The biggest negative was 19 turnovers. "That's not acceptable," Barnes said.

* Sophomore point guard Dogus Balbay, who is expected to help fill the void by the depature of D.J. Augstin, made his UT debut. He played 26 minutes. "I was really happy for Dogus," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "For his first time in, he really came with a pit-bull attitude."

* Colorado second-year coach Jeff Bzdelik hopes his team learns a lesson from its 85-82 loss to visiting Montana State Tuesday night. "We were very soft defensively, we were very soft on the boards," Bzdelik said. "We learned a lesson from this in terms of the intensity level that needs to be exerted at all times on the defensive end and on the boards." Montana State shot 55 percent from 3-point range and had a 37-30 rebounding edge with 13 coming on the offensive boards.

* Montana State's football team won at Colorado 19-10 in 2006 in coach Dan Hawkins' first game. ... Colorado's Casey Crawford missed the second half when he sprained his right ankle during a layup drill at halftime. ... The Buffaloes trailed by 11 points with 4:27 remaining and nine points with less than 3:30 remaining but sophomore guard Levi Knutson scored with 15.4 remaining to put CU up 72-70. Freshman Bobby Howard, who had a game-high 24, forced overtime with his rebound basket with one second remaining.

* Kansas celebrated the birthday of Dr. Phog Allen Tuesday night by unveiling the 2008 national championship banner at Allen Fieldhouse then routed Florida Gulf Coast, 85-45. Sherron Collins, who said he "almost dropped a tear” during the banner ceremony, scored a career-high 25. The Jayhawks held the visitors to 13-of-55 shooting. The Allen Fieldhouse record for fewest opponent field goals is 12 by Syracuse in 1968.

* Texas A&M didn't put away its 55-48 victory over Stephen F. Austin Tuesday night until Sophomore Nate Walkup's 16-foot jumper provided a 48-42 lead with 55 seconds remaining. "I regretted ever since I signed the contract to play them because I knew how good they were," A&M coach Mark Turgeon said of the Lumberjacks. "I knew this early in the year. I didn't think we were ready for this game, but we really played well. People don't realize how big a win that was this early in the year with their veterans."

* The Aggies won with their defense. In the second half, SFA scored 19 points and shot 22 percent. All five of its field goals were 3-pointers. "We are better defensively than we were last year, and we are proving it," Turgeon said.

* Baylor's 90-55 victory over Centenary Tuesday afternoon was part of ESPN’s 24-hour College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon. Viewers got a look at fresman Quincy Acy, a 6-7 forward who might the perfect frontcourt compliment to Baylor's stacked backcourt. Acy scored 15 points and had five rebounds in 21 minutes. He made all seven of his field goals and is a perfect 13-of-13 from the floor this season. Four of his field goals Tuesday were dunks. “I finally got my first two-handed dunk,” Acy said. “I couldn’t sleep last night because I was nervous and anxious, but I hid it pretty well.”

Women's basketball rewind
* Kansas' was devastated when freshman Angel Goodrich, a shake-and-bake, play-making point guard, was lost for the season with a knee injury. But Tuesday morning's 76-55 defeat of Iowa gave the Jayhawks hope that they have a replacement. Junior LaChelda Jacobs matched career highs with 18 points and six assists. She says she’s using Goodrich’s injury as motivation. “It’s really tough for her,” Jacobs said. “When I see her I feel bad for her. I’m just happy I can pick up the slack.”

* The Iowa-Kansas game started at 11 a.m. as part of ESPN’s marathon college basketball package. The crowd included about 4,000 of Lawrence elementary school students — coach Bonnie Henrickson called it the “screech factor” and Iowa coach Lisa Bluder called it the “shrill factor.” After the game, Henrickson grabbed a microphone afterward and thanked the students, teachers and parents for coming, saying: “You made this happen for us.”

* No. 19 Oklahoma State bounced back from its season-opening loss at Duke with an 89-56 victory over McNeese State. The Cowgirls got a bench boost from Krisin Hernandez (17 points, seven rebounds) and Tegan Cunningham (16 points). Oklahoma State's Andrea Riley (22 points) says both players are the team's X factors "Because any night they can come off the bench and score 20 points. It’s fun to play with both of them.” Coach Kurt Budke refrenced former Baylor player Vinnie "The Mircowave" Johnson when talking about Hernandez. "She can be our microwave because when she comes in she can be instant offense,” he said.

Tuesday, Nov. 18

Breaking news: Muschamp to be UT's coach in waiting

Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds announced Tuesday afternoon that first-year defensive coordinator Will Muschamp will be coach Mack Brown's successor whenever Brown decides to step aside. Here's the full story from the Austin American-Statesman.

Links trio

Big 12 cross country runners Sally Kipyego of Texas Tech and Shadrack Songok of Texas A&M in mentioned in the latest edition of Runner's World.

Glen Brand, Iowa State’s first Olympic Gold Medalist, died Saturday night at his home in Omaha, Neb., at the age of 85.

Because he had to sit out last season because of an NCAA eligibility issue, Lucca Staiger's Iowa State debut was eagerly anticipated by Cyclones fans.

Monday, Nov. 17

Prelude to the Big Game
While Norman, Okla., is all abuzz about Saturday night's Texas Tech-Oklahoma game, there's a basketball team Tuesday night at the Lloyd Noble Center that's worth some notice.

Oklahoma will face Davidson in the second round of the NIT Season Tip-Off. The game will match pre-season All-Americans - the Sooners' Blake Griffin and the Wildcats' Stephen Curry.

They each played major roles in their teams' first-round victories Monday night. Griffin had 20 points and 19 rebounds while Curry scored 33, making 14-of-19 shots and dishing out nine assists.

In Oklahoma's two victories to start the season, Griffin has made 17-of-20 shots. In the Sooners' two exhibition games, he made all 16 of his shots from the field.

Obama stirs up playoff talk
President-elect Barack Obama caused quite a stir in the college football world Sunday night on "60 Minutes." Expanding on comments he made before the election, Obama said he wants to see an eight-team college football playoff and that he would "throw his weight" behind such an initiative.

Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com interviewed Bowl Championship Series commissioners for their reactions to Obama's playoff idea. Here is what Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe had to say:

"First of all, to put it in context. I am extremely delighted that he is our president and excited that he is going to lead our nation.

"I am disappointed that there isn't more full discussion before he comes to a conclusion on this. I would hope the leader of our country would take under full consideration all the aspects. The simple solution is easy to state. We're not in charge of a professional league where we have the entertainment value to consider. That should be fully considered. This isn't something you should make a rash decision about.

"A one-game single elimination type playoff works well for the NFL, works well for our basketball championship but it doesn't mean you end up with the best team winning it all."

BCS headed to ESPN?
There is an important change ahead for the Bowl Championship Series.

Whoa, wait just a minute, playoff breath. Not that kind of change.

Fox Sports announced Monday it was dropping out of the bidding to televise BCS games from 2010-2014. Fox announced that it couldn't match the bid offered by the Walt Disney Co., which owns ESPN and ABC. That means that the BCS is almost certain to land on the cable sports giant starting with the BCS games following the 2010 season.

Despite a struggling economy, the commissioners who run the BCS are seeking a rights fee increase. Fox, which has the rights to three of the four BCS bowl games, currently pays about $82.5 million annually to the BCS.

SportsBusiness Daily reported that Disney offered about $125 million annually. Fox was willing to increase its deal to $100 million annually.

ABC televises the Rose Bowl, one of the BCS games. The ABC-Rose contract says that if the BCS contract is acquired by ESPN, the Rose Bowl telecast can be moved from ABC to ESPN.

"Currently, over 98 million homes receive ESPN," BCS coordinator John Swofford said in a statement. "With the ever-changing technology and as we look toward January 2011, when the first games in this package will be played, we know that the number of households that receive ESPN will only continue to grow."

Fox issued a statement that made it clear it believes having the games on cable is, well, un-American (emphasis added).

"Even with today’s vast economic uncertainties, Fox Sports made a very competitive bid to keep broadcasting BCS games free to every home in America, one that included a substantial rights fee increase, and certainly as much as any over-the-air network could responsibly risk. Unfortunately, the University presidents and BCS commissioners were not satisfied and they’ve decided to take their jewel events to pay television. We wish everyone well."

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

What can happen
Here are the scenarios remaining for the Big 12's North and South Divisions.

North Division
Missouri has clinched at least a share of the Division title and will play in the Dr Pepper Big 12 Championship for the second consecutive year.

Nebraska can claim a share of the North with a win over Colorado in its final game, coupled with a Missouri loss.  However, Missouri owns the tie-break over Nebraska by virtue of its 52-17 win against the Cornhuskers this season.

Kansas, Colorado, Kansas State and Iowa State have been eliminated.

South Division
Texas Tech can do no worse than share the title with one win in its final two games. 

Texas wins outright with a win over Texas A&M, coupled with two Tech losses.  They can share title at 7-1 or 6-2 depending on what OU and Tech does down the stretch.

Oklahoma wins outright with two wins, couple with two Texas Tech losses and a Texas loss.  They can share title at 7-1 or 6-2 depending on what Texas and Tech does down the stretch.

Oklahoma State can claim no better than a share of the title with a win against Oklahoma coupled with two Tech losses.  However they can not play in Championship game at 6-2 in the Division as they do no not possess the tie-break in any scenario with other potential 6-2 South teams

Texas A&M and Baylor have been eliminated.


Hot links
Stories/profiles on Texas Tech coach Mike Leach are becoming as numerous as those on president-elect Barack Obama. Here's an excellent read by the Denver Post's John Henderson.

Berry Tramel of the Oklahoman points out that in his one season at Oklahoma as offensive coordinator, Mike Leach had a profound influence on Bob Stoops' program.

Kelly Whiteside of USA Today breaks down and analyzes the story lines for the Texas Tech-Oklahoma game.

Missouri believes it is in prime position to win the Big 12 championship.

The search to find Ron Prince's replacement at Kansas State has produced little but silence.

Saturday, Nov. 15

Men's basketball rewind
* With Leo Lyons scoring 15 of his 21 points in the first half, Missouri got off to a good start with an 86-65 victory over Prairie View A&M Saturday. Freshmen guards Marcus Denmon (15 points) and Miguel Paul (11) came off the bench to combine for 26 points and make 5-of-9 3-pointers. Ten Tigers played 10 or more minutes. Missouri forced 25 turnovers, which helped offset the Tigers' 43 percent shooting.

* American coach Jeff Jones after his team's 83-54 loss at Oklahoma Friday. "As I told the team, that was just simply an old-fashioned butt kickin’,” said Eagles coach Jeff Jones. "They beat us about every way that you can beat a team.”

* After making all 16 of his field goal attempts in two exhibition games, Oklahoma's Blake Griffin made 9-of-11 shots in the season-opening victory over American. He also made the first 3-pointer of his career. The sophomore pre-season All-American did struggle from the line, making just 5-of-14 attempts.

* Sophomore Cade Davis' outside shooting sparked the Sooners' game-changing spurt in the opener. 
"I'm more confident," he said after score 11 points off the bench. "The game has slowed down for me a little bit. I feel more at ease out there. Those guys bring it down the floor, they see me open and they holler, "Shot!" I'll listen to them. I'll shoot it."

* Iowa State junior transfer Jamie Vanderbeken had a double-double in his first Division I game - 14 points and 10 rebounds. His free throws with 3.6 seconds remaining sealed a 61-58 season-opening defeat of Cal-Davis Friday night. Vanderbeken stepped in when sophomore Craig Brackins got in early foul trouble. Sophomore guard Diante Garrett scored with 12 seconds remaining to give the Cyclones a 58-57 lead. Iowa State coach Greg McDermott: "We’re really lucky to win this game.”

* Iowa State followed up on its opening victory with another on Saturday. Craig Brackins, slowed by foul trouble in the opener, scored 12 of the Cyclones' first 14 points to start the second half as Iowa State defeated Loyola Marymount, 67-55, in Ames. The Cyclones held the visitors to 32.8 percent shooting. In the two victories, Iowa State got a total of 61 points from its bench.

* Kansas State started its "post" era - post Michael Beasley, post Bill Martin - with a 96-57 thumping of Florida A&M Friday. The Wildcats had four players in double figures, led by Denis Clemente's 19 points. Kansas State had a 53-31 rebounding edge including 24 offensive rebounds. The work on the offensive glass helped offset 7-for-28 shooting from 3-point range.

* Oklahoma State started the Travis Ford Era with a 76-57 victory over Texas-San Antonio Friday night. Senior guard Byron Eaton, who lost 35 pounds in the off-season to prepare for Ford's up-tempo style, had a career-high 7 points along with four assists and four steals. Terrell Harris scored 20 for the Cowboys. It's the first game both players scored 20 or more.

* Oklahoma State is 9-9 in the debut game of a new coach. ... The last OSU coach to lose his first game was Leonard Hamilton in 1986. ... Eaton had four steals and is Oklahoma State's career leader with 194. That is 12th on the Big 12 career list. ...  OSU extended its streak to 252 games with at least one 3-pointer. ... Brooks Thompson, the Roadrunners' coach, is a former Oklahoma State guard. His team took an early 11-3 lead and tried to keep the pace slow. ... After the game, the players made sure they collected on more loose ball. The Cowboys hunted down the game ball and presented it to Ford to commemorate his first game as Oklahoma State's coach. "It meant a lot to me,” he said.

* Colorado opened the season with a victory and a solid performance, defeating Arkansas-Pine Bluff 76-56 Friday night. The Buffs shot 51.9 percent from the field, committed just 10 turnovers and held the visitors to 41.8 percent shooting. Casey Crawford scored 14 while Cory Higgins and 12 points, six rebounds and six assists. Australian Nate Tomlinson, a freshman point guard, 4-of-5 3-pointers and finished with 12 points and no turnovers in 33 minutes.

Women's basketball rewind
* No. 4 Oklahoma had little trouble starting with a victory. The Sooners blasted California-Riverside 88-57 Saturday in the opening round of Preseason National Invitation Tournament. All-America center Courtney Paris scored 16 points and had 14 rebounds, her 93rd consecutive double-double to extend a streak that's now officially an NCAA record. Paris moved into second place on Oklahoma's career scoring list and needs just 31 points to pass Phylesha Whaley.

* No. 14 Oklahoma State chose a tough opening opponent. And the Cowgirls, behind Andrea Riley's 20 points, had a nine-point halftime lead at No. 8 Duke Friday but couldn't hold on. The Blue Devils rallied for a 77-68 victory. Riley finished with a game-high 29 points. Duke's Chante Black, a 6-5 forward, scored 18 of her career-high 28 points in the second half. "I would have liked a couple of games under our belt before playing a team like Duke, but we need more games like this for women’s basketball,” Oklahoma State coach Kurt Budke said. "Last year, I thought we showed we could play with anybody. This was a game with two pretty good teams for the first game.”

* Maddy Brown, who missed about the half of last season with a broken foot, had a team-high 18 points in Texas Tech's season-opening victory over Idaho Friday in Lubbock. "The way you see her right now is the way she was a year ago," Lady Raiders coach Kristy Curry said of Brown, who had a career-high five 3-pointers. "To me we're a totally different team than a year ago. And Maddy's one of those reasons." Texas Tech closed out the first half with a 20-6 run for a 45-27 halftime lead.

* No. 11 Texas A&M opened with an easy 73-45 victory over Mercer Friday night but the best news was the appearance by point guard Sydney Colson. Four months and three days she had major knee surgery but she entered the game with five minutes remaining in the first half. After a nice ovation from the Reed Arena crowd. Colson made her first shot, a 3-pointer. "I just wanted to get in there and make something happen for the team," said Colson, who had four assists, a steal and no turnovers in eight minutes. "Hitting that three gave me a boost of confidence."

Friday, Nov. 14

Linked up, updated
ESPN.com's Tim Griffin, the web site's over-worked and under-paid writer who covers the Big 12 like a blanket, offers his "what to watch for" in Saturday's games.

Kansas' Kerry Meier went from being a quarterback to a wide receiver who might become the single-season receiving leader in school history.

Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, who has a Heisman Trophy winner gets to vote for this year's award, said a few weeks ago he would vote for Texas quarterback Colt McCoy. But Tebow is wavering and might vote for another quarterback he knows well.

Jason King of Yahoo! Sports writes that Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree had to change his cell phone number because his phone was "blowing up" with calls.

No women's Final Four for Big 12, Dallas
The Big 12 and Dallas' American Airlines Center were passed over in the NCAA Women's Final Four site selections announced Friday afternoon by the Division I women's basketball committee. Dallas was one of eight cities bidding for the five Final Fours that were awarded.

Here are the cities that earned Final Four bids: 2012, Denver, Mountain West Conference, host;      2013, New Orleans, University of New Orleans, host; 2014, Nashville, Ohio Valley Conference, host; 2015 – Tampa Bay, University of South Florida, host; 2016, Indianapolis. Butler University, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and Horizon League, hosts.

Next week, the NCAA men's basketball committee will announce men's Final Four bids. The Big 12 and the Dallas Cowboys (new stadium in Arlington) are among the 10 finalists for the five Final Fours that will be awarded (2012 through 2016).

Linked up
Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star points out that the Big 12 is no stranger to BCS controversy.

Stewart Mandel of SI.com delves into the current negotiations for the next Bowl Championship Series contracts. Disney-owned ESPN is offering a four-year, $500 million deal which would increase the current rights fees paid by Fox by about 50 percent.

Writer Michael Lewis, who profiled Texas Tech coach Mike Leach for the New York Times Sunday Magazine three years ago, is interviewed about the Red Raiders' current success.

Big 12 coaches are on alert about their players using Internet social sites like Facebook and MySpace.

Cedric Golden of the Austin American-Statesman says it's time to stop referring to Texas Tech's Graham Harrell as a "system" quarterback. 

Thursday, Nov. 13

Big 12 has six Biletnikoff finalists
Six of the 10 finalists for the Biletnikoff Award, which is given annually to the nation's top wide receiver, are from the Big 12 Conference.

Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree, who won the award last season as a freshman, is on the list along with Missouri's Jeremy Maclin, Kansas' Kerry Meier, Oklahoma State's Dez Bryant, Texas' Quan Cosby and Missouri's Chase Coffman. Coffman's position is officially listed as a tight end but the selection committee tabbed him as a Biletnikoff finalist anyway.

Basketball tips off
Big 12 men's basketball gets underway this weekend with 15 non-conference games scheduled from Friday through Sunday. ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla, who will work the Big 12's Big Monday telecasts on ESPN, provided his take on the upcoming season in this question and answer session.

Wednesday, Nov. 12

Final Four bid pitched
Representative from the Big 12 and the Dallas Cowboys were in Indianapolis Wednesday morning making a Final Four bid presentation to the NCAA Men's Basketball Committee. The conference and the Cowboys are hoping to host a Final Four at the team's new stadium in Arlington, Texas, during one of the years being bid on - 2012 through 2016.

There are 10 cities bidding on those Final Fours.  Representatives from Indianapolis, Detroit, Atlanta, New Orleans, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Houston, San Antonio and St. Louis were in Indianapolis Tuesday and Wednesday to make their cases for one of the five Final Fours.

The presentations by the bidding cities focused on the basics: competition venues, transportation, hotel contracts and fan amenities, etc.

The men's basketball committee made a site visit to Arlington in October.

The 10-person committee will each list their top three Final Four candidates. That will determine an order that will help with the final selections. The announcement regarding the Final Four bids could come later this week or early next week.

Tuesday, Nov. 11

Kendall Hunter a Doak Walker semifinalist
Oklahoma State sophomore Kendall Hunter is the only Big 12 players named a semifinalist for the 2008 Doak Walker Award, presented annually to the nation's top running back. The list was announced Tuesday. The other semifinalists are: Donald Brown, Connecticut; Glen Coffee, Alabama; Tyrell Fenroy, Louisiana-Lafayette; Shonn Greene, Iowa; LeSean McCoy, Pittsburgh; Knowshon Moreno, Georgia; Javon Ringer, Michigan State; Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State; and Evan Royster, Penn State.

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

Cover Subjects
Oklahoma's Blake Griffin and Courtney Paris are on the cover of Sports Illustrated's college basketball preview issue that will be available Wednesday. Griffin, a sophomore, and Paris, a senior, are pre-season All-Americans. The Sooner duo is one of six men's/women's duos featured on the cover.

More Knight time
Former Texas Tech basketball coach and Hall of Famer Bob Knight, will be have an expanded role as an analyst this college basketball sesaon. He'll be a game analyst on Thursday night games, be an on-site College GameDay analyst, provide analysis on SportsCenter and be a special guest on ESPN Radio shows. Knight also will be involved in ESPN's post-season analysis.  His first game telecasts will be the Coaches vs. Cancer semifinal and third place matchup from New York City November 20 and 21 on ESPN2.

Hot links
A talk with coach Mike Sherman helped Texas A&M senior quarterback Stephen McGee put his career and injury-plagued senior season in perspective.

Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing has thrown 10 interceptions, most in the Big 12, but his coaches aren't that concerned.

Iowa State coach Gene Chizik responds to an Internet-fueled rumor and says he has no second thoughts about taking the head coaching job with the Cyclones.

Big 12 coaches discuss the dangers of their players posting on web sites like facebook.com and myspace.com.

Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman wonders why the coaches poll has Oklahoma, which lost to Texas, ranked ahead of the Longhorns.

Former Minnesota coach Glen Mason tells a story about how Texas Tech coach Mike Leach had NASDAQ traders scrambling for cover.

Monday, Nov. 10

Prime time for Texas Tech-Oklahoma
ABC has announced that the Texas Tech at Oklahoma game on Nov. 22 will be televised at 7 p.m. in prime time to a full national audience. The Red Raiders will be 10-0 overall with a 6-0 mark in the Big 12 while Oklahoma is 9-1 and 5-1.

Monday morning links
CollegeFootballNews.com, one of the best and most astute web sites dealing the sport, weighs in on the top 10 BCS title game contenders plus offers some opinions on the potential three-way logjam and tiebreaker resolution in the Big 12 South Division.

Texas A&M president Elsa Murano wants to "initiate a dialogue" about reinstating the Aggie Bonfire tradition.

Kansas State athletic director Bob Krause doesn't discount the possibilities of Bill Snyder coming out of retirement to coach the Wildcats.

Kansas' losing streak at Nebraska, which started in 1968, continued with a painful loss to the Cornhuskers.

Iowa State fell just inches short of a victory at Colorado Saturday; offensive tackle Doug Dedrick says the Cyclones aren't going to quit pushing for a third victory.

After its 56-20 loss at Texas Tech, Oklahoma State needs to alter its goals for the rest of the season.

Pete Thamel of the New York Times writes about Texas Tech and senior quarterback Graham Harrell following the Red Raiders' defeat of Oklahoma State.

Saturday, Nov. 8

Saturday's quick reads
Texas continues to explore the idea of starting its own sports network.

Friday afternoon's Internet report that Gary Patterson had been hired as Kansas State's next coach left the TCU coach seething.
http://www.star-telegram.com/college_sports/story/1026187.html

Oklahoma State has a ticket policy that precludes the purchase of single-game tickets. That means there could be a large number of empty seats at Boone Pickens Stadium for the Bedlam Game against Oklahoma on Nov. 29.

Here's an interesting view on the economics of college football.

Check out the video of the SITourGuy's visit to Texas A&M last Saturday.

Berry Tramel of the Oklahoman weighs in on this week's Big Game, Oklahoma State at Texas Tech.

ESPN.com's Andy Katz visits Lawrence, Kans. to check on the defending national champion Jayhawks basketball team.

Crystal ball
ESPN.com's Bruce Feldman makes his weekly picks. Here's a look at the Big 12 games he predicted.

Mizzou 62, Kansas State 17: Even if Mizzou's star tight end Chase Coffman can't play (sprained toe), the Tigers are too precise and too dynamic for a Wildcats team that is in disarray. K-State's defense is ranked 107th in scoring D (34 ppg), and the Cats also don't have the kind of pass rush to rattle Chase Daniel.

Texas Tech 38, Oklahoma State 27: The Cowboys are too tough to be labeled as anyone's trap game, but this is a tricky spot for Tech coming off the huge emotional win over UT. Mike Leach said his team had some of its best practices this week, and the home crowd should keep the Red Raiders fresh. Tech's D-line, which has played great during the past month, should do enough to slow down OSU's outstanding running attack.

Texas 48, Baylor 21: Robert Griffin has been dynamite for Baylor, but UT should be in an ornery mood after losing last week at Texas Tech. Colt McCoy threw six TD passes against Baylor the previous time the Bears came to Austin. He might get another half-dozen this week. (Baylor is 91st in pass-efficiency D.) UT will need to do a much better job tackling this week against Griffin than it did in the previous two games, when broken tackles have been a concern.

Oklahoma 55, Texas A&M 27: The Aggies are very young, but QB Jerrod Johnson is strong in the pocket and has some tall, athletic receivers to rely on. OU still is suspect on D, but the Sooners have way too much firepower on offense for A&M to compete with.

Friday, Nov. 7

Click and read

There are similarities between the in-season dismissal of Kansas State coach Ron Prince and how Kansas fired Terry Allen, the coach who preceded Mark Mangino.

When 22 Missouri seniors are honored before their final home game Saturday, many thoughts will center on Aaron O'Neal, who died during conditioning drills in July of 2005.

Schools with coaching openings might be influenced to hire up-and-coming offensive coordinators but defensive-minded coaches are still in the mix.

With coaches being dismissed in-season, schools paying huge money to buy out contracts is becoming a hot-button issue.

Twenty years ago, with Heisman Trophy winner Barry Sanders setting a single-season rushing record, Oklahoma State had an offense that is comparable to this year's attack.

Steven M. Sipple of the Lincoln Journal-Star says that former Nebraska quarterback and assistant coach Turner Gill, the current coach at Buffalo, should listen if Kansas State calls about its coaching vacancy.

Tulsa World senior sports columnist John Klein believes that Texas Tech coach Mike Leach has had a bigger impact on the Big 12 Conference than anyone.

Thursday, Nov. 6

Hot links
Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City Star writes that Kansas State should beg Bill Snyder to come out of retirement and return as coach of the Wildcats.

Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star lists the possible candidates to replace Ron Prince at Kansas State.

Bob Lutz of the Wichita Eagle wonders what sort of plan Kansas State athletic director Bob Krause has in mind to hire a new football coach.

Missouri's passing game is triggered by senior quarterback Chase Daniel but the fact the Tigers have numerous receiving threats makes the offense go.

Part of Baylor's offensive success with freshman Robert Griffin at quarterback can be traced to quick-read throws.

Wednesday, Nov. 5

Prince abdicates
Following a coaching legend is never easy. Few who have been the "next coach" have been successful. Kansas State's Ron Prince, who on Wednesday announced his forced resignation at the end of the season, is the latest example.

Prince took over for Bill Snyder, who took over a laughing stock and built it into a top 10 program. Snyder accomplished that feat through a force of will and by hiring one of the best coaching staffs in the game's history.

In his third season, Prince had little to show in the way of progress. He has a 16-18 record. The high points were victories over Texas in each of his first two seasons. The low points have been many but the most galling to Kansas State fans has been three consecutive losses to in-state rival Kansas. The Wildcats lost to the Jayhawks 52-21 Saturday and trailed 31-0 at halftime.

"My feeling is we have enough evaluative material that yes, I think it's an appropriate time to make this decision," Kansas State athletic director Bob Krause said. "It's not one that made lightly, it's not one that's made in haste."

Snyder made Kansas State competitive but it will be a challenge for any coach to keep it that way. The school must find someone who can keep the Wildcats from sinking to the bottom of the Big 12, a conference that can be unforgiving to those programs that don't keep pace.

Honor roll
* Seven Big 12 players have been named semifinalists for the Maxwell Award which is given to the nation's top player. Oklahoma's Sam Bradford, Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree and Graham Harrell, Missouri's Chase Daniel and Jeremy Maclin, Texas' Colt McCoy and Oklahoma State's Zac Robinson are on the list of 15 players.

* Four Big 12 coaches are among the 15 semifinalist for the Munger Award, which is presented to the nation's top coach. Texas' Mack Brown, Texas Tech's Mike Leach, Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy and Oklahoma's Bob Stoops are on the list.

* Missouri linebacker Sean Weatherspoon is a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award, given to the nation's top defensive player. And Missouri safety is a semifinalist for the Thorpe Award, which is given to the nation's top defensive back.

* Texas Tech safety Daniel Charbonnet was named the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week. The award is voted on by the Football Writers Association of America, which votes on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, an award presented to the nation's top defensive player.

Heisman Trophy watch
A look at some of the rankings/projections for the Heisman Trophy:

* SI.com's Gene Menez ranks Texas Tech's Graham Harrell as the top candidate. The rest of his top 10: Colt McCoy of Texas, Sam Bradford of Oklahoma, Michael Crabtree of Texas Tech, Shonn Greene of Iowa, Kendall Hunter of Oklahoma State, Jaquizz Rodgers of Oklahoma State, Chase Daniel of Missouri, LeSean McCoy of Pittsburgh and Tim Tebow of Florida.

* Olin Buchanan of Rivals.com has this Heisman top five: Graham Harrell of Texas Tech, Colt McCoy of Texas, Sam Bradford of Oklahoma, Tim Tebow of Florida, Michael Crabtree of Texas Tech.

* The Heisman Pundit/Orlando Sentinel poll of 10 Heisman voters has Graham Harrell on top; he received eight first-place votes. Texas' Colt McCoy was second (he received the other first-place votes), Oklahoma's Sam Bradford was third and Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree was fifth.

* A weekly poll of 10 Heisman voters conducted by the Rocky Mountain News also had Harrell on top but in voting that was more fractured. However, he received just five first-place votes. McCoy was second, Bradford (with three first-place votes) was third and Crabtree (with one first-place vote) was fifth.

Five Big 12 teams in women's pre-season top 25
The Big 12 has five of the top 17 teams in the ESPN/USA Today pre-season women's basketball poll (voted on by coaches). Oklahoma is No. 7, Texas A&M is No. 10, Texas is No. 13, Oklahoma State is tied for No. 15 and Baylor is No. 17. The Big 12 had two teams high in the Others Receiving Votes category, Kansas State (72 points) and Iowa State (63).

Hot links
USC coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday that "the BCS system stinks" and on the same day Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said he has joined those campaigning for a playoff.

BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said Tuesday that the Cougars are in discussions with Oklahoma and ESPN about playing a game next September at the Dallas Cowboys' new stadium in Arlington, Texas.

You've heard of a receiver making a double move to get open? Well, here's a double link. Check out Lance Pugmire's story in the Los Angeles Times that links to some videos that provide context for Saturday's Oklahoma State-Texas Tech game.

It's never too late to read more about Saturday's Texas-Texas Tech game. Here's Austin Murphy's story that appears in this week's issue of Sports Illustrated.
Cedric Golden of the Austin American-Statesman writes that Art Briles is the right coach for Baylor.

Last year's game between Texas Tech and Oklahoma State in Stillwater turned out to be a turning point for both programs.

Tuesday, Nov. 4

Paris, Riley preseason All-Americans
The Big 12 has played two players on the Associated Press preseason All-America team. Oklahoma's Courtney Paris and Oklahoma State's Andrea Riley were named to the five person team. Paris, a senior, was a unanimous choice and has been a preseason All-American four times. Riley, a junior, led the Big 12 in scoring at 23.1 points per game. Also named to the team were Connecticut's Maya Moore, Louisville's Angel McCoughtry and Maryland's Kristi Toliver.

Linked up
ESPN's College GameDay crew enjoyed their first visit to Lubbock over the weekend.

In his "Weekly Whispers" report, Rivals.com's Tom Dienhart writes that Texas Tech's Mike Leach is a hot commodity on the college football job market.

ESPN.com's Brad Edwards breaks down and analyzes this week's BCS standings.

Check out ESPN's "Road Trip" video to Texas Tech last Saturday.

Chris Fowler, a Colorado graduate, is one of the best television professionals in the business. But even the host of ESPN's College GameDay caught up in the moment as Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree caught the game-winning touchdown pass against Texas Saturday night.

And if you need a chuckle, this is for you. Ryan Parker is a guy who writes and sings songs with a sports theme. His latest is "A Coach Who Looks Like Vince Gill (The Mike Leach Song)." In addition to the audio, some of the "separated at birth" pictures are spot on.

Ratings game
On Oct. 25, Penn State played at Ohio State in a game televised nationally by ABC. The Nittany Lions won, 13-6.

One week later, last Saturday, No. 1 Texas played at No. 5 Texas Tech in a game that also was nationally televised by ABC. The Red Raiders won on a touchdown pass with one second remaining.

The Penn State-Ohio State game drew a 6.4 Nielsen rating. The Texas-Texas Tech game drew a 7.5 rating. It was the best rating for a game on ABC this season.

Monday, Nov. 3

Oklahoma's Griffin named preseason All-American
Blake Griffin of Oklahoma was the only sophomore selected to the Associated Press preseason All-America team that was announced Monday.
The 6-10, 251-pound Griffin is Oklahoma's first preseason AP first-team All-American since Ryan Minor in 1995-96. Last season, he averaged 14.7 points and 9.1 rebounds while shooting .568 from the floor.

The other players on the preseason team are North Carolina senior Tyler Hansbrough, Davidson junior Stephen Curry, Notre Dame junior Luke Harangody and UCLA senior Darren Collison. Hansbrough was a unanimous selection and was named a preseason All-American for an unprecedented third straight year.

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

A special Special Olympics story
Check out this story about how Missouri's men's basketball team held a clinic Saturday for 60 Special Olympics athletes. Special Olympics has been the Big 12's charity of choice since May 1996 and is part of the conference's  "Total Person" education program for conference student-athletes.

Missouri-Kansas on FSN
The Missouri-Kansas game on Nov. 29 will be televised at 11:30 a.m. on FSN. The game will be played at Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium.

Television choices
The Big 12's television partners have announced their selections for Nov. 15. ABC will not have a telecast that afternoon and there is a chance that the Nebraska at Kansas State and Texas A&M at Baylor could be available for telecast on Fox College Sports, FSN Regional or pay-per-view. The Nov. 15 schedule:

 

Texas at Kansas  11:30 a.m. CT  FSN
Missouri at Iowa State   5:30 p.m. CT  ABC
Oklahoma State at Colorado  7:00 p.m. CT  FSN

 

Instant Classic: Texas Tech 39, Texas 33
ESPN Classic will air the Texas-Texas Tech game at 6 p.m. CT.
The Red Raiders upset the top-ranked Longhorns on Graham Harrell's 28-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree with one second remaining.

Sunday, Nov. 2

Polling place
There was good news and bad news for Texas Tech the day after its historic upset of top-ranked Texas.

With the announcement of Sunday's polls, the Red Raiders jumped to No. 2 in the Associated Press poll, trailing top-ranked Alabama. Texas Tech received 14 first-place votes.

The bad news is that the media poll is irrelevant; it's not part of the Bowl Championship Series formula.

The USA Today/Coaches poll, which is one-third of the BCS formula, has Texas Tech No. 3, trailing No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Penn State. The Red Raiders received six first-place votes and trialed the Nittany Lions by just 28 points.

Oklahoma remained No. 4.

Texas fell to No. 7 after losing by six points on the road to an undefeated team. The Longhorns trail No. 5 Florida, which moved up from No. 7, and sixth-ranked USC. Both have one loss. USC lost on the road to Oregon State (now 5-3) while Florida lost at home to Ole Miss (now 5-4). The Longhorns also are three spots behind a team they beat (Oklahoma).

Oklahoma State, which plays at Texas Tech Saturday, is No. 8 in both polls.

Alabama becomes the fifth team ranked No. 1 this season. The Crimson Tide play at No. 15 LSU (6-2) Saturday. Penn State plays at Iowa (5-4) Saturday.
This week's BCS standings will be announced shortly after 6 p.m. CT Sunday.

TV games for Saturday

Here is the telecast schedule for Big 12 games Saturday:

Baylor at Texas, 11 a.m. CT, FSN
Iowa State at Colorado, 12:30 p.m. CT, Versus
Oklahoma at Texas A&M, 2:30 p.m. CT, ABC
Kansas State at Missouri, 6 p.m. CT, FSN
Oklahoma State at Texas Tech, 7 p.m. CT, ABC