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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. 

 

October 2009

Friday, October 30

Linked up
Tom Dienhart of Rivals.com got to sit in on a film session conducted by Texas Tech coach Mike Leach with his quarterbacks.

During the week of the school's biggest football game so far this season, two University of Texas professors held an hour long debate on the merits of big-time collegiate football programs.

Texas' Fozzy Whittaker has emerged as the Longhorns' top running back while Hubert Anyiam has taken over for suspended Dez Bryant as Oklahoma State's top wide receiver.

One man's opinion
Here's Ivan Maisel of ESPN.com in his daily "Three-Point Stance" feature talking about Saturday night's game between Texas and Oklahoma State: "Can Oklahoma State upset Texas in Stillwater? Consider that since the loss to Houston, the Cowboys' FBS opponents include 0-8 Rice and three Big 12 teams (Missouri, Texas A&M, Baylor) with a collective league record of 1-8. Yes,
Zac Robinson has outplayed Colt McCoy. Robinson is the real deal. I'm just not convinced his opposition has been. The Longhorns defense he'll see is the real deal, too."

A sellout in Stillwater
Primetime ABC telecast. Halloween night. Big 12 South Division lead on the line. As if there wasn't enough already to make No. 3 Texas at No. 13 Oklahoma State a wild scene, OSU officials announced Friday that the game is a sellout.

That means that renovated and expanded Boone Pickens Stadium will probably set its third attendance record this season. Seating capacity is listed at 60,218. A record 53,012 attended the season opener and 56,091 showed up from Grambling State.

Condolences from the president
University of Oklahoma president David Boren was named co-chairman of President Barack Obama's Intelligence Advisory Board this week. During a speech announcing Boren's appointment, Obama gave a shout out to Sooners quarterback Sam Bradford, whose season is over after undergoing successful shoulder surgery.

"I thank David for agreeing to serve in this capacity, even as he continues to lead the University of Oklahoma," Obama said. "And we are sorry about (Sam) Bradford's shoulder."

Thursday, October 29

3 from Big 12 up for academic award
The Big 12 Conference has three finalists - most of any conference - for the William V. Campbell Trophy, which is also known as the academic Heisman. Colt McCoy of Texas, Joe Pawelek of Baylor and Todd Reesing of Kansas are on the list of 16 finalists announced Thursday by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.

The 16 finalists will be honored and the Campbell winner announced at the 2009 NFF Annual Awards Dinner December 8 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. Each of the finalists receive an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship.

Big 12, Dallas to host NCAA women's regional
The Big 12 Conference has been selected as host institution with Dallas' American Ailines Center as the host venue for a 2011 NCAA women's basketball regional. The regional will be held on March 27 and 29, 20-11.

A Texas-Oklahoma State stat
Here's a note for you statistical savants who like to crunch the numbers. According to cfbstats.com, Oklahoma State has rushed the ball 200 times and averaged 3.9 yards per carry in close games - where the Cowboys trailed by seven or fewer points and led by 14 or fewer points.

Texas, which is second nationally in total defense and first against the run, has eye-popping counter stats in similar game situations. When the Longhorns trail by fewer than seven and lead by less than 14, their opponents have tried 105 running plays and gained 57 yards. That's an average gain of less than half a yard per play.

Conclusion: When the game is close in Stillwater Saturday night, monitor how well Oklahoma State runs the ball and how well Texas can stop the run.

Baylor likely to start Florence
The game of musical quarterbacks continues for Baylor. Coach Art Briles said this week its likely that freshman Nick Florence will start when Nebraska visits Waco Saturday. Since Robert Griffin was injured in the Bears' third game of the season, Florence and senior Blake Szymanski have started.

Szymanski, who bruised his right (throwing) shoulder when he stepped in for Griffin against Northwestern State, reinjured his shoulder last week against Oklahoma State.

Since Griffin's injury, the Bears are 1-3 and are 0-3 in the Big 12. In those three losses, Baylor has produced just 24 points.

Color scheme
With Saturday's game against Texas falling on Halloween, Oklahoma State's main colors of orange and black are a perfect compliment to the holiday and the primetime ABC telecast.

The Oklahoma State athletic department has received dozens of inquiries about whether fans should wear black to create a "blackout" for the game. The school is encouraging fans to wear orange but is not discouraging the student-generated movement to wear black.

"We are excited about the passion of our fans and our students and they have come out in record numbers to support our football team this year," Oklahoma State assistant vice-president for marketing and enrollment Kyle Wray said. "Our official stance on a blackout is that we encourage our fans to turn Boone Pickens Stadium into its normal Sea of Orange against Texas.

"The students did approach the athletic department about a blackout for this game. Our response was that if the students are excited about wearing black to the game, we will certainly not impede their efforts."

Motivation from 'The Greatest'
With his team coming off a 62-14 loss to Kansas State and headed to Lubbock to face a Texas Tech team that had defeated Kansas State 66-14, Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman figured he needed a way to motivate his team - especially his offensive linemen.

Sherman went to the film vault and showed the team the documentary "The Rumble In The Jungle" - Muhammad Ali's stunning upset knockout of George Foreman in 1974.

"I really challenged those linemen," Sherman said. "I was on them during practice and really backed them into a corner and they came out swinging."

The linemen responded and helped spark the Aggies' running game and offense. A&M surprised the experts by blasting Texas Tech, 52-30, last Saturday.

Click and read
Colorado coach Dan Hawkins, instead of the standard protocol of taking questions to open his weekly meeting with the media, made an impassioned 25-minute speech about his program.

The post-game video of Iowa State's locker room celebration after beating Nebraska last Saturday has become a national sensation.

College basketball recruits might not be paid but they can be bought. ESPN.com's Dana O'Neil writes that the National Association of Basketball coaches is supporting NCAA legislation that could go a long way to cleaning up the recruiting world.

So sayeth the Heisman Pundit
This week's Heisman Pundit poll has Alabama running back Mark Ingram in first place, Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen second, Texas quarterback Colt McCoy third, Florida quarterback Tim Tebow fourth and Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamkong Suh fifth.

Kansas State players battling the flu
Last week Kansas State defeated Colorado 20-6 and in practices leading up to that game eight players missed time because of the flu. The Wildcats, in first place in the Big 12 North Division, play at Oklahoma Saturday and the flu bug is still biting.

While the players who were ill last week have recovered, other players on the roster have become ill.

"Since Sunday we have 10 more," Kansas State coach Bill Snyder told the Manhattan Mercury. "Whatever we're doing to prevent it, we're not doing it very well.

"We run people through here who spray every nook and cranny of the building. We have a teaching session with all of the players and employees in regards to what to do and what not to do - be careful about where you are and who you're with.

"We have to isolate players who have it, have to remove them from the environment they are in with their roommates, because our guys live together. If you get one who has it, then they all get it."

Wednesday, October 28

Three weeks, three Texas Tech quarterbacks
Texas Tech announced Wednesday that redshirt freshman Seth Doege will start at quarterback Saturday against Kansas. For the Red Raiders, it will be the third different starter in the last three games.

Junior Taylor Potts was the starter at the beginning of the season but suffered a concussion late in the first half against New Mexico. He was replaced by junior Steven Sheffield, who suffered a foot injury against Kansas State. Potts returned as the starter last week but struggled in Tech's 52-30 loss to Texas A&M.

Tech fans chanted "No ... more ... Potts" near the end of the first half and coach Mike Leach admits that Potts might be lacking confidence.

"I think it's an issue,'' Leach said. "I think confidence is probably the most important aspect that a quarterback has. No matter who you are, there are things you've got to fight through. On an individual level, he needs to ensure he's confident. There's no quarterback that's going to be effective unless they are.''

During the Leach Era, which started in 2000, this is the first time Tech has ever used more than one starting quarterback in a season.

Sooner State's season of woe
This week highlighted the bad luck that's resided in the state of Oklahoma this season.

Tuesday night the NCAA announced that Oklahoma State junior wide receiver Dez Bryant's suspension would be for one calendar year. Bryant was suspended three weeks ago after it was announced he had lied to the NCAA when it was investigating his relationship with former NFL player Deion Sanders.

The year-long suspension probably means that Bryant's Oklahoma State career is over. He'll likely enter the NFL Draft next April.

Another career officially ended when Oklahoma quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford had surgery Wednesday to repair his injured throwing shoulder. Bradford announced last week that he would have the season-ending surgery and going under the knife ended any chance that he might play for the Sooners this season.

Bradford said this week that he would enter the NFL Draft. Oklahoma senior tight end Jermaine Gresham, who has missed the entire season after suffering a knee injury before the season opener, has undergone surgery. He reaffirmed this week that he planned to enter the NFL Draft.

Texas-Oklahoma game time not set
Sometimes you wonder if anyone checks facts before they talk in front of a group.

Some background: Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) had some issues with its newly opened light-rail route to Fair Park for the Texas-Oklahoma game on Oct. 17. Over 96,000 fans plus the usual crowd for the last weekend of the State Fair resulted in an overload that delayed some DART riders for up to two hours.

During a meeting to discuss those Red River Rivalry problems, DART president Gary Thomas mentioned that next year's Texas-Oklahoma game would be at night. The Dallas Morning News printed his comments in Wednesday's editions.

Say what?

Texas-Oklahoma at night at the Cotton Bowl? That will only happen if ABC requests the game be moved to prime time and if the schools agree. And that request (if it gets made - unlikely) and the decision (the schools' approval would be unlikely) won't happen until next summer.

Bottom line: The game time for the 2010 Red River Rivalry hasn't been set. And Your Humble Correspondent says that the most likely kickoff times for the '10 RRR will be 11 a.m. or 2:30 p.m. YHC will be starring on Broadway before Texas-Oklahoma winds up in prime time.

Tuesday, October 27

Making a connection
Rarely does an airline announcement make an impact on college football. But recently American Eagle Airlines announced it would have daily nonstop regional jet service from Manhattan, Kan., to DFW Airport.

For Kansas State's football program, it was welcome news - twice-daily roundtrips connecting it to one of the nation's biggest airports and fertile recruiting areas.

Before an NCAA rule change, Kansas State was able to use private planes to fly players directly to Manhattan. Once private planes were banned, commercial flights dictated most recruits had to fly to Kansas City and then face a two-hour drive to Manhattan.

That drive on I-70 always took recruits past Lawrence, Kan., home of the Jayhawks. Unless blindfolds or blacked out windows were used, prospective Kansas State players would pass KU and wonder "How far is it to Manhattan?"

Now, recruits can connect through DFW and fly directly to Manhattan. Plus, the pipeline from Texas high school talent doesn't have to bend its way through Kansas City. Parents can more easily make it to their offspring's games. And, Kansas State coaches can save four hours in driving time when making recruiting trips.

"It's very beneficial to our program," Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said of the new airline service. In the past it's been difficult to get youngsters in here without a great deal of practice time. And with coaches going into Dallas, it's a lot easier - particularly during the season.

"It's a major plus for us. I hope we hang on to it."

One man's opinion
In his daily "Three-Point Stance" feature, ESPN.com national college football writer Ivan Maisel had this to say about Oklahoma State: "It has been a long road to respectability for Oklahoma State. The progress has been steady under coach Mike Gundy. But it won't be complete until the Cowboys win a game the magnitude of Saturday's home game against No. 3 Texas. Oklahoma State beat No. 13 Georgia, true. Good teams beat more than one ranked team per season. Oklahoma State hasn't done that in 25 years."

Political hot potato
You've heard the adage that two topics of polite conversation best avoided are politics and religion. Mixing politics with the religion called football can result in a volatile brew.

Iowa Gov. Chet Culver issued a statement Saturday congratulating Iowa on its victory over Michigan State that gave the Hawkeyes their first 8-0 start in school history. Culver, a former Virginia Tech football player, left himself open from the blind side because he failed to acknowledge Iowa State's 9-7 victory at Nebraska - the Cyclones' first in Lincoln since 1977.

Culver spent Monday trying to convert the third and long he created.

"I'm a huge Clone fan," Culver told reporters. "I've put out a lot of statements when they've won earlier in the year, and no one picked those up. But the fact of the matter is, that was a huge win for Iowa State. I compliment Coach (Paul) Rhoads and the staff."

Culver pledged that if Iowa State makes a bowl game, he'll be in attendance. And, while covering both sides of the aisle, he said he'd also attend Iowa's bowl game.

Monday, October 26

Football television updates
ABC will use the second of three six-day selection windows for Big 12 games of Nov. 7. That means the kickoff times and telecast decisions for that day's games won't be made until this weekend.

FSN will televise Central Florida at Texas at 11 a.m. on Nov. 7. ABC will decide among three games for its two telecast windows (2:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. CT): Oklahoma at Nebraska or Oklahoma State at Iowa State or Kansas at Kansas State. All three games will be televised, two by ABC. The third game will be televised by Versus.

Baylor at Missouri and Texas A&M at Colorado have telecast options (kickoffs at 11:30 a.m. CT or 6 p.m. CT) as either pay-per-view or on Fox College Sports.

Inexplicable outcomes
Texas Tech beats Kansas State 66-14, Kansas State beats Texas A&M 62-14, Texas A&M beats Texas Tech 52-30. Three teams, three games, three head-scratching outcomes.

"If I could explain it, I could probably write a book and sell it to a lot of coaches," Sherman said. "With us, it might be because we're playing about 20 freshmen. A lot of our players are used to winning all the time in high school. Whatever they've done I football has been right. Now they're learning how to handle adversity."

Kansas coach Mark Mangino said he spent some time Sunday pondering the severe mood swings of the weekly results in the Big 12.

"There are no logical explanations," he said. "I can't figure it out. That's for better minds than mine. All I know is you better be ready to line up and play each Saturday or you're gonna get beat."

Parrish's losing streak perishes
Trivia question: Who was Kansas State's coach before Bill Snyder took over in 1989? Answer: Stan Parrish.

Parrish, by the way, ended his career in Manhattan with a 27-game winless streak (the Wildcats managed one tie). He spent the next 20 years as an assistant coach, winning a national championship ring at Michigan and a Super Bowl ring at Tampa Bay as the quarterbacks coach at both stops.

This year, he came out of retirement to coach at Ball State. His team lost its first eight games, extending Parrish's head coach losing streak to 35 games.

Stan Parrish's losing streak ended Saturday when Ball State defeated Eastern Michigan, 29-27, in a Mid-American Conference game.

Wednesday, October 21

A 'Fear The Stache' update
Your Humble Correspondent is in Kansas City working on web site videos for Big 12 Sports.com. Here's a great item that bridges Big 12 women's basketball and football.

Jesse Newell of the Lawrence Journal-World has this item on his "Sideline Report" blog. Turns out that Whitney Hand, a sophomore guard on Oklahoma's women's basketball team, is dating OU quarterback Landry Jones. (And if you're wondering why a reporter from a paper that covers Kansas cares, remember that the Jayhawks are playing the Sooners Saturday and Jones will almost certainly be the OU quarterback.)

In case you didn't know it, Jones has become famous not only for replacing Sam Bradford at quarterback but for the moustache he was sporting when he took over for Bradford in the BYU game. Students printed t-shirts with the words "Fear The Stache." Hand isn't a big hand of Jones' facial hair but she understands why it has helped make him a cult favorite on the OU campus.  

Monday, October 19

Championship game tickets available
Tickets for the 2009 Dr Pepper Big 12 Football Championship Game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX, will go on sale Thursday, November 5 at 10 a.m. CT. Game time is 7 p.m. on Dec. 5.

Tickets for the game can be purchased through all Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at (800) 745-3000, on-line at www.ticketmaster.com, or in person at the Cowboys Stadium ticket office.  Tickets will not be sold through the Big 12 Conference office.

Tickets are priced at $120, $80, $70, $60 and $50 each based upon location. The prices don't include state and local taxes, additional ticket convenience and handling fee charges. Information regarding suites can be obtained at 817-892-4470 or suites@dallascowboys.net.

Each participating university is allotted up to 12,000 tickets, which will become available upon qualification for the championship. These tickets and all other information will be distributed by the respective participants' ticket office.

News and notes
What we learned from Monday's Big 12 football coaches teleconference:

* Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops was back to answering questions about quarterback Sam Bradford's injury status (but at least it was just one question). Stoops said there was no update on Bradford's reinjured right shoulder. "It will be a lengthy process, there's a lot for the doctors to look at," Stoops said. "We won't know anything until at last Tuesday."

* Kansas State is 2-1 in the North Division going into Saturday's game with 1-1 Colorado. Asked if he envisioned his team being on top of the standings in the third week of October, Wildcats coach Bill Snyder couldn't say. "I didn't envision it because I never thought about it," he said. "When we came back here to coach, we've been just trying to piece things together day by day. Our thoughts initially were directed toward Massachusetts (the season opener) and each game after that. More than I ever have in the past, we've just taken it one day at a time."

* With its upset of Kansas Saturday, Colorado went from 0-1 in the Big 12 to 1-1 and tied for second in the Big 12 North Division. "We tell our guys - and people get tired of hearing this - but you've just got to hang in there, get better and not get too caught up in the highs and lows," coach Dan Hawkins said. "We were 3-0 last year and it fell apart. Just because you win one game over a good team doesn't mean that everything is on an upward turn. You've got to go back to square one every week."

* The Wildcats went from losing at Texas Tech 66-14 to beating Texas A&M 62-14. What does that say about Snyder's team? "It probably tells you that we're a little goofy and we have no idea where we are and who we are. Why does it happen? Everybody has their own opinion. In our situation, there was a major embarrassment (in losing at Tech), our preparation for Texas A&M improved and A&M is a program similar to ours, in the development stages and playing a lot of young guys. They didn't play as well and over the first 33 minutes we played about as well as we can play. When the wheels fall off, you don't have enough time to get 'em back on."

* Texas Tech has won three consecutive games after a 2-2 start. "As the season has gone on we've become a tighter unit," coach Mike Leach said. "There hasn't been one moment or a big turning point. We're a young team. We've started electing (game) captains each week to distinguish guys who are doing things in the present, earning it every day."

* Texas Tech defensive end Brandon Sharpe has seven sacks in the last two games. "It's what somebody said about the light bulb coming on," Leach said. "He has always had the talent and ability. He's just kind of put it together."

* Baylor coach Art Briles said that quarterback Robert Griffin, who underwent knee surgery a week ago and is out for the season, will be able to use his medical redshirt this year and will have three seasons of eligibility. Briles said that Griffin's ability to participate in spring practice will be determined by his rehabilitation but that Griffin likely will be limited in the spring regardless.

* Nebraska might consider a quarterback change (from Zac Lee to freshman Cody Green) to spark an offense that has been struggling. Coach Bo Pelini said there is a switch, it probably will be a game-time decision. "Right now, nothing's changed," he said. "If and when it changes, we'll announce it. The competition at quarterback is always open."

* Iowa State limited Baylor to 10 points Saturday. That's the fewest point the Cyclones have allowed in a Big 12 game since 2005. "We were so pleased with how the defense played," Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said. "If there's a weak link, it's the defense. It's identifiable by many and recognized by the players. Came out and played with great effort and responsibility."

* Rhoads on how Nebraska, coming off a 31-10 home loss to Texas Tech, looked for Saturday's game in Lincoln: "They're gonna look angry."

Sunday, October 18

Texas No. 3 in first BCS standings
At first glance, Texas being No. 3 in the first Bowl Championship Series standings would seem a bad thing because only the top two teams play for the national championship.

The good news for Longhorns fans is that No. 1 Florida and No. 2 Alabama are from the Southeastern Conference. If the Gators and the Crimson Tide keep winning and stay in the top two spots, one would eventually lose because they would meet in the Southeastern Conference championship game.

The Longhorns (6-0) control their own destiny. If they win out, they'll almost certainly wind up playing for the national title in the Rose Bowl.

But with half a season to play, it's a long way to go for Texas or any other team with title aspirations.

Friday, October 16

The clock strikes for basketball practices
Basketball practice for men's and women's teams can officially start Friday. A number of Big 12 teams are staging a version of what used to be called "midnight madness" but has been time-changed to avoid late-night scenarios.

In some cases Big 12 men's and women's teams are staging joint events. And some schools will stage a special event in the next few days. Here's the school-by-school rundown for teams that have events planned:

Kansas men and women: The 25th annual "Late Night In The Phog" at newly renovated Phog Allen Fieldhouse will start at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

Kansas State men: The Wildcats will hold an open practice followed by an autograph session before Saturday's Texas A&M-Kansas State football game.

Kansas State women: Will hold an open practice followed by an autograph session before the Oct. 24 Colorado-Kansas State football game.

Missouri men: Black and Gold Game scrimmage preceded by an autograph/photograph session at 8 p.m. on Oct. 23.

Missouri women: An open house for fans with a team practice at 3:30 p.m. Monday.

Nebraska men and women: The Husker Nation Pavilion will be held before Saturday's Texas Tech-Nebraska football game. The teams won't practice but there will be a pep rally, players from both teams will be introduced, contests for fans.

Oklahoma women: Will stage a preseason banquet and a scrimmage for exclusive season ticket holders on Oct. 19 and Oct. 27.

Oklahoma State men and women: In conjunction with football homecoming weekend, the Cowboys and Cowgirls will hold a "Homecoming and Hoops" pep rally at Gallagher-Iba Arena at 9 p.m. Friday.

Texas women: An open practice followed by a meet-and-greet with fans at 5:30 p.m. at the Frank Erwin Center.

Texas A&M men and women: The teams will stage "Maroon Madness" on Oct. 30 in conjunction with Midnight Yell Practice before the Aggies' football game with Iowa State on Oct. 31.

Texas Tech men: Will hold an open practice at 5 p.m. Friday.

Texas Tech women: Rise and Shine with the Lady Raiders will be held at 7 a.m. on Nov. 3. The first 200 fans at United Spirit Arena will receive breakfast provided by McDonald's. The team will practice from 8 to 10:30 a.m.

 

Thursday, October 15

Linked up
Steven M. Sipple of the Lincoln Journal-Star writes that Nebraska offensive coordinator Shawn Watson says an offense evolves during the season and the Cornhuskers' attack is faced with solving some problems as it evolves.

The Texas-Oklahoma game should be played in Dallas' Cotton Bowl stadium now and forever. So says Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman.

Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is becoming the defensive equivalent of Tim Tebow - a player able to dominate a game single-handedly.

Rick Reilly of ESPN The Magazine has a nice take on Texas quarterback Colt McCoy with some inside info that maybe the most diehard Orangeblood might not know.

Neill Woelk of the Boulder Daily Camera writes that Colorado coach Dan Hawkins opened a can of worms this week by saying that the Buffs might use "both quarterbacks" - sophomore Tyler Hansen and junior Cody Hawkins.

Jordan Shipley becoming one of the best players in college football has surprised even Texas coach Mack Brown.

Wednesday, October 14

Big 12 has 4 of 12 Lombardi semifinalists
The 12 semifinalists for the 2009 Lombardi Award includes four players from the Big 12 Conference - Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma State offensive tackle Russell Okung, Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and Missouri linebacker Sean Weatherspoon.

The Lombardi Award is presented annually to the nation's top college football lineman (offense or defense). Four finalists for this year's award will be announced on Nov. 10. The winner will be announced on Dec. 9.

Tuesday, October 13

Hot links, served fresh
Former Colorado women's basketball coach and current CU administrator Ceal Barry is giving new meaning to The Big Dance.

Jeff Goodman, who covers college basketball for FoxSports.com, has ranked his 50 top shooters in the nation. Five Big 12 players made the list including two from one school. Check it out here.

Kansas coach Mark Magino believes quarterback Todd Reesing has earned the right to be included in the Heisman Trophy discussion.

Dave Sittler of the Tulsa World writes that the NCAA should give Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant a "fair shake" and lift his suspension.

Despite critics of a "sideways" approach to its running game, Missouri is sticking with its philosophy.

Texas players say they're glad that Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford is playing again and will be in the lineup for Saturday's Red River Rivalry game.

Monday, October 12

Oct. 24 TV games announced
The Big 12's television schedule for Oct. 24 will be finalized Sunday but here is the schedule as of Monday:

Iowa State at Nebraska will be televised by FSN at 11:30 a.m. and Oklahoma State at Baylor will air on Versus at 11:30 a.m.

ABC is exercising its six-day notification rights for Big 12 games on Oct. 24. The network said it will televise Oklahoma at Kansas and Texas at Missouri on Oct. 24 but won't announce the game times until Sunday. One of those games will be televised at 2:30 p.m. and the other will be televised at 7 p.m.

News and notes
What we learned from Monday's Big 12 football coaches teleconference:

* Oklahoma could have its leading receiver on the field for Texas Saturday. Sooners coach Bob Stoops said Monday that sophomore Ryan Broyles "has not been ruled out." Broyles suffered a small fracture of his shoulder blade against Miami (Fla.) on Oct. 3. At the time, Broyles was supposed to be sidelined from two to four weeks. He has 23 receptions for 346 yards and leads the Big 12 with seven touchdown receptions.

* For the first time in six weeks on the coaches' teleconference, Stoops didn't have to answer questions about whether quarterback Sam Bradford is healthy enough to play. "On Sunday, he felt just fine, he told me (his shoulder) doesn't hurt one bit," Stoops said. "He felt great to be able to play and I think he'll just build on that. He was a little rusty delivering the ball and it's just about him getting back into a rhythm."

* Texas coach Mack Brown said that running backs Tre' Mitchell (mild concussion) and Vondrell McGee (shoulder) are listed as day-to-day for the Oklahoma game. "We'll just have to watch 'em to see if they can play Saturday," Brown said. "I'm sure their practice time will be limited and that will be tough for this game."

* Brown on Sam Bradford's play Saturday against Baylor: "I thought Sam looked like he did last year when he threw five touchdowns against us. If I had not been told Sam had been hurt I wouldn't have seen any difference on Saturday."

* Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said that junior running back Kendall Hunter, the leading rusher in the Big 12 last season, should be back practicing this week and "hopefully will be better later in the week." Hunter has missed the Cowboys' last two games with an ankle injury.

* Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said that sophomore quarterback Blaine Gabbert has a "slight sprain" of his right ankle and that Gabbert practiced Sunday. Gabbert was injured in the first quarter of the Tigers' game with Nebraska and Pinkel said he admired Gabbert playing the rest of the game with the injury.

* Gabbert was injured when sacked by Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who is listed at 300 pounds. The 240-pound Gabbert's right leg was twisted under his own weight along with Suh's bulk. "Who knows what could have happened, could have been a knee injury," Pinkle said. "We're fortunate the way it is (sprained ankle) right now. If you had looked at it while it was happening you'd think he would have been out awhile."

* Texas Tech coach Mike Leach said it would be a "game-time decision" on who starts at quarterback against Nebraska Saturday - Taylor Potts or Steven Sheffield. Sheffield got his first start Saturday and had seven touchdown passes. Reading between the lines, one gets the feeling Leach might prefer Sheffield. "Sheffield is an incredibly worker, he's among the most coachable guys I've had," Leach said. "He's focused on improving what he does and brings a natural kind of spirit. He's a grinder. ... Sheffield has really good leadership qualities.

* Kansas coach Mark Mangino is addressing issues with his defense. The Jayhawks have allowed a total of 907 yards and 64 points in their last two victories. "We played pretty good defense against UTEP and Duke - two pretty good offensive teams - early in the year and held them in check," Mangino said. "Maybe we're trying to do too much now. Sometimes simple is better."

* In Texas Tech's 66-14 victory over Kansas State, the Red Raiders' final points came on a touchdown pass with four minutes remaining. Wildcats coach Bill Snyder said he took no umbrage. "I didn't take it personally," he said. "I was more concerned with how we were playing ... or how we weren't playing. That's the nature of the game, that's the system. The role of the team playing on defense is to stop the other team. We didn't stop anything. Their backup quarterback (Seth Doege) was in there, their system is to throw the football."

* Iowa State, which plays host to Baylor, is 0-2 in the Big 12 with the two losses by a total of six points. "Two weeks in a row we've had a very down locker room and two bus rides home that reflected that," Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said. "I've been on too many plane rides and bus trips where kids got over losses too fast. This team hasn't done that. This team believes it can win. We finished the game out and played 60 minutes with an opportunity to win."

* Colorado coach Dan Hawkins was unable to join the coaches' teleconference Monday. It appears that the Buffaloes have made a permanent quarterback change from Hawkins' son Cody to sophomore Tyler Hansen in the fourth quarter of Saturday's game with Texas. "We're going to get (Hansen) in there and he's going to be the guy,"" Dan Hawkins told the Boulder Daily Camera after the game. "Cody wants to be a coach. He's going to learn what it's like to be a coach."

TV choices for Oct. 24
ABC is exercising its six-day notification rights for Big 12 games on Oct. 24. The network said it will televise Oklahoma at Kansas and Texas at Missouri on Oct. 24 but won't announce the game times until Sunday. One of those games will be televised at 2:30 p.m. and the other will be televised at 7 p.m. Games televised by FSN and Versus will be announced later Monday morning.

Links to start the week
Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star writes about how Mack Brown of Texas and Bob Stoops of Oklahoma have changed the Big 12 since taking over as coaches at their respective schools.

Neill Woelk of the Boulder Daily Camera writes that coach Dan Hawkins' decision to make Tyler Hansen the starting quarterback was the right move that shouldn't be rescinded.

Woody Paige of the Denver Post also weighs in on the Colorado quarterback change.

Kansas is off to a 5-0 start but there are growing concerns about the Jayhawks' defense.

Steven M. Sipple of the Lincoln Journal-Star revisits several topics following Nebraska's come-from-behind victory at Missouri.

There are a number of sub-plots brewing for Saturday's Red River Rivalry game in Dallas.

Texas might have to rely on its defense if it hopes to win the national championship.

Oklahoma's inability to score touchdowns in the red zone is an ongoing concern for the Sooners.

Friday, October 9

A look back
Some final thoughts on Nebraska's comeback turnaround 27-12 victory at Missouri Thursday night:

* In the third quarter, freshman quarterback Cody Green started warming up on the Nebraska sidelines. Starter Zac Lee was, to put it kindly, struggling. But instead of making a change, the Cornhuskers' coaching staff stuck with Lee. Lee rewarded their faith. Early in the fourth quarter, he completed three of four passes for 87 yards and three touchdowns. Prior to that spurt, Lee was 11 of 29 for 71 yards.

* Missouri failed convert incursions into points. In the first quarter, the Tigers reached the Cornhuskers' 37 but fumbled and later in the quarter recovered a fumbled punt at the Nebraska 32 but wound up punting. In the third quarter, Mizzou recovered a fumble at the Huskers 29 but missed a field goal then reached the Nebraska 7 on another drive but wound up with just a field goal.

* Your Humble Correspondent figured the constant rain that created a slick playing surface and a slippery football would play to the Huskers' ability to run the ball and would hamper Missouri's passing game. YHC figured that Nebraska could win if it ran the ball. So Missouri's only touchdown comes on the ground and the Huskers' first three TDs come on passes. Go figure.

* Both quarterbacks were slingin' in the rain. Missouri sophomore Blaine Gabbert completed 17-of-43 for 134 yards and his first two interceptions of the season. Lee finished 14-of-33 for 158 yards. That's 292 yards passing ... or about a half of work for a Texas Tech passer.

* There were 26 scouts from 18 NFL teams in attendance. Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh wowed the judges with his dominating effort. Suh finished with six six tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, a pass breakup and an interception. His pick came after the Huskers' first touchdown and set up the TD that put them ahead to stay.

3 finalists for Lowe's Senior CLASS Award from Big 12
Missouri offensive lineman Kurtis Gregory, Texas quarterback Colt McCoy and Kansas safety Darrell Stuckey are among the 10 finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the award is presented annually to a student-athlete who must be classified as a senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - classroom, character, community and competition. The winner will be announced in early January.

Thursday, October 8

Details emerge involving Dez Bryant suspension
Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant admitted on his Facebook account that he lied about a visit to Deion Sanders' house last summer. When asked by NCAA investigators about the visit, Bryant denied it. Sanders, however, confirmed the visit. That fib by Bryant led to his suspension because he violated NCAA ethical conduct standards. Oklahoma State will appeal to the NCAA that the suspension be lifted. That could take several weeks. Here's the story from the Oklahoman.

Wednesday, October 7

Colorado's Barringer finalist for Owens award
Colorado senior Jenny Barringer is a finalist for the the U.S.A. Track and Field Jesse Owens Athlete of the Year Award presented by Nike.

Barringer is the only collegiate athlete and distance runner nominated. The other four nominees are Allyson Felix, Carmelita Jeter, Brittany Reese and Sanya Richards, a 2006 graduate of Texas.

Barringer set six NCAA records in 2009 as well as seven CU records. She won two Big 12 titles in 2009 (indoor mile and steeplechase) and two NCAA Championships (indoor 3k and steeplechase). Her mile time of 4:25.91 was the fastest run in the world during the 2009 season.

The award will be presented Dec. 5 in Indianapolis.

Oklahoma State suspends Dez Bryant
Oklahoma State junior wide receiver Dez Bryant has been ruled ineligible because of a violation of NCAA bylaw 10.1 (d) that deals with unethical conduct. On Bryant's behalf, the school is appealing for reinstatement.

Bryant failed to openly disclose to the NCAA the full details of his interaction with a former NFL player not affiliated with OSU.

In a release, the school said the incident does not involve anyone associated with the OSU football or athletic department staffs, any employee of the university, alumni, donors, or any third-party affiliated with OSU.

The release included this from Bryant: "I made a mistake by not being entirely truthful when meeting with the NCAA.  I sincerely regret my mistake and apologize to my teammates, coaches, OSU fans and the NCAA."

Here's the NCAA Bylaw on unethical conduct and the part of the bylaw that Bryant apparently violated:
10.1 Unethical conduct by a prospective or enrolled student-athlete or a current or former institutional staff member (e.g., coach, professor, tutor, teaching assistant, student manager, student trainer) may include, but is not limited to, the following:

10.1 (d) Knowingly furnishing the NCAA or the individual's institution false or misleading information concerning the individual's involvement in or knowledge of matters relevant to a possible violation of an NCAA regulation.

Monday, October 5

Kansas naming rights
Two Kansas fans have named their children after two famous KU athletes. Doug Urish and Shelly Howard named their oldest son, who is 2½ years old, Manning after former Jayhawks basketball legend Danny Manning. Their daughter who was born two weeks ago was named Reesing after current Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing.

Linked up
Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha World-Herald has an excellent assessment of the football futures of Colorado, Iowa State and Kansas State.

Sean Keeler of the Des Moines Register writes about the Cyclones' heart break following their 24-23 loss to Kansas State.

Playing Thursday night at Missouri has forced Nebraska's preparation schedule to change.

After a so-so September, Oklahoma State is gearing up for a successful October.

The Gabbert family of suburban St. Louis has one son (Blaine) playing for Missouri and another son (Tyler) being recruited by Nebraska and Missouri.

There is plenty of intrigue as Nebraska prepares to play at Missouri Thursday.

Keeping quarterbacks healthy will be the key to success in Big 12 play.

Monday's news and notes
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops has spent the last month answering questions about the playing status of quarterback Sam Bradford. Stoops' basic answer has been the same - when Bradford is healthy and ready, he'll play. The questions have varied in an attempt to elicit a different answer.

Near the end of Monday's teleconference, radio reporter Chip Howard's turn came to ask a question but he passed, saying it had already been asked. "Guess it must have been about Sam," Stoops cracked. "Just trying to find a little humor here today."

* Stoops was asked if Bradford might not play again this season. "It depends ... you know, Lord forbid he could get hit by a bus walking over here today. ... You're asking me something. ... I don't anticipate him (not playing this season)."

* Stoops confirmed that receiver Ryan Broyles has a fracture in his shoulder blade and could be out two to four weeks.

* Last season in Ames, Iowa State jumped to a 20-0 halftime lead on Kansas. The Jayhawks rallied for a 33-30 victory. "They outplayed us in the first half last year and we showed character in coming back to win," said Kansas coach Mark Mangino, whose No. 15 Jayhawks play host to Iowa State Saturday. "We learned a valuable lesson in that game. You can't take anybody lightly and you can't just show up and expect to win in the Big 12."

* Oklahoma State freshman running back Jeremy Smith, who had 160 yards rushing against Grambling State in his college debut, apparently has been lost for the season due to an injury suffered in practice over the weekend.

* Oklahoma State plays Texas A&M at 11:30 a.m. Saturday then has an 8:15 p.m. home game with Missouri the following week. Cowboys coach Mike Gundy was asked if it was difficult to deal with two disparate start times. "We just adjust our schedule accordingly during the week," he said. "We tell our players not to allow things they can control to affect them. TV controls kickoffs. We just have to do what we need to do to get ready."

* Texas Tech senior offensive lineman Brandon Carter, who was suspended from the team last week, has been reinstated. Coach Mike Leach wouldn't discuss the reasons why Carter is back on the team, saying, "It's an internal matter, we're not going into that now."

* Texas Tech quarterback Taylor Potts was hospitalized over the weekend after suffering a concussion in the New Mexico game. The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported that a local hospital acknowledged Potts had been admitted and then discharged Sunday. The Lubbock paper reported that is was doubtful Potts would play Saturday against Kansas State.

* Leach on Potts' status: "He's doing fabulously well. He's a great member of our team and we continue to look forward to his success." Will Potts start Saturday: "First of all, I've never acknowledged an injury exists. Since he's not injured I certainly could play him Saturday."

* Texas coach Mack Brown was asked if his team might look past a 1-3 Colorado team to the Oct. 17 showdown with Oklahoma: "I don't think so. We're an older team and every year we deal with this. Playing Oklahoma is like a mid-season bowl game. We're excited about the home game with Colorado, the game's on ESPN, we'll have over 100 thousand people in the stands and we had last weekend. I think our guys are pumped."

 TV schedule set for Oct. 17

Oklahoma vs. Texas 11 a.m. CT ABC
Texas Tech at Nebraska 2:30 p.m. CT ABC
Kansas at Colorado 6 p.m. CT FSN
Missouri at Oklahoma State 8:15 p.m. CT ESPN2

Thursday, October 1

Missouri's Mike Alden takes over as ADs president
Missouri athletic director Mike Alden became president of the Division 1A Athletic Directors' Association when the group ended its annual meeting Tuesday in the Dallas area.

Alden moved up from vice president and replaced Eric Hyman, South Carolina athletic director, who finished up his one-year term.

"This is a great honor, and something I feel is a positive reflection of the University of Missouri as a whole, and all of the great work and achievements that are taking place here across the board," Alden said in a statement.

Alden is in his 12th year as Missouri's athletic director. The school had its most successful athletic season ever in 2008-09.

"Mike has established himself as an outstanding Athletics Director, and is highly respected among his peers," said Dutch Baughman, the organization's executive director. "In addition to his duties at the University of Missouri, Mike has also been a member of the Division 1A Athletic Directors' Association Institute Faculty for 8 years.  Mike Alden has displayed excellent leadership ability throughout his career , and the Association will benefit from his influence and guidance."

Hot links
Texas baseball fans might remember LSU's Chad Jones as the lefty reliever with the wicked slider. Now he's become a force as a
starting safety on the Tigers' football team.

Two weeks after playing in the Rose Bowl, Kansas State's players are excited about playing in Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium.

Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin cried Sunday when he was told he had a slight tear in the ACL in his right knee.

A great read on the multi-talented Texas A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson