Tag:Kansas
Posted on: June 29, 2009 3:01 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2009 12:09 pm
 

Picking the Big 12


The Big 12 South Division race, the Big 12 title game, the Heisman race and the national championship hinged on the conference's three-way tiebreaker. We found out about the 11-year-old rule when Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech each tied at 7-1 in the South Division.

Oklahoma "won" the tiebreaker because it finished the regular season as the highest-ranked team in the division  -- by .0128 of a point in the BCS standings. Instead of reliving the Austin angst, let's just say that one Longhorn suggested that if the tiebreaker rule wasn't changed in the offseason his school ought to pull out of the Big 12.

What's changed? Not much. The rule wasn't changed and Texas is still in the league. At the spring meetings, the Big 12 ADs accepted the coaches' vote that the tiebreaker remain the same. Why?

 One theory is that Texas probably doesn't get much sympathy from the other coaches because ... it's Texas. The school is perceived to have the best of everything so it didn't get much sympathy from schools that don't. Yeah, jealousy sucks.

 There is nothing to be gained for schools like Missouri, Iowa State, Colorado, Baylor, etc., so why change? Hey, the league got two teams in the BCS. To the other schools it doesn't matter who plays in those games as long as the money keeps rolling in.

 The tiebreaker makes sense. Why wouldn't you want your highest rated BCS team to win the tiebreaker? There was some feeling that the SEC tiebreaker is fairer.

In a three-way tie, the SEC drops the lowest-ranked team and decides things head-to-head. But since you're chasing a BCS title, the SEC tiebreaker potentially keeps the highest-ranked team out of a title shot.

The tiebreaker would have been a footnote on the national scene had not Texas and Oklahoma been involved. The rivalry was bitter enough without having to explain why the Horns lost out when they beat the Sooners on the field. Yeah, Oklahoma's fortune might cause a bit of consternation in Austin.

"They got a huge break," Texas' Colt McCoy said.

Like I said, nothing has changed. Texas and OU still hate each other. There is a good chance we could have another tiebreaker train wreck at the end of this season. Only the teams will change.


Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State could all start the season in the top 10. The Red River Shootout on Oct. 17 shapes up as one of the most intense in the history of the rivalry. Just for controversy's sake let's assume the Horns win in Dallas, they still have to play in Stillwater on Halloween. If the Cowboys win they could win out until a Nov. 28 date in Norman. If the Sooners win that one, we're looking at another three-way 7-1 finish.

Who wins it in the BCS tiebreaker? In that scenario, you'd have to like Oklahoma again. The Texas loss would be six weeks old by then and beating Oklahoma State impressively would be the emphatic final statement for the computers the pollsters. That same thing happened last year when OU blew out Texas Tech.

Closer to the field, for the second consecutive year the Large Dozen remains the conference of quarterbacks. It sports a Heisman winner (Sam Bradford), a runner-up (Colt McCoy) and well as 2009 Heisman candidate Todd Reesing of Kansas. You can add Oklahoma State's Zac Robinson, Baylor's Robert Griffin and Texas Tech quarterback du jour Taylor Potts as difference makers.

Just giving you a fair warning, Texas fans. Grow your hair out now. You might be pulling it out in December.

Picking the Big 12 ...


North Division

1. Kansas -- If this were Miami, Dezmon Briscoe, Kerry Meier and Reesing would be on the cover of every preseason mag in the country. Meier is the leading returning receiver in catches per game (10.8). Briscoe is second in receiving yards per game (108.2). Reesing already has led the Jayhawks to an Orange Bowl and is in line to become the school's best quarterback ever. Mark Mangino already has proven he can coach. If a new set of starting linebackers can tackle and if KU can beat either Oklahoma, Texas or Texas Tech (he is a combined 0-9 against the three) this could be a special season. The Jayhawks get the slight edge in the North because the Nebraska game is at home.

2. Nebraska -- Bo Pelini is slowly building Huskerville back to its usual standards. Slowly is the key word because defense is Pelini's thing and the D showed astounding lapses last year. Slowly, because Nebraska has not had a first-team All-American on the defensive line in 12 years. Tackle Ndamukong Suh could break the streak. Some draft boards already have him in the top five. There is little room for error where Pelini is a turned ankle away from having real problems at quarterback. Zac Lee is the guy after Patrick Witt, who was being counted on, left before the spring. A lot of folks think Nebraska has the advantage in the North because of its schedule. I see road trips to Missouri, Baylor, Kansas and Colorado, plus a home game against Oklahoma. Please tell me how that is favorable?

3. Missouri -- The Tigers will take a dip after back-to-back Big 12 North titles. Missouri knows it. The fans know it. The league knows it. The key is trying to make an 8-4 season seem like a success. Six-foot-five Blaine Gabbert takes over for Chase Daniel, only the greatest qb in Missouri history. He would be wise to spread the ball out to 1,000-yard rusher Derrick Washington and receivers Danario Alexander and Jared Perry. The Tigers will score, just not as often. If the defense is shored up at all this team could be on the fringes of contending in the North. At times, the secondary looked like a fire drill. Linebacker All-American linebacker candidate Sean Weatherspoon passed up the draft and will chase the school's career tackles record as a senior.

4. Colorado -- Has Hawk Love turned into Hawk Doubt? Entering his fourth season in Boulder, Dan Hawkins has won only 13 games. The pressure is on to produce (hint: Big 12 North contention and a bowl game). Hawkins isn't backing down, saying this at the senior banquet: "Ten wins, no excuses." The quarterback situation is unsettled with son Cody Hawkins and Tyler Hansen maybe sharing the job again. Freshman tailback sensation Darrell Scott was upstaged by fellow freshman Rodney Stewart who led the team in rushing. Here's the scary thing: In a league with unrelenting offenses, CU has lost six of its top 10 tacklers.

5. Kansas State -- This isn't the old Big Eight for Bill Snyder. Back in 1989, he was taking over Kansas State from a zero position. This time he is chasing his own legacy. Not to diminish what Snyder accomplished, but back in the early 1990s, Missouri and Kansas were jokes and Oklahoma was sliding. There was no Texas to play two out of every four years. The Big 12 has more depth and strength than the Big Eight as Snyder tries for Miracle In Manhattan II. Snyder got K-State from dregs to the brink of a national championship game in nine years. Will the 69-year-old have that much time this time around?

6. Iowa State -- Iowa State swapped coaches with Auburn. Gene Chizik went. Paul Rhoads came. Rhoads, from nearby Ankeny, seems like he wants to stay awhile. He'll be looking up at the rest of the Big 12 North for a while. Ripping Wally Burham from South Florida to be his defensive coordinator was a huge get for Rhoads. The offense will have a chance with dual-threat Austen Arnaud at quarterback


South Division

1. Texas -- Mack Brown smiled when I told I had his pregame speech ready for the OU game. "We beat the Sooners last year, boys. Now let's go out and get some revenge!" Yeah, it's about that and a lot of things for Brown and the Horns. Except for perhaps some suspect running backs, Texas is loaded. Brown has his best team since the 2005 national championship crew. Hybrid defensive end/linebacker Sergio Kindle should be this season's Brian Orakpo. McCoy is driven not only by the tiebreaker but also his second-place finish in the Heisman. Still, it all boils down to Oct. 17 in Dallas.

2. Oklahoma -- Sam Bradford won the Heisman, became the first quarterback to win back-to-back Big 12 titles and got the Sooners to the national championship game. What is there left to accomplish? Plenty for Bradford who listened to family and advisors and put off the NFL. His body can fill out a bit and it doesn't look like there will be a Matthew Stafford to compete with in the draft this year. Oklahoma's questions are at offensive line and receiver. If this were anywhere else but the Big 12 South, the Sooners would be prohibitive favorites to repeat. With a break here or there, they still might end back up in the national championship game.

3. Oklahoma State -- With apologies to Texas and Oklahoma, this could be the best offense in the Big 12, if not the country. Returning are a 1,500-yard rusher (Kendall Hunter), an All-American receiver (Dez Bryant), and a 65 percent passer with 25 touchdowns (Robinson). The problem remains defense. New defensive coordinator Bill Young is the Cadillac of his profession. Okie State will be better just because of his presence. Perrish Cox is developing into an NFL talent at corner and is one of the nation's best returners.

4. Texas Tech -- The Red Raiders slip back to the 8-4 level this season. You know the drill: Potts will throw for eight million yards. There will be a 1,000-yard receiver or two. Mike Leach will be his usual quote-machine self. However, last season was a once-in-10-year event. There is payback waiting at Texas, at Oklahoma State and at Nebraska.

5. Baylor -- Does any Big 12 school have more upside? Joe Pawelek is an All-Big 12 linebacker. Center J.D. Walton anchors the offensive line now that Jason Smith is gone. But let's be honest, the moment quarterback Robert Griffin followed coach Art Briles to Baylor (from his commitment to Houston), things took off. A sprinter with Olympic aspirations, Griffin gave up the Big 12 track season to concentrate on what should be his breakout season in Waco. If there is a one-man team in the league, this is it. Griffin also was the team's No. 2 rusher. With more weight and more knowledge, Griffin should become the most elusive dual-threat in the Big 12 since Vince Young. At stake is a 14-year bowl drought. That ties for the longest active streak among BCS schools.

6. Texas A&M -- One former Big Eight coach said it during the offseason: This is A&M. It should be able to go over to the Houston high schools and scrounge up a couple of defensive linemen. In Mike Sherman's second season, d-line is a good place to start. The one-time Wrecking Crew was Charmin soft as one of the worst defensive units in the country. After the non-conference games, the Aggies gave up less than 35 once. Once! Nineteen players had surgery in the offseason. The Aggies better get fat early. The season ends with Oklahoma, Baylor and Texas.
 

Posted on: June 12, 2009 11:54 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2009 8:29 am
 

Farewell Bob Frederick

Bob Frederick couldn't run anymore because his knees were shot. He told me that. Those of us who run understood.

But Kansas' former AD wasn't going to give up. He took to biking years ago because he was a workout warrior. I understood that too. It comforts me somewhat that Frederick died as a result of him doing what he wanted on Thursday. Frederick ran over a pothole and reportedly flipped over his handle bars. He died on Friday at 69.

I liked Bob as both an administrator and a person. He is cemented in Kansas history as the man who hired Roy Williams in 1988. The next 15 years were legendary as Ol' Roy took the Jayhawks to four Final Fours. It didn't matter that he didn't lead the Jayhawks to a national championship. Williams re-established Kansas as a national power.

Frederick was the calming influence. He once told about the rigors of serving on the men's basketball selection committee. It involved being sequestered in a hotel room for four days. The workout warrior in Frederick found a way, though, to get his running in. He would relieve the stress by ducking out and getting in a few miles.

His legend is cemented as an administrator and human being. Kansas would never be where it is -- at the top of the basketball food chain and with a consistent football program -- without Frederick. He led Kansas out of a dark time when he hired Williams. Thoughts and prayers to his family and friends. Bob was a great one. Even more, he was a great person.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Kansas
 
Posted on: June 5, 2009 3:36 pm
 

Predicting the bling ...

We're all Heisman candidates in June. Mom, dad, the plumber, the cat. Well, maybe not the cat.

This is the time of year to salute every swinging hick who dares to dream of a trip to New York. With that in mind, here are my Heisman rankings.

1. Colt McCoy, Texas -- It's his time. Among the Three Amigos, it's his turn.
2. Tim Tebow, Florida -- Voters will be wary of making Superman a two-time winner. There has only been one.
3. Sam Bradford, Oklahoma -- Back-to-back ain't happenin' either.
4. Jevan Snead. Ole Miss -- This year's Matt Stafford.
5. Jahvid Best, Cal -- No. 3 rusher last season, should be the nation's leading rusher in 2009.
6. Jonathan Dwyer, Georgia Tech -- The hoss in Paul Johson's option offense.
7. Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State -- Cowboy No. 1
8. Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State -- Cowboy No. 2
9. Zac Robinson, Oklahoma State --  Cowboy No. 3
10. Case Keenum, Houston -- 5,000-yard passer.

The others -- Arrelious Benn, Illinois; Eric Berry, Tennessee; Dezmon Briscoe, Kansas; Daryll Clark, Penn State; Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame; Aaron Corp, USC; Noel Devine, West Virginia; A.J. Green, Georgia; Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma; Max Hall, BYU; Greg Hardy, Ole Miss; Tim Hiller, Western Michigan; Jerry Hughes, TCU; Colin Kaepernick, Nevada; Julio Jones, Alabama; Dan LeFevour, Central Michigan; MiQuale Lewis, Ball State; Jake Locker, Washington; Taylor Mays, USC; Kellen Moore, Boise State; DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma; Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State; Todd Reesing, Kansas; Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State;  Charles Scott, LSU; Brandon Spikes, Florida; Triumph the Insult Comic Dog; The Kobe and LeBron puppets; Zach Galifianakis; Conan O'Brien; Lassie; David Letterman; Iron Man; Alex Trebek, Tina Fey, shall I go on?

 

Bednarik/Nagurski Award (best defensive player): Jerry Hughes, TCU

Biletnikoff Award (best receiver): Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State

Broyles Award (best assistant coach):  John Chavis, LSU defensive coordinator

Groza Award (best kicker): Kai Forbath, UCLA

Ray Guy Award (best punter): Derek Epperson, Baylor

Lombardi Award (best lineman): Greg Hardy, Ole Miss

Mackey Award (best tight end): Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma

Davey O'Brien Award (best quarterback): Colt McCoy, Texas.

Butkus Award (best linebacker):  Brandon Spikes, Florida

Outland Trophy (best interior lineman):  Ciron Black, LSU

Rimington Trophy (best center): Kristofer O'Dowd, USC

Eddie Robinson Award (coach of the year):  Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech

Thorpe Award (best defensive back): Eric Berry, Tennessee

Doak Walker Award (best running back):  Jahvid Best, Cal

 

 

Posted on: March 20, 2009 3:37 pm
 

Thank you Greg Shaheen

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- This is why we love the tournament:

About 1:45 pm. CT in the bowels of the Sprint Center. Three games, all close, in the final seconds. We, the media, get to watch all three simultaneously -- Kansas-North Dakota State, Tennessee-Oklahoma State, Utah State-Marquette. All we needed was a bar, a couple of taps and a waitress asking, "May I help you guys?"

Believe it or not it wasn't always this way for us media urchins. We used to feel like we were out of touch at these sites. The bowels of these arenas can be just that -- bowels of arenas. Damp, cold, forbidding.

But right now I'm looking around at eight flat screens in the media work room. Every game that's being played is on. The NCAA has a heart. I don't know this for sure but I'm guessing Greg Shaheen is responsible. Shaheen oversees the day-to-day operation of the tournament for the NCAA. I consider him a friend of the media who helps us get our work done. Thank goodness, the Pac-10 wasn't successful. The league tried twice to hire Shaheen to become its new commissioner recently.

There, that's my private thank you to the man responsible for making our insulated little world a bit more comfortable. 

Posted on: March 19, 2009 3:37 pm
Edited on: March 19, 2009 3:44 pm
 

Memphis over Northridge

 KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It was all about the U for Memphis.

Thank goodness for the second-seeded Tigers.

An almost anonymous juco guard was the difference between Memphis getting a first-round win over scrappy Cal State Northridge and becoming the fifth No. 15-over-No. 2 upset victim in the tournament's history. That's Roburt -- with a u -- Sallie who dropped a school tournament-record 35 points on the Matadors in an 81-70 Memphis victory.

The sophomore had been averaging 4 1/2 points this season until breaking loose. The total broke Memphis' 36-year-old tournament record held by Larry Keenan. No one could properly explain why Sallie went off but Memphis needed every single point. Northridge led 64-61 and had the pro-Kansas crowd on its side before the Tigers finished the game on a 20-6 run.

"I don't think my teammates would ever expect me to do that," Sallie said. "I'm just a shooter."

Take away Sallie's 10-for-15 shooting from the arc and Memphis was one for 13 from distance.

"We had to have a guy get 35 for us to win the game," Memphis coach John Calipari said.

The game was descending into an embarrassing loss similar last year's national championship meltdown against Kansas. Northridge played without its two leading scorers, not including coach Bobby Braswell's son who has been charged with felony burglary back in California. Nine transfers populated the roster.

"They weren't afraid, they punched us in the mouth," Memphis' Antonio Anderson said.

As the potential for an upset kept building, the Sprint Center crowd got behind the Matadors. Mark Hill's up-and-under scoop gave the Matadors a three-point lead with nine minutes left. A lot of that crowd were Kansas fans who bought tickets anticipating the Jayhawks being in Kansas City. The Kansas fans who didn't sell their tickets saw a familiar scene playing out.

Memphis led by four with 2:12 left. The Tigers let a nine-point lead get away with that much time left in last year's national championship game.

"It was a gut game for us," Memphis coach John Calipari said. "We've had a lot of those over the last 61."

Calipari was referring to Memphis' 61-game Conference USA winning streak. This is the Big Dance, though, where the Tigers are trying to redeem last year's loss in San Antonio.

As for Sallie, the Sacramento, Calif. product came from the City College of San Francisco after being recruited by Nebraska. The "u" in the middle, applied by Sallie's mother, "gave me my uniqueness," he said. The Matadors seemed to ignore the 6-foot-5, 200-pound guard for most of the game. Bad move. Calipari stood behind Sallie the other day at practice and watched him make 14 consecutive 3s.

"He had it in him all year," Anderson said.

 

Posted on: March 13, 2009 12:01 am
Edited on: March 13, 2009 12:11 am
 

The Big 12 Tournament blows up

No one was counting much on Dexter Pittman -- including his teammates.

"Dexter Pittman," Texas guard Varez Ward pondered Thursday afternoon,  "If he had played like that all season, no telling what our record would be."

It's hard to put much stock in a 6-foot-10, 300-pound foul-prone quasi-tight end who gets winded easily. But there was Pittman becoming the most outstanding player midway through the Big 12 Tournament.

Like most tournaments, the Big 12's was expected to be mostly chalk. Kansas and Oklahoma were the favorites. Going into Friday's semis, though, it might be the wildest postseason tournament in the country.

 Only one of the top four seeds (Missouri) advanced to the semis for the first time in tournament history.

 Kansas became only the second No. 1 seed in tournament history to lose in the first round. Ninth-seeded Baylor did the deed. No. 2 seed Oklahoma also slept in its own bed Thursday night, the victim of an upset to Oklahoma State.

 A kid named after a former Chicago Bears linebacker (Texas Tech's Mike Singletary) set the scoring record with 43 points against Texas A&M on Wednesday.

 No. 7 seed Oklahoma State finally broke through against Oklahoma this season with a last-second 71-70 victory.

Pittman, though, resembles King Kong in more than stature to this point. The Longhorns find themselves meeting Baylor -- Baylor? -- in one semifinal after Pittman went off against Kansas State on Thursday. A day after scoring a career-high 26 against Colorado, Pittman erupted for 19 points and a career-high 20 rebounds against the Wildcats. That's 45 points and 30 rebounds in two games for a guy who averages 10 points and five rebounds.

“There’s no question he played his best overall game,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said afterward. “It’s really neat, because he’s just getting started.”

Problem is, no one knew if Pittman would ever get started. He came to Austin three years ago 70 pounds overweight. Not only was food a problem, so was stamina. Until lately. Pittman has asserted himself late averaging 17.8 points and 9.2 rebounds in the last five games. His go-ahead layup with 74 seconds left was eventually the winning basket.

The big fella dominated in a grinder that featured almost as many fouls (41) as field goals (42). Texas will take on Baylor in one semi with a hint of desperation. While the Horns are safely in the tournament, the Bears are trying to make a miracle run to an NCAA berth.

Why not? Baylor is across the street from the building where coach Scott Drew's brother Bryce made his miracle shot to beat Ole Miss in 1998. This year's difference maker for the Bears is the coach's 2-3 zone which bothered both Nebraska and Kansas.

The other semi matches Missouri against the Cowboys. Okie State had lost the previous two Bedlam games to Oklahoma this season. It held on this time when the timekeeper didn't start the clock with 2.3 seconds left on Oklahoma's last possession. National player of the year Blake Griffin looked like he was fouled going up for a desperation last-second pass. Officials ruled that time had expired after OU scrambled to get a last shot.

Oklahoma State also survived with guard Byron Eaton scoring 16 points before he moves on to ... football. Eaton is a senior in basketball but has a year of athletic eligibility left. Don't be surprised to see the guard transform into a fullback in the fall.

Meanwhile, the league's top two seeds go into the NCAA Tournament somnambulant. Oklahoma has won two of its last six. Kansas has lost two of its last three.

"We're not very tough," Kansas guard Sherron Collins said, "if we can't come back from this."

We'll see. The Big 12 upsets could have all kinds of repercussions.  Oklahoma's shot at a No. 1 seed is all but gone. Kansas was hoping at least to get placed in Kansas City for the first and second rounds. That virtual home-court advantage could be in danger as well.

 

 

Posted on: March 9, 2009 4:39 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2009 4:48 pm
 

Countdown for Bryce Brown

They are fasting by now, drinking only liquids.

The strategy worked last year when Arthur Brown Jr., his father, brother and advisor Brian Butler fasted for a week before the highly-touted linebacker made his college decision.  The story goes that the entire group was hit with a revelation that Arthur, a Wichita, Kan. prospect, should attend Miami.

The group is trying to enter the same physical and mental state as Brown's younger brother Bryce is less than a week away from making his college decision. Bryce's long anticipated announcement will come at a Monday press conference at the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame in Wichita.

Yes, it will probably be overdone. Yes, it will probably be faux dramatic. (Please, Bryce don't play us with the "hat tease".)  But we still can't stay away. No doubt there will be media there from all over the region and around the country. At least four schools -- Tennessee, Oregon, LSU and Kansas State -- will be hanging onto the kid's every word. It will be a recruiting website's wet dream.

But the story of Bryce's recruitment might not come to a flashy climax on Monday. Butler, the celebrated mentor, is under investigation by the NCAA. The association's assistant director of amateurism certification has been to Wichita to question a high school player who formerly trained under Butler.

Read between the lines and it seems the NCAA is trying to see if Butler has compromised the amateur status of any of the high school players he has trained.  That, or it might decide Butler should be disassociated from certain athletes. Fourteen months ago Butler quit his job at a T-Mobile call center to pursue training prospects full time.

Butler, 33, usually charges to train athletes $75 a month for one day a week and up to $200 a month for three days a week. On the surface, it's hard to see how Butler could be making a killing.

"Trust me, I can take you to my house right now and show you a stack of bills and show you my bank account," Butler told me in late January. "I wonder how they're going to get paid."


One question seems to be whether Bryce Brown, or any other player, was given a price break. That could constitute an extra benefit in the NCAA's eyes. Two specific NCAA bylaws come into play here:

 12.1.2.1.6 has to do with "preferential treatment" given to a prospect based on his "reputation or skill or pay-back potential as a professional athlete."

 13.02.13, defines a "representative of athletics interests"

In Butler's case, 13.02.13 would mean he would be steering kids to a certain school. Butler said that the most former players he has at a single school is two at both Kansas and Kansas State. That hardly constitutes a pattern especially since former K-State coach Ron Prince had been critical of Butler.

Butler says that if Prince were still at the school Bryce probably wouldn't be considering the Wildcats. With new/old coach Bill Snyder back in charge, K-State is one of Bryce's finalists.

However, one person with knowledge of the NCAA process told me, "You can turn a ham sandwich into a representative (of athletics interests) if you want to."

"Mr. Brown (Bryce's father Arthur Sr.) pays me more than most people," Butler told me  when informed of the "preferential treatment" bylaw.

"My goal," Butler added, "is to be a millionaire before they (players) are."

On the up and up, of course.

At one time the NCAA had in place a "big brother/big sister" program in which investigators would take a region of the country and speak to the top three to five prospects in that area. I'm not sure if that program is still in place but Butler did tell me that the NCAA plans on talking to the nation's No. 1 recruit.

A best guess is that Bryce has narrowed his choices to Oregon and Tennessee. Based on conversations I've had, the kid is very interested in how he will be promoted. Oregon has at its disposal the Nike marketing machine. That's not to say the kid would be hidden playing in the SEC at Tennessee (on CBS).

Oregon can further sell the nation's No. 2 rushing offense and a somewhat stable quarterback situation. Tennessee can sell the charismatic Lane Kiffin, his superstar staff and a program about to take off .

Stay tuned, the circus is about to end with Monday's announcement. Or, with the NCAA sniffing around, it might just be beginning.

 

 

 

 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: December 8, 2008 7:38 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2008 11:22 am
 

Random thoughts on a football Monday

Colt McCoy is the Heisman leader in the prestigious Rocky Mountain News poll. Yours truly voted in it this season.

 Nagurski Award (best defensive player) went to a Big 12 player? Texas' Brian Orakpo was sixth in sacks and 11th in tackles for loss. Okaaay ....

 

CBSSports.com's All-America team (including our defensive player of the year) will be released on Friday.


 Once again, one person didn't vote in the Harris poll. That made it three times this season someone was missing from the 114-person panel.


 Eighteen coaches voted for their own school in the coaches poll. The individual ballots were released  Monday in USA Today. There were some interesting results.

--Oregon's Mike Bellotti voted for Cal (No. 25) but Cal coach Mike Tedford did not.

--North Carolina finished with six points in the coaches poll. Two of them came from coach Butch Davis who voted the Tar Heels No. 24.

--Mike Leach voted Oklahoma No. 1, Texas Tech No. 2 and Texas No. 5. No. 5? That at least equaled the lowest ranking of the Longhorns among the 61 voters.

--Nebraska got all of five points in the poll. Four of them came from coach Bo Pelini who slotted his Huskers No. 21.

--Most overrated team by a coach: Missouri. Gary Pinkel had his Tigers at No. 18. They barely stayed in both polls.

--Three five-loss teams finished with votes -- Kansas, Rutgers and Buffalo.

 Here are the combined top five of the seven Big 12 coaches who voted in the coaches poll. This is an issue, of course, because Texas finished .01816 of a point out of the BCS title game.

 

1. Oklahoma (five first-place votes)
2. Texas (1)
3. Florida (1)
4. Alabama
5. USC

The seven are: Art Briles, Baylor; Mack Brown, Texas; Dan Hawkins, Colorado; Mike Leach, Texas Tech; Gary Pinkel, Missouri; Gene Chizik, Iowa State; Bo Pelini, Nebraska. Only Chizik and Mack Brown had Texas ahead of Oklahoma on their ballots. Briles, Hawkins, Leach, Pinkel and Pelini voted Oklahoma No. 1.

Four coaches voted Texas No. 1 in the coaches poll. Amazingly, one of them wasn't Mack Brown: Chizik, Todd Dodge, North Texas; Rick Neuhiesel, UCLA; Mike Price, Texas-El Paso.

Chizik worked for Brown. Dodge played at Texas. Price played Texas this year was grateful for the Horns coming and filling his stadium. Neuheisel is the head scratcher but a lot of stuff The Rickster does causes us to scratch our heads.

 How my BIG playoff would have looked in 2006 and 2007:

 


2007

Regular season national champion: Ohio State
Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. USC


Playoff bracket

No. 1 LSU vs. No. 8 West Virginia
No. 4 Georgia vs. No. 5 Missouri
No. 2 Virginia Tech vs. No. 7 Kansas
No. 3 Oklahoma vs. No. 6 USC

2006

Regular season national champion: Ohio State
Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. USC


Playoff bracket

No. 1 Florida vs. No. 8 Oklahoma
No. 4 Louisville vs. No. 5 Wisconsin
No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 7 Auburn
No. 3 LSU vs. No. 6 Boise State

 The old lady next to us offered us a drink, she was guzzling gin out of a thermos. That much I remember from the last time the Cardinals won a division. Back in 1975 they were the St. Louis Cardinals and I was just out of high school.

 

Friend Jack Scanlan and I somehow scored tickets in the bleachers at old Busch Stadium to what was then the biggest football game in The Loo's history.  On a cold, cold day, Jackie Smith caught a touchdown pass and the Cardinals of Jim Hart, Terry Metcalf and Mel Gray beat the Giants 14-6.

It was a bigger deal then than it was today in Arizona. The Cardinals migrated from Chicago in 1960 and spent 27 mostly-frustrating seasons in my hometown. I still follow the Cards enough to know that the Bidwells are still the Bidwells.  Cheap and clueless.

Good on ya to Arizona, though. The city deserves a team to fit that magnificent stadium.

And, no, take the old lady up on her offer. I was only 18, besides I'm a vodka man.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com