Posted on: April 15, 2009 12:57 am

Fire Missouri medical and training staff

This is what they never told recruits at Missouri, assuming the school even knew:

The strength and conditioning director lacked the proper certification to be hired. The sports medicine director basically did not know -- may still not know -- how to recognize athletes in distress afflicted with sickle cell trait.

In a stunning revelation, the AP reported Tuesday that the Missouri training staff was woefully unprepared and under-trained when Aaron O'Neal died during an offseason workout. How Pat Ivey, the strength and conditioning director, and Rex Sharp, the sports medicine director, are still employed is amazing.

Not only should they fired, their future in the profession should into question. Missouri paid $2 million to settle a lawsuit brought be O'Neal's parents. Part of the settlement, though, is that no blame be assigned by coach Gary Pinkel, AD Mike Alden, Sharp and Ivey.

The AP's fine reporting has taken care of that. Sharp and Ivey are directly to blame considering they unaware of how to handle O'Neal's symptoms which many now say resulted stress resulting from sickle cell trait.

If I'm Missouri's president, I fire Sharp and Ivey and conduct a review of the entire training and medical staff. Pinkel and Alden should at least get a letter of reprimand. The conditions were allowed to exist under Alden. Pinkel is part of a football culture that continues to wink at the "involuntary" offseason workouts.

Letters sent to players before the 2005 season by Pinkel were entered into the record during the trial. In an eery foreshadowing one of the letters stated, "You must be dying to be a great player ..."

There is no excuse for medical and athletic professionals to be ignorant to sickle cell trait. A seven-step series of guidelines distributed by the National Athletic Trainers' Association are followed by only a fraction of schools according to Oklahoma head trainer Scott Anderson. Anderson was co-chair of the NATA group that drafted the guidelines in 2007. He estimates that only half of schools even test for sickle cell.

This will all be interesting information for the parents of Ereck Plancher. They are suing Central Florida for the death of their son who had sickle cell trait. The school recently paid $60,000 for an independent study of its medical and training techniques. Central Florida then spent the next few days patting itself on the back for the self-examination.

One problem: Not once in the report's 24 pages does it mention sickle cell trait. In other words, the school spent all the money and did absolutely nothing to improve the odds that another Ereck Plancher wouldn't happen again.

We should pray that Missouri is the only training and medical staff in the country that was inadequately unprepared. Sadly, I don't think that's the case.


Category: NCAAF
Posted on: March 27, 2009 10:03 pm

Can Thabeet hang?

Mike Anderson called him "Hassan". A Missouri beat writer called him "Hakeem." What Missouri doesn't know about Hasheem Thabeet, it is about to find out.

UConn's 7-foot-3 center is going to be the deciding factor either way when Missouri faces the Huskies in the West Regional final. Either Thabeet is going to fumble the ball away against Mizzou's withering defense or he's going to continue to dominate in the paint.  There can't be an in between.

The two-time Big East defensive player of the year is averaging a double-double in the tournament  (13.6 points, 10.6 rebounds) and has double-doubles in six of his last seven games. Against Purdue on Thursday, he went for 15 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks.

"The biggest key is we have to get that big beast to run," Missouri's DeMarre Carroll said. "We got to get him up and down the court."

Thabeet isn't exactly the most fit athlete. He was dragging in a moderately paced game against Purdue. If Mizzou can draw him out of the line to defend outside shots, the Tigers quick cutters could have an advantage.

Here's a question, then, for all of us to ponder. Could the Big East defensive player of the year play for Missouri? That would require Thabeet to run, press and practice at a frenetic pace. Hell, the Tigers run for 40 minutes before bouncing a basketball in practice.

Missouri functions so well because it has only two players taller than 6-8. The second-team All-American might not be able to function in the system he is about to face.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 22, 2009 7:54 pm

Most exciting finish in the tournament

His name is Lazar Hayward and he just took the place of Tyus Edney in the minds of Missouri fans.

In perhaps the most exciting finish to a tournament game to date, Marquette's Hayward stepped over the line while inbounding the ball against Missouri with his team trailing by two with 5.5 seconds left.

Marquette looked like it had completed a furious comeback from 16 down in the first half by taking a late lead, but Missouri's Kim English came off the bench to sink two free throws with 5.5 left. Guard J.T. Tiller had been fouled on the play but was too injured to shoot. Marquette was forced to foul, Missouri went ahead by four and that was that.

Who is Tyus Edney? He's the UCLA guard who beat Missouri in the same city (Boise) 14 years ago with an end-to-end rush. It looked like something similar was going to happen again as Hayward tried to inbound. Missouri was pressing in the backcourt but, just like 14 years ago, it failed to put a man on the ball. It didn't matter. Hayward didn't have a man open, hesitated, and let his right foot step over the line.

Missouri will take it as it heads to Glendale, Ariz. to play a Sweet 16 game. That West Regional final still shapes up to be UConn vs. Memphis, but Purdue and Missouri will have something to say about that. See you there.  


Category: NCAAB
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: December 10, 2008 12:44 am

National notes

My Heisman ballot:

1. Tim Tebow
2. Sam Bradford
3. Colt McCoy

I can't give you a quantitative reason why Tebow is my No. 1. His numbers are down from '07. However, after watching him lead that fourth-quarter comeback against Alabama, it's more of a feel, an emotional reaction.

I go back to Sept. 27 when Tebow basically called his shot after the Ole Miss loss and then delivered! Nine wins in a row. Go back and at the quotes from that day. Tebow as Babe Ruth pointing his bad toward the Wrigley Field bleachers.

Until Saturday, Bradford was my guy. I had started hyping him for Heisman back when he was a freshman. How many players ever have led the country in pass efficiency two years in a row?

It's hard to vote Colt McCoy third when he took a team with a mediocre offensive line and led it in passing and rushing. The point is, I can't slide a piece of paper between the three of them.

The voters: John Adams, Knoxville News Sentinel; Tony Barnhart, CBS; Mark Blaudschun, Boston Globe; Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman; B.G. Brooks, Rocky Mountain News; Jimmy Burch, Fort Worth Star-Telegram; Brian Davis, Dallas Morning News; Mike DeArmond, Kansas City Star; Dennis Dodd, CBSSports.com; Michael DiRocco, Florida Times-Union; Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle; Scott Ferrell, Shreveport Times; Anthony Gimino, Tucson Citizen; Herb Gould, Chicago-Sun Times; Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune; Mike Griffith, Knoxville New Sentinel; Eric Hansen, South Bend Tribune; Matt Hayes, Sporting News; Tommy Hicks, Mobile Press-Register; Ron Higgins, Memphis Commercial Appeal; Mark Janssen, Manhattan Mercury; Todd Jones, Columbus Dispatch; Blair Kerkhoff, Kansas City Star; Ted Lewis, New Orleans Times-Picayune; Mike Lopresti, Gannett Newspapers; Tom Luicci, Newark Star-Ledger; Ray Melick, Birmingham News; Rodney McKissic, Buffalo News; Brett McMurphy, Tampa Tribune.

(Two voters did not want their names used)

The rest of the national awards, etc.

MVP: McCoy

There's a difference between the Heisman winner and MVP. McCoy did more with less. Texas wouldn't be in the conversation without him.

Best quarterback: Bradford

This is getting confusing so let's just drop it.

Best running back: Shonn Greene, Iowa

The nation's No. 2 rusher came on in the second half of the season to surpass Michigan State's Javon Ringer and UConn's Donald Brown as the most consistent ground force in the nation.

Best receiver: Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech

Do back-to-back Biletnikoff Awards do anything for you? An NFL star in waiting.

Best tight end: Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma

This was tough. I recently shifted away from Missouri's Chase Coffman who was too injured at the end of the season to back up a spectacular first eight games of the season.

The 6-foot-6 inch Gresham gets opens, is hard to tackle and has speed. Need anything else?

Best offensive lineman: Andre Smith, Alabama.

He is what coaches look for when they recruit left tackles. A case can be made for Smith, the likely Outland Trophy winner, being Bama's MVP. Without him protecting John Parker Wilson and carving out holes for Glen Coffee, the Tide don't start 12-0.

Defensive player of the year: Rey Maualuga, LB, USC

From a troubled beginning, this voracious tackler became the foundation for one of the best statistical defenses in history.

Best defensive lineman: Jerry Hughes, DE, TCU

Ask BYU's Max Hall what he thinks of the nation's sacks leader In their October matchup, Hughes sacked Hall three times.

Best defensive back: Eric Berry, Tennessee.

Lane Kiffin should be at Berry's house right now making sure he's happy, comfortable and ready to take 20 snaps a game on offense.

Best special teams player: Kevin Huber, P, Cincinnati

You won't find many other All-Americans on the best Cincinnati team in history that won 11 games and the Big East. We'll give it to Huber who bombed 20 punts more than 50 yards and dropped 20 punts inside the 20.

Remember when Cincinnati used to be a basketball school?

Freshman of the year: Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State

How did he get from Texas to Corvallis?

Coach of the year: Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech

Staff of the year: Penn State

The Broyles Award is doing a disservice to Penn State. The honor goes to the assistant coach of the year. Not only were there no Penn State assistants among the finalists, the Broyles folks didn't do the right thing and pick the entire Penn State staff.

With JoePa ailing, his staff basically took over and led the Nittany Lions to a Big Ten title. Big ups to defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, defensive line coach Larry Johnson and quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno. They were the glue.

Biggest disappointments: Georgia, Notre Dame, South Florida, West Virginia, Michigan, Tennessee, the ACC, the Pac-10.

Biggest surprises: Oregon State, Ball State, Alabama, Buffalo, East Carolina, Rice, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Texas Tech.

Sometimes you just live right: Charlie Weis almost got run out of town after a 6-6 season. His reward? A trip to the Hawaii where he can continue to recruit linebacker Manti Te'o. 

Don't give me any of this stuff about a dead period. Te'o will be a captive audience as the Irish take over Oahu.

Best games: Texas 45, Oklahoma 35, Oct. 11 in Dallas.

The winner usually wins the Big 12 South and competes for the national championship. Right? Right?

Texas Tech 39, Texas 33, Nov. 1 in Lubbock.

Not to pick on the Horns here but the reason they are playing Ohio State instead of Florida is Crabtree's game-winning catch with one second left.

UCLA 27, Tennessee 24 (OT) Sept. 1 in the Rose Bowl.

Tennessee's defense held UCLA's Kevin Craft to only four interceptions in the first half. Then, in his best performance of a long, long season, Craft rallied the Bruins in the second half.

Rick Neuheisel led a post-game pep rally.

Florida 31, Alabama 20, Dec. 6 at the SEC championship game.

The BCS was smiling as the closest thing to a national semifinal was played out in front of the largest Georgia Dome crowd in history.

Whine of the year: Pete Carroll and USC

You lost to a team you weren't supposed to (Oregon State). You paid for it in the polls. Deal with it. Maybe the difference between that and Florida losing to Ole Miss? Urban Meyer has made a habit lately of winning the big ones <em>and</em> the little ones.

Best stories:

Six teams ranked No. 1 during the season (the most since 1984)

Alabama arriving a year early (at least) under Nick Saban

Utah, TCU and BYU making a huge statement by the Mountain West: The BCS doesn't belong to the six power conferences.

Notre Dame's collapse from 4-1 and Weis barely hanging on for another year.

Oregon State beating USC and chasing its first Rose Bowl in 44 years.

Coaches in waiting.

Coaches waiting in line ("resigning" in the middle of a season).

The end of a Bowden (Tommy).

The continuation of a Bowden (Bobby).

The longing of a Bowden (Terry, to get back in the game).

Joe's hip.

Charlie's knee.

Nate Davis' gloves.

Jay Jacobs' "shock" over Tommy Tuberville's "resignation."

Tennessee goes from old school to youngest coach in the country.

The (sad) state of Washington. (Combined records of the Huskies and Cougars, 2-22).

Big 12 quarterbacks.

Big 12 offenses.

Big 12 top 10 games each week.

The Big 12 surpassing the SEC, if only for a moment, as the best conference in the country.

The tie in the Big 12 South.

The cry that followed.


Text messages.

The high road.

Running it up.

Calling off the dogs. 


"To me that's a little ridiculous," Bradford said.

That's a good way to end it, for now.



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:



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


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.

Posted on: December 5, 2008 6:21 pm

Latest from theSEC championship game

ATLANTA -- Florida receiver Percy Harvin remains questionable for Saturday's SEC championship game.

While Florida coach Urban Meyer said the Gators' biggest home-run threat would be evaluated after a Friday afternoon practice.
"We're going to hold him until everyone leaves (practice) then we're going to make an evaluation after that," Meyer said.

Harvin suffered a high ankle sprain last week against Florida State.  Harvin's health is the No. 1 subject around the SEC championship game which will determine one of the participants in the BCS title game. The often-injured star averages only 8.7 touches per game but leads the Gators in receiving and is second in rushing.

He was named to the American Football Coaches Association All-American team this week.

 Sometimes you have to find out what you don't want to do.

That's what happened to Steve Sarkisian who will be named the new Washington coach some time after Saturday's season ender at UCLA. It was just a short time ago when USC's offensive coordinator was Al Davis' No. 1 choice to become the Raiders coach.

I was sitting in his office shortly after his marathon interview. The crotchety Davis is thorough, if you consider thorough what the team is going to eat for lunch. That was one of the questions thrown at Sarkisian. It was at that point that he knew the NFL -- at least the Raiders -- was not for him.

His friend and fellow USC coach Lane Kiffin eventually got interested in the job. We know what happened from there.

Sarkisian's departure makes it four assistants that have left Pete Carroll's side in recent years.

Norm Chow -- left for the Titans in 2005 and was fired after last season. He will go against Carroll for the first time on Saturday.

Nick Holt -- left Louisville to join Carroll's original USC staff in 2001. Holt then left to become the Idaho head coach in 2004 and 2005 before returning as defensive coordinator in 2006.

Kiffin -- The son of Monte Kiffin left the staff in 2007 to take the Raiders' job. That unfortunate dalliance that ended earlier this season probably helped him get the Tennessee job last month.

By the way, the Sarkisian deal is done. Both Washington and Sark didn't want it to get out until after Saturday's game but, hey, we have to do our jobs.

Current receivers coach John Morton is reportedly a candidate to replace Sark. Great piece here by theL.A. Times Bill Plaschke regarding the situation.

 For the second consecutive year the nation's No. 1 team is an underdog going into a conference championship. Last year it was No. 1 Missouri losing to Oklahoma. This year it's Alabama giving up 9 1/2-10 points to Florida.

 Hoping for upset in the Big 12, Texas? Congrats, you're actually a part of the four biggest upsets in the Big 12 title game history:

1996 --Texas 37, Nebraska 27. James Brown (the one without the cape) hit Derek Lewis with a 61-yard pass on fourth-and-1 to help clinch it. The game allowed Florida to slip into the Sugar Bowl for a rematch with Florida State. Steve Spurrier won his, and the school's first national championship.

1998 --Texas A&M 36, Kansas State 33 (2OT). Purple people were on pay phones (10 years ago was before cellies) calling for tickets to the Fiesta Bowl at halftime. It looked even better when K-State was up by 15 with 12 minutes left. Sirr Parker's game-winning touchdown catch that his life story was made into a movie. 

2003 -- Kansas State 35, Oklahoma 7. Who needs a Big 12 championship when you're this solid in the BCS? In one of the great BCS fumbles of all time, the Sooners still played in the national championship game despite losing  by four touchdowns. USC got justice later with a split title.

2007 -- Oklahoma 38, Missouri 17 -- This one barely qualifies as an upset. Oklahoma was a three-point favorite but Missouri was No. 1 going in. The Tigers were coming off perhaps the biggest game in their history, beating rival Kansas. They had risen to the top spot but were underdogs  in a game in which Oklahoma rolled.  OU's was the first defense all season to hold Missouri to less than 31 points.

 How does this happen?  Texas quarterback Colt McCoy was named Associated Press' Big 12 player of the year. He was AP's second-team quarterback. Complicating matters further Heisman-wise: Sam Bradford was the first-team AP quarterback. Texas Tech's Graham Harrell was the AFCA first-team quarterback.


 The favorite at Auburn now seems to be Florida State's Jimbo Fisher.  If the school can come up with the money to fund Fisher's multi-million dollar buyout it might work. Fisher has a background at Auburn as quarterbacks coach from 1993-98.


Posted on: December 3, 2008 10:31 am

National notes

Expect a lot of Big 12-SEC sniping going forward because we're assured of a national championship game between the two best conferences. Here is a heck of a place to start ...

I understand who Gary Danielson works for and where his loyalties are but he dropped quite a bomb this week when the CBS analyst ripped the Big 12:

"This year there is a distortion about how good the Big 12 is," said CBS' color analyst on SEC games. "It's illogical that there are three teams in the Big 12 that are 1, 2 and 4 (actually 3, 4 and 8). To me it means a weakness in the rest of the league."

Three in the top 10 is a weakness? What kind of logic are we supposed to apply, then, to the SEC which has Nos. 1 and 2? The league must be really weak to have two teams ... in the top two.

"The (offensive) stats in the Big 12 are like pesos to me," Danielson continued, suggesting those numbers are devalued.


The criticism, obviously, is of the Big 12 defenses. That's a valid point but let's make these things clear. 1) These are major-college athletes, several of which will play in the NFL. We're not talking the WAC here. 2) This is the best the Big 12 has been in its 13-year existence. 3) We should all agree that the SEC and Big 12 are far and away the best leagues this season.

I've already make a case for the Big 12 being slightly ahead using the third-team tiebreaker. The third-best team in the Big 12 is 11-1 Texas Tech. The third-best team in the SEC might be 8-4 Ole Miss.

If Big 12 numbers are pesos, what's the exchange rate on all those Alabama sacks against inept SEC offenses?

My point all season has been that the excellence of the Big 12 and SEC should be embraced. Defense isn't necessarily better than offense. It's just the way the conferences have developed this season.

Me: Why are all those stats piled up in the Big 12 considered "pesos" and the fact they're playing 3-2 games in the SEC different? Why is one better than the other?

Danielson: "The SEC has better defensive players. It has better defensive linemen, more NFL linebackers. Go check out the draft the last 10-15 years and find out where the NFL players (are).

The NFL doesn't draft guys because they've got nice uniforms or come from a conference that's highly rated in the BCS. There are more NFL-ready bodies in this league than any other league in this frame of time. But right now there's a deficiency of quarterbacks in this league.

You might be a pretty good quarterback. You might be able to survive in another league. If you aren't really good in this league they'll chew you up."

More Danielson on the Big 12 tiebreaker controversy: "I know it can't happen, I'm just throwing it out there: They should just ask Missouri to step aside (to be replaced by Texas). This is a once in a lifetime thing ... I wish, the commissioner of the Big 12 would have said, for the good of the conference let's let them replay this thing in the Big 12 championship."

A glimpse into how CBS is going to promote Saturday's SEC title game: "This essentially is what amounts to a BCS semifinal," said Mike Aresco, CBS vice president, programming. "I racked my brain to see whether I could remember a previous situation like this. I can't remember when the winner would almost be assured a spot."

Good call. There have been seven 1 vs. 2 games (ranked in AP) since January 2005. This is the first 1-2 game in a conference championship contest. The last three consecutive 1 vs. 2 games have involved SEC teams. However, this is the first 1 vs. 2 game in AP poll history featuring two SEC teams.

Hmm, must signify a weakness in the rest of the league.


 Say goodbye to the Big 12 championship game in Kansas City this week.


One of the unintended consequences of Kansas' defeat of Missouri on Saturday was that it probably sealed Jerry Jones argument that the Big 12 championship game should be moved permanently to Dallas.

The footing was so bad for the annual Border War game at Arrowhead Stadium that the quality of play likely will be used as ammunition against Kansas City. The game was played in a combination of snow, sleet and rain. It looked like the field had never been covered prior to the precipitation.

Missouri plays at Arrowhead for the second consecutive week Saturday, this time against Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game. Looking at game tape this week, OU coach Bob Stoops called the conditions "horrible."

The Cowboys owner, building a state-of-the-art stadium in the Dallas suburbs, is on record as saying he wants to host the Big 12 game on a permanent basis. The Big 12 game will be played in the new indoor stadium in 2009 and 2010.

Moving the game permanently would be a shame. The tradition of the old Big Eight has been moved out of its Kansas City brick-by-brick over the years. First, the office was relocated to Dallas, then the Big 12 basketball tournament was taken away and shared around the region.

A fair trade-off would be Kansas City getting the basketball tournament in a permanent basis and Dallas getting football. We all know that what Jerry wants, Jerry gets.

 Here's what is wrong with the conference championship games: Missouri.


It is perhaps the most undeserving team in a league title game this weekend. The darlings of 2007 have limped to the finish line in 2008, eventually ended tied with Nebraska for the Big 12 North.

The Tigers played like a team that had clinched a division title Saturday in losing to rival Kansas 40-37. One of the best games in the oldest rivalry west of the Mississippi also pointed up how far the Tigers had fallen emotionally.

They mailed in an effort early on falling behind Kansas 26-10. By the time they woke up, the Jayhawks had confidence and a porous Missouri defense of which to take advantage.

The shame is that if Missouri somehow rallies and beats No. 4 Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game, a BCS bowl would be a false reward.

The Tigers, 9-3, have no signature wins, have beaten one, long-ago ranked team (Illinois) and are coming off perhaps their worst effort of the season . Kansas coach Mark Mangino stated afterward he had 10 players who couldn't walk at the beginning of the week.  The Jayhawks willed themselves onto the field.

The Tigers mailed it in. But, they are in the Big 12 game and if by some miracle they are able to defeat the Sooners, they will be playing in the Fiesta Bowl.

Danielson might be right on that one. Missouri should step aside. Texas is waiting.

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