Tag:Texas Tech
Posted on: July 23, 2008 3:06 pm

Now Mike Leach has gone and done it

Not only did the Texas Tech coach keep two of the Big 12's best players (Graham Harrell, Michael Crabtree) home for the preseason media days, he insulted an airport. Leach invited reporters to interview his players in Lubbock but, please, connect through Love Field, not Dallas-Fort Worth.

That drew this response from DFW's public affairs guy:


Coach Mike Leach
Head Football Coach
Texas Tech University
Box 43021
Lubbock, Texas 79409

Dear Coach Leach,

All of us at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport were disappointed to see your comment about our great Airport in the
 Dallas Morning News today:

"Anybody who wants to talk to Graham or Michael Crabtree ... you can do it in their natural habitat in Lubbock, Texas," Leach said. "I recommend Love Field because D/FW [Airport] can be a confusing mess. Love Field, about every hour, goes to Lubbock, Texas, where we have some great steak places. And we'd love to see you."

Our Airport wins global awards for outstanding customer service, and most importantly, we have Airport Ambassadors and other friendly staffers who will be glad to assist you if you need help or get lost. Almost 60 million passengers travel through our Airport every year and the vast majority have no problems getting to the 135 domestic destinations and 38 international cities from DFW!

Your comments hit home because we're very proud of DFW -- and most of us are big time college football fans!

So, on behalf of Jeff Fegan, our CEO, we'd like to personally invite you and your family for a guided Airport tour and great Texas steak at DFW.

American Airlines has agreed to provide complimentary flights from Lubbock to DFW for you and your family. Mr. Fegan and our executive team will greet you at your gate, along with DFW employees who are proud Red Raiders - and season ticket holders! We'll give you a quick tour of the terminals, take you for a ride on our Skylink train, and have a great steak at our International Terminal D (margaritas too).

While I know the season is upon us, we would enjoy making this a fun event for you and your family. In fact, it might turn into an Airport tailgate!

You should also know DFW is a strong supporter of the Cotton Bowl and the Armed Forces Bowl, and look forward to working with the Dallas Cowboys and the Super Bowl in 2011. And of course, the Dr. Pepper Big 12 football championship is scheduled to be played in the new Cowboys Stadium in 2009 and 2010, and many Big 12 fans and football aficionados will be flying into DFW since our Airport is just up the road from this fantastic new venue.

Look forward to hearing from you soon. And here’s to a great Big 12 season!

Best Regards,

Ken Capps, APR
Vice President, Public Affairs
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Texas Tech
Posted on: July 22, 2008 10:20 pm

Five things you should know about the Big 12

1. Move over Pac-10: At least for now the Big 12 has the best set of quarterbacks alive. Ten of the conference's 12 starters return. Start with Heisman finalist Chase Daniel at Missouri. Both Sam Bradford of Oklahoma and Graham Harrell of Texas Tech are Heisman candidates. Bradford was the NCAA pass efficiency leader as a redshirt freshman. Kansas' Todd Reesing led the Jayhawks to the best record among BCS conference schools.

It says something when Texas' Colt McCoy might be the fifth-best quarterback in the league.

2. First-year blues for the Blackshirts in the red jerseys: Don't assume that Bo Pelini is going to turn it around right away at Nebraska. Sure, he is this moment's Next Hot Model but there are significant issues in Lincoln.

He inherits only 11 returning starters, tied for the second fewest in the Big 12 (with Texas). The defense can't be rebuilt in a day, or even four months. Pelini is a defensive wizard but he will need time and players.

For all his talents, Pelini is still a first-time head coach (not counting his one-game interim coach win in the Alamo Bowl five years ago for Nebraska). The other 11 Big 12 coaches were a combined 57-75-1 in their first year as a head coach.

3. The Heisman Thing: There are at least five legitimate Heisman candidates in the league this season. That's probably a record for this young league. As I've always said, in late July I'm a candidate. But watch these guys closer:

--Daniel. A 2007 finalist could be the favorite to win if Tim Tebow falters and Missouri wins 12 games again.

--Missouri's Jeremy Maclin. Set an NCAA freshman record for all-purpose yards last season. Should become more of a go-to receiver this season.

--Bradford. Playing behind a massive offensive line.

--Harrell. If Tech plays 14 games (regular season + conference championship game + bowl) Harrell would need to average only 456 yards per game to become the game's all-time leading passer.

--Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree. If that happens then Crabtree will another monster year like 2007 when he caught almost 2,000 yards worth of passes.

4. North Rising: There is a definite shift in power. Four years ago the North Division was 3-15 against the South. Two years ago the North won three non-conference games against BCS-conference schools. Last year both Missouri and Kansas finished in the top 10. Nebraska and Colorado are on the way up. 

5. Showdown at Arrowhead: Get a hotel room in Kansas City for late November and early December. The Big 12 race comes down to Cowtown.  Missouri and Kansas play in Kansas City on Nov. 29. The Big 12 championship is at Arrowhead a week later.  If either the Tigers or the Jayhawks win the North, they would have a decided advantage playing against the South champion in what would amount to a home game at 80,000-seat Arrowhead.

Posted on: July 21, 2008 7:05 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2008 11:18 pm

The Big 12's best, minus two

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Scratch two Heisman candidates?

This is nothing personal against Texas Tech's Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree. Both are part of a bumper crop of Big 12 award candidates this season. But their trophy chances had to dim when they didn't show up Monday for the beginning of the conference's preseason media days.

It wasn't necessarily their choice.

Coach Mike Leach decided that the reigning Biletnikoff Award winner (Crabtree) and a guy who could become the leading passer of all time (Harrell) weren't worthy to be interviewed by us media types during a pre-arranged media session on football media day. Leach threw out something about football being the ultimate team game when I asked him why on Monday.

I'm not saying Harrell and Crabtree are out of the Heisman race before it begins. I'll leave that to the other Heisman voters whose companies spent money and resources for them to get here. Let's just say stiffing the Big 12 (and national) media doesn't help.

Leach is quirky that way. He doesn't do things conventionally all the time. Sometimes that's charming. Sometimes it's downright unprofessional. A person with knowledge told me that the Big 12 asked to Leach to reconsider bringing his two stars, but that he refused.

To reporters Monday, Leach flippantly said that any of us are welcome to interview his stars "in their natural habitat" in Lubbock. That's great except there is a reason these media days exist, so we don't have to go to each individual school. Especially when Lubbock is so far from anywhere it can see the end of the earth in any given direction.

"A lot of times there are so many guys who play football, there is a temptation to isolate the attention around a couple of guys," Leach said. "Our team is far more than a couple of individuals."

Oh yeah? That would make a shred of sense if it weren't so hypocritical. In Texas Tech's own media guide Crabtree has a page to himself. Harrell has two. Every other player in the guide except one (running back Shannon Woods) gets half a page. So much for not isolating the attention around a couple of individuals.

If this was a high school team before a state championship, I'd kind of understand it. This being a major university (according to some) with major aspirations taking in major public dollars, it is short-sighted. Tech SID Chris Cook told me an interesting story about Crabtree working out in Dallas with the likes of Deion Sanders and Pacman Jones. Sure wish I could have fleshed that one out. It sounded neat.  

Leach wants to send the message of teamwork. Here's another message Leach is sending: Attention, recruits. Don't come to Texas Tech. We won't promote you. You'll have a tough time winning national awards, never mind competing in a Big 12 South Division Tech has never won.

This is not just me on a rant. Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel woke at 4:30 Monday morning to fly from Los Angeles to be here for interviews. Daniel is currently an instructor at the Elite 11 quarterback camp in Southern California. After a couple of hours of answering questions, Daniel was right back on a plane back to California.

He seemed to be slightly upset that the Tech guys weren't here after the effort he had made.

"You've got to bring your best players here," he told me. "It's the best thing to do. Coach Leach is a smart guy. He's been in this business a lot longer than I've been alive. He can do what he wants. (But) you look at it: You have a guy like Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree, both are legitimate Heisman candidates. You've got to get them both out in the limelight."

The trend continues here. Oklahoma redshirt sophomore quarterback Sam Bradford won't be making an appearance either on Wednesday.The nation's pass efficiency leader last year is old enough to go to war, own a house and vote but apparently not mature enough to handle a few media questions.

It's not like we're going to grill him. After the season he had, we want to say good things. Start with the fact Bradford is an inspiration on the field and to the Native American culture he represents.

Maybe there are extenuating circumstances. I doubt it. I'm tired of it, anyway. These kids aren't the property of the football program. They are students with lives to lead who might want to see a different part of the world than their own. In essence, they are promoting the school, before themselves, at these media days.

In that case, what the hell is wrong with being an individual?



Category: NCAAF
Posted on: April 25, 2008 3:37 pm
Edited on: April 26, 2008 11:39 pm

(Rumor) Millin' Around

Lloyd Carr might end up being despised by both Ohio State and Michigan. Seems that Ol' Lloyd facilitated the transfer of offensive lineman Justin Boren to Ohio State.

 Texas Tech's Mike Leach on continuing to call his own plays unlike many of his more high-profile peers (Mark Richt, Charlie Weis, etc.):

"Otherwise, I'm just a hand shaker," Leach said.

 Wake Forest's Jim Grobe has written a letter of support on behalf of Cincinnati quarterback Ben Mauk. Mauk is seeking a sixth-year of eligibility. He was denied by the NCAA in February. Mauk has been injured in two of his five seasons but according to the NCAA his eligibility, his clock has run out.

Mauk transferred from Wake to Cincinnati in 2006. Last season, he led the Bearcats to a 10-3 season. In 2003, Mauk was injured and sat out the season. The NCAA has ruled that was his decision.

"He should be given another year," Grobe said. "It's really a slam dunk from my perspective. Most (college) presidents would like to see kids redshirted their first year ... When you redshirt a kid he should be given the chance to play four years of college football."

 You've seen the quickie books. You've sat through the I'm-going-to-the-NBA press conferences. But did Randy Bird get enough credit for Kansas' recent success in football and basketball?

Randy Who?


Bird is the 30-year-old nutritionist for KU's sports teams. One of only 17 full-time such persons in the country, he claims.

"I control the menus...," Bird said. "If you look at a team like Memphis, they ran out of gas. Our guys had quite a bit of energy in those last few minutes and overtime. The funny thing to me, before the game they were talking about Derrick Rose eating Twizzlers and a bunch of candy."

 My post-spring top 25 will hit cyberspace in the next few days. I'm seriously considering replacing No. 1 Georgia. As always, your input is always dreaded, er, welcome.

Posted on: March 13, 2008 8:04 pm

Biggest upset of the conference tournaments?

It was in the Big 12 Thursday afternoon ... unless you're a fan of women's basketball, csurams.cstv.com/sports/w-baskbl/re
and let's face it, who isn't?

(Now, back to reality)

Colorado beating Baylor 91-84 in the first-round here in Kansas City could have reverberations around the NCAA bracket. Baylor, which thought it was safely in, is now sweating a bit after a No. 12 seed won a first-round game for the first time in Big 12 history. CU, 12-19, isn't going anywhere but it could have possibly opened up a spot for someone else.

Baylor is 21-10 and finished strong winning four of its last five going into Thursday. This was easily the Bears worst loss of the season so perhaps the committee will have mercy.

The juicy sub-plot for Friday: Colorado will have plenty of incentive against fourth-seeded Oklahoma. Cast your eyes back to Feb. 9 when the Buffs picked up one of their three conference wins, 72-58 over Oklahoma in Boulder. OU coach Jeff Capel said afterward, "This is the most embarrassing thing I've been a part of."

We know this bothered CU coach Jeff Bzdelik because 11 days later the Buffs lost to Texas Tech 87-69.

"Am I embarrassed? Yes," Bzdelik said after the game. "But give credit to Texas Tech. I'm not going to be one of those coaches that says this is the most embarrassing moment of my life. I'll show class and give Texas Tech credit."

Not exactly sleep-inducing stuff for a No. 4 vs. No. 12 game. Stay tuned.





Category: NCAAB
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