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Tag:Oklahoma
Posted on: June 26, 2009 11:09 am
 

Stoops' raise and heat-stroke deaths

Oklahoma knows what it's doing. Bob Stoops is about to become the game's first $5 million coach (with bonuses by 2011).

I have no problem with that. You shouldn't either. You pay for victories. You pay for championships. You pay because your university has not been disgraced. That's the way it is these days. Heck, didn't Phil Fulmer get a raise last year?

There will be those who ask: Where was Bob Stoops going? Nowhere that I can see but sometimes it pays to keep your most important employees happy.

Oklahoma knows what it is doing because it is rewarding people for specific accomplishments. The entire staff received raises. By percentage, offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson topped the list getting a 35 percent raise from $285,000 to $385,000. Quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel was second going from $156,000 to $200,000 (28.2 percent).

What do these two guys have in common? They helped run the highest scoring offense since Minnesota in 1904. Their quarterback won the Heisman Trophy. Their team won a sixth Big 12 title this decade. Yeah, I'd say they earned it.

That raises the question: If Stoops is worth $5 million per year, where does that put Urban Meyer? Florida's coach is going to get another raise after winning two championships in three years. He already makes at least $3.5 million per year. And what about Nick Saban? The school is in the process of extending his average $4 million per year. LSU's Les Miles reportedly passed Saban last year making $1,000 more per year than the conference leader.

What happened to cost cutting? It doesn't touch football.

 Before you start, howling, yes, I do remember the Big Red Motors scandal at Oklahoma. Yes, that was embarrassing but the school was out front on it. Plus, Stoops showed some stones by immediately kicking Rhett Bomar and J.D. Quinn off the team. That is one smudge and in no way resembles the frat house that Barry Switzer ran during his heyday.

But let's not get all high and mighty here. Schools still pay for wins.

 For fun, see how your salary compares to Saban's with this salary calculator.

 Heat-stroke related deaths are up according to the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research center at the University of North Carolina. We're way ahead of you. I reported in May that "exertional sickling" a complication of sickle cell trait, is now the leading cause of death of NCAA football players this decade. Sickling is caused by overextertion without proper acclimation to the conditions.

All of the deaths have come in practice or in conditioning, not in games. Five of the 10 deaths in Division I-A football this decade have been caused by sickle cell trait. There have been 25 heat-related deaths overall in football in the last 10 years, according to Dr. Frederick Mueller, who wrote the report.

"This number is unacceptable since heat-stroke deaths are preventable with the proper precautions," Frederick said.

In a recent study, only 64 percent of Division I-A schools even test for sickle cell trait. You can bet that a lot fewer than that know how to accilimate sickle cell trait athletes to extreme heat during conditioning.

Why doesn't this bother anyone else?

 Came off the road, had a lot to do, fighting a cold. Ended up watching Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett retrospectives on Thursday night.

Category: NCAAF
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 24, 2009 6:19 pm
 

Terry Bowden's first quarterback

Former Nebraska and North Carolina State quarterback Harrison Beck will transfer to Division II North Alabama, becoming Terry Bowden's first quarterback in his new job.

Beck, once a highly touted prospect, started a handful of games at N.C. State the past two seasons after he had transferred from Nebraska following the 2005 season.
 
With one year of eligibility remaining, Beck is limited by an NCAA rule that allows such players to transfer only below the Division I-AA level, or to NAIA. Beck said he preferred to stay in Raleigh to graduate before moving to North Alabama in the spring.

Bowden was looking for a difference-making quarterback in his first season in Florence, Ala. The Lions finished 12-2 last season, losing in the semifinals of the Division II playoffs. Outgoing quarterback A.J. Milwee, a three-year starter, finished second in the Harlan Hill Trophy voting as a senior.
 
"I do want to get into coaching," Beck said. "I know a lot of his former guys have gone on to become offensive coordinators, that type of thing. The thing that's most appealing about Coach Bowden is there's only one other coach I felt 100 percent comfortable with. It was him and (former Nebraska offensive coordinator) Jay Norvell.

"I feel like it's the first time since then I can be myself."

Norvell is now an assistant at Oklahoma.

Bowden, out of coaching for 10 years, is determined to make a big and quick splash in Division II. Bobby Bowden's son is best known for leading Auburn to 20 consecutive victories before an acrimonious split in 1998. Former Terry Bowden quarterbacks Jimbo Fisher, Pat Nix and Dameyune Craig have all gone on to become offensive coordinators.

"I want to coach football, and the opportunity to learn from coach Bowden is something I couldn't pass up," Beck said.

Other random thoughts from Beck:

D&E: It's been a while, obviously you are among those who remember Coach Bowden as a coach?

HB: "I'm kind of weird. I remember. My world is kind of consumed by what's going on in the sport.

"It was nice to have the feeling against with Coach Bowden. He's got that personality where he's talking a mile a minute.

"It was kind of like, 'Am I ever going to get the chance to play again?' I'm calling every coach in the book I know, trying to get a GA spot. Just through the grapevine I hear Coach Bowden was looking for a quarterback.

D&E: Where else did you look?

HB: "To be honest I didn't have that many options. I'm not trying to be one of those kids who graduates and lives with Mommy and Daddy. I wanted to get this thing going. I'm going to get to play football again. I'll able to be a GA afterwards. I'm killing two birds with one stone.

"When you sit there and think about the logistics of it, the Bowdens are pretty much the football family of the South. I can go down there and play, have success and win for them, maybe become a coach. Maybe hop on that train and hang on for a while."

D&E: What about your experience since high school? You were a five-star recruit coming out.

HB: "It's not what I set out to have happen when I left high school. People will say, 'Oh, he keeps going to different places.' I 'm going to where I have a chance to play. I don't think it's because of my ability.
"The thing about the quarterback position people don't understand is the common denominator is they're (successful ones) in the places where it's the perfect storm for them ... Maybe I didn't hit mine right out of the gate. I'm still looking to find that. I hope I found it."

"I'm as confident as ever. I don't care what some chemistry student on PackPride.com is going to say about me. People romanticize football. It has a bigger meaning to them than it actually is. I put in hard work and I'm dedicated to it. I'm not concerned with how other people (perceive me). I'm all about gripping and ripping it. I enjoy playing. I like playing the game. I don't care about statistics."

 

Posted on: March 21, 2009 10:57 pm
 

What I'll remember about Kansas City...

 ...besides the fish at Bristol during Lent, great arena and surprisingly vociferous fans

 

 Memphis fans chanting "ACC, ACC" at hopelessly outclassed Maryland. Maryland fans (Ok, just a few) firing back, "SAT, SAT."

 Greivis Vasquez not backing down. The Maryland guard called out Memphis, then stood in the lockerroom and said, "No, I don't regret anything. They proved me wrong. That's what sport is about ... There was some trash talking involved, but it's basketball."

 Wondering whether either of the teams that emerged from here will get to the Final Four. No and no.

Oklahoma doesn't have enough around Blake Griffin. The run will end in the Elite Eight. Memphis doesn't have enough offense but if it keeps getting turnovers off its press, watch out. I wouldn't bet against the Tigers especially with super-sub Roburt Sallie coming off the bench.

I wish the NCAA didn't play Final Fours in 70,000-seat stadiums. This would be a perfect place for the end of the dance.

See you in Glendale, Ariz. next week.

 

 

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 20, 2009 7:05 pm
 

Big 12 love and Jeff Capel

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- One final note from the Blake Griffin hackfest.

This is Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel Friday after seeing the tape of his best player being thrown against the turnbuckle, er, to the floor:

"It was awful. Blake was very, very fortunate. After I left here last night, I went back to the lockerrom (and) they showed it. It just made me even more angry. That doesn't need to be in our game."

 Plus, I'm going to give the Big 12 some love because the conference is making our lives easier this weekend. The Large Dozen is proud of its start in the NCAA Tournament ...

The league is 6-0 in first-round games, best in league history.

The Big 12 is the only leage with multiple teams that can finish undefeated in the first round.

It is 8-1 in postseason play counting the NIT.

In the last two seasons, the Big 12 is 11-1 in first-round games; 14-2 in the last three seasons.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Big 12, Oklahoma
 
Posted on: March 20, 2009 12:06 am
Edited on: March 20, 2009 12:56 am
 

WWF at the Sprint Center

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The last time I saw three Morgan State players, they were committing something close to vandalism late Thursday.  They were ripping down the NCAA's name plate placed outside their lockerrom, after a one-and-done loss to second-seeded Oklahoma.

One of them said, "Rip that bitch down. F--- them (n-words)."

Nice souvenir. Bad guys.

You will read and see more about Morgan State in the next couple of days. His name is Ameer Ali and he is one of the bad guys.

The Morgan State redshirt freshman was ejected in the second half after throwing Oklahoma's Blake Griffin onto his back in the second half of OU's first-round victory. It amazed me that Griffin got up and walked away. If that would have been me, I would have come up swinging.

Ali was on the wrong side of the state. The NCAA wrestling championships are over in St. Louis this weekend.

It's the latest physical attack on Griffin who has endured a few this season. Amazingly, Sooners coach Jeff Capel kept Griffin in the game. A few minutes later, Griffin went to the bench and stretched out on the floor seemingly the victim of back spasms. Griffin later told me he hurt his tailbone when he Ali threw him.

If this scrub Ali costs Griffin any playing time, it's going to be on his conscience. I haven't seen anything that blatant since the last Wrestlemania. And that was scripted.

Here are some choice quotes from the participants:

Griffin: "I don't know why people keep doing it. I don't want them to get the best of me. I don't know what individual game they're trying to play with me. The best thing to do is just walk away."

Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel: "Those kind of things really upset me ... Maybe it was inadvertent. I hope it was. I didn't see it as it happened. I just saw him up in the air. It really upsets me because he gets hit like that throughout the whole the game and it's not called all the time ... It's just borderline ridiculous to be honest with you. For me it's scary and it pisses me off."

Ali: "It was nothing personal or intentional. I think it looked worse than what it was. It was a misunderstanding ... We just got locked up ... I'm not embarrassed. Whenver I'm in the game I'm in there to play hard."

 

 

 

 

 

 

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: February 27, 2009 9:38 am
 

National notes

Florida president Bernie Machen was weighing in on the BCS issue long before it heated up again recently. The former Utah president has been in both arenas -- overseeing of the one of the richest athletic departments in the country and looking up at the big boys from the Mountain West Conference.

Here are some leftovers from an interview last season that are still relevant today:

"There's no difference in my mind between the Mountain West and -- I won't name them -- a couple of the BCS conferences. So we have to find a way to allow those conferences to get some security. They don't have to have the season of all seasons to get in there.

"They deserve to be in there. They're working their ass off. They got budgets that are half of the BCS (schools) because they don't have the money.

"I'd probably put some of the weaker BCS conferences where they had to compete against the non-BCS guys. Every year there are teams -- BYU, Utah, Boise State or Fresno State -- those teams are damn close to a lot of the teams that are in the BCS.

"I don't begrudge us because we earn it. But there are teams in our conference that aren't as good as Utah. Yet, they get the BCS revenue which gives them an unfair advantage. We have to let these high-achieving non-BCS teams get an easy shot. "

 If you're worried about hard economic times for athletic departments, consider that the problems come from the bottom up. Orange County, which encompasses, Orlando, Fla., is considering cutting some freshman and junior-varsity sports, including football, to save money.

Imagine a hotbed of Florida football without a feeder system to develop football talent. Here's a look at an Armageddon scenario in 2019.

 One former player verbalizes what we've all been thinking. Joe Paterno is going to die on the field.

 Don't sweat the Oklahoma offensive line, which loses four starters from one of the best units in the country. "The Clean Team" was responsible for keeping Heisman winner Sam Bradford from washing his uniform last season. Things are not as bad as you think going into the spring.

Six-foot-seven LSU transfer Jarvis Jones should slide into the right tackle spot. Jones played on the 2007 LSU national championship team but was dismissed for a violation of team rules.

Trent Williams, considered by the staff to be the best overall offensive lineman last year, will move from right tackle to left tackle. Right guard Brian Simmons was overcome a couple of surgeries for clubfoot.

 In these tough economic times it scrambles the brain to see so many schools adding football, the largest expenditure there is in college athletics. I wrote about Georgia State recently.

Texas-San Antonio is ramping for football in 2011 and is considering for coach former Miami coach Larry Coker and Northwest Missouri coach Mel Tjeerdsma. Now that Terry Bowden has a job Coker has joined Dennis Franchione as the most accomplished coaches without a job.

 As the Bryce Brown saga marches on, the Wichita tailback's father recently admitted the recruiting odyssey had taken its toll.

"This thing has turned into something we never anticipated," Arthur Brown Sr. said.

The kid's long-awaited announcement is still scheduled for March 16.

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