Posted on: September 25, 2011 8:55 pm
Edited on: September 26, 2011 7:58 pm

On A Football Saturday: UNM considering Leach?

So, would New Mexico consider Mike Leach?

The answer seems to be a resounding yes. Within minutes of releasing the statement that announced the firing of Mike Locksley, New Mexico AD Paul Krebs texted his qualifications for the new coach.

Head coaching experience is strongly preferred. Ability to recruit in Texas is a virtual must. Also, ties to the Albuquerque area will be considered.

Leach qualifies for all three. He spent a decade at Texas Tech recruiting Texas. Lubbock qualifies as having area ties. It is 320 miles from Albuquerque.

Don't sleep on this situation. New Mexico's interested. Is Leach?

--A quarter of the way through the regular season these are surprising undefeated teams:

Baylor: Robert Griffin III has more touchdown passes, 13, than incompletions, 12.

"A young man like Robert Griffin, it's like you're playing with 13 people," said Rice coach David Bailiff after Saturday' 56-31 loss to the Bears.

Houston: In his sixth year of eligibility, Case Keenum is now the third-leading passer of all time

Illinois: The Illini are 4-0 for the first time since 1951, the year they won a national championship in something called the Boand System.

Clemson: Give Dabo Swinney a microphone, he'll scream into it. Tigers have early advantage in the ACC Atlantic after beating Florida State.

Georgia Tech: Another Paul Johnson classic. A route of Kansas, followed by a late win over North Carolina. Can we just go ahead and call that offense the hardest to play against in the country?

South Florida: While the Big East agonizes over membership in the future, the Bulls are the league's only undefeated team right now.

Florida: Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps are finally becoming a fearsome <>combination<> under Charlie Weis.

Kansas State: Bill Snyder still has some magic left. The same Wildcats who almost to Eastern Kentucky at home, stopped Miami at the 1 to go 3-0 for the 16th time in Snyder's 20 seasons.

--That "Big 12, Big 12" chant by Oklahoma State fans Saturday at Texas A&M. It was as much a taunt as pride. Okie State probably didn't know that one A&M fan was waving a giant SEC flag at Friday's midnight yell practice ...

--Don't know what this means: The top six rushers in the country are from six different conferences ... The top two rushers in the Big Ten are quarterbacks: Denard Robinson (168.67 yards per game), Nebraska's Taylor Martinez (105.25) ... Anyone notice conference play is beginning? ...

Blowing by you on the bayou: This just in at LSU. The Tigers are incredibly fast ... Also, Oklahoma State is incredibly resilient: "What this comes down to is I thought our team was in better physical condition by a long shot," said coach Mike Gundy. Game time temperature was 91 degrees accompanied by bright sunshine. Pokes gave guts and character. Can't wait until the Bedlam game Dec. 3 in Stillwater ... Oklahoma hadn't trailed in 20 consecutive home games until falling behind Missouri 14-3 in the first quarter ... Clemson has gained at least 455 yards in all four games. Quarterback Tajh Boyd has consecutive 300-yard passing games ... The Big Ten went 8-2 on Saturday but the two losses were embarrassing. North Dakota State beat Minnesota for the second straight season. North Texas got by Indiana ... West Virginia gave up its most points in six years in LSU's 47-21 rout ...

Who says you can't win committing seven turnovers? East Carolina did it, beating Alabama-Birmingham 28-23 ... Southern Miss has beaten Virginia in consecutive meetings ... SMU and South Carolina have the best conference records in FBS, 2-0 ... Toledo had a 22-play drive against Syracuse and settled for a field goal. Sure, it got screwed on that extra point that Big East on-field and replay officials ruled good (it wasn't.). But the Rockets would have done themselves some good by punching it in the first quarter.

--This week's Heisman ballot: 1. Robert Griffin III, Baylor; 2, Marcus Lattimore; South Carolina; 3, Kellen Moore, Boise State; 4. Denard Robinson, Michigan; 5. Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State.

If Steve Spurrier ever gets a big head -- how could that happen? -- all he has to do is watch this 45-year old tape from the Ed Sullivan Show. Ed obviously didn't know who Spurrier was or his school. Miami? 
Posted on: September 24, 2011 2:36 pm

OU, UT, TAMU blocked Big 12 revenue sharing

The issue of equal revenue sharing in the Big 12 was shot down by three schools earlier this year, two sources told CBSSports.com . Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M were against granting first- and second-tier media rights according to the sources.

It's not clear how much has changed since then when former Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe was pushing the concept during spring meetings.

Texas A&M is now in the process of leaving the league for the SEC. During a conference call , Oklahoma president David Boren said Thursday that the league had agreed to grant those main media rights to the conference for a period of six years.
"These are very strong handcuffs," Boren said of the "agreement". "When you grant your rights it's very unlikely you would receive an invitation to another conference."

At the same time on Thursday, Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton, chair of the Big 12 CEOs, said only that the issue was being discussed.

That leaves the Big 12 in a familiar place -- with uncertainty. Granting those rights to the league would essentially keep the Big 12 together for at least that period. In other words, if Texas left the league after such an agreement, the Big 12 would keep the Longhorns' primary TV rights.

Texas AD DeLoss Dodds told reporters on Wednesday that league athletic directors had decided unanimously in the spring to share main media rights. But the final decision remains with league presidents.

The discussion does not include revenue from the Longhorn Network. Dodds said previously that sharing revenue from LHN is non-negotiable. Essentially, disputes over revenue sharing almost caused the conference to break up for the second consecutive year.

Equal main media rights revenue sharing is considered significant to the long-term survival of the Big 12. Two outlets have reported that Missouri has informal offers to join the SEC. Meanwhile, Texas might be running out of leverage if it is against equal revenue sharing. Earlier in the week, the Pac-12 presidents stated their league wasn't going to expand.

The Big 12 would remain a viable conference if Missouri left, according to interim commissioner Chuck Neinas.

Also, Texas A&M officials are confident that the legal impediment keeping it from joining the SEC will soon be cleared up. At least four Big 12 schools -- Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and Baylor -- have reserved their right to be able to sue the SEC. Now that the Big 12 apparently has been saved, A&M officials believe that legal issue will be resolved shortly.

"I think the Aggies are probably going to go and I think Missouri is going to stay," Neinas said.

Posted on: September 21, 2011 9:05 pm

Big 12 poised to replace Beebe

The Big 12 is poised to replace commissioner Dan Beebe with former Big Eight commissioner Chuck Neinas, CBSSports.com has learned.

One highly placed source said the conference was moving quickly to replace Beebe who had been under fire from some conference members after recent instability within the league. Neinas, currently a well-known college consultant, is expected to be named interim commissioner.

The official word could come as soon as Thursday when the Big 12 presidents meet by conference call to discuss how to move forward. Based on the news of Wednesday, the embattled league apparently will continue with nine schools while seeking additional members.

The Tulsa World reported Wednesday that the Big 12 had "targeted" Neinas, one of the most respected college figures in the country. Neinas was the assistant executive director of the NCAA from 1961-1971 and Big Eight commissioner from 1971-1980. He currently runs Neinas Sports Services

Oklahoma and Texas are seemingly in the Big 12 fold after flirting with the Pac-12 for what seems like forever. Essentially, the Big 12 has taken a trip around the world the last few weeks and ended up in the exact same place -- without Texas A&M.
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: September 21, 2011 1:24 pm

Boone Pickens speaks on state of Big 12

Boone Pickens says he believes the Big 12 will stay together.

I talked to him late Wednesday morning, asking him a serious of questions about the future of his program and the conference. If you need to be reminded, Pickens is the billionaire booster who has gotten Oklahoma State to the brink of the national conversation.

The Cowboys are coming off their best season, 11-2 in 2010. On Saturday at Texas A&M, they play only the ninth Big 12 conference game between two top 10 teams (not including the Red River Shootout). It might be the last game between the two schools as conference rivals.

"I still have great hope that the Aggies stay with the Big 12," Pickens told me.

If A&M goes to the SEC, do you think the Big 12 can be held to together?

"They've already told you [Oklahoma, Texas] they don't want you in the Pac-12. I don't want them either. I don't want to be in the division of the Pac-12 that doesn't have the ocean.

"I think we just work through it. If the Aggies are gone, we add somebody. I'd add TCU to go forward."

Lost in all this is your team is playing pretty well, the Big 12 is 23-2 in non-conference games, there's a big game in College Station on Saturday. Do you miss talking about football and bragging on your team right now?

"We've got a good football team. We haven't had a tough game yet. We'll see Saturday. We're no different than we've always been. We don't want to get anybody hurt."

How proud are you of what you and Oklahoma State have been able to accomplish?

"This is our sixth year since we've started with this program. Every year has been a better year. I hope this year will be better than last year. I’m not going to get out on a limb because, why? I saw OU play the other night against Florida State. I can see why they're ranked No. 1."

Do you think this decision by the Pac-12 last night keeps the Big 12 together in some form?

"May very well. I hope so."

I'm sure you've considered the culture change of OU and Oklahoma State going West.

"I lot of Oklahoma people went to California in the Dust Bowl during World War II to look for work. We're where we should be. This is home and I want to stay at home."

Do you consider this Pac-12 situation finished?

"I don't know. This thing is so fluid. In the morning I may pick up the paper and read something the opposite. I know what I think is best. I've thought through it. I'm objective. I know what I’m talking about. The Big 12 should stay together but it should be an equal conference."

I know you've had discussions with Texas. If they gave just a little bit back in terms of revenue would that be enough?

"I'm not too big on compromise. I'm more about doing what's right. What's right is everybody is treated equal. When it came time for you to vote they didn't say, 'We'll give you half a vote,' when you're 18 years old voting in an election. That's not the way it is. You're either in or you're not in. I want to be on the same basis as everybody else."

How does this league stay together with Oklahoma president David Boren taking shots at the conference going out the door on Monday, then on Tuesday saying it's in OU's best interests to stay in the Big 12?

"Oklahoma schools will stick together. David Boren is a smart guy. He's been around a long time. He's got a plan."

Posted on: September 20, 2011 4:12 pm
Edited on: September 21, 2011 12:13 am

SEC wants Missouri, the logical No. 14 choice

All you had to do was put together the puzzle pieces on Missouri.

Earlier Tuesday, we reported that West Virginia was out as far as joining the SEC or ACC. Logically, that held that Missouri was likely to be the SEC's 14th school. That looked to be the case after the Kansas City Star reported that Missouri had "an offer on the table" to join the nation's strongest conference.

Except that the SEC immediately shot down the report: "The SEC has not extended an invitation to any school beyond Texas A&M since it extended invitations to Arkansas and South Carolina."

That would be two decades ago.

All this develops while the Big East and Big 12 attempt to reconstitute themselves into a combined league going forward. A source said Tuesday representatives from both leagues would like to meet in a central location but that there was nothing imminent through Wednesday. There's a long way to go -- the SEC likely wouldn't entertain an application until the Big 12 collapse. However, such a move by Missouri's would clear up conference realignment just a bit.

"I think there's something to that," said an administrator not from the Big 12 but whose school would benefit if Missouri left for the SEC.

Because the SEC is so sensitive to the landscape right now, don't be surprised either that the report could actually wreck a Missouri move to the SEC. It is known that SEC commissioner Mike Slive doesn't want to move on an existing conference member -- especially from the Big 12 -- until things are resolved legally.

Don't forget that Baylor could threaten legal action against Missouri if the school was accepted to the SEC. A Big 12 source said that for legal purposes, the Big 12 is still considered a conference as long as it has five members. The NCAA requires minimum membership of six for a conference to exist.

For those of you just jumping into the subject matter, think of Missouri as the best player left on the draft board. With Nebraska, Oklahoma, Syracuse and Pittsburgh spoken for in the past two years, Missouri suddenly looks very attractive. It has two top 30 markets in Kansas City and St. Louis and is contiguous to three SEC states (Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee). It touches two Big Ten states (Iowa, Illinois).

Missouri's fans and some of its administrators were a bit too convinced last year that Missouri was going to the Big Ten. It turns out the school wasn't near the top of the list when Nebraska was invited.

Tuesday's developments obviously don't necessarily place Missouri in the SEC. The Big 12 could survive. The SEC may be looking elsewhere. With Oklahoma and Oklahoma State seemingly out the door to the Pac-12, we won't know for sure on the national landscape until Texas declares its intentions.

For a few minutes there on Tuesday afternoon, Dan Beebe was trending on Twitter over Two and a Half Men. Or that's what I was told. 

I'm not really sure. The social Twitterverse exploded Tuesday with the news that Pac-12 bound Oklahoma was demanding that Beebe, the Big 12's embattled commissioner, be replaced. OU wanted that as a condition of staying in the Big 12. Interesting that on Monday, OU president David Boren was basically tap-dancing on the Big 12's grave after getting permission from regents to head to the Pac-12.

What changed and why did Beebe become a pawn in this discussion? Most likely because OU doesn't have the votes from Pac-12 presidents to actually join the league. There was a report Tuesday that Pac-12 presidents are prepared to vote by the end of the week but there is no consensus. In other words, exactly what we've been hearing for weeks.

Oklahoma and Texas may want to go to the Pac-12, but the Pac-12 has been more than hesitating. Cal and Stanford don't want to include the academically unwashed Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. The Pac-12 is going to make a killing with a dozen teams, why invite the OU/UT drama into the mix? Big, happy families are hard to find these days in college athletics.

In essence, two iconic college sports names -- Oklahoma and Texas -- may have just quibbled and bitched their way out of an invite to what promises to be the richest conference in the country. Can you imagine, then, the Big 12 staying together? It may be forced to kiss and make up. The infighting, jealousies and bickering is going to make the Great Plains version of Jersey Shore. 

It's not the man (Beebe), it's the culture. Texas and Oklahoma were among those who voted Beebe a raise and extension in June. What's changed? Certainly not Longhorn and Sooner egos.

Let's sum up Tuesday: An ultimatum to Dan Beebe by a school headed for the Pac-12 trumps an offer to Missouri that the SEC says didn't happen. 

Everybody caught up?

Officials had every right and duty to delay Saturday’s Oklahoma State-Tulsa start. There were concerns about lightning and, no doubt, liability. But did Oklahoma State and Tulsa take it too far in forcing the players to perform in a game that ended at 3:35 Sunday morning?

Tulsa has game-cancellation insurance for such occurrences so the school would have been reimbursed had the game been cancelled. There is no corresponding open date for the schools when the game could have been made up. But would it have been possible to play the game on Sunday?

Tulsa AD Bubba Cunningham told CBSSports.com that the decision to play the game so late was made jointly by himself and Oklahoma State AD Mike Holder after consulting with game officials and both coaches.

"We were about seven minutes away from cancelling the game," said Cunningham of the contest that kicked off at 12:15 am CT. "We talked about student-athlete welfare as we made the decision. That’s why we had midnight as the tipping point."

The game was allowed to start after midnight because both coaches needed time for their teams to warm up after weather conditions improved. Cunningham said he would think twice about agreeing to start a game that late again. The original starting time was 9 pm CT at the request of Fox regional.

The game started so late that it came close to apparently violating NCAA rules

Cowboys coach Mike Gundy added that had the game started at 7 pm CT, the rain and weather delays would have likely hit in the third quarter of the game instead of before it.

"I just don't think it's best for the student-athlete," said Gundy whose team plays a top-10 matchup this week at Texas A&M. "I wasn’t excited about our players being out there at 2 and 3 in the morning for a football game. I was concerned about their health. I don’t know how players compete at 2 or 3 in the morning. You don’t want a young man to get an injury and not be able to play the rest of the year."

There was, in fact, a significant injury. Tulsa's G.J. Kinne suffered a reported tear of the MCL in his left knee. The Tulsa World stated that the typical recovery time is two to four weeks.

Cunningham said game cancellation insurance had been purchased by Conference USA after Hurricane Katrina had impacted members Southern Miss and Tulane. Weather delays have become one of the overriding topics of the early season. Baylor and Texas Tech had games delayed last week. The Western Michigan-Michigan game was postponed to the game that the statistics didn't count in the NCAA rankings because the game didn't go the minimum three quarters.

The Cowboys-Golden Hurricane game started so late that Oklahoma State assistant Glenn Spencer had to leave during it. His wife Angela died during the first quarter of game won by Oklahoma State 59-33. She had been dealing with the effects of a heart transplant.

"It affected me. I have a lot of respect for their family and what they’ve gone through," Gundy said. "I wasn’t in the best of moods or as focused as I should have been.

Gundy added: "I don’t think it’s anybody’s fault. But at some point do we really want to start a game at 9 o'clock? ... Our APRs are going up, our required numbers of hours to be passed by semester is going up, everything is moving toward education, then we’re going to start our game at 9 o'clock? Whoever is making those decisions needs to think things through before we’re put in those situations."

Tulsa goes to Boise State for a game that starts at a more reasonable time, 7 pm CT.

Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium (capacity: 29,181) is the smallest Nebraska has played in since 1971 ... Vanderbilt's James Franklin became the first Commodore coach to win his first three games at the school since World War II ... It's been three years since the Big 12 has seen a conference game between two top 10 teams aside from the Red River Shootout (Oklahoma-Texas). No. 7 Oklahoma State travels to No. 8 Texas A&M on Saturday ... Boise State has had only three drives (out of 27) that ended in negative yards this season. Two of those came in victory formation while taking a knee ... Two of the top three rushers meet this week at Michigan Stadium. San Diego State tailback Ronnie Hillman is No. 2. Michigan's celebrated quarterback Denard Robinson is No. 3 ... South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore is on pace to rush for 2,492 yards. That would put him 136 yards short Barry Sanders' single-season record ... Florida Atlantic leads all non-BCS schools with only one turnover this season. That ties the Owls with eight other BCS schools. FAU is also the only team not to score a touchdown yet in FBS ... Since the beginning of the 2006 season Vanderbilt has intercepted 81 passes, 10 in three games this season ... USC's Robert Woods has caught more passes (33) this season than seven teams have completed.

Before posting this week's Heisman top five let me explain that I love Andrew Luck. I adore Andrew Luck. I would want Andrew Luck to marry my daughter. But I cannot in good faith put him in my top five. Tell me which one of these you would remove -- based on the season to date -- in place of Luck. Did I mention I love Andrew Luck?

1. Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina; 2. Kellen Moore, Boise State; 3. Robert Griffin III, Baylor; 4. Russell Wilson, Wisconsin; 5. Denard Robinson, Michigan.
Posted on: September 16, 2011 9:59 am
Edited on: September 16, 2011 10:02 am

Son of Weekend Watch List

Team/coach/player/name of the week: Iowa State/Paul Rhoads/Steele Jantz. In his three seasons the Cyclones' coach Rhoads has picked off Nebraska, Texas and, last week, Iowa in overtime.

The plucky Cyclones are guided by Jantz whose All-American name is only slightly less noticeable than his quarterback talents. Jantz went to high school in California, played scout team for a season at Hawaii, then went to City College of San Francisco before winning the job at Iowa State.

As for the name, Steele's grandmother started the tradition that carried over with his father (Fox), a brother (Wolf) and an uncle (Truk).

Rhoads has become the toast of Ames as Iowa State goes to Connecticut Friday night with a chance to go 3-0 for the first time since 2005. The former Missouri Western defensive back grew up a few minutes from Jack Trice Stadium. When Iowa State called him at Auburn following the end of the 2008 season, Rhoads would have crawled to Ames.

With conference realignment swirling, he may be single-handedly holding the program at the BCS level.

The road to Atlanta for the SEC title game goes through Nashville: Or another way to identify surprising 2-0 teams.

Vanderbilt: The administration whiffed on Gus Malzahn. James Franklin has brought a steadying hand. A 3-0 start is doable with the SEC opener at home against Ole Miss.
Kansas: A shootout win over MAC power Northern Illinois sets up Jayhawks for a trip to Georgia Tech. Two of the top passing teams in the country.
Northwestern: Dan Persa's injured Achilles could have wrecked the season. Instead the Wildcats have rallied around backup Kain Colter heading into Army.
Illinois: One of the more entertaining games of September Saturday night in Champaign vs. Arizona State.
Colorado State: For the first time since 1941 the Rams plays Colorado with a record of 2-0. For the first time since 1939, the Buffs come into this game 0-2 or worse.
Eastern Michigan: The Eagles first 2-0 start since 1986 gets a test -- a big one -- at Michigan. At least Eastern won't have to travel far from Ypsilanti to get whipped.
Washington State: Lose starting quarterback? No problem, Cougs lead the country in scoring offense.
Florida International: After beating Louisville, Mario Christobal is the nation's new "it" coach.

Scorching SEC: Now the Strength Everywhere even leads the country in scoring offense averaging 39.12 points per team. Two of the top four scoring teams include Arkansas (51.5 points) and South Carolina (50.5). The Big 12 is second at 36.66 points per team.

Best wishes: Minnesota's Jerry Kill is expected to coach Saturday against Miami (Ohio) after suffering seizures last week during the New Mexico State game. Kill has a history of seizures, one of which led to the discovery of his kidney cancer in 2005

More Bobby Bowden on Jimbo Fisher and Florida State: "Jimbo is an excellent football coach. A lot of people forget I was the one that hired him. I've known him since he was a child. He played for my son Terry in college. Terry told me 20 years ago this kid is going to be a great coach.

"I do not feel like Oklahoma's players they're superior to Florida State's. They might be more mature.
"We've been out of that [national picture] for the last 10 years. During the '90s we were up there every year. During the 2000s, we'd gone 10 wins every year for 14 years. Then we fell to eight, went to nine, went to 10. I said, 'Oh boy, we're back.' But instead we went kind of down."

Quote of the week: Tennessee's Derek Dooley describing what it means to go into SEC play (this week against Florida). "How many scars do you have?"

Meaningless stat: Wisconsin and Georgia Tech are first and third nationally in passing efficiency this week. Russell Wilson you can kind of understand making a difference for the ground-based Badgers. But Tech starter Tevin Washington has passed only 21 times in two games. (The Jackets have thrown 26 passes overall.)

Two traditional rushing powerhouses, Georgia Tech finished first and Wisconsin was 12th in that category in 2010.

Signal-stallers: Going into Week 3 Miami, Texas, Penn State and Notre Dame all have quarterback issues. Those schools have produced a total of four Heisman-winning quarterbacks.

Noting: Georgia Tech (hosting Kansas) has five plays of at least 70 yards. No other conference has produced that many ... USC (vs. Syracuse) has outscored its opponent in the fourth quarter only twice in the last 11 games ... Didn't you used to be the Holy War? Utah and BYU meet early this year due to the Cougars' move to independence and the Utes migration to the Pac-12. Something has been lost in this rivalry with no conference implications ... Jimbo Fisher claims that Doak Campbell Stadium has the most bricks of any building in North America. Will Oklahoma be another brick in the wall?

Heisman picks going into Week 3: 1. T.Y. Hilton, FIU: 2. Denard Robinson, Michigan; 3. Robert Griffin, Baylor; 4. Kellen Moore, Boise State; 5. Tyrann Mathieu, LSU.
Posted on: September 13, 2011 4:50 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2011 6:21 pm

Big Game Bob rides again

NORMAN, Okla. -- If nothing else, Bob Stoops is laying the groundwork this week, just in case, you know, Oklahoma doesn't win.

He's not saying that overtly, but playing No. 5 Florida State this early has its benefits even if No. 1 Oklahoma doesn't win.

"If all things are equal and you play a tougher schedule than somebody than you, you would get the nod. If not, why play them?" Stoops said at his weekly presser.

Take that "nod" any way you want -- Jan. 1 bowl, BCS bowl, BCS championship. The man is a big believer in scheduling. Take 2008 when Oklahoma won a controversial Big 12 tiebreaker against Texas in the South Division. Even though Texas had beaten OU that year, Oklahoma won the tiebreaker based on highest BCS ranking. OU nosed out Texas by .0128 of a point for the right to play Missouri in the Big 12 title game.

Oklahoma beat the Tigers and advanced to the BCS title game where it lost to Florida.

That year the BCS computers deemed that OU had the tougher schedule, one that included Chattanooga, Cincinnati, Washington and TCU. Meanwhile, Texas played Florida Atlantic, Texas-El Paso, Rice and Arkansas. The difference was a sliver of a point, all that Oklahoma needed.

Never has a rivalry been so bitter as when Texas lost a possible BCS title shot by calculations of computers.

"If you're willing to go to Florida State, Alabama, there should be some reward in that," Stoops said of the non-conference schedules he has assembled in his 13 seasons here. "The other reward is our fans love it, college football loves it, it puts us in the national picture."

So, yeah, scheduling counts at OU. In 2003, Oklahoma lost the Big 12 title game to Kansas State by four touchdowns but remained in the BCS top two, able to play LSU for the national championship. The BCS formula has since been adjusted but it didn't hurt that Oklahoma played Alabama and UCLA that year.

That's part of the reason why Stoops intentionally schedules these big games. Saturday's contest at Doak Campbell Stadium is arguably the biggest non-conference game of the Stoops era. While he has never beaten a ranked non-con opponent in a true road game, the sample size isn't that big. There was the controversial Oregon "loss" in 2006 and Miami in 2009.

Future OU series include Notre Dame (2012-13), Tennessee (2014-15), Ohio State (2016-17) and LSU in (2018-19). Saturday ends a home-and-home with FSU that began with a 47-17 thumping of the Noles in Norman last year.

There is talk of revenge by FSU, but in his heart of hearts Stoops has to know that OU could lose in Week 3 and still rebound to have a title shot.

"Look at through the years: we’ve had Alabama, we’ve had Oregon, we've had UCLA, Miami, Florida State. They're all great programs," Stoops said. "When you schedule them, you know that. You expect them to be a top-five, 10 team."

When he was at Florida as defensive coordinator, Stoops remembers looking up at the TV after a practice and seeing Oklahoma suffer an early season loss.

"Most of the [Florida] coaches there were kind of from the Southeast," he said. "I had roots with seven years in the Big 12 [at Kansas State]. I said, 'That's a shame.' I grew up in Ohio following  Oklahoma in Coach Switzer's years. I remember pointing at the TV saying, 'That's a sleeping giant. They should not be getting beat or having the years they're having.' "

It started with that lone championship in 2000, a magic season that ended with a 13-2 win over the Seminoles in the Orange Bowl.

"Once that happened in 2000 the mood changed," Stoops said. "It just shot us back to one of the more elite teams -- a team legitimately that year in, year out has a chance to contend for your conference championship and has a chance to contend for national championships.

"When we walked in here there wasn't a real confident group anyway. That [Florida State game] was the key. It immediately shoots you right back like a big ball in sling shot. It immediately puts you right back in the game."

That year Stoops became known as Big Game Bob. A run now referred to as "Red October" included wins against No. 7 Texas, No. 2 Kansas State and No. 1 Nebraska in consecutive games. After that, there came a run of BCS bowl defeats over the years. Even as Stoops continued to pile up Big 12 titles, Big Game Bob became a term of derision.  It's a problem a lot of coaches would like to have.

Under Stoops, Oklahoma has spent the most weeks ranked No. 1 in the BCS (20) and, this week, became the first program to spend 100 weeks at No. 1 in the AP poll.

"You ever hear me call myself that?" Big Game Bob asked.

No, but the label is waiting to be applied again after Saturday.  

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: September 12, 2011 9:14 pm
Edited on: September 12, 2011 11:38 pm

Oklahoma-Texas officials met Sunday in Norman

NORMAN, Okla. -- Texas officials met here with Oklahoma administrators on Sunday, a source confirmed for CBSSports.com

A reasonable person could assume that the meeting had something to do with the schools moving together from the Big 12 to the Pac-12. The Associated Press reported that Texas president William Powers, AD DeLoss Dodds and women's AD Chris Plonsky met with Oklahoma officials. Texas spokesman Nick Voinis confirmed for CBSSports.com that the meeting took place but would not elaborate.

A spokesman for Oklahoma president David Boren did not return a call for comment. Other OU officials were mum as well.

This is a critical time not only for Texas, Oklahoma and the Big 12 but for all of college athletics. Oklahoma's decision on whether to go to the Pac-12 could usher in the age of super conferences. The general feeling on campus here is that it is a done deal, Oklahoma going west. But there is the still issue of the Pac-12's public stance and legal wrangling involving Texas A&M to the SEC.

The speculation is that Texas A&M will eventually get through the current legal hurdles and join the SEC as the 13th team. That would clear the way for Oklahoma to move to the Pac-12 citing the instability of the Big 12. The question is, would Texas follow?

SEC commissioner Mike Slive said in a statement Monday that the conference remains "optimistic" that A&M will join his league. He added that the league is looking at schedules in 2012-13 involving a 13-team membership. He said, "We don't have immediate plans for a 14th member."

That could be decided quickly if the Big 12 breaks apart. The SEC couldn't be accused of poaching if it took, say, Missouri after the Big 12 unraveled. Boren said previously that his school would not be "a wallflower" when it comes to conference realignment and that Oklahoma's future affiliation could be decided within a couple of weeks. Orangebloods.com reported Monday that the OU board of regents have given unanimous approval to join the Pac-12.

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott reiterated Saturday that the league isn't looking to expand but, "If schools are going to leave the Big 12 and there's going to be a paradigm shift, or a landscape change as people like to describe it, we'll go ahead and step back and look at our options, then reconsider."

If Oklahoma leaves then Texas would have to make a significant decision -- join OU and try to make its Longhorn Network fit in the Pac-12, go independent or try to make a go of it in a diminished Big 12.

Whatever the case, the look of college athletics seemingly is about to change dramatically.
Category: NCAAF
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com