Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Teams use different forms of inspiration to help them get through the long practices of August.
According to the Oklahoman, Oklahoma State players are wearing thin rubber orange bracelets with lettering that reads "Big 12 Champs, Dec. 8, 2008."
Texas coach Mack Brown and Missouri coach Gary Pinkel have used similar forms of inspiration in recent years. OSU coach Mike Gundy wants his team talking about championships, despite the fact that the Cowboys have claimed only one conference crown since 1960 when it joined the Big Eight Conference. That was in 1976, when it shared a three-way title with Colorado and Oklahoma.
A championship this season might seems like an unfounded goal, considering the Cowboys lack of title success over the years. But Gundy doesn't mind.
"We don't talk enough around here about winning championships," Gundy told the Oklahoman. "I think that's something evolved over 50 years around here. Our players feel like they need to talk more about winning a championship."
But the Cowboys' drought is small potatoes compared to Iowa State, which hasn't won or shared a conference championship since claiming a share of the old Missouri Valley Conference title in 1912.
And even going to a bowl game is a struggle for some Big 12 teams -- an amazing consideration considering the proliferation of postseason contests in recent years. Baylor last made a bowl trip in 1994 and the Bears won their last bowl game in 1992. Putting that streak in context are two facts about the Bears' 20-15 triumph over Arizona in the Sun Bowl.
It was Grant Teaff's last game as Baylor's coach. And it came in the final days of George H. W. Bush's administration, less than two months after Bill Clinton ended his re-election hopes in the 1992 election.