Big 12 links: Stoops hopes to shield OU at fortress-like resort


Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Five bowl games are down for the Big 12 with two big ones left. Let's take stock of the conference's 3-2 start, where the North Division has bailed out the conference's reputation by accounting for all three wins.

And here are a few lunchtime links to get us through the break before Texas' appearance in Monday's Tostistos Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State.

  • Tulsa World columnist Dave Sittler writes that Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops will hope to turn the palatial Fontainebleau Resort into a fort as he shields his team from distractions and him from NFL speculation heading into Thursday's FedEx BCS National Championship game against Florida. And Oklahoman columnist Berry Tramel writes that he thinks there's only a small chance that Stoops will leave for an NFL head coaching job -- for now.

  • Biletnikoff Award winner Michael Crabtree remains mum on his future plans and Texas Tech coach Mike Leach isn't saying, either. Crabtree wasn't made available after Tech's AT&T Cotton Bowl loss to Mississippi and Leach was curt when asked about Crabtree. "I have no idea," Leach told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal's Adam Zuvanich. "And if I did, I wouldn't tell you."

  • Andrew Logue of the Des Moines Register reports that new Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads will keep Scott Fountain on his staff. Fountain was the tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator on former ISU coach Gene Chizik's staff.

  • Texas coach Mack Brown won't be making Bob Stoops-type bonus money, but he'll still pocket some extra change with his team's trip to the Fiesta Bowl. Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News details that Brown will make a $1 million bonus for coaching the Longhorns through the 2008 season and another $100,000 for taking his team to a BCS bowl. Brown also has the possibility of added riches if the Longhorns can sneak into the No. 1 position in the final polls.

  • New Kansas State offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig served notice to the Big 12 in his final game as Utah's offensive coordinator. Kurt Kragthorpe of the Salt Lake Tribune writes how Ludwig's no-huddle offense was a big difference in the Utes' 31-17 upset victory over Alabama in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

  • Nebraska coach Bo Pelini may have laid a foundation for future championships with his 9-4 first season with the Cornhuskers, the Omaha World-Herald's Rich Kaipust writes.