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Roundup: Special spring break, playoffs

3/17/2013

The weekend is over, and outside of the state of Texas getting blanked in the NCAA tournament bracket, it was mostly a quiet one across the Big 12 football landscape, but here's a taste of what you missed while the blog was quiet.

Cotton Bowl officially gunning for playoff

If you didn't realize, the college football season that begins about five and a half months from right now will be the BCS' last gasp before the new playoff system kicks in. The four-team playoff will be three total games, but the hosts of the first two semifinals are up for grabs.

Cotton Bowl officials told the Dallas Morning News to make official what most have known for a while now: It wants one of those games. From the report:

The group overseeing the new playoff announced that it had invited 31 bowls to submit proposals for joining the Rose, Orange and Sugar in the six-game rotation that will occur after the 2014 season. The deadline is March 27, which was one bit of news in the press release.

So if you have a bowl license from the NCAA, a stadium that seats 65,000 and plenty of ambition, you can make your case. More than a few probably will.

In reality, if anybody other than the Cotton, Tostitos Fiesta and Chick-fil-A bowls are chosen, it will qualify as a major surprise.

The Cotton Bowl, which moved to Cowboys Stadium in 2010, is also gunning for the first title game of the playoff on Jan. 1, 2015, which will be announced next month.

We'll see what Cowboys Stadium (and, more importantly, the Big 12 footprint) gets or doesn't get next season, but it's a safe bet that even if it gets shut out in Year 1, college football's biggest event ever will be heading to the nation's best stadium before too long.

Credit the Cotton Bowl for this one. Once one of college football's biggest bowls, it was shunned from the adults' table among bowl games following the creation of the BCS in the late 1990s. Despite that, it continued to improve the game and host a first-class operation on par with the rest of the BCS games, even though it lacked BCS distinction.

Almost two decades later, that work is paying off in a big way.

Baylor's Petty getting serious on spring break

Nobody would blame any college football player for taking some time away from the game during his campus' spring break and heading to the beach or the mountains to blow off some steam.

Just don't expect Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty to join you. He spent his spring break in Norman, Okla., a fine town in its own right, but hardly a vacation destination. CBSSports.com's Bruce Feldman wrote about him and Georgia's Aaron Murray, who came to Norman to work with quarterback guru George Whitfield, who was in town for Landry Jones' pro day. Petty also worked with Whitfield in California last year, when Jones did the same while Whitfield worked with No. 1 pick Andrew Luck.

Petty admits he sometimes would get "lazy" with his mechanics and has now gotten used to hearing Whitfield harp on "being in the phone booth." Meaning: Keeping his mechanics tight. Keeping his elbow in. Not over-striding.

"Coach Briles and his staff have built this from the ground up," said Petty. "He puts people in positions to succeed. It doesn't matter if it's Grif or Nick or me. We're gonna win. It's QB U.

"Just having these expectations for Baylor football is huge. We treasure that. We have big goals and big aspirations. The Big 12 is wide open. It seems like [the conference] always has had powerhouses, where people would think, 'They'll win the Big 12 easy,' but there is a lot of change now, and it's gonna be a fun ride."

Well said. How much will it pay off? We'll see. Regardless, it's hard to doubt his devotion to the game and his team.