Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Big 12 morning links: Here come the body-bag games
By ESPN.com staff
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
The worst scheduling week in Big 12 history might be approaching.
Four Big 12 teams will be playing opponents from the Football Championship Subdivision in contests that have euphemistically been termed by many coaches as "body-bag games."
Coaches of those FCS schools know what they have to do in these games. Mainly, collect a big check and hope they emerge out of the game relatively unscathed for the rest of the season.
A 12-game season makes these games more necessary for the big boys from the Football Bowl Series, even if they aren't necessarily appealing, according to Texas coach Mack Brown.
"It's probably better if we didn't," Brown said, "but I don't know if it's possible right now."
Brown knows about these games after once coaching at Division I-AA Appalachian State, which then played two games against Division I-A teams as financial salvation for the rest of the school's athletic department.
"As tough as it is with the score and kids being mismatched sometimes," Brown said, "it is a positive for the university from the standpoint of exposure.
"And a lot of the kids I've talked to like the experience of going into big stadiums, even though they lose."
But try telling that to fans who pay full price, with increasing full costs, to travel to stadiums in order to watch these glorified exhibitions.
The difference is more than just the 22 extra scholarships that the FBS teams have -- 85 scholarship athletes on a roster compared to 63 for FCS teams.
During the first week of the season, FBS teams went 31-1 against their siblings from the FCS. The lone FCS victory was Cal-Poly's 29-27 triumph over San Diego State, coached by former Oklahoma assistant Chuck Long.
Baylor, Colorado, Kansas State and Missouri can only hope not to join the Aztecs on that dubious list this week.
Until then, here are a few morning links that are always competitive.
- Colorado can't afford a reprise of the last visit by a Football Championship Series opponent when Eastern Washington visits on Saturday. The Buffaloes lost 19-10 to Montana State in their 2006 opener. "It's almost surreal when you look back and you think about it," DT George Hypolite told the Boulder Camera.
- Texas A&M may consider a change in kickers after Richie Bean shanked two short attempts in the Aggies' loss to Arkansas State last week.
- Natalie England of the San Antonio Express-News writes about Texas QB Colt McCoy's emergence as a running threat.
- We now know who wears the pants in Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy's family. If you don't believe it, check the 7:43 mark of this Oklahoman video to find out.
- Steve Sipple of the Lincoln Journal-Star writes about the development of Nebraska LB Cody Glenn and QB Joe Ganz, two seniors who have hardly played most of their college careers.
- Oklahoma WR Manny Johnson is filling the void after Malcolm Kelly's departure to the NFL.
- The Columbia Tribune's Dave Matter writes about improvement necessary for Missouri's leaky secondary, which allowed Juice Williams to squeeze them for 451 passing yards.
- Missouri beat writer Mike DeArmond of the Kansas City Star writes and has video on the development of Missouri TB Derrick Washington.
- Baylor CB Dwain Crawford, a converted safety, tells the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Dwain Price about his enjoyment of his new position's challenges.
- Des Moines Register beat writer Andrew Logue chats about Iowa State's extra rest from playing on Thursday, the Cyclones' memories of Kent State from last season and the Cyclones' looming rivalry game against Iowa next week.
- Iowa State RB J.J. Bass will suit up for his first game this season after being suspended for the opener.
- Kansas coach Mark Mangino isn't expecting Louisiana Tech to be a cupcake.
- Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant's athleticism makes him effective in jump-ball situations.
- Texas Tech inside receivers coach Lincoln Riley is responsible for providing Mike Leach reports from the press box. It's not a surprising evolution, considering Riley has been Leach's right-hand man since he was 19 and helping coach quarterbacks as a student assistant.
- Kansas State's passing game was effective -- as QB Josh Freeman predicted before the start of the season -- even without graduated WR Jordy Nelson.