Big 12: Barack Obama
- The Big 12 will be discussing both expansion and scheduling alliances with other leagues at this week's AD meetings. You can see commissioner Bob Bowlsby talking about expansion on the Big 12 website.
- Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News has more with Bowlsby on the prospect of expansion.
- Kolten Parker of the San Antonio Express-News has a story about how some schools monitor their student-athletes' social media use.
- Gina Mizell of The Oklahoman profiles the newest member of Oklahoma State's coaching staff, defensive line coach Joe Bob Clements. She also writes about Quinn Sharp's effort to achieve his NFL dreams.
- Interesting note here: If President Obama had a son, would he let him play football?
- Iowa State added Chris Klenakis to its staff as the offensive line coach. He was previously at Arkansas.
- Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman has a cool story about one Sooner commit's road to becoming an Oklahoma player. In light of the Super Bowl brotherly showdown, the Gundy brothers in Oklahoma tell Tramel about what it's like to face each other.
- John Werner of the Waco Tribune-Herald says Baylor's newest kicker commit is as excited as any he's ever talked to among players about to become Bears.
- Was Landry Jones prepared for the NFL and the Senior Bowl? John Hoover of the Tulsa World says no.
- Meanwhile, West Virginia center Joe Madsen had a good week down in Mobile.
- Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Todd Monken is a machine whose primary output is outstanding quotes, even if they don't always make sense.
- The Big 12 commish was in Lawrence on Thursday. Gary Bedore of the Lawrence Journal-World has a report from his trip.
- Meet Collin Klein: Grantland's College Football Hunk of the Week. And get to know Baylor's unique new freshman who is well beyond 20 years old.
- Kansas State receiver Tyler Lockett explains what it's like to experience a lacerated kidney.
- I stopped by the Oklahoma State blog Pistols Firing to answer a few burning questions about the Pokes.
- Austin Meek of the Topeka Capital-Journal offers a pretty interesting profile of the new man in charge of Kansas football: Charlie Weis.
- TCU receiver Josh Boyce is embracing his role as the Horned Frogs' leader, writes Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
- Here's the new College GameDay commercial starring the West Virginia Mountaineer. Well done.
- Oklahoma State might play SEC member Mississippi State in 2013 in Houston. Do it, guys. The more Big 12-SEC matchups, the better off college football as a whole will be. Here's a few changes on the Pokes' depth chart, too.
- If you haven't been paying attention this offseason, here are 12 players from the Big 12 to keep an eye on.
- Straight up weird stat here explains why Sooners fans should be hoping Mitt Romney ousts Barack Obama in the upcoming election.
- Bob Hertzel of the Times West Virginian doesn't sound like he's a huge fan of the way WVU's new coaches talk about defense.
- Andrew Logue of the Des Moines Register talked Iowa State linebackers with a cameo from yours truly.
- Texas receiver John Harris does a lot more than just catch balls, writes Mark Rosner of the Austin American-Statesman.
- TCU is already seeing dividends on the recruiting trail from its Big 12 membership.
- Don Williams of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal digs into Texas Tech's depth at linebacker.
Today, he'll head to Washington, D.C., with his mother and fiancée at the invitation of President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, according to a report.
On Thursday, he'll lead a prayer at the National Prayer Breakfast at the Hilton Washington International hotel.
Griffin will be joined by his father in Washington before heading to Indianapolis to take part in Super Bowl media events. His father told 254 Sports that he wasn't sure if they were going to the game.
Griffin has been in Arizona training for the NFL draft since Jan. 16, and is likely to be one of the top two quarterbacks selected in April's draft.
Jared in College Station, Texas asks: What do you make of Texas A&M's "Senior QB Curse?" Reggie McNeil, Stephen McGee, and Jerrod Johnson were all ineffective and benched their senior season. Very odd, no? How can Ryan Tannehill escape the same fate?
David Ubben: Well, I have problems buying into any curse, of course. The bottom line about McNeal and McGee is neither one was as good as Jerrod Johnson or Ryan Tannehill. Johnson, at his best, was better than Tannehill, but the shoulder injury was such a rough deal last season.
This week, coach Mike Sherman opined that Johnson tried too hard to make up for lost time in the spring and worked too hard during the summer. Whatever the cause, it was a shame. Johnson was a guy who did everything right, and despite that, it wasn't meant to pay off for him. That said, it's in the past.
Tannehill didn't take a ton of big hits last season, and with Texas A&M's solid offensive line featuring sophomore bookends loaded with potential, he doesn't figure to take many more in 2011. In the event he does run, though? I'm sure Sherman will be in his ear to make sure he gets down or out of bounds.
Curse or otherwise, you still have to take care of your passer. Last season, the Aggies had a pretty good backup plan for Johnson. This season, they don't. Being extra careful is the prudent approach.
Jamiell Showers and/or Matt Joeckel aren't winning Texas A&M a Big 12 title next season.
Brett in Kansas City asks: Hey David, is there any chance that Bob Stoops, or any other Big 12 coaches for that matter, will be looking at homes in Columbus, Ohio anytime soon?
DU: No, I don't buy that. Urban Meyer is obviously at the top of the list if Jim Tressel leaves, but if Stoops turned down Florida (twice), I'd be surprised if he left for Ohio State. There's some appeal in going "home," yes, but Stoops said himself this spring that Oklahoma is as much his home as anywhere these days. He's got three school-aged kids who have lived in Oklahoma since 1999. That's 12 years.
Besides that, how often do you see a coach of a major program leave to become coach at another major program? It's very, very rare.
I generally think Meyer will eventually end up at Ohio State, but if anything, Bo Pelini is much more likely to leave than Stoops, following a short tenure at Nebraska. I wouldn't bet on it, but Pelini is pretty high on the prospective list.
Michael in Long Beach, Calif. asks: David, if Jamell Fleming enrolls for the fall semester is he good to go, or does he face academic or other types of suspensions? Would he be eligible academically? Thanks.
DU: He should be good to go, as I understand it. It sounds like his status is in limbo, and ultimately, he's the only guy who can decide if he'll be back or not. He'll have to work to show it, though. He could miss out on something special at Oklahoma next year if he's not on the team. You'd think that alone would be enough motivation.
Frederico in Paris asks: David,Who would you pick as the big 12 teams you're most likely to be over-rating and under-rating for the 2011 season at this point in time?
DU: Interesting question. Overrating? We'll see about Oklahoma State. The defense got a lot better toward the end of last season, but will that continue into next season, especially without one of its leaders, Orie Lemon?
And then there's the whole playcalling deal, replacing one of college football's best, Dana Holgorsen, with an inexperienced Todd Monken.
Between the trio of teams at the top of the league, I'd say they're the most likely to have a disappointing season. Not saying it'll happen, but Texas A&M and Oklahoma have a lot fewer questions.
Underrating? Probably the same three teams I pegged as sleepers awhile back. Texas, Missouri and Kansas State. All have big question marks, but perhaps even bigger potential.
Barack Obama in Washington, D.C. asks: I'm sure Tuberville's going on Hannity and bashing me plays well with the fans in west Texas but seems like a fairly stupid move overall. Tubs stated that as coach he represents all of Tech's players but I doubt if many of his African American players feel like those comments represent them. Do you think this could impact recruiting for Tech?
DU: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Let's strip this letter of all the fighting words. I'd expect a president to be more diplomatic, no? First off, I'd hardly call what Tuberville said about Obama "bashing." Questioning? Sure. As it ends up, he was wrong, but again, Tuberville is little more than a victim of poor timing when it comes to Obama and his birth certificate. No one would bat an eye at this if Tuberville hadn't gone on the air and commented the night before Obama released the document.
Secondly, painting with a broad brush there a little bit, right? His black players wouldn't feel like those comments represent them? Since when are all of his white players backing the Republicans and all his black players backing the Democrats? Slow your role, Mr. President.
And most importantly, since when does that matter? It doesn't. If you're a player, there's no reason to be overly concerned with your coach's political views. When he says he represents all his players, I'd hardly say that crosses over to political views. I'm surprised this story became an issue, considering how little it has to do with anything.
Brady Kirk in Norman, OK asks: Hey, Dubbs. I've been thinking lately about how the upcoming Sooner offense compares to its counterpart of 2008. First of all, how much of a difference do you see between their offensive lines; second, do you think this year's receiver corps is at the same level as that team's offensive line; and third, how close do you think this offense can come to that one overall?
DU: There's a big difference in the offensive lines. Oklahoma's should be good next season, but the one in 2008 had four NFL players on it. This season's probably has two. The receivers this season are better, but a great receiving corps doesn't mean dominance in the same way that an offensive line does. The Sooners did anything they wanted that season (until they played Florida) and scored more points than any offense in the history of college football.
This year's offense should be great, but I'd be shocked if it came anywhere close to that team.
Tommy B in Stillwater, OK asks: What are the chances OSU is able to get Justin Bieber to Bedlam?
DU: Who knows just yet, but I'd like to see OSU do everything it can to get Bieber to Stillwater.
David Paschall in Austin, Texas asks: I loved watching Texas' Blaine Irby play before his injury in 2008. It seems like he has a ton of potential at TE. Will we finally get to see him play again this year? He suited up for the Orange and White game, but I don't remember seeing him take the field and virtually no one has mentioned him. Will 2011 see his return?
DU: He was out there this spring, but the team took it easy and held him out of the spring game. He's not back to full strength, but he sounds like he'll be back on the field in at least some capacity next season.
The bowl season only added to those miseries.
The conference finished 4-4 in its bowl games, but lost in the BCS title game for the second straight season as Texas fell to Alabama. Colt McCoy’s injury may have left an asterisk on that defeat in the minds of most Longhorn fans and even for Barack Obama, but it’s a loss nonetheless.
McCoy’s injury was the capper in a jinxed season for the Big 12 that included season-ending injuries to Sam Bradford and Robert Griffin, a season-ending NCAA suspension to Dez Bryant and season-long injury struggles for 2008 leading rusher Kendall Hunter.
The final Associated Press rankings underscored that sentiment. The Big 12 finished with only three teams ranked among the top 25, the fewest since a record-low two teams were ranked at the end of the 2006 season. Texas finished at No. 2, Nebraska was No. 14 and Texas Tech was No. 21.
Most notably, the Big 12 lost all three bowl games against the Southeastern Conference. The nation’s baddest conference bullied the Big 12 again, stretching its record in bowl games against the Big 12 to 12-3 since 2003. Convincing victories by Alabama over Texas in the BCS title game, Mississippi over Oklahoma State in the AT&T Cotton Bowl and Georgia over Texas A&M in the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl came by an average of 18 points per game.
Missouri was flummoxed by Navy’s triple-option offense in a humbling 35-13 Texas Bowl loss where it appeared the Tigers’ coaches had little inkling for making in-game adjustments.
Despite a victory over Stanford in the Brut Sun Bowl, Oklahoma finished the season out of the top 25 for the first time since Bob Stoops’ first season in 1999. The Sooners finished 2009 with five losses, most since Stoops’ first season.
Texas Tech overcame a suspension-depleted Michigan State team in the Valero Alamo Bowl in a game that was overshadowed by Mike Leach’s firing three days before kickoff.
Oklahoma State skidded out of the top 25 after starting the season at ninth in the preseason Associated Press poll.
The Big 12’s two most impressive bowl victories came with upset triumphs from North Division teams. Nebraska stymied Arizona with a vintage defensive performance in Ndamukong Suh’s final game in a 33-0 victory over Arizona. And Iowa State punctuated the conference’s feel-good story of the season as Paul Rhoads’ team produced an emotional 14-13 triumph over Minnesota.
But conquests like those were too few and far between for the Big 12 in a season to forget for the conference’s power elite.
Only in the Big 12 links could we have President Obama, John Mackovic and a call for a Texas championship all tied neatly together in a compendium of daily stories.
- Oklahoma State has persevered and even thrived without Dez Bryant, the Tulsa World’s Bill Haisten reports. But OSU athletic director Mike Holder tells Austin American-Statesman columnist Kirk Bohls that he doesn’t want to talk about Bryant’s case, because it only gives him indigestion.
- The Lawrence Journal-World’s Dugan Arnett writes that Kansas’ offense and Todd Reesing are struggling through a rare unproductive streak.
- The Kansas City Star’s Mike DeArmond writes that Colorado is a team in disarray heading into Saturday’s game against Missouri.
- The Tulsa World’s Dave Sittler writes that Ryan Broyles has emerged as Oklahoma’s top offensive weapon in the last several weeks.
- John Mackovic of the Palm Springs Desert Sun -- yes, that John Mackovic -- thinks that Texas is the nation’s No. 1 team.
- Texas Tech coach Mike Leach offers an impassioned defense to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal’s Adam Zuvanich why the NCAA should continue allowing players to be housed at hotels together on the night before a game.
- College Football News’ Pete Fiutak ranks Colt McCoy among his favorites for the Heisman, although Alabama’s Mark Ingram remains his current leader.
- Baylor players tell the Waco Tribune-Herald’s Brice Cherry they are intent on a faster start against Nebraska.
- The Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Randy Galloway wants to see Texas vs. TCU for the ultimate championship of the state of Texas.
- President Obama sent his condolences to Sam Bradford after his season-ending shoulder injury, the Oklahoman’s David Ubben reports.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Politics indeed do makes for some strange bedfellows.
Take U.S. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), a staunch conservative and former Texas A&M student.
It appears that Barton has found a kindred spirit in President Barack Obama in terms of doing away with the Bowl Championship Series in favor of a playoff to determine college football's national champion.
Barton has filed at least three congressional bills he hopes will do away with the BCS. And he told The Dallas Morning News he remains committed with a willing listener now in the White House.
"The biggest sport that raises the most money and has the most publicity has a totally artificial and undecipherable system that really doesn't base the championship on the merits of a playoff," Barton told the News.
Barton has talked to the president about the issue and hopes he will take an active role in college football reform over the next several months.
Who knows? Maybe the change in the nation's leadership will lead to a change in the currently controversial manner in how college football determines a champion.