Big 12: Bernadette Gray-Little

Kansas, Baylor campaigning for status quo

June, 8, 2010
Kansas and Baylor aren't naive. Both schools are well aware that conference realignment could mean bad news for their universities and athletic programs.

So, imagine this, they're trying to do something about it.

Kansas chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little swallowed some pride and pleaded with Nebraska on Monday to help keep the Big 12 together. She plans to do the same to rival Missouri and chancellor Brady Deaton.
"I have not finished my conversations for the day. I intend if not today in the next two days to talk to the presidents and chancellors of other institutions as well," [Gray-Little] said.

Led by athletic director Lew Perkins, Kansas is working to put together alternative plans in case the Big 12 does dissolve.

"We want the Big 12 to continue," Gray-Little said. "But because any one or more of these things could happen, part of our discussion also is what would be the next plan for us. I don't have any specifics to give you at this point, but that has to be part of our thinking. If the efforts to keep the Big 12 in fact do not work out, what alternatives will there be for us or K-State and the other universities that might not be part of some new organization?"

Baylor's taken a less direct approach, but new president Kenneth Starr held a press conference in Waco on Monday afternoon to champion the Bears' cause. What's that? You can't make it in time? No worries, there's a teleconference 40 minutes later! E-mails unearthed by the Dallas Morning News make it clear Starr isn't working alone in helping Baylor be a player in any realignment happenings.

Wrote Baylor regent Buddy Jones late last week to a number of unidentified recipients:
We cannot let the other schools in Texas (A&M, U.T., Tech) leave the Big XII WITHOUT BAYLOR BEING INCLUDED IN THE PACKAGE. Long and short – if U.T., A&M and Tech demand that any move to any other conference include ALL TEXAS BASED TEAMS from the Big XII, we are golden. We need to be in a PACKAGE DEAL!
He later implores the recipients to contact a number of administrators, former and present, to follow his lead and deliver a message on behalf of the university: Don't leave behind the history and traditions and split up the schools in Texas that have been long bound together.

The next day, he wrote:

Just an update. It appears the entire Big XII axis turns on what Nebraska will do viz a viz the Big 10. It's hard enough get the home teams to stick tight . But harder still to influence a bunch of corn shuckers.

Thanks for all you are doing.
Have to say I'm pretty impressed with both schools' efforts. They're not hiding their vulnerability and they've directed their pleas pretty well. The Pac-10 isn't going to listen to Baylor. The Pac-10 will listen to Texas. Even if the Pac-10 doesn't want the Bears, and recent reports indicate that's the case, they're pushing the right buttons to make it happen. Texas insisting Baylor be included could blow the whole thing, but if that happens, the Bears might end up getting what they wanted all along, based on Starr's comments: To stay in the Big 12 with all their Texan friends.

Playing both sides--trying to keep the Big 12 together while campaigning for inclusion over Colorado into the Pac-10--may look unfavorable in some lights, but Baylor's not doing anything different than the rest of the Texas schools are doing, as I wrote yesterday. They want the Big 12 to stay together. But if it doesnt, for whatever reason, they're making sure it doesn't have serious, negative consequences to their program.

"Let me make our perspective clear: Baylor emphatically supports the Big 12," Starr wrote in an editorial in Monday's Waco Tribune. "We are proud of our role in the conference, and we want to see it prosper. In particular, we appreciate our fellow Texas institutions in the Big 12 and the special rivalries that entertain and energize our alumni. We remain hopeful that the Big 12 will remain intact and continue to be one of the nation's foremost athletic conferences."

Big 12 lunch links: How about UT-Alabama in a future series?

June, 19, 2009

Posted by's Tim Griffin

It's good to be the matchmaker.

Texas has made some noise about wanting to improve its nonconference schedule. And that's even before the Longhorns' Louisiana-Monroe/UTEP/UCF/Wyoming trip through the pastry wagon might bite them in the BCS this season.

Alabama coach Nick Saban checked in with reporters before leaving on vacation. Among the topics he broached was the Crimson Tide's upcoming schedule.

The Crimson Tide have a future home-and-home series with Penn State, Michigan State and Georgia Tech. Saban told the Tuscaloosa News that those are games he "likes to play."

Saban repeated a notion about Alabama's future scheduling, saying it would be exciting for his team to play upcoming matchups against five of the nation's top programs, "including ones that have a history with Alabama." He mentioned five potential targets for those games: Notre Dame, Penn State, Michigan, USC and Texas.

Ah yes, Texas. The Crimson Tide and Longhorns have plenty of history. Remember Tommy Nobis and Joe Namath in the 1965 Orange Bowl? Randy Braband stopping Wilbur Jackson on fourth down in the 1973 Cotton Bowl? Or Russ Wood's four sacks that Texas still overcame to win the 1982 Cotton Bowl?

The Longhorns are 7-0-1 in their history against Alabama. The two teams haven't played during the regular season since 1922.

Saban told reporters that the Crimson Tide would be willing to play at neutral-site games in the future against top opponents, as well as work them into future schedules in home-and-home series.

Texas could either bow to tradition and play at the Cotton Bowl, or opt for megabucks and  bells and whistles by playing at Jerry World in Arlington, Texas. Or play the game in Austin.

There's a history between Saban and Mack Brown. Remember what an Internet sensation it was when Saban was coaching the Miami Dolphins and was pictured wearing Longhorns gear during a scouting trip to Austin?

Could that help the two old friends pulling off a scheduling deal?

All of us as football fans can only hope so.

Almost as delicious as the possibility of future Texas-Alabama games are these lunchtime links.

Enjoy them and enjoy Father's Day over the weekend.

  • I Am the 12th Man contrasts the strategies for rebuilding a program employed by Bob Stoops and Urban Meyer, analyzing what would be best for Texas A&M.
  • Ready for some football? A free video posted on featuring some video clips of Bo Pelini in the Nebraska locker room is guaranteed to get your blood pumping for the upcoming season.
  • The Oklahoman's John Rohde reports that even 20 years after his forced resignation as Oklahoma's coach, it's still good for Barry Switzer to be "The King."
  • The Austin American-Statesman's John Maher ranks the best pep talks in Texas athletic history. His favorite was Jack Chevigny's pregame oration before the Longhorns' 1934 upset at Notre Dame.
  • The Kansas City Star's Blair Kerkhoff writes that new Kansas State athletic director John Currie wants to rebuild the school's credibility one ticket at a time. And the Topeka Capital-Journal's Austin Meek reports that a new policy will require Currie or KSU vice president for administration and finance Bruce Shubert to sign off on any athletic department contract, whether it pertains to personnel, scheduling or services.
  • New Kansas chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little can learn something by listening to all the nice things that people were saying about Bob Frederick at his funeral, the Lawrence Journal-World's Bill Mayer writes.
  • Former Iowa State football players Bruce Reimers, Chris Washington and Eppie Barney have been selected into Iowa State's Hall of Fame, the Des Moines Register reports.
  • Quarterback Justin Gilbert of Huntsville, Texas, has become Oklahoma State's 11th commitment of the 2010 recruiting class, the Oklahoman's Scott Wright reports.

Posted by's Tim Griffin

It's the first day of June and the opening day of college football season is less than 100 days away.

Keep reminding yourself of that for the next week or so before all the preseason magazines  become readily available at newsstands across the country.

Until then, here are some lunchtime links designed to inform, educate and maybe even entertain you.