Big 12: Bob Davie
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Here are some of the questions and e-mails I received this week.
J.D. writes: Hey Tim, what the heck is going on with Mike Leach and his contract extension? I haven't seen anything on it and I know it is seriously "brewing." What's up with it?
Tim Griffin: It's been strange how little information has been coming about Leach's contract negotiations the last several weeks. It seems like it's been squelched. Maybe that's been at the demand of either Texas Tech's chief negotiator, Chancellor Kent Hance, or Leach's agents. But considering how it was after the season when Graham Harrell came out and said he expected to see Leach leave, it's eerie how it's all quieted down.
Obviously, Leach's bargaining opportunities have been lessened because there are no college jobs still open. Unless Leach would make the jump to the NFL. The only way I would see that happening would be at the hands of an extremely maverick owner. So, it looks likely he will remain in Lubbock.
I guess this will be a prime discussion point as soon as the Red Raiders return back from the AT&T Cotton Bowl. At least, I would expect it to be.
Caleb from El Reno, Okla., writes: Tim, I read your top 30 moments for the Big 12 this season with great interest. Great idea and even a better article. How about the interception by defensive back Lamont Robinson for OU in the Texas end zone that was ruled incomplete and gave Texas a field goal? It could have been a huge momentum swing for OU to get the stop but instead Texas added three points.
Tim Griffin: Caleb, that was a huge play, but I had already included several more plays from that game. There seemed to be about 10-12 critical ones. Another one in hindsight I feel I should have included was Texas Tech nose tackle Colby Whitlock's safety on the first Texas play from scrimmage, giving the Red Raiders a quick 2-0 lead in the game. I also should have mentioned the kicking of Texas Tech walk-on specialist Matt Williams, who has made every one of his extra points since joining the team earlier this season.
Jim from Grand Junction, Colo., writes: Thanks a lot for answering my question about Colorado recruiting. I appreciate an insider's view. A follow-up question, though, is whether late recruiting is a good idea? Not only are too many top possibilities gone but recruiting has gone the other direction. Recruits are being sought earlier. Bob Davie has mentioned this over and over in his broadcasts. Coaches are seeking and players committing much earlier these days. Will Dan Hawkins have to change his philosophy or get left behind? Thanks.
Tim Griffin: I think that more and more players like you mention are being recruited earlier. It seems like the very best players are the ones included in this. But sometimes key players can emerge during their senior season in high school. So it isn't an absolute point. But typically, the best players go earliest -- kind of like the best clothes available being picked first at a post-holiday sale. And it would likely behoove Hawkins to become more of a competitor in these early recruiting jousts if he wants to claim the very best players he can.
Ben from Lincoln, Neb., writes: I recently had a discussion with some friends about who was the more valuable player for Nebraska between Joe Ganz and Zac Taylor. Obviously, Zac Taylor was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and led Nebraska to a spot in the Big 12 Championship game, but if you watched any Nebraska games this year it was clear that Joe Ganz was the heart of this team (and put up numbers comparable to Taylor's senior year). Who do you think was more valuable for their team?
Tim Griffin: I'm going to have to go along with Taylor, mainly because he led his team to the Big 12 championship game. Ganz had a great season and was just as good, if not better statistically, but Taylor had an innate sense of leading the Cornhuskers to victories with late remarkable plays. I remember the way he directed Nebraska to victories over Kansas and at Texas A&M during that 2006 season. Those two gutsy performances alone were a big reason why the Cornhuskers ended up winning the division title that season.
I'm betting that Bo Pelini would settle for a player who shares common characteristics with both Ganz and Taylor when he searches for a quarterback this spring to replace Ganz.
More questions and answers will be coming later this week. Keep them coming and have a Happy New Year's Day filled with many football games.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
The guys at Bleacher Report have gone into the way-back machine to highlight two great nicknames from Big 12 schools.
Texas A&M's "Wrecking Crew" and Nebraska's "Blackshirts" both were included in a list of top 12 nicknames that was topped by Notre Dame's Four Horsemen at No. 1 and Fordham's Seven Blocks of Granite at No. 2.
Some of the nicknames on the list might be a little politically incorrect, but the two Big 12 additions remain among the most cherished in the history of both schools.
Texas A&M's "Wrecking Crew" was coined by defensive back Chet Brooks in the 1980s to describe the defense coached by R.C. Slocum and then Bob Davie. It remains in use today, although maybe not in the wide public venacular as when the Aggies were one of the nation's power teams. But a big performance or two by Joe Kines' unit will get the nickname popping up again.
Nebraska coach Bob Devaney came up with the concept of the "Blackshirts" to describe his defense in 1964 to distinguish his first-stringers from everybody else during spring training. The nickname stuck and developed into a proud tradition that remains a badge of honor among Cornhuskers. Despite Nebraska's struggles last season, restoring the "Blackshirts" is perhaps the prime goal of new coach Bo Pelini this season.
Both Nebraska and Texas A&M will be starting under new coaches this year. Rebuilding the "Blackshirts" and the "Wrecking Crew" will be pivotal in how Pelini and Mike Sherman, respectively, fare in their new jobs.
BIG 12 SCOREBOARD
Final Nevada 3 Louisiana-Lafayette 16 Final Utah State 21 UTEP 6 Final 22 Utah 45 Colorado State 10 Final Western Michigan 24 Air Force 38 Final South Alabama 28 Bowling Green 33
Final Marshall 52 Northern Illinois 23 Final Navy 17 San Diego State 16
Final Central Michigan 48 Western Kentucky 49 Final Fresno State 6 Rice 30
1:00 PM ET Illinois Louisiana Tech 4:30 PM ET Rutgers North Carolina 8:00 PM ET North Carolina State UCF
1:00 PM ET Cincinnati Virginia Tech 2:00 PM ET 15 Arizona State Duke 3:30 PM ET Miami (FL) South Carolina 4:30 PM ET Boston College Penn State 8:00 PM ET Nebraska 24 USC
2:00 PM ET Texas A&M West Virginia 5:30 PM ET Oklahoma 17 Clemson 9:00 PM ET Arkansas Texas
3:00 PM ET Notre Dame 23 LSU 6:30 PM ET 13 Georgia 21 Louisville 10:00 PM ET Maryland Stanford
12:30 PM ET 9 Ole Miss 6 TCU 4:00 PM ET 20 Boise State 10 Arizona 8:00 PM ET 7 Mississippi State 12 Georgia Tech
12:00 PM ET 19 Auburn 18 Wisconsin 12:30 PM ET 8 Michigan State 5 Baylor 1:00 PM ET 16 Missouri 25 Minnesota 5:00 PM ET 2 Oregon 3 Florida State 8:30 PM ET 1 Alabama 4 Ohio State
12:00 PM ET Houston Pittsburgh 3:20 PM ET Iowa Tennessee 6:45 PM ET 11 Kansas State 14 UCLA 10:15 PM ET Washington Oklahoma State