Big 12: Boone Pickens

Clint ChelfAP Photo/Tim SharpClint Chelf threw for 2,169 yards and 17 touchdowns for Oklahoma State last season.
Last season, Clint Chelf joined Brandon Weeden as the second Oklahoma State quarterback ever to earn all-conference recognition.

After losing his starting job to J.W. Walsh after the second series of the season opener, Chelf came roaring back to reclaim the starting position and fuel the Cowboys to a seven-game winning streak.

Despite watching nearly half the season from the sideline, Chelf finished eighth nationally in Adjusted QBR.

Chelf, who is currently working out in his hometown of Enid, Oklahoma, still hoping to get a shot in the NFL, spoke with ESPN.com this week about Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State’s 2014 prospects and the time Boone Pickens danced in the locker room.

What did it mean to you to become the second quarterback in school history to earn All-Big 12 recognition?

Chelf: It’s really cool. That’s something I was honored to hear. At the same time, it doesn’t make me angry, but it makes me wonder what might have happened if I had gotten more snaps and gotten to play more games. But that’s something you go down in history for, and I’m honored by it.

You guys were literally seconds away from winning the Big 12 championship, and you would have been the hero having led the offense to the late go-ahead touchdown. What was going through your mind when Jalen Saunders caught that touchdown pass for Oklahoma at the end?

Chelf: Disappointment, I guess. I really felt like when we went down and scored, I thought, with the way our defense was playing all year, that we had won it. Unfortunately, they made some big plays. It was just overwhelming emotions after they scored. That’s something I’ll always remember, that was a tough loss for us, and for me especially. It was as opposite end of the spectrum as you can get in two minutes. We were ecstatic and thought we had just won the Big 12 to absolutely disappointed. It was really tough.

On the other side, what was your favorite moment from last season?

Chelf: My favorite moment would probably be catching a pass against Baylor. That whole Baylor game obviously was a lot of fun. As a quarterback, that’s something you don’t get a chance to do. That was really a fun atmosphere.

What was it like playing under Coach Gundy?

Chelf: It was really kind of surprising how it worked. My first year there, he was still involved in our offense. He was more hands on with us, so he got to be around us a lot. But the next couple of years we hired Dana (Holgorsen) and Coach (Todd) Monken, and (Gundy) was never around us. The two offensive coordinators were with us in meetings, on the field, and (Gundy) was kind of more on the defensive side. At the end of the Coach Monken era, Coach Gundy came back in the Heart of Dallas Bowl and he was around us again. He’s an offensive-minded football coach. He’s a good guy. He broke things down for us where all the guys in the room could understand. He relates to the guys well. Everyone knows about his dancing. It’s fun. Guys see we have a coach that will act goofy with us and isn’t afraid to be around us and let his hair down. That’s just how he is. Around us, behind closed doors, he’s a good guy, he’s not afraid to have fun. I think that helps him relate to the guys.

So was he more around the offense again this past season?

Chelf: Yeah, he was more around. Just with the dynamics of it, Dana and Coach Monken were older guys that had been around. Monken was from the NFL. Dana had been an offensive coordinator for a long time. Coach (Mike) Yurcich, it was his first time being at a big-time school in a big-time conference. So I think Coach Gundy, it’s not like it was him coaching, it was Coach Yurcich, but Coach Gundy was around more than he was with the other two guys.

There has been some speculation that maybe Gundy and (former Oklahoma State offensive line coach) Joe Wickline were calling plays at times last season instead of Yurcich. Any truth to that?

Chelf: I think as far as calling plays during the game, Coach Yurcich was calling plays. When we went in for adjustments, everybody would put in their ideas about what would work. Having guys like Coach Gundy, Coach Wickline, those are guys Coach Yurcich could look to and listen to when they had ideas. Those are people you listen to. They influenced (the offense), but they didn’t try to take anything away from Coach Yurcich. I think it was a group effort. I think (Yurcich) called the plays, but they all gave suggestions.

Do you have any good Boone Pickens stories?

Chelf: After we won the Big 12 championship in 2011, he came in and did a little Gundy impersonation, and showed us his moves. They were pretty cool for a 70-year-old billionaire. That was probably the funniest one that I can remember.

Who is the better dancer, Gundy or Boone?

Chelf: I’d have to say Boone, for being the older guy. I think he had a little bit more rhythm.

Moving to this season, what is the key to Walsh playing more efficiently the way he did two years ago?

Chelf: What’s going to help him is having those athletes around him. I think they’re going to be really deep at receiver this year. With J.W., everyone knows he can run and make plays with his legs. What helps him is if you can get him going early with quick passes and let him make some plays running to get his confidence up. I think that really helps him the whole entire game. Getting him going early is a big key for him.

The players all talk about Walsh’s leadership. What is it that makes him a good leader?

Chelf: He’s really relatable to all those guys. He hangs out with all them. He’s also a hard worker. I think that’s probably his biggest asset. Those guys see him in the weight room. When they’re running, he’s always out in front. Guys respect guys like that and he gives the younger guys someone to look up to.

With so much turnover from last year, what are your thoughts on the Cowboys this season?

Chelf: It’s going to be tough. I think that’s something everyone should be prepared for. Anytime you lose 28 seniors and guys that pretty much all played, that’s going to be hard to replace. At the same time, I think they have a lot of talent at the skill positions, and with J-Dub, I think they’re going to be fine. And then on defense, they’re going to be young and have growing pains. But at the same time, Coach (Glenn) Spencer is one of the best defensive coaches I’ve ever been around. He has his guys prepared and ready to go. I think that’s going to be huge for the defense, having him on their side. But it’s also going to be a hard season, I think.

Some people probably don’t know this, but you grew up in Enid with former Oklahoma linebacker Austin Box, who passed away suddenly in 2011. How tough was that and what do you remember about Austin?

Chelf: It was really tough. I remember the day. I was sitting in the exact same spot I’m sitting in right now. I was one of the first ones to find out in my family. My brother was home, I went in there and told him and my mother. They were shell-shocked. That was one of my brother’s best friends. They played everything together since they could walk. I was kind of the tagalong with them. It was a tough time. The one thing I remember about Austin, whenever he walked in the room, it didn’t matter if there were a hundred people or 10, you could always hear him. He was always loud and charismatic and funny. I’ll always remember that. He was a great guy, and someone I looked up to since I could walk. He’s one of the reasons I wanted to play quarterback. Watching him do some of the things he did at Enid was inspiring. It was a tough loss. But we always remember how Austin was growing up. Kind-hearted and a great guy.

Lunch links: Money can't buy Texas wins

June, 3, 2013
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Gotta love college baseball. Kansas State is inexplicably enjoying one of the best athletic years in its history. Hiring Bill Snyder to coach the baseball team, too? Great move.
STILLWATER, Okla. -- Back on Oct. 27, a posting on the SEC website announcing Missouri's entrance into the league went public, making headlines across the country.

That included Stillwater, Okla., where Oklahoma State student Trey Gaddy heard the news. Gaddy, a sports management student intern, was in charge of raising the flags of each Big 12 team outside Boone Pickens Stadium and decided to have a little fun at the Tigers expense.

On Thursday night, he raised the Mizzou flag on the west side of the stadium upside-down, intending to move the flag right side up before Saturday's game against Baylor.

"We did it as a joke," Gaddy said early Sunday morning outside the stadium while taking down the flags only a couple hours after a 52-45 Oklahoma State win over Kansas State.

It was homecoming weekend, though, and Gaddy got distracted. He forgot to make the change. The flag stayed upside down and made its way across the Internet on Saturday when fans flooded Stillwater.

Hence, Gaddy's mistake is why the school classified the flag miscue as an accident in a statement.

Coincidentally, Missouri announced its official exit from the Big 12 on Sunday, eight days after the flag incident.

A photo of the flag printed out ended up on the desk of the office where Gaddy worked, too.

Oklahoma State super booster Boone Pickens even e-mailed Gaddy's boss to ask what happened with the flag.

"I actually saw your post about the mystery man," Gaddy told me. "I showed it to a couple friends and told them I did it."

No one was seriously punished, Gaddy said, but the embarrassing incident is behind them.

"It was all just fun and games," he said.

Lunch links: Big 12 blame game

September, 5, 2011
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It's always a good time for Weezer or the Strokes.

Lunch links: Aggies-SEC saga marches on

August, 16, 2011
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For what it's worth, I was pretty impressed with R. Bowen Loftin on Monday. Didn't dodge any questions, but didn't reveal much. Good combo.

OSU announces plans to build indoor facility

June, 21, 2011
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Oklahoma State is one of the last few Big 12 teams without an indoor facility.

That's going to change very soon. The Cowboys announced plans to begin construction on the Sherman E. Smith Center on August 1, 2011, an indoor practice facility that will cost $16 million, according to a release.

Smith, who the facility will be named for, died earlier this month.

"Sherman Smith was a good friend of mine," Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder said. "His relationship with Boone Pickens dates back to the 1940s. They shared the same birthday, were in the same fraternity and had a business relationship."

Grass and turf fields adjacent to the facility are already underway, and the estimated cost of those, plus the surrounding fencing, is expected to be $3 million.

You can see more on the facilities, which will be located across from Boone Pickens Stadium, here.

"It's fitting that two of the most important structures for OSU Athletics will be across the street from each other and will bear the names of Sherman Smith and Boone Pickens," Holder said.

Mailbag: TV tiers, DeRuyter, UT imbalance

April, 15, 2011
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Thanks for all the questions. More good ones this week.

MU Fan in Dayton, Ohio, writes: Ubben, I've heard a lot of talk about the new TV deal and all the cash it's gonna bring in. Call me stupid, but what does this mean for the average Tiger fan stuck in Podunk, OH? I've been forced to go to a sports bar to watch nearly every MU game last couple of years. Does this new deal put more MU games on my TV and my butt on my own couch more Saturdays? My bar tabs are adding up....

David Ubben: In theory, yes. If you're in Ohio and you don't get Fox Sports Network, it won't put a ton more games on your TV, but FX is on most basic cable packages and is in 98 million households nationwide. That's only a million or so fewer than ESPN and ESPN2. If you get ESPN, which, I'd like to think almost everyone has if they have cable TV, you should already have FX. Fox Sports Net, which has local networks that broadcast specific, region-based programming, may require you to purchase an upgraded sports package on most cable networks. If you live in the Big 12 region, you likely get Fox Sports Southwest, where a good portion of Big 12 games are broadcast.


Greg Reid in Tallahassee, Fla., asks: Have I finally learned how to cover or tackle yet? Being able to do either one against the Sooners would be better than what I brought to the table last year.

DU: Ouch. I warned FSU fans last year, and they got mad when I called Reid the poor man's Ryan Broyles, but those complaints mysteriously disappeared following the game. Weird.

The bad news for Reid and the Seminoles next year is Oklahoma's found a handful of other receivers around Broyles, mainly Kenny Stills, so even if Reid plays well, Oklahoma could still have a big day through the air. Should be a great game. Definitely the best Big 12 nonconference game.


Dan Beebe at Big 12 Headquarters writes: Ubben,What did I tell you all along? I'm an F-18 bro! I always take care of business! WINNING!

DU: Obnoxious as this email is, I'd say the Fake Dan Beebes of the world have earned a bit of room to crow, no? Heck of a deal.


DJ in Lisbon, Portugal, writes: Concerning the new TV deal and how it pertains to the School Networks(Sooner and Longhorn). If I read correctly FSN has the rights to each schools home game unless picked up by ESPN. So that takes care of all conference games. OU and UT only have 1 OOC away game. OU has FSU and UT has UCLA. Both of those match-ups are intriguing and are most likely to be picked up by ESPN. That is all of this upcoming seasons games accounted for. So where does that leave the School Networks? It seems like they will have no live football games, the driving force for the networks creation, to show.

DU: Well, no. There's still three nonconference games, and right now, the point is that schools still hold those third-tier rights for games not picked up by FSN or ESPN and can monetize them any way they see fit, whether it be streaming it online, getting a local broadcast or setting up a pay-per-view broadcast. Texas, clearly, would broadcast theirs on the Longhorn Network. Oklahoma's network, if it becomes a reality, won't be up by this football season.

And I would disagree that live football games are the driving force for networks. When you only have one a year, you don't launch a 24-hour network on the basis of one lame nonconference game a year. The driving force is a fan hunger for more from each school, but they'll feed that with a combination of some basketball games, almost all the baseball games, and other Olympic sports, as well as coaches shows and game replays, whether they be recent or historic. You'd be surprised at how many Texas fans would sit down and watch the 2005 Rose Bowl on repeat.

Think of it like "A Clockwork Orange," except the opposite.


Boone Pickens in Stillwater, Okla., and Dallas, Texas, writes: Ubben, I put a lot of money into OK State, are they finally going to give me a return on my investment by winning the big 12 this year? or at least make a BCS bowl?

DU: This year seems like a good chance. Oklahoma is going to make it tough for anyone else to win the Big 12, but if the Cowboys can beat Texas A&M early in the year and make it through the regular season with just one loss or so, even a loss to Oklahoma at the end of the year should be good enough to keep them in the serious hunt for an at-large BCS bid, thanks to a likely preseason top 10 ranking. My guess right now is Oklahoma wins the league, and either A&M or OSU gets an at-large berth in the BCS. They'll be in position.

Also, if any of you have seen season five of "Friday Night Lights," the fake Boone Pickens character is hilarious. He's a big booster for "Oklahoma Tech" whose color is orange. His money is from oil, he has buildings on campus named after him and a special suite in the stadium. He's also unabashedly Texan.

Awesome.

Also, I'm pretty sure they shot that at Texas' stadium, ironically. I could be wrong, but it looked like Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium to me.

The Big 12 has some interesting ties to that show, now one of my favorites on TV. Mack Brown plays a booster in the pilot and Mike Leach makes an appearance as (kind of) himself later on. Their acting jobs were all really good, I thought. Much, much better than the awful coach acting in "The Blind Side."


Alex in Lubbock, Texas, asked: What kind of impact do you see Delvin Simmons having this year for Texas Tech?

DU: It's way, way too early to start talking about that. Clearly, the potential is there with his size (6-foot-4, 295 pounds) and his athleticism, but you never know with players until they actual put pads on and get in practice. Maybe he's a bust. Maybe he's the next Ndamukong Suh. We won't have any idea until he actually starts practicing. It's way too tough to tell this early. It's a huge pickup for Texas Tech, the type of player it just didn't get in its program previously, but let's not shackle the kid with crazy expectations a day after he signs with a school.


Sam in Columbia, Mo., writes: Hey david, love the blog. I was reading Ivan Maisel's three point stance this evening and he's of the opinion that the new deal with Fox is make th Big 12 as imbalanced as ever. Any thoughts?

DU: He's definitely right, but my question is, what are people going to do about it, other than complain and keep hating Texas? The Longhorns made $35 million more than anyone else in the Big 12 in gross income last year, and once the money from the Longhorn Network kicks in, that gap will only grow.

Is that healthy for the league? Definitely not. But Texas is in the Big 12, and they're not going anywhere. It built this program and it's enjoying the fruits of that. The school is fortunate to be the flagship of a huge, productive state with a big recruiting base in every sport and has solid academics. Other than a healthy dose of "Deal With It," I don't see much anyone else in the league can do about it.


Vusani in Swaziland asks: David, could you give us a simplified explanation of 1st, 2nd and 3rd tier rights and how that translates into funding with the new FOX TV contract? I have no idea what that means except that A&M is cranky again.

DU: Tier I rights are basically the huge football games, ones with big national appeal. That's your Red River Rivalry, Bedlam last year, the Lone Star Showdown in other years, basically the elite football games that the casual college football fan would care about. This is, as I understand it, a selection of 18 games. ESPN and ABC have these and they can select them in the week or two leading up to the game, so they get the most attractive matchups.

Tier II is the next set of games. Good games, but games likely only relevant to Big 12 audiences, so mostly conference games like, say, Kansas-Baylor last year or Oklahoma State-Kansas State. Now, there are 40 of these games.

Tier III includes the games that are only relevant to a certain fan base. That's your Northern Iowa-Iowa State matchups, for instance. I'm oversimplifying this to just football, but Tier III also includes Olympic sports like baseball or softball or women's basketball that people might want to watch, but untelevised games previously went unused. The Big 12 is now trying to position itself as a league that allows schools to profit off these events by monetizing them in a Big 12 Network or a school broadcast somehow.

The Big Ten, meanwhile, doesn't allow schools to monetize their third-tier rights and the Pac-12 likely will not allow schools to do that, either. That's a big reason why Texas, which has a market for its own network and stands the most to gain off these third-tier rights, didn't want to go to the Pac-16.


Taylor B in College Station, Texas asked: Hey David, thanks for all the work covering the Big 12. Question about my Ags DC Tim DeRuyter. He supposedly told Sherman than he wouldn't leave for another DC position to another school, that it would have to be a head coaching position. In your mind, what might lure him away. Do you think he would leave for HC position at, say a CUSA school or something on that level, or would it take a school in a BCS conference to lure him away?

DU: It's all about finding the right opportunity. You have to find a school where you can win and not hit a dead-end in your coaching career. Conference isn't as important as the exact school. Mississippi State? Vanderbilt? Sure, you're in the SEC. But say, West Virginia or Tulsa? A much better job, because you can win big there, even if you're in a less prestigious league like the Big East or Conference USA.


Dave R in Houston asks: Do you like Freebirds, Qdoba or Chipotle most?

DU: I'm not a huge Mexican food guy, but give me Chipotle. Qdoba is just OK. Freebirds is vastly overrated.


Jeff in Omaha, Neb., asks: Tell me to stop being excited about the Clones. This happens every year during spring ball. Is 7 or 8 possible with our schedule? What are the chances Jantz pulls a Martinez when when he gets ESPN on an off night v UConn?

DU: It's not impossible. I talked to Paul Rhoads earlier this week (ISU fans, heads up for a few Cyclones stories next week) and it's clear that Jantz is by far the fastest quarterback on the roster. I'm excited to see him in action.

A little love for every Big 12 team

February, 14, 2011
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We asked you to provide a few things you love about your team last week, and you answered in a big way. It was a little difficult to pare down all the responses, but here's why you guys love your respective teams.

Eathan in Manhattan, Kan., writes: The one thing I love most about my Wildcats is the overwhelming feel of family. We are allowed the best seats for students. The school puts emphasis in alum and fan relations and makes sure they are happy. K-State is a family and you feel at home when you step on Wildcat soil.

Matt Kuhns in Lakewood, Ohio, writes: Love about the Cyclones: Being "the cyclones." Lots of bulldogs, large cats and predatory birds in sports; not many tornadoes. So at least we've got that!

mhbtiger in KC, Mo., writes: My favorite tradition is the MIZZOU to TIGERS during pregame. The band makes the transition during the Fight Song. And speaking of...I like how we have 2 songs that fit together so nicely..A close 2nd is the Missouri Waltz at the end of the 3rd Q. Go! Fight! Win! TIGERS!!!

Tanner D. in Huntsville, Ala., writes: The things I love most about Oklahoma are Bob Stoops (not our first great coach), and seeing our players wear the Golden Hat Trophy after beating Texas.

Patrick Woo in State College, Penn., writes: About my Texas Longhorns, I LOVE...the burnt orange, Bevo, the logo, the success, but most importantly how Mack Brown and others conduct themselves and the class they do with it. Those are the people in the world that you should admire.I am FIRED up for 2011 and I love absolutely love Bryan Harsin. TEXAS is my life, but I'll admit I was riding the Boise Bus in 2010 and now we have Harsin.

Matt in Texas writes: I love the way oklahoma absolutely buries everybody at home, even top 5 teams! I just wish they could do it on the road...this is an abusive relationship.

Alex in Dallas writes: I love that our school, Baylor, lets the freshmen on the field to celebrate with the team before the game! Nowhere else can say that!

Dan in Dallas writes: What's my favorite thing about Iowa State: The story of Jack Trice, who Iowa State is named after. Amazing letter he wrote to himself the night before he died from injuries at the football game the next day. Great story here.

Tommy B in Stillwater, Okla., writes: I think one of the best atmospheres is at Boone Pickens Stadium. Where else is the student section no more than a few feet away from the field with paddles banging on mats the whole game? As former Texas A&M coach Jackie Sherrill once said, "I always hated playing in Stillwater because the crowd is right on top of you. The fans sit right on top of the field. You turn around and there is a fan in your face." Better tell Landry Jones not to turn around this year....

Jesse in KC writes: I love that we have a coach the whole school can get behind now, and have faith in, even if the first year was kind of tough: Turner Gill!

Josiah in Houston writes: David, gotta say love the blog. i've been an Aggie fan since they day i was born and i gotta say the thing i love most about my team is waching the team saw varsity's horns off after a win.

Drew in Austin writes: I love the burnt orange and white, the thundering roar of the crowd, the eyes of Texas, Texas fight, cannon shots after Texas touchdowns, old friends you see every football season, the overall aura of Saturdays at the DKR, it just doesn't get any better than that. I love the Red Out Around the World video Nebraska launched, and then proceeded to get beat yet again by a Texas team that history will show was inferior. What a beautiful way to send Nebraska out of the Big 12. 9-1 in Big 12 play against Nebraska.

Brian McCandless in Manhattan, Kan., writes: My absolute favorite things about K-State are the two things that I believe are the most unique as well. First is the Wabash Cannonball. There's nothing like watching the student section perform this mind-boggling back-and-forth dance that harks back to a fire that burned down the music building. The only surviving piece of music was the Wabash Cannonball and the band played it a lot for the basketball game following the fire. Thus the dance.The other is Willie the Wildcat doing K-S-U. Not only is Willie very unique with only a head as part of his costume, but performing the letters to the chant of the crowd is one of the more spine-tingling moments for every game - especially when we beat KU or Nebraska and it feels so good.K! S! U! Wildcats! K! S! U! Wildcats! Kaaaaaay! Essssssssssss! Uuuuuuuuuu! Wildcats!Go Cats!

Patrick Jeter in College Station, Texas, writes: What isn't there to love about Texas A&M, more-so now that our football team is on the verge of being truely great this season. From the Corps of Cadets marching in, Revielle on the sidelines, and who can forget the yells (along with Yell Practice)?!I believe that is what sets us apart from almost any other school in the country, win or lose we are there until the final minute yelling our heads off, when most fans would bail.

Adam Dalby in Louisville, Ky., writes: Three thingsI love about Texas Tech: 1) Always have a winning record/in a bowl game...even during rebuilding years. 2) TTU's Under Armour deal. Unquestionably the coolest jersey's and I am definitely unsurpassed with my alma mater workout attire at the gym. 3) Gameday in the LBK.

Garrett Morgan in Austin writes: I am a Red Raider who grew up in Austin and left for Lubbock to attend Texas Tech. I never thought that I would cheer for any team other than the Longhorns growing up here, but after a year in Lubbock I was bleeding red and black. I always loved our all black uniforms and the way that the city with a small town feel rallied behind their team during the high and low times. To this day I never get more pumped than on a Red Raider football Saturday.

Russell in Norwalk, Iowa, writes: I love Paul Rhoads as head coach of the Iowa State Cyclones. I loved Mac, but Rhoads may take over as the greatest Cyclone football coach in my life.

Ben in San Antonio writes: Harrell to Crabtree......TOUCHDOWN Red Raiders!

Lunch links: Time for spring game at night

February, 4, 2011
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I, unfortunately, punched Ron in the face, and in some way, it kind of brought the house a lot closer.

Lunch links: Boone Pickens feels your pain

January, 28, 2011
1/28/11
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Lectures about libertarianism really are best delivered while grilling in one's office.

Lunch links: Assessing all 12 programs

November, 17, 2010
11/17/10
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Look, guys, it's not up for discussion. You do not spray Athlete's Foot medicine in your teammates' eyes.

Lunch links: Cowboys deserve more respect

July, 6, 2010
7/06/10
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Fear not! For the Big 12 blog will survive the tyranny of Prince!

Lunch links: Ride it out, Forlorn Five

June, 11, 2010
6/11/10
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Lots of happenings means lots of links.

Big changes expected for Big 12 during upcoming decade

January, 22, 2010
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The Big 12 had an eventful decade in the one that just concluded. Two national championships, seven trips to the BCS national title game and a spectator-friendly offensive attack earned the league much national notoriety.

But you haven’t seen anything yet.

With that in mind, I dusted off my crystal ball and looked ahead to see some of the major events that we could see during the upcoming decade.
  • We’ll see some realignment in the league as Missouri leaves for the Big Ten and TCU is added to fill the Tigers' place. That move will give Big 12 leaders an excuse for realignment that eventually will be selected from a blind draw of plans at Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe’s desk. The Osborne Division will have Nebraska, Colorado, Baylor, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. The Royal Division will give a home to TCU, Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa State, Kansas and Kansas State. After four years of play, that grouping will prove so unpopular that the old divisional format will be adapted with TCU joining the South Division and Oklahoma State moving to the North.
  • Mike Leach eventually will return to the Big 12 – but this time as a television analyst. His quirky conversational style will be panned by the critics but embraced by fans. And he’ll also appear on television in a continuing role of his good friend Donald Trump’s series “The Apprentice.”
  • After being rebuffed by the major television networks, the Big 12 and Pac-10 will strike out on their own with a television network jointly owned by both. It will give us a late game every Thursday night from the Pac-10, along with an early Big 12 game every Saturday at noon. The two conferences will share the prime Saturday afternoon programming window and games on Saturday night, building national awareness for both conferences.
  • The most intriguing part of the Pac-10/Big 12 programming association will be the “Kickoff Classic,” a week-long start of the season where the Big 12 teams will meet their counterparts from the Pac-10 in a series of eight games each year. The series starts off with a bang when USC beats Texas in 2015 at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, earning a measure of revenge for losing to the Longhorns in the national championship game in 2006.
  • By that time, Will Muschamp will have taken over at Texas. Mack Brown will remain at Texas through the 2012 season, celebrating as Garrett Gilbert leads the Longhorns to the national championship with a victory over Ohio State in the BCS title game. After that game, Brown announces his resignation, with Muschamp taking over and naming Major Applewhite as his offensive coordinator and Kirby Smart as his defensive coordinator in his first series of personnel moves.
  • Bob Stoops’ association with Oklahoma will end in the middle of the decade when he accepts an offer to become the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. At the time, it will end the longest association of any Big 12 coach with their school. He’ll be replaced at Oklahoma by Houston coach Kevin Sumlin.
  • After Bo Pelini leaves for the vacant LSU job after the 2014 season, former Cornhusker Turner Gill takes over the Nebraska program after developing his Kansas program into a solid bowl contender. His hiring is one of the last acts that Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne orchestrates before his retirement.
  • Much to the chagrin of football fans, the BCS will endure. We’ll see one alteration, however. A “plus-one” model will be added with one game added for the national championship. Texas, Nebraska and Oklahoma all will win national championships during the upcoming decade. With Boone Pickens' influence lessening, Oklahoma State will fall back into a lesser position in the South. And Colorado will go through two head coaches in the decade before hiring Kyle Shanahan in 2018.
  • Thanks to huge seasons from Robert Griffin and national interception leader Ahmad Dixon, Baylor will end its bowl drought with an appearance in the 2011 Texas Bowl. To celebrate, the Dr Pepper bottlers in Waco will release a commemorative bottle that becomes a prized collectors’ item.
  • One change in the BCS will affect the Big 12. The Cotton Bowl eventually will become the fifth bowl in the national title rotation. To fill that hole, the Alamo Bowl will move to New Year’s Day as the destination for the top Big 12 team that doesn’t make the BCS.

Why Muschamp, Kiffin made wise choices

January, 15, 2010
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I’ve been intrigued by all the commentary in recent days about Lane Kiffin’s move from Tennessee to USC.

Fans and pundits have castigated Kiffin about his move to a job that has to rank among the top 10 in college football -- even after some of the Trojans’ pending dealings with the NCAA.

Soon thereafter, Texas assistant coach Will Muschamp was thrown into the conversation as a potential replacement for Kiffin at Tennessee. Muschamp, who is the coach-in-waiting at Texas, apparently had the chance to make an unprecedented salary for a first-time college football coach if had decided to lead the Volunteers.

Muschamp opted to stay in Texas, which I believe was a wise choice. The promise of the Longhorns’ top job, even if he has to wait on Mack Brown’s retirement for several seasons, is still is better than the Tennessee job will ever be.

And who can blame Kiffin for trading the life at Tennessee for the glitz and glitter of living in southern California? It seems like an easy choice, particularly because the USC program is a better job.

While I was talking with Nebraska defensive coordinator Carl Pelini last night, we started ticking off an informal list of the best jobs in college football. Here’s my list of the 10 most attractive head coaching positions in college football. Three of them are in the Big 12.

1. Texas: It’s got it all -- facilities, support, tradition and located within a rich recruiting base. Mack Brown has made this the nation’s best job. Muschamp would be crazy to skedaddle to Rocky Top and leave this behind.

2. Florida: Recruiting might be better than Texas and the location provides a beach lifestyle. The only trouble with this job, compared to Texas, is that Florida’s place in the SEC is a little more tenuous than Texas’ place in the Big 12.

3. Ohio State: Tradition, facilities and an unmatched place in the pecking order of the Big Ten. Some coaches would love the weather in Columbus, while snowbirds might see it lacking compared to places like those at the top..

4. USC: “Tailback U” has returned to the top thanks to Pete Carroll’s transformation. This is the football team for a southern California without an NFL franchise.

5. Alabama: Still wondering why Dennis Franchione left Alabama for Texas A&M. Another stadium expansion after this season’s national championship has made this a job that Nick Saban would willingly leave one of the NFL’s flagship franchises to return to. Considering his college allegiance, he’s a smart man.

6. Oklahoma: Bob Stoops might have the best setup in coaching considering he’s working for Joe Castiglione and David Boren. Recruiting will always be a matter of plucking Texas players and Stoops has done a marvelous job at that over the years.

7. Penn State: It will be interesting to see who follows Joe Paterno when he finally decides to hang up his whistle. This is one of the Big Ten’s best jobs with facilities and history to match. It might be daunting to follow Paterno, however.

8. Notre Dame: Still has the attention of NBC and the tradition of college football’s most storied program. Can they find the right coach to return Notre Dame to its place of dominance?

9. LSU: There’s a reason why Les Miles decided to stay here rather than pursue the Michigan job. Rabid talent base and SEC television money make this one special. And you can eat good crawfish any time you want.

10. Nebraska: The only drawback for this job is its lack of a fertile home recruiting area. But other than that, this job has got it all including one of the nation’s most knowledgeable fan bases. It’s the biggest unifier for the entire state as college football is clearly king here.

I would have a few other jobs like Georgia, Tennessee, Oregon, UCLA and Florida State ranked just below these top jobs. Texas A&M would be in my top 20. Oklahoma State -- as long as Boone Pickens is financially priming the pump -- would be in my top 30.

I’m curious what the readers might think in terms of a top 10 of destination coaching jobs? Please feel free to provide your rationale to back up your assertions.

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