Big 12: Brian Kelly
- Mark Emmert of the Des Moines Register gives ISU fans three big reasons for optimism moving forward.
- Former Iowa State linebacker A.J. Klein officially signed his contract with the Carolina Panthers on Thursday.
- An arrest was made in the death of a former Kansas football player.
- Kansas coach Charlie Weis made more from Notre Dame in 2011 than coach Brian Kelly did, reports Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune.
- John Klein of the Tulsa World wants a rule change in the wake of the Wes Lunt transfer issue.
The award's voted on by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and Ohio State's Urban Meyer, Notre Dame's Brian Kelly, Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin and Alabama's Nick Saban join him as finalists for the award.
Snyder already won the Big 12 Coach of the Year and was also honored as the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year during this year's Chick-Fil-A Bowl. He's been up for a few other national coaching awards, too. If further voting has to take place, I can't imagine the Wildcats' bowl loss to Oregon helped, but there's no taking away K-State's big accomplishments yet this season. Picked to finish sixth in the Big 12, the Wildcats won their first 10 games and reached No. 1 in the BCS, eventually winning the Big 12 and clinching a BCS berth for the first time since 2003.
He's the only Big 12 representative on the list.
Snyder's toughest competition for the award will likely come from Notre Dame's Brian Kelly and Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin, who also made the list. Penn State's Bill O'Brien may be in the mix, too.
Michigan's Brady Hoke won the award last year.
Kansas State reached 10-0 and No. 1 in the BCS before losing to Baylor this week and falling to No. 6 in the BCS standings. The Wildcats are off this week, but can win the Big 12 title with a win over Texas in Manhattan next week.
Fifth-ranked Notre Dame sent a message to the rest of college football with a 30-13 win over No. 8 Oklahoma at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on Saturday night. Here's a closer look at what happened and what it means for both teams.
How the game was won: In the trenches. Notre Dame shut down OU’s run game while rushing for 215 yards of its own. The Fighting Irish offensive and defensive lines manhandled the Sooners as Notre Dame improved to 8-0.
The game was over when: Irish kicker Kyle Brindza hit a 46-yard field goal to give Notre Dame a 23-13 lead with 3:22 remaining. The Irish tacked on a late touchdown to win by 17 points.
Turning point: After OU tied the game at 13 midway through the fourth quarter, the Irish stormed back on their next possession, sparked by a 50-yard reception from Chris Brown. It was a remarkable response to the Sooners. Everett Golson’s 1-yard touchdown run capped the drive and secured the win.
Stat of the game: 0.6. That’s the yards-per-carry average for Oklahoma. The Irish run defense was highly regarded when they arrived in Norman. And they didn’t disappoint, holding OU to 15 yards on 24 carries.
Player of the game: Manti Te’o. The Notre Dame linebacker was all over the field for the Irish. He sealed the victory with his fourth-quarter interception and finished the game with 11 tackles, one sack and one interception. He played like a Heisman candidate, leaving his mark on the game with his aggression and hustle.
Unsung hero of the game: Golson. The redshirt freshman quarterback showed exceptional maturity and savvy. He made plays when they were there, tossed the ball out of bounds when they weren't. He finished 13-of-25 for 177 yards with zero turnovers and added 11 rushes for 64 yards and one touchdown. He didn't play like a first-year player.
What Notre Dame learned: Brian Kelly’s rebuilding job appears to be nearing completion. Programs are built on wins like this. With a road win against the Sooners, Kelly’s team made its case earn a spot in the BCS title game. And, at the very least, Irish fans must be thrilled with the progress of Kelly’s program during his third season in South Bend.
What Oklahoma learned: Winning home games against top-25 opponents isn’t as easy as it seemed under Bob Stoops. After heading into the season undefeated against top-25 teams at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium under Stoops, the Sooners suffered their second loss to a Top-25 opponent this year. No. 3 Kansas State knocked off the Sooners on Sept. 22.
What it means: The Irish are for real. Notre Dame is making a strong case to rise to No. 2 in the BCS standings. With wins over Stanford, Michigan, Michigan State and OU, the Irish have a solid résumé and can make a case for a spot in the BCS title game.
At the end of the regular season, the veil comes off. Every now and then, there's an interesting note or two, and this year is no exception.
You can see all the coaches' ballots in this well-done chart.
Note: Plenty of coaches let a graduate assistant handle the duties during the season, but the majority will take over duties at the end of the season for the ballot that becomes public.
The following Big 12 coaches are voters: Art Briles (Baylor), Bo Pelini (Nebraska), Gary Pinkel (Missouri), Mike Sherman (Texas A&M), Paul Rhoads (Iowa State), Tommy Tuberville (Texas Tech)
The coaches poll is factored into the BCS standings, along with the computer rankings and the Harris poll.
A few notes:
- All but four coaches voted their teams higher than its actual rank, but Bo Pelini ranked Nebraska No. 8, eight spots higher than its actual rank. Robb Akey at Idaho had the Huskers the next-highest, at No. 11. The Huskers beat the Vandals earlier this season.
- Pinkel ranked Missouri No. 11. The Tigers came in at No. 14 in the final poll.
- Sherman ranked Texas A&M No. 15. The Aggies came in at No. 17 in the final poll.
- Pelini and Pinkel were the only voters in the Big 12 whose ballots contained all 25 teams on the final poll.
- Who had Auburn No. 1? Pelini, Rhoads and Tuberville.
- Who had Oregon No. 1? Briles, Pinkel and Sherman.
Finally, here's who ranked the Big 12 teams the highest and the lowest.
- No. 8 Oklahoma: Jim Harbaugh, Stanford (No. 5); Three coaches ranked Oklahoma No. 12. (Steve Fairchild, Colorado State; Al Golden, Temple; Chris Petersen, Boise State)
- No. 13 Oklahoma State: Two coaches ranked OSU No. 11. (Jim Harbaugh, Stanford; Tom O'Brien, NC State.) Interestingly, no coaches voted OSU at No. 17, but two had it at No. 18. (Mike MacIntyre, San Jose State; Robb Akey, Idaho)
- No. 14 Missouri: Three coaches had Missouri at No. 11. (Todd Berry, Louisiana-Monroe; Gary Pinkel, Missouri; Ron Zook, Illinois). Greg Schiano at Rutgers had the Tigers the lowest, at No. 17.
- No. 16 Nebraska: Pelini obviously had the Huskers the highest, at No. 8, and Akey had them at No. 11. New Mexico coach Mike Locksley had the Huskers at No. 21.
- No. 17 Texas A&M: Brian Kelly at Notre Dame had the Aggies the highest, at No. 11. Five coaches had the Aggies at No. 19.
Yeah, this probably counts.
Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday night that the Longhorns were in negotiation with Notre Dame for a series beginning in 2015. Despite the Irish's recent struggles, the news in wake of Brown's comments serve as both a legitimization of the program and an endorsement for incoming coach Brian Kelly, who aims to have the Irish back at the top of the college football world by then.
Only Michigan and yes, Texas, have more wins in college football history.
A Texas official declined to comment to ESPN.com
According to the report, the series will likely run for four years, but the details of where the games will be played is unknown.
Texas needs a schedule bump to replace the loss of the Big 12 title game, which will almost certainly go away after this year's game at Cowboys Stadium. If Kelly has the Irish back in the Top 10 annually by 2015, Texas can consider the series a mission accomplished.
At the worst, the Irish are still a big-name team that Longhorns fans will flock to wherever the game is held.
Read these to keep your mind on Big 12 football while everybody else hogs the New Year's Day spotlight.
- Texas Tech inside receivers coach Lincoln Riley was a high school quarterback at Muleshoe, Texas, during Mike Leach’s first two seasons at the school. Now, the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal’s Don Williams reports, Riley will be calling the team’s plays Saturday night in the Valero Alamo Bowl against Michigan State.
- Austen Arnaud credited Iowa State’s defense for coming together to provide the Cyclones’ Insight Bowl victory over Minnesota, Randy Peterson of the Des Moines Register reports. And the Register’s Sean Keeler opines that the Cyclones’ victory won’t earn many style points, but who’s complaining?
- Oklahoma’s first bowl victory since 2005 was an emotional statement for the Sooners, the Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel reports.
- Gary Pinkel tells the Kansas City Star’s Mike DeArmond that Missouri’s 35-13 thumping at the hands of Navy was the worst bowl-game performance in his head-coaching career. And the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Bernie Miklasz details five reasons why the Midshipmen unexpectedly dominated the Tigers in the Texas Bowl.
- It was fitting that El Paso was the site of Landry Jones’ record-setting bowl passing performance for Oklahoma, according to the Tulsa World’s Dave Sittler.
- ESPN.com’s Ivan Maisel predicts that Oklahoma will return to the top 10 next season.
- Richmond defensive coordinator and former Baylor coach Vic Shealy will join Turner Gill’s staff at Kansas, Dugan Arnett of the Lawrence Journal-World reports.
- Brian Hamilton of Chicago Breaking Sports.com reports that former Kansas offensive coordinator Ed Warriner will join Brian Kelly’s staff at Notre Dame as an offensive line coach.
- The Associated Press’ Alan Scher Zagier reports that athletes including football players were 10 times as likely to get special admission exemptions at Baylor, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma than the general student population.
- The Tulsa World’s Bill Haisten writes about the personnel challenges that Zac Robinson has overcome to take Oklahoma State to a 9-3 record this season.
- The Birmingham News’ Kevin Scarbinsky thinks that Auburn made an astute move in avoiding Mike Leach.
- The Valero Alamo Bowl might be better suited for Court TV, according to the Detroit Free Press' Michael Rosenberg.
Kelly said that if Nebraska had held on for a victory over Texas in the Big 12 title game, he likely still would be the coach at Cincinnati.
With the BCS rankings after the conference championship games, a Texas loss would have catapulted the Bearcats into the national championship game against Alabama rather than Texas.
"Who knows what would have happened if Nebraska wins that game," Kelly said on "The Afternoon Saloon" on ESPN 1000. "I might not be here at Notre Dame because we don't know if they would have waited for me, because I was going to play in the national championship game."
On several occasions in the past several weeks, Kelly has mentioned Adi Kunalic's critical out-of-bounds kickoff that preceded Hunter Lawrence's game-winning field goal. He mentioned it again Tuesday on Dan Patrick's national radio show.
"The kickoff specialist from Nebraska will not be getting a Christmas card from us," Kelly said.
Kelly also mentioned that he'd consider playing Texas as he builds his Notre Dame program.
"When you look at the teams that carry the same mission [as Notre Dame], Texas does that obviously," he said. "Those kinds of schools really are attractive to me.
"[Athletic director] Jack Swarbrick and I will sit down and look at our schedule as we move forward. I want to be around the best, because we're asked to be the best. And that's the kind of schedule I want."
The Longhorns and Notre Dame last played in 1996 in the first season of Big 12 play. Notre Dame has not played a Big 12 school since 2001 when it played Texas A&M and Nebraska. The Irish also met Baylor in 1998, Kansas and Oklahoma in 1999 and Texas A&M and Nebraska in 2000 and 2001.
They have future games against Baylor in New Orleans and at Oklahoma in 2012, at home against Oklahoma in 2013.
Is there any other Big 12 teams that would make an ideal matchup with the Irish and Kelly in future seasons?
How about a reprise of those classic Colorado-Notre Dame bowl games from the early 1990s? Or natural rival Missouri? Or Mike Leach and Texas Tech or Mike Gundy and Oklahoma State taking their teams to play in South Bend, Ind., in future seasons?
The Texas coach picked up a couple of acknowledgements of his 13-0 season today.
His annual contract was bumped from $3 million to $5 million a year through the length of its terms in 2016 by the Texas board of regents.
Brown was scheduled to receive a one-time $2 million payment early next year. University system regents agreed to make that an annual payment for the rest of his contract.
Additionally, Brown will still keep picking up an annual $100,000 per year raise each year in his contract. And he'll pocket a $450,000 bonus if the Longhorns can upset Alabama in the Jan. 7 Citi Bowl Championship Series National Championship game.
And while not as financially beneficial, Brown also was named Wednesday by the Football Writers Association of America among the seven finalists for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award.
Finalists for the award include:
- Texas coach Mack Brown
- TCU coach Gary Patterson
- Oregon coach Chip Kelly
- Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson
- Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly
- Alabama coach Nick Saban
- Boise State coach Chris Petersen
The winner of the FWAA/Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award will be announced and honored at a reception on Jan. 5 in Newport Beach, Calif.
Considering that if Nebraska upsets Texas tonight, the Bearcats will have a better shot at making the BCS title game, Kelly is already making his plans.
"I love Mack Brown," Kelly told ABC-TV after the game. "But we'll be rooting pretty hard for Nebraska. Go Nebraska. Go Cornhuskers."
Kelly's one-night interest in the Big 12 will be matched only by TCU and Coach Gary Patterson's similar rooting interests for Nebraska.