Big 12: Charles Gordon
The demise of Mark Mangino's coaching tenure can't take away from what he accomplished earlier in his career as he made the Kansas program relevant for the first time in the school's Big 12 history.
Here's a look at the players who shaped Kansas' football history during the past decade.
QB: Todd Reesing
RB: Brandon McAnderson
RB: Jon Cornish
WR: Dezmon Briscoe
WR: Kerry Meier
WR: Mark Simmons
OL: Anthony Collins
OL: Justin Hartwig
OL: Joe Vaughn
OL : Ryan Cantrell
C: Joe Vaughn
DL: James McClinton
DL: Nate Dwyer
DL: David McMillan
DL: Charlton Keith
LB: Nick Reid
LB: Joe Mortensen
LB: James Holt
DB: Aqib Talib
DB: Charles Gordon
DB: Darrell Stuckey
DB: Carl Nesmith
P: Kyle Tucker
K: Scott Webb
KR: Marcus Hereford
Offensive player of the decade: QB Todd Reesing. He wasn't the most imposing physically, but Reesing was ideally suited to direct the Jayhawks as a starter for three seasons as the most statistically proficient quarterback in school history.
Defensive player of the decade: DB Aqib Talib. While dabbling as a two-way player, Talib's biggest talents came as a lockdown cornerback. He earned All-American honors as a junior after leading the nation in passes broken up as a sophomore and claiming All-Big 12 honors in both seasons.
Coach of the decade: Mark Mangino. Despite the controversy when he left the Kansas program, Mangino made the Jayhawks a challenger for the Big 12 North title and took them to a BCS bowl game for the first time. In the process he directed Kansas to three straight bowl victories and earned national coach of the year honors in 2007.
Moment of the decade: An opportunistic defense forced three turnovers to pace the Jayhawks to a 24-21 triumph over Virginia Tech in the 2008 Orange Bowl. Aqib Talib's 60-yard interception return for a touchdown started the scoring and earned him game Most Valuable Player honors. It capped a 12-1 season where the Jayhawks notched a school record for victories.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
The most important Big 12 game today will be the first one. Texas travels to Kansas in the only game in the conference today with any real Bowl Championship Series consequences.
The Longhorns need a convincing win over the Jayhawks and some style points along the way wouldn't hurt. And Texas struggled in an almost identical situation four seasons ago.
In 2004, Texas needed some heroics from Vince Young and a questionable offensive pass-interference call on Charles Gordon to escape with a 27-23 victory in that game. Kansas coach Mark Mangino complained bitterly and was even fined by the Big 12 for his postgame comments, but the Longhorns kept winning and later advanced to their first BCS berth that season.
It will be a similarly bitter-cold day at Memorial Stadium, but I'm betting that's where the coincidences end. The Longhorns should have a decided advantage in the trenches, even though they will be missing starting center Chris Hall with a sprained knee. Freshman David Snow gets his first career start.
Texas sack specialist Brian Orakpo is listed as questionable for the game, as is Lamarr Houston. But I still think Texas' substitutes should be able to generate enough pressure to keep Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing discombobulated, particularly if the Jayhawks don't protect him any better than they did against Nebraska's defensive front last week.
The Kansas game is also important because of the North Division title ramifications for later in the evening. If Texas can win, it will provide Missouri a chance to wrap up its second-straight Big 12 North title-game berth by winning at Iowa State.
So I'm betting that the Longhorns have a lot of fans in the "Show-Me State" for the next few hours.
Kickoff is just around the corner, so let's go check it out.
BIG 12 SCOREBOARD
11:00 AM ET Nevada Louisiana-Lafayette 2:20 PM ET Utah State UTEP 3:30 PM ET 22 Utah Colorado State 5:45 PM ET Western Michigan Air Force 9:15 PM ET South Alabama Bowling Green
6:00 PM ET Marshall Northern Illinois 9:30 PM ET Navy San Diego State
12:00 PM ET Central Michigan Western Kentucky 8:00 PM ET Fresno State Rice
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