Big 12: Jack Mildren

Big 12 links: Holder unfazed by Gundy's unsigned contract

June, 4, 2009
6/04/09
1:36
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

I know the pressures of coaching command a lot of time.

But I'm still surprised to learn about Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy and his lack of diligence in signing his new contract.

Tulsa World columnist Dave Sittler reports that Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder is unconcerned that Gundy has yet to sign the seven-year, $15.7 million contract extension approved by the school's board of trustees last December.

I know that Gundy's wife must be a little bit more forgiving than mine. Because if it were me, he would be receiving frequent "honey-do" reminders a couple of times a day about that little contract task that needed to be taken care of.

While Oklahoma State awaits Gundy's signature on the dotted line, here are a few lunchtime links for your perusal.

  • The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's staff kicks around whether Sheldon Richardson really will really honor his commitment to Missouri after junior college.
  • T. Boone Pickens might have pumped millions into the Oklahoma State program. But he tells the Associated Press' Jeff Latzke that archrival Oklahoma has "got to be a front-runner for the BCS."
  • Great piece this morning from Brian Christopherson of the Lincoln Journal Star who retells the story of Jack Best, who inspired Nebraska to a stunning 1922 victory over a Notre Dame team that included the Four Horsemen on it.
  • Missouri coaches note the lack of national respect the program has earned despite back-to-back championship game appearances, the Kansas City Star's Mike DeArmond writes.
  • The Des Moines Register reports that Iowa State has become the first Big 12 school to cease printed football media guides. School officials say the decision is a cost-cutting measure.
  • Former Texas A&M defensive lineman Charlie Krueger, former Texas Tech wide receiver Dave Parks and former Baylor wide receiver Lawrence Elkins are among the nominees for the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, the Waco Tribune-Herald reports. Other college nominees on the 20-person list include former Oklahoma player and Abilene native Jack Mildren and Corpus Christi native and former Missouri All-American Johnny Roland, according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.
  • Ben Jones of the Texas Tech Daily Toreador wonders whether the Red Raiders can really consistently fill 60,000 seats at an expanded Jones AT&T Stadium.
  • Former Texas A&M linebacker/safety Billy Chavis has transferred to the fledgling football program at Lamar University, writes Brent Zwerneman of the San Antonio Express-News/Houston Chronicle. And the Bryan Eagle's Robert Cessna writes that Chavis never fulfilled his recruiting hype while at A&M.
  • Remember the names of Sherrod Harris, Landry Jones and Alex Cate, among others. The Heisman Pundit takes a look at the backups of Heisman Trophy candidates.
  • The Sporting News' Matt Hayes picks Colorado and Oklahoma State among the five teams whose record will improve the most this season. Hayes picks the Buffaloes to finish 9-4 and Oklahoma State to go 12-1.
  • Several commentators on a College Football News panel select Texas Tech among the programs accomplishing the most with the least in college football.
  • Former 13-year NFL veteran Ashley Ambrose is excited about his new role as an assistant coach in waiting for Colorado, the Boulder Daily Camera's Kyle Ringo reports.

The Big 12 loves to hate the Longhorns

July, 29, 2008
7/29/08
11:02
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Even a revered figure like Walter Cronkite can inspire hatred and jealously in the Big 12.

"Uncle Walter's" dulcet tones have been used for an advertising campaign to hype enrollment at Texas, a school that he once attended.

"We're Texas," Cronkite booms out during commercial breaks for Longhorn games at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium and on network broadcasts. "What starts here changes the world."

But to most other rivals across the conference, that advertising slogan encapsulates all that they detest with the Big 12's largest and wealthiest school.

That attitude has helped many Big 12 rivals detest all things Longhorn -- from the Big Bertha drum and Bevo to "The Eyes of Texas" and the "Hook 'em" hand sign.

Longhorn fans are considered arrogant and privileged by some of their Big 12 opponents. The school's vast accumulation of wealth through the Permanent University Fund helped provide it with a huge early head start over most universities. That largesse has grown over the years, enabling Texas to have the largest endowment in 2007 of any public university in the nation.

That money, along with a deep collection of big-time boosters, has helped fuel an incredible facilities push for the Longhorns over the last few years that has left most other Big 12 schools choking in their dust. Texas coaches typically are paid more than their counterparts across the nation and most don't want to leave the Austin lifestyle if they can help it.

The Longhorns' sports marketing program made history in the euphoria of their 2005 national championship by generating more royalties than any college or university.

Recent additions at DKR Stadium have made it the conference's biggest facility and the one with the coolest trinkets. The massive Godzillatron scoreboard is the world's largest HDTV, a 55-by-134 foot conversation starter that is only 11 yards narrower than the football field.

The natural propensity of some Texans to be loud and boastful about their team's successes tends to rub many of those from outside the state in the wrong manner.

"We don't keep up with the Jones," Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds once famously said. "We are the Joneses."

Try telling that to fans of the 11 other Big 12 teams who struggle to keep up with their neighbors with the biggest house and largest budget.

The Longhorns are considered the biggest rival for all three Big 12 Texas-based schools and Oklahoma, too. Ask any Arkansas fan who they love to hate the most and you'll still hear Texas mentioned, even though the Longhorns and Razorbacks haven't been conference rivals in 17 years.

Other schools have their haters as well. Oklahoma is perceived by many Longhorn boosters on par with athlete's foot and increasing gas prices. The Sooners have also rubbed many in Texas over the years by plundering state for many great football players like Greg Pruitt, Jack Mildren, Brian Bosworth and Adrian Peterson. And the Sooners' recent success in the Red River Rivalry under Bob Stoops has been difficult for Texas fans to swallow, along with their history-making back-to-back Big 12 titles.

Colorado fans are considered to be apart from the rest of the conference because of how different the Rocky Mountain lifestyle is with many other schools in the conference. Texas A&M's military traditions, although beloved by former students, aren't exactly embraced by many rivals. And Nebraska still is perceived by many other rivals as "The Big Red Monster," no matter how quaint their fans' tradition of clapping for vanquished opponents at Memorial Stadium might be.

But everybody else sits behind Texas -- at least in the Big 12.

Why? The slogan says it all.

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