Big 12: Kevin Steele

Lunch links: Boone Pickens on the map

February, 15, 2013
Sloooowwwww daaaayyyyy.
Hey, I see you Big 12 fans with your recency bias.

"Kansas! Turner Gill's team last season was the worst in the history of the Big 12!"

Yes, those Jayhawks were one of only six teams in Big 12 history to go winless in conference play, and this year's Jayhawks have a chance to make it seven if they don't beat West Virginia on Saturday.

The 2011 team lost six games by at least 30 points and the historically bad defense gave up at least 59 points on four separate occasions. However, those same Jayhawks led a 10-win Baylor team led by Heisman winner Robert Griffin III by 21 points early in the fourth quarter and ran up a 20-point lead on Texas Tech early in the season. They also lost to Iowa State by only three points and beat the MAC champion, Northern Illinois.

Still, I hate to break it to you. Do the research, and you'll find that KU team was probably the best winless team in Big 12 history. Not exactly an accomplishment that will do much except get the coach fired, but on today, we're taking a look at some of the worst teams in the history of the game. Here's how I'd rank the worst teams in the history of the Big 12:

1. 1999 Baylor (1-10, 0-8 Big 12)
Coach: Kevin Steele
Win: 23-10 vs. North Texas
Lowlights: The Bears were in Year 1 of Steele's four-year tenure that peaked with a three-win campaign in 2002. I give these Bears my seal of approval as the worst team in Big 12 history. They lost to Boston College and UNLV in nonconference, and the closest they got to any Big 12 team all season was 20 points, and even that game was in the season finale against Oklahoma State. Along the way, they suffered losses of 62-0 (Texas), 37-0 (Colorado) and 48-7 (Nebraska).

2. 2003 Iowa State (2-10, 0-8 Big 12)
Coach: Dan McCarney
Wins: Northern Iowa, Ohio
Lowlights: This was an oddly awful season sandwiched between four seven-win seasons for McCarney, the best coach in Iowa State history before Paul Rhoads arrived in 2009. ISU lost to Northern Illinois out of conference and had by far the worst finish of any team on this list. In its final five games, it scored seven points twice in blowout losses to KU and Mizzou, and was shut out by Nebraska and K-State. It did score 10 points in a 34-point loss to Colorado, though! ISU came within 21 points of only one Big 12 team that season, losing 40-19 to Texas.

3. 1997 Iowa State (1-10, 1-7 Big 12)
Coach: Dan McCarney
Win: 24-17 vs. Baylor
Lowlights: These Cyclones are the only team on this list with a conference win, but they're a team that deserved special consideration. They went winless in nonconference play with losses to Wyoming (46 points!!), Minnesota (34 points) and Iowa (43 points). They came within seven points in the season opener against Oklahoma State, but suffered a handful of humiliating losses, including a 77-14 beatdown against Nebraska. Missouri (24 points), Texas A&M (39 points) and Kansas State (25 points) all continued the parade.

4. 2002 Kansas (2-10, 0-8 Big 12)
Coach: Mark Mangino
Wins: Southwest Missouri State, Tulsa
Lowlights: This was the first season on the road to an eventual BCS bowl for Mangino. The former OU offensive coordinator had a tough start, getting blasted by Iowa State by 42 points to kick off the season. They also suffered losses to UNLV and Bowling Green. The Jayhawks came within three points of Baylor, but no other Big 12 game was decided by fewer than 24 points. They also suffered a 64-0 loss to K-State and a 45-7 loss to Nebraska.

5. 2007 Baylor (3-9, 0-8 Big 12)
Coach: Guy Morriss
Wins: Rice, Texas State, Buffalo
Lowlights: This was the final season for Morriss at Baylor, and the Bears didn't come within 20 points of winning a Big 12 game. BU kicked off the season with a 27-0 loss to TCU but suffered 31-point losses to Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma to close the year and the Morriss era, ushering in the Art Briles era in Waco. The Bears lost to BCS-bound KU by 48 points that year and suffered a 38-point loss to a Ron Prince-coached Kansas State team.

6. 2008 Iowa State (2-10, 0-8 Big 12)
Coach: Gene Chizik
Wins: South Dakota State, Kent State
Lowlights: Chizik parlayed his 5-19 career record into a head job at Auburn and a national title before being fired earlier this week after a winless season in SEC play. The Cyclones were bad, but far from hopeless. ISU lost its final 10 games, including a loss to UNLV, but also had three Big 12 losses decided by a single possession. It did lose games by 42 (Oklahoma State), 32 (Mizzou) and 28 (Nebraska and Baylor).
Today, we begin a weeklong project looking at the most famous touchdowns from 100+ yards down to one yard, and we'll be taking a look at each of the Big 12 entrants on the blog throughout the week.

You can see the full project here.

Today, we start with the winner for college football's most famous 99-yard touchdown, one of the most disastrous plays in college football history and one of the most infamous plays in the history of Baylor football.

Sept. 11, 1999: This has to rank as one of the biggest coaching blunders in recent memory. Baylor led UNLV 24-21 with 20 seconds left in the game. The Bears had the ball at the UNLV 8-yard line. Take a knee, win the game. Instead, coach Kevin Steele called a run. Almost predictably, Darrell Bush fumbled near the goal line. Kevin Thomas picked up the ball and ran it back 99 yards to win the game.

-- Andrea Adelson

Big 12 lunch links: Donald Trump shows his support for Mike Leach

January, 20, 2010
We've got more lunch links that we can shake a stick at this afternoon.

My doctor tells me that consuming these links every day will help prevent colds.

Call it my version of chicken soup for the Big 12 fan's soul.

Those Big 12 villains you love to hate

August, 17, 2009

Posted by's Tim Griffin

It's the player, school or coach that "done you wrong" once upon a time -- or maybe even repeatedly.

These figures resonate through the years for rival schools, providing an enemy that serves as a unifying element for hatred from fans of a rival school.

Here's a list of Big 12 villains over the years, both historic and present. Take a good look at the grouping and see if you have any recommendations of players or coaches I might have missed.

I'd be curious to see if any coaches or players spark greater antagonism than the ones I've selected.

Baylor Bears

Current villain: Texas coach Mack Brown, who's gone 11-0 against them with no signs of stopping.

All-time villain: Former Baylor coach Kevin Steele. His decision to try to ram in a statement touchdown against UNLV in 1999 blew up in his face like an exploding cigar when Darrell Bush fumbled and Kevin Thomas raced 99 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the game. That play snatched a sure victory from the Bears, making Steele and the Bears the laughingstock of college football. His program never recovered from that moment.

Colorado Buffaloes

Current villain: Wyoming coach Dave Christensen, who piled up 106 straight points against the Buffaloes in the last two seasons while offensive coordinator at Missouri, beating them by a combined 113-10 margin. The Buffaloes will have a chance for payback this season when Christensen brings a less-talented Wyoming team to Boulder.

All-time villain: Nebraska coach Tom Osborne directed the Cornhuskers to a career record of 21-3-1 against the Buffaloes during his coaching stint from 1973-97.

Iowa State Cyclones

Current villain: Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing has thrown seven career TDs against the Cyclones and beaten them twice, including last season's dramatic 35-33 comeback victory.

All-time villain: Iowa coach Hayden Fry, whose homespun witticisms weren't that funny for Cyclone fans when he was winning 15 straight against them from 1983-97.

Kansas Jayhawks

Current villain: Nebraska DT/FB Ndamukong Suh who beat the Jayhawks with a memorable offensive and defensive performance last season and is back for more in 2009.

All-time villain: Kansas State coach Bill Snyder beat the Jayhawks 12 of his last 13 seasons in his first coaching run, including a nine-season streak where he rolled up 41, 38, 48, 54, 50, 52, 40, 64 and 42 points in consecutive blowout victories.

Kansas State Wildcats

Current villain: Kansas running back Jake Sharp grew up only 61 miles from Manhattan in nearby Salina, but has abused them since arriving at college. He's tormented them with five career touchdowns, including four last season.

All-time villain: Texas A&M running back Sirr Parker, whose dramatic game-winning touchdown in overtime snuffed out the Wildcats' national-title hopes in 1998.

Missouri Tigers

Current villain: Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford has beaten the Tigers in the Big 12 title game each of the last two seasons, ruining their hopes for a first Big 12 title.

All-time villain: Colorado coach and former Missouri grad and assistant Bill McCartney should have been magnanimous after getting a gift victory over the Tigers en route to a shared 1990 national title. Instead, he sparked hostility among his old friends by ripping Faurot Field's "treacherous" playing field.

Nebraska Cornhuskers

Current villain: Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel talked a lot of smack and then backed it up by beating the Cornhuskers in each of the last two seasons. And after orchestrating a 52-17 victory in Lincoln last season, he raised the hackles of Cornhusker fans by complaining about Nebraska players spitting on him. He'll be gone this season, but definitely not forgotten among Cornhusker fans.

All-time villain: Oklahoma. Even though the rivalry was marked by immense respect on both sides -- imagine Barry Switzer doing Nebraska television commercials and endorsing Nebraska gubernatorial candidate Tom Osborne -- the Sooners' domination was a constant source of irritation for the Cornhuskers. Oklahoma claimed 16 straight from 1943-59 and beat Osborne in eight of his first nine games against them.

Oklahoma Sooners

Current villain: Those pesky BCS bowls. The Sooners have lost five-straight BCS games, stripping coach Bob Stoops of much of his national stature that should have been gleaned from an unprecedented three-straight Big 12 titles.

All-time villain: Darrell Royal represented the ultimate turncoat to Sooner fans after starring at the school from 1946-49 as a record-setting quarterback and defensive back. His 12-7-1 career record against the Sooners included eight straight victories and 12 of his 14 games against them that made his old friends despise him.

Oklahoma State Cowboys

Current villain: Texas coach Mack Brown, who has run off an 11-0 record against them. Worse, four of those victories were by four points or less, including the last two games.

All-time villain: Oklahoma. The cross-state rivals have turned the "Bedlam Series" into a one-sided affair with a 74-16-7 edge. Since Josh Fields orchestrated back-to-back upsets in 2001-02, Stoops hasn't called off the dogs in six-straight victories, exploding for 52, 38, 42, 27, 49 and 61 points.

Texas Longhorns

Current villain: The Big 12's tiebreaker rules. Texas fans are still lamenting the national-title shot that got away last season, despite beating Big 12 title game participants Oklahoma and Missouri.

All-time villain: Jackie Sherrill. He beat them regularly at Texas A&M and continued his success at Mississippi State. Even worse, he fired up his team before that 1991 victory by castrating a bull and then crowed about it after his Texas-taming success. Even more than Barry Switzer, Longhorn fans hate Sherrill.

Texas A&M Aggies

Current villain: Texas Tech coach Mike Leach. He's beaten them seven of nine games, including four straight. And he's gigged them by mocking their traditions, their coaching, their quarterbacks, everything but "The Dixie Chicken."

All-time villain: Texas. All things burnt orange set off Aggie fans -- with good reason. Their team has been dominated by the Longhorns in the school's longest rivalry. And how much of a Texas fixation do the Aggies have? The second verse of the Aggie War Hymn is essentially all about Texas.

Texas Tech

Current villain: Missouri coach Gary Pinkel. Nobody in the conference does a better job of rolling up points or handcuffing Tech's offense than his Tigers, who have averaged 47 points and won by an average of 26.3 points per game during recent three-game winning streak in the series.

All-time villain: Texas A&M. Aggie fans chap Red Raider followers by claiming the game isn't a rivalry. Mike Leach has made it seem one-sided in recent seasons. But look closely enough and you'll find it's not unusual to see the A&M logo a
dorning urinals in several bars in Lubbock. Isn't that the best sign of antipathy there is?

Long-Kingsbury duel is No. 17 Big 12 moment

June, 18, 2009

Posted by's Tim Griffin

No. 17

Kingsbury and Long hook up in passing duel for the ages

Date: Oct. 5, 2002
Place: Kyle Field, College Station, Texas
Score: Texas Tech 48, Texas A&M 47 (OT)

The Texas A&M-Texas Tech rivalry has developed into one of the country's most bitter blood feuds in the last few years. The Red Raiders have proved difficult for Texas A&M ever since Mike Leach took over in 2000.

One of the most memorable games in the rivalry wasn't settled until one of the wildest passing shootouts in conference history transpired.

Kliff Kingsbury was judged to be one of the nation's top quarterbacks in 2002, setting a conference record with six touchdown passes the week before the A&M game in a 49-0 beatdown of New Mexico.

Texas A&M quarterback Dustin Long wasn't expected to be nearly as proficient. Coming into the Tech game, he had thrown only one touchdown pass in his previous college career.

But that didn't faze him as he started quickly against the Tech secondary, blistering them for a 78-yard touchdown pass to Bethel Johnson on A&M's first offensive play of the game. He also added three other touchdown passes -- a 4-yard toss to Greg Porter, 9 yards to Terrence Murphy and 15 yards to Johnson -- to spark the No. 23 Aggies to a 28-17 halftime advantage.

Kingsbury was just as hot early, starting the game with 14 straight completions. But Long was more effective early, boosting the Aggies to a 35-17 lead on an 82-yard touchdown strike to Jamaar Taylor with 6:57 left in the third quarter.

That lead held until the fourth quarter when Kingsbury went to work.

The Red Raiders exploded for 21 unanswered points in a span of less than 10 minutes to take the lead after a 21-yard Kingsbury TD pass to Wes Welker, a 15-yard TD toss from Kingsbury to Taurean Henderson and a 88-yard punt return by Welker with 2:48 left. A two-point pass from Kingsbury to Anton Paige provided Tech with a 38-35 lead with 2:48 left.

The Aggies answered on a wild scoring play when running back Stacy Jones recovered a fumble by Porter at the Texas Tech 1 and carried it into the end zone with 1:40 left to extend A&M's lead to three. But kicker John Pierson missed the extra point to make it 41-38.

Kingsbury then engineered a seven-play 56-yard drive in only 98 seconds. It was capped by a 42-yard field goal by Robert Treece with two seconds left, tying the game at 41 and setting up the first overtime game in the history of the series.

The Aggies scored first in overtime on Long's seventh touchdown pass of the game, a 3-yarder to Terrence Thomas. But Pierson sent the conversion careening wide left, giving Tech an opening.

Four plays later, Kingsbury hooked up on an inside screen pass to Nehemiah Glover, who cut to the middle before scoring on a 10-yard reception. Treece's conversion gave the Red Raiders a wild 48-47 victory.

Kingsbury's heroics were particularly sweet considering he wanted to attend A&M coming out of high school. The Aggies never seriously recruited him and he ended up at Tech, where he left school as the most productive passer in school history.

The numbers: Kingsbury and Long combined for 841 passing yards and 13 touchdowns. Kingsbury completed 49-of-59 passes for 474 yards and six touchdown passes; Long was 21 for 37 for 367 yards and a Big 12 record seven TD passes. At the time, the Aggies' 47 points were the most they have ever scored in a loss.

It was also the most points that A&M had allowed at Kyle Field since a 57-28 loss to Texas in 1977. The week before the game, Long threw a touchdown pass in his first career start. It snapped a string of seven straight A&M games without a touchdown pass. And Henderson produced 13 catches for 61 yards to pace Tech.

They said it, part I: "This is the biggest definitely. To do it against A&M -- a college I wanted to come to out of high school, and they didn't recruit me -- I made my point today," Kingsbury, who told the Lubbock Avalanche Journal that the win was particularly memorable to him.

They said it, part II: "All week long, I had a great week of practice. The snaps and holds were great. It was my fault. I thought the first one was good, but it just missed going through. The second one I pulled from the beginning, and I knew I missed it right away," Pierson, who described his missed extra points to reporters after the game.

They said it, part III: "I didn't see anybody on our sideline that didn't think we couldn't win," Tech coach Mike Leach, commenting on his team's 18-point fourth-quarter comeback.

The upshot: Texas Tech utilized momentum from the victory to charge to an upset victory over Texas later in the season. That triumph boosted the Red Raiders into a winner-take-all battle for the South Division title against Oklahoma that they lost, 60-15.

After that loss, they advanced to the Tangerine Bowl where they notched a 55-15 triumph over Clemson for their first bowl victory under Leach. The Red Raiders finished the season at 9-5.

A&M coach R.C. Slocum and the Aggies had trouble overcoming the Tech loss. The Aggies lost four of their final five games that season to finish 6-6. Slocum was fired after the final game of the season, a 50-20 loss at Texas, and replaced by Dennis Franchione.

Long started the remaining games of the season but was supplanted by Reggie McNeal as the Aggies' starter the following season. After the demotion, Long transferred to Sam Houston State following the 2003 season where he completed his college career.

The countdown:

18. Henery and Suh make Colorado blue.
19. Stunning OSU rally leads to Stoops' first home loss.
20. It's never over for Texas Tech until it's over.
21. Reesing to Meier. Again and again.
22. A Texas-sized comeback -- Texas over Oklahoma State in 2004.
23. A Border War unlike any of the rest -- Missouri over Kansas in 2007.
24. Seneca Wallace's wild TD run vs. Texas Tech in 2001.
25. Baylor's "So Much for Taking a Knee" against UNLV in 1999.

Tech's wild 2006 bowl comeback ranks No. 20 on Big 12 list

June, 15, 2009

Posted by's Tim Griffin

It's never over for Texas Tech until it's over

  Gene Lower/WireImage
  Graham Harrell completed 36 of 55 passes for 445 yards and two touchdowns.

No. 20

Date: Dec. 29, 2006
Place: Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Ariz.
Score: Texas Tech 44, Minnesota 41 (OT)

The 2006 Insight Bowl appeared to be an ordinary bowl game without much interest outside of the two teams playing. And after Minnesota jumped to a 38-7 lead over Texas Tech with 7:47 left in the third quarter, television sets were clicking off across America.

The game appeared over after Minnesota got a field goal on its opening drive of the second half. But Tech coach Mike Leach and quarterback Graham Harrell were only getting started.

The Red Raiders' comeback began with 4:58 left in the third quarter, when Harrell hit Phoenix-area native Joel Filani with a 43-yard touchdown pass that pulled Tech within 38-14.

That was all of the scoring until the fourth quarter, when the Red Raiders erupted for 21 unanswered points on a 8-yard touchdown pass from Harrell to Robert Johnson, a 1-yard Harrell touchdown sneak and a 1-yard plunge by Shannon Woods with 2:39 left that pulled Tech within three points after the conversion.

After another Tech defense stop, the Red Raiders had one more chance in regulation.

With no timeouts and 1:06 left, Tech marched 53 yards on eight plays, tying the game as time expired on a 52-yard career-best field goal by Alex Trlica.

Minnesota scored first in overtime on a 32-yard field goal by Joel Monroe.

Tech then claimed the victory -- the largest comeback in bowl history -- on a 3-yard touchdown run by Woods five plays later. The Red Raiders finished by scoring five touchdowns and a field goal on their final six offensive possessions. And Tech's defense set the stage by holding Minnesota scoreless on its final four possessions of regulation.

The previous record for a bowl comeback was 30 points, set by Marshall against East Carolina in the 2001 GMAC Bowl.

The numbers: Harrell went 36-for-55 for 445 passing yards and two touchdowns to win the game's MVP honors. Woods rushed for 109 yards and scored three touchdowns. Filani grabbed 11 passes for 162 yards.

They said it, part I: "We talked at halftime that we had a great opportunity to make history, and the reason people come to Texas Tech is to play all 60 minutes.''  -- Tech coach Mike Leach, who blinked away tears during a postgame interview after the wild comeback.

They said it, part II: "We're an offense that can score in a hurry, and everyone knows that. You never feel like you're going to run out of time with this offense." -- Tech quarterback Graham Harrell.

The upshot: Tech's bowl victory capped an 8-5 season for the Red Raiders, who finished with three victories in their final four games.

After starting the season 3-6, the Golden Gophers had won their final three regular-season games to finish at 6-6. Coach Glen Mason was fired two days later, despite taking the Gophers to five-straight bowl trips. The Gophers have gone 8-17 since then.

The countdown:

21. Reesing to Meier. Again and Again -- Kansas over Missouri 2008.
22. A Texas-sized comeback -- Texas over Oklahoma State in 2004.
23. A Border War unlike any of the rest -- Missouri over Kansas in 2007.
24. Seneca Wallace's wild TD run vs. Texas Tech in 2001.
25. Baylor's "So Much for Taking a Knee."

Young, Benson lead dramatic UT comeback that ranks No. 22

June, 11, 2009

Posted by's Tim Griffin

No. 22: A Texas-sized comeback

Mack Brown's team was headed for a humiliating home defeat.

The Longhorns were in a huge 35-7 hole after Oklahoma State had put them on their heels late in the first half.

But what happened after Brown's stirring halftime speech was unlike any previous performance in the history of the Texas program.

Date: Nov. 6, 2004
Place: Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, Texas
Score: Texas 56, Oklahoma State 35

It was the kind of game that could get coaches fired.

With the Longhorns trailing by 28 points late in the first half, Brown turned things over to sophomore quarterback Vince Young and junior tailback Cedric Benson.

The Longhorns drove 80 yards late in the first half, with Young hooking up with Bo Scaife for a 4-yard touchdown in the closing seconds to pull the Longhorns within 35-14 at the break.

From there, the Longhorns scored touchdowns on the next six drives to notch the largest comeback in school history.

In the process, they fulfilled a prediction by Brown, who told his team they would come back to win the game despite the huge halftime deficit and its first-half struggles.

Benson finished by rushing for 141 yards and five touchdowns. And Young set a school record by completing 12 straight passes in the second half, passing for a then career-high 278 yards and rushing for 123 yards to spark the rally.

The Longhorns finished by piling up 600 yards of total offense.

The numbers: Texas outgained OSU, 266 to minus-5, in the third quarter. Texas averaged 12.6 yards per snap and collected 11 first downs in the third quarter alone.

They said it, part I: "What a perfect half by Oklahoma State. They can't get any better ... and we can't do any worse than we were doing," Brown description of the first-half struggles of his team.

They said it, part II: "I said what we're going to do is score on the first drive and beat them 42-35. I apologized to them at the end of the game because I underestimated them," Brown on what he told his team at halftime when facing the three-touchdown deficit.

The upshot: Instead of having to answer critics for a blowout home loss, the wild comeback pushed the Longhorns on a seven-game winning streak to finish the 2004 season. Texas punctuated the season with a stirring 38-37 comeback victory over Michigan in the Rose Bowl and finished the season fifth in the final Associated Press poll.

The Longhorns were just getting started. Texas ran off 13 straight victories the following season to claim the national championship. Included in the run was a 47-28 comeback victory over Oklahoma State in Stillwater when the Longhorns charged back from an early 19-point deficit. The winning streak was extended to 21 games before losing to Ohio State early in the 2006 season.

Oklahoma State finished the 2004 season 7-5, capped by a 33-7 loss to Ohio State in the Alamo Bowl. Shortly after that game, OSU coach Les Miles resigned to accept the head-coaching job at LSU.

The countdown:  

23. A Border War unlike any of the rest -- Missouri over Kansas in 2007.  

24. Seneca Wallace's wild TD run vs. Texas Tech in 2001.  

25. Baylor's "So Much for Taking a Knee."  

Baylor's fumble ranks as Big 12's No. 25 moment

June, 8, 2009

Posted by's Tim Griffin

The announcement of my 25 most memorable moments has prompted unprecedented interest among the readers. This is a great way to get us all primed for the upcoming season by remember some of the greatest events in Big 12 history.

Without further adieu, my countdown of the most memorable moments in Big 12 history begins with one of the most notorious moments in Baylor's recent football history.

No. 25: So much for taking a knee

Date: Sept. 11, 1999

Place: Floyd Casey Stadium, Waco, Texas

Score: UNLV 27, Baylor 24

Baylor coach Kevin Steele was looking to build attitude for his program that had never won under him before.

The Bears were disappointed the week before this game when they dropped a 30-29 decision at Boston College, losing the game on a missed extra point in overtime.

That's why he opted to have Darrell Bush try to run the ball into the end zone while nursing a 24-20 lead against UNLV late in the fourth quarter. It wasn't a necessary score and Steele should have known better.

But instead, Bush fumbled near the end zone and Kevin Thomas returned the miscue 99 yards for a touchdown to provide the Rebels with an improbable 27-24 victory.

What they said: "It was a one-in-a-million deal. The reason that happened is we tried to create attitude. We should have milked the clock at the end, instead, we went for the extra points. We played with fire and got burned and it was an expensive mistake," Steele told reporters after the wild, improbable loss.

The upshot: Steele's coaching tenure never recovered as his team went 9-36 over the next four seasons before he was fired. The late turnaround has helped popularize "the victory formation" in college football -- no matter what the margin at the end of the game is.

UNLV, which opened the 1999 season 2-0 for the first time in seven seasons with the win at Baylor, won only one more game the rest of the season to finish 3-8.

Judging Big 12 coaches by conference records

May, 6, 2009

Posted by's Tim Griffin

Who was it that said necessity is the mother of invention?

They must have had a pretty good handle on football statistics, because I wracked my brain twice in the last week looking for a specific set of figures that I thought any upstanding conference would compile as part of a basic statistical package.

Surprise for me, I guess.

I wanted to find out the overall conference records of every coach in the history of the Big 12. These records are a strong tool to comparatively analyze coaches, I think.

All of the games are against Division I teams (unlike overall records). And the games are typically between coaches who typically get a chance to coach against each other on more than one occasion, providing a chance to make adjustments over the years as they learn more about their opponents' tendencies.

That's why I found these statistics -- compiled by me during the second half of a boring Cleveland-Atlanta basketball game last night -- to be so fascinating.

Here are my Big 12 conference won-loss figures. Records are for conference games, conference championship games and overall conference records.

Records of all coaches in Big 12 history
Name/School Conf. game W-L Pct. Conf. title game W-L Pct. Overall conf. W-L Pct.
Bob Stoops, Oklahoma 67-13 .838 6-1 .857 73-14 .839
Mack Brown, Texas 72-16 .818 1-2 .333 73-18 .802
Bill Snyder, Kansas State 53-27 .663 1-2 .333 54-29 .651
Mike Leach, Texas Tech 42-30 .583 0-0 .000 42-30 .583
R.C. Slocum, Texas A&M 34-22 .607 1-1 .500 35-23 .603
Gary Barnett, Colorado 34-22 .607 1-3 .250 35-25 .583
Frank Solich, Nebraska 33-15 .688 1-0 1.000 34-15 .694
Gary Pinkel, Missouri 32-32 .500 0-2 .000 32-34 .485
Dan McCarney, Iowa State 26-62 .295 0-0 .000 26-62 .295
Mark Mangino, Kansas 22-34 .393 0-0 .000 22-34 .393
Spike Dykes, Texas Tech 19-13 .594 0-0 .000 19-13 .594
Dennis Franchione, Texas A&M 19-21 .475 0-0 .000 19-21 .475
Tom Osborne, Nebraska 16-0 1.000 1-1 .500 17-1 .944
Les Miles, Oklahoma State 16-16 .500 0-0 .000 16-16 .500
Larry Smith, Missouri 16-24 .400 0-0 .000 16-24 .400
Bill Callahan, Nebraska 15-17 .469 0-1 .000 15-18 .455
Rick Neuheisel, Colorado 14-10 .583 0-0 .000 14-10 .583
Bob Simmons, Oklahoma State 14-26 .350 0-0 .000 14-26 .350
Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State 13-19 .406 0-0 .000 13-19 .406
Terry Allen, Kansas 10-30 .250 0-0 .000 10-30 .250
John Mackovic, Texas 8-8 .500 1-0 1.000 9-8 .529
Ron Prince, Kansas State 9-15 .375 0-0 .000 9-15 .375
Dan Hawkins, Colorado 8-16 .333 0-0 .000 8-16 .333
John Blake, Oklahoma 8-16 .333 0-0 .000 8-16 .333
Guy Morriss, Baylor 7-33 .175 0-0 .000 7-33 .175
Bo Pelini, Nebraska 5-3 .625 0-0 .000 5-3 .625
Art Briles, Baylor 2-6 .250 0-0 .000 2-6 .250
Glen Mason, Kansas 2-6 .250 0-0 .000 2-6 .250
Mike Sherman, Texas A&M 2-6 .250 0-0 .000 2-6 .250
Gene Chizik, Iowa State 2-14 .125 0-0 .000 2-14 .125
Dave Roberts, Baylor 2-14 .125 0-0 .000 2-14 .125
Chuck Reedy, Baylor 1-7 .125 0-0 .000 1-7 .125
Kevin Steele, Baylor 1-31 .031 0-0 .000 1-31 .031

Note: Active coaches are in yellow. Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads will be in his first season as a head coach in the conference.

The numbers provide some interesting factoids.

  • I think these figures indicate that the two most underrated coaches in Big 12 coaching history are R.C. Slocum and Frank Solich.

Texas A&M has never had a Big 12 coach with a career winning percentage above .500 other than Slocum, who remains the only A&M coach to take his team to a Big 12 title game and win a conference football championship.

Solich ranks fourth in career conference winning percentage, trailing only Hall of Famer Tom Osborne and future Hall of Famers Bob Stoops and Mack Brown.

  • Here's a strike against the Bill Callahan era at Nebraska. Callahan is the only Nebraska coach since the start of the Big 12 era to have a below .500 career conference record.
  • Another underrated figure from the early days of the conference was Texas Tech's Spike Dykes, who compiled an impressive 19-13 conference record in the first four seasons in the conference. The Red Raiders have had one below .500 record during the 13-season history of the conference.
  • Want an indication of the Baylor program over the years? The three coaches who directed Baylor before Art Briles piloted the Bears to a combined 11-85 conference record, for a winning percentage of .115. That's an average of less than a victory per season.

Briles was 2-6 in his first season with Baylor last season -- more than doubling the school's average in conference victories during its previous history.

  • Bo Pelini's fast 5-3 start last season makes him one of only seven Big 12 coaches with a career winning percentage in conference games of more than .600.
  • Mack Brown leads the Big 12 with 91 conference games -- 88 regular-season games and three titles. Dan McCarney of Iowa State is second with 88 regular-season Big 12 games.   

Ranking the top new coordinators in college football

May, 4, 2009

Posted by's Tim Griffin

While it's not followed as closely as the changes at the top of the football program, the hiring of solid coordinators can often make or break a program.

And it's a chore that sometimes faces successful programs on a pretty regular basis.

For example, former Oklahoma offensive coordinators Mike Leach and Chuck Long both assumed head coaching jobs after coaching on Bob Stoops' staff with the Sooners. And former Texas defensive coordinators like Dick Tomey, Greg Robinson and Gene Chizik all parlayed their experience coaching under Mack Brown to head coaching positions.

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel will be facing an unprecedented dilemma -- at least while at Missouri -- as he replaces offensive coordinator Dave Christensen and defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus. Adding David Yost as his offensive coordinator and Dave Steckel as his defensive coordinator ranks as among the major changes the Tigers will be facing this season.

College Football News' Robert Cirminiello ranks the 20 biggest hirings of offensive and defensive coordinators for the upcoming season. Several have interesting Big 12 connections.

  • 4. Kevin Steele, Clemson defensive coordinator: The former Nebraska assistant and Baylor head coach will be trying to pump some life into the Tigers' defense on Dabo Swinney's staff.
  • 5. Bill Young, Oklahoma State defensive coordinator: The veteran Oklahoma State graduate returns to his old school from Miami intent on trying to bring the Cowboys' defense in line with their explosive offense.
  • 11. Greg Robinson, Michigan defensive coordinator: After washing out at Syracuse as a head coach, the former Texas defensive coordinator has been charged with bringing some life in Rich Rodriguez's group with the Wolverines.
  • 12. David Yost, Missouri offensive coordinator: After working with Missouri quarterbacks in the past, Yost was a natural pick to replace Christensen after he left for the head coaching job at Wyoming.
  • 13. Andy Ludwig, Californa offensive coordinator: Picked up stakes and moved to California after barely having time to memorize the menu at the Hibachi Hut in Manhattan during his 65-day stint on Bill Snyder's coaching staff.
  • 20. Gary Nord, Purdue: The former UTEP coach had a short stint on Howard Schnellenberger's staff at Oklahoma where he earned much derision among Sooner fans when he mentioned that he didn't see a full set of teeth in the state when coaching there.

Does Steele deserve another head-coaching opportunity?

October, 23, 2008

Posted by's Tim Griffin

My colleague Chris Low over on the SEC blog brought up an interesting name for potential jobs that will occur later this season.

Low mentions Kevin Steele, Alabama's associate head coach/head defensive coach under Nick Saban.

Obviously, Steele is remembered in the Big 12 for his struggles at Baylor that began from almost the beginning of his tenure. His ill-advised decision to tack on a meaningless touchdown against UNLV came back to haunt him when the Baylor running back Darrell Bush fumbled and UNLV defensive back Kevin Thomas returned the turnover 99 yards for a touchdown. It went downhill from there, as Steele finishing with a 9-36 record during his four seasons with the Bears.

Fans with a longer college football memory will remember Steele as the key recruiter on Nebraska's two national championship teams in the mid-1990s. The urban legend has Steele waiting out Tommie Frazier, playing dominoes for hours on end with Frazier's mother in order to convince him to come to Nebraska. That debt was repaid when Frazier joined Steele's coaching staff at Baylor.

Steele has done a fine job in resurrecting his career after the Baylor struggles.

It will be interesting to see where Steele gets a head coaching shot and I also think he deserves it. But I'd be extremely surprised if it was anywhere in the Big 12.  



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