Big 12: Mark May

Kansas' sports show sequel on the way

June, 29, 2011
The first episode of "D.P. and A.J. Take on KU" became quite the sensation and landed Kansas receivers Daymond Patterson and A.J. Steward on ESPN's "College Football Live" for two consecutive days.

If you missed episode one, here's the full version.

Episode two is fast approaching. It's scheduled for a release on Friday, when the pair will follow up their win over the women's soccer team with a new challenge: the men's basketball team.

Sounds like a tall task.

D.P. and A.J. will take on Kansas players Travis Releford and Thomas Robinson in a game of HORSE.

The original launched a couple days of banter between Steward and Patterson and ESPN analyst Mark May. May accepted a challenge for the pair to come to ESPN campus in Bristol, Conn. for a debate and possible physical challenge, but the players won't be making the trip.

Both players are pretty active on Twitter, and you can follow them and get a look at the video when it's released on Friday.

Follow Steward at @Jizzle_11 and Patterson at @DP4Heisman.

Is a KU-Mark May showdown at ESPN afoot?

June, 20, 2011
Another chapter of the KU-Mark May saga was written on the latest episode of College Football Live, when May accepted a challenge from Kansas receivers Daymond Patterson and A.J. Steward to debate or compete in any number of sports.

Patterson and Steward issued their challenge in a video response to a quip by May on Thursday's episode of "College Football Live."

"We'll debate you in any sport, any topic that you wanna do," Patterson said. "We'll change the show just for you from 'D.P. and A.J. take on KU' to 'D.P. and A.J. take on Mark May.' Debate me. We're calling you out, Mark."

On Friday's show, May accepted their challenge with a lengthy monologue at the end of the show.
"I may be over the hill but I’m not down in the valley. I played in the Pro Bowl, a couple of Super Bowls and a College Football Hall of Famer. I can still probably challenge you. Swimming, bowling, tennis, poker and golf, so I’ll take those challenges.

And, finally, I think I'll take the challenge that you guys put out there. Do you know what the bully pulpit is? Let me give you a little 411 information. Teddy Roosevelt started off the bully pulpit back at The White House. That is the most powerful desk in the United States.

This is the college football bully pulpit, and I am sitting at it. I will take your challenge, I will accept your challenge, and guess what? I think we should do it right here on Final Verdict. Let’s get judge Rece Davis to come in and preside over your case.

Let’s go ahead and debate any sport you’d like. It could be badminton, it could be basketball. It doesn’t matter, because you know what? I accept your challenge.

Rock. Chalk. Jayhawk."

Nothing's official just yet, but Patterson, Steward and their coach, Turner Gill, could be headed for Bristol, Conn., soon.

"Come on up to Bristol. Just tell me when you’re available. Any time between now and summer training camp," May said, adding that he gave them an "A for effort and ingenuity" on their video response, which was shot as a fake press conference.

I'd like to see this debate happen in the faux courtroom that closes every Saturday episode of "College Football Final." I'm sure most other college football fans would like to see it, too.

Here's hoping it happens.

Jayhawks issue a challenge to ESPN analyst

June, 17, 2011
As you may have seen in our lunch links Thursday, Kansas receivers Daymond Patterson and A.J. Steward have a hit on their hands.

The players debuted their offseason Internet show, "Daymond and A.J. take on KU" this week, and first in their crosshairs: a showdown with the women's soccer team.

If you haven't seen it by now, the duo win the shootout via some clutch goaltending from Patterson, but while celebrating the win, Steward accidentally takes out a camera man and ends up with a bloody gash on his forehead. (Pulling his jersey up over his head may have contributed to the clumsy finish.)

The video got so popular that "College Football Live" aired a selection of the best moments of the video, including Steward's hilarious, misguided victory dance.

"You know, with that minor victory, I'd say 'Act like you've been there,' but they were 3-9 last year. What'd you expect?" ESPN analyst Mark May quipped after the video aired.

Steward and Patterson, of course, weren't thrilled with May's admittedly funny jab at the Jayhawks.

"Why don't you take on the men's basketball team or the men's soccer team?" May added.

But the pair was given a chance to respond, and released a follow-up video in a mock news conference on Thursday.

"First of all, Mark, we only have a women's soccer team here at KU. Secondly, if you wouldn't have sat there for over half the show and talked about your school's rivalry game in 2016, you would have known that we're going to take on the men's basketball team next."

Patterson then handed off to his partner in crime, Steward, still sporting leftovers from the nasty cut on his forehead, rather than the band-aid from the video. Steward suggested that the pair take on May in a physical contest, but Patterson interrupted to amend the challenge.

"We'll debate you in any sport, any topic that you wanna do," Patterson said. "We'll change the show just for you from 'D.P. and A.J. take on KU' to 'D.P. and A.J. take on Mark May.' Debate me. We're calling you out, Mark."

Steward stepped in to offset Patterson's sharp words to smooth things over with May's co-host this week.

"Erin Andrews, we appreciate your support and everything. You have nothing to do with this, but Mark? We're coming for you."

That means two things.

1. It's the offseason.

2. It's on.

Tune in today at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2 to see the saga's next chapter.

To quote another known to call out the media: Can't wait!

Remembering the player who caught 'The Texas Special'

February, 11, 2009

Posted by's Tim Griffin

It's a shame that ESPN's "College Game Day Final" wasn't around 44 years ago. Because if it was, Ken McLean's fame would have been built for one remarkable play that still resonates in the Texas-Texas A&M rivalry.

I'm remembering McLean today after learning that the former Texas A&M player passed away Monday after a long battle with cancer. His memorable catch on "The Texas Special" is still recalled as one of the first grainy memories I have of college football.

If Rece Davis, Mark May and Lou Holtz had been breaking down plays when McLean was playing, he likely would have been a household name for one bit of trickery in a 1965 game between the Aggies and Longhorns.

Texas A&M coach Gene Stallings singed the Longhorns for a 91-yard touchdown pass from wingback Jim Kauffman to McLean.

Early in the second quarter, Texas A&M quarterback Harry Ledbetter bounced a lateral to Kauffman, who stomped his feet in anger as the fans at Kyle Field thought it was a busted play. All of the Aggie players acted like it was an incomplete pass rather than a lateral.

Kaufman then looked up and connected with a wide-open McLean, who had jetted 15 yards past the Texas secondary. The field judge had been tipped off before the game by Stallings so that an inadvertent whistle would not be blown when the lateral hit the ground.

The play, which at the time was the longest in Texas A&M history and the Southwest Conference, helped stake the Aggies to a 17-0  halftime lead.

"It was one of the most original, clever plays I have ever seen," Texas coach Darrell Royal said at the time.

McLean produced some Michael Crabtree-like numbers in the game that were unusual for the era -- 13 catches for 250 yards. The receiving yardage remains an A&M single-game record. But it wasn't enough as Texas stormed back to win, 21-17.  

The major reason, Texas players remembered, was Royal's simplistic approach after being burned for the long touchdown on "The Texas Special."

"Coach Royal told us he could put all kinds of diagrams on the blackboard and they wouldn't help," Texas quarterback Marvin Kristynik told Steve Richardson in his fine book "Tales from the Texas Longhorns."

"It was just a matter of whether we wanted to win or not. Then he wrote 21-17 on the blackboard and said, 'That's what we can do. And then we did it.'"  

After his football career ended, McLean graduated from law school and began a long career as a noted defense attorney in the Houston area. 

Funeral services for McLean, 65, will be at Klein Funeral Home in Houston at 3 p.m. Friday. Graveside services will be held Monday in Stennett, Texas, where McLean was a high school teammate of legendary former Texas Tech and Green Bay Packers running back Donny Anderson.

I mourn McLean's passing for his family members as I think about one of the most innovative gadget plays in college football history.