Big 12: Maryland Terrapins

Big 12 lunchtime links

July, 15, 2010
7/15/10
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Greetings from Big Ten country. I'm sure Sooners fans are glad to see me. Nebraska people, tell them I'm not that bad.

Evans' injury improves Cornhuskers' upset bid at Virginia Tech

August, 12, 2009
8/12/09
7:04
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Nebraska's hopes of sneaking into Virginia Tech and getting an upset victory over the Hokies improved markedly with the announcement that leading rusher Darren Evans will miss the season for the Hokies after he tore a ligament in his left knee during practice.

Virginia Tech relied on heavily Evans, who rushed for 1,265 yards and scored 11 touchdowns last season despite starting only eight games. I still can see him churning through Maryland in a Thursday night game last season when he set the school record with 253 rushing yards. He also picked up MVP honors in the Orange Bowl after gaining 153 yards.

The Cornhuskers remember Evans well, too. He gashed them for a pair of touchdowns in Virginia Tech's 35-30 victory in Lincoln last season.

But this Virginia Tech team might not be quite as salty offensively without Evans. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor's run-pass option abilities are lessened without his major offensive weapon.

Considering that only Josh Oglesby among Evans' replacements has carried the ball gives Nebraska a much better chance of winning one of the Big 12's biggest road tests during the nonconference part of the schedule.

Just a guess here, but I bet that Bo Pelini's camp grumpiness brightened for a few minutes Tuesday afternoon.

Recruiting tidbits from across the Big 12

August, 4, 2009
8/04/09
7:51
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Recruiting analyst Bill Kurelic provided some information about a couple of players with interest in Big 12 schools in his most recent notepad.

Oklahoma is still in the hunt for Under Armour All-American defensive back Joshua Shaw of Palmdale, Calif., although he is strongly considering three Big Ten schools.

"I'm a fan of Big Ten football," Shaw told Kurelic, a regular contributor to ESPN.com's Midwest Recruiting Blog. "I like the three power house teams, Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State."

Shaw has scholarship offers from at least two dozen schools. He has narrowed his list down to the three Big Ten schools as well as USC, UCLA, Washington, LSU, Tennessee, Notre Dame and the Sooners. All but the Nittany Lions have offered and Shaw feels that offer will soon be on the way.

Oklahoma hasn't made Shaw's list of visits yet. He is set to visit Ohio State, LSU and Notre Dame during the football season. Shaw, a 6-foot-2, 180-pounder made 40 solo tackles and intercepted four passes during his junior season last year.

"All the schools are even. If I had to make a decision today it would be like picking out of a hat," Shaw said.

And safety/wide receiver Jimmy Hall of Southview High School in Sylvania, Ohio, has included Colorado and Kansas in a field of 16 suitors that also includes schools like West Virginia, Boston College, Northwestern, Indiana, Maryland, Syracuse, Vanderbilt and several Mid-American Conference schools.

"Right now I'm in the process of trying to get it down to a top five," Hall told Kurelic. "I'd like to get it down by the end of the summer. I've visited all the schools that have offered except Colorado, Kansas, Maryland and Vanderbilt."

The 6-foot-2, 192-pound Hall produced 85 tackles and intercepted five passes during his junior season. He also snagged 45 receptions for close to 1,000 yards.

He has made has no timetable in regards to selecting a college, and is leaving open the possibility of taking official visits.

"I'm trying to get a top five, then if I really like a school I could commit," he said. "I'm not sure about [official] visits right now."

Both players could help the Big 12 schools they have targeted, although it sounds like the schools in the conference aren't as highly rated as others from across the country for these prospects.  

Kansas-NIU set for 2011-12 home-and-home series

July, 21, 2009
7/21/09
6:03
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Kansas and Northern Illinois have announced a two-game football series in 2011 and 2012. The Huskies will travel to Lawrence, Kan., for the Sept. 10, 2011 game, while Kansas returns the trip to DeKalb, Ill., on Sept. 22, 2012.

Northern Illinois officials are excited about attracting their first home game against an opponent from a BCS conference since 2003, when Maryland and Iowa State visited Huskie Stadium.

"Getting a home-and-home series with a BCS conference opponent has been a priority since I came to NIU a year ago," Northern Illinois athletics director Jeff Compher said in a prepared statement. "We know what it means to our fan base to have Kansas come to DeKalb, and this series is something that has been in the works for several months.

"We appreciate the willingness of (Kansas athletic director) Lew Perkins and his staff to work with us on these games. It's always a challenge, knowing that we have to schedule our non-conference opponents many years out, but this is a scheduling philosophy that we want to continue over time."

The only previous meeting between Northern Illinois and Kansas came on Sept. 3, 1983, with NIU claiming a 37-34 win in Lawrence.

The announcement also adds another opponent for Kansas' 2011 schedule, with one still needed. 

The Jayhawks will have home games against North Dakota State, Georgia Tech and New Mexico State and a road game at Southern Mississippi in 2010. And in the following season, Kansas still has one opening with home nonconference games against Northern Illinois and UTEP and a road game scheduled at Georgia Tech.

Kansas also will switch South Division opponents in those two seasons, swapping Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma for games against Oklahoma State, Baylor and Texas A&M.

Study: A&M has Big 12's most efficient athletic department

July, 10, 2009
7/10/09
12:06
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

A sports management study group at Texas A&M has come up with an interesting study, crunching numbers and analyzing the overall performance of athletic departments in terms of efficiency.

It might seem a little dubious that Texas A&M leads Big 12 schools in a study produced by an A&M-affiliated group, but facts are facts.  

The way the school's Laboratory for the Study of Intercollegiate Athletics (LSIA) figured this out is by analyzing the number of national and conference championships won compared to the athletic budgets of the competing schools.

In a way, this is an "everyman" version of the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup, which clearly benefits those schools with the biggest budgets and who compete in the most sports.

Not surprisingly, the LSIA list is heavily stacked with non-BCS schools at the top of the list. The first 10 schools include (in order): Utah State, Kent State, Louisiana Tech, Akron, BYU, Utah, Boise State, Tulsa, Miami (Ohio) and SMU. Oregon, at 11th, is the highest-ranked school from a BCS-affiliated conference.

Maryland at 14th is next, followed by Texas A&M at 15th. The Aggies have won three NCAA championships in the last two months -- winning national championships in men's golf, men's track and field and women's track and field.  

The timing of this study is curious, particularly considering the recent cutbacks in the A&M athletic administrative staff that were announced last week. The Aggies' athletic department recently slashed 17 positions to help trim $4.5 million from its budget for the 2009-10 fiscal year. That's only part of a $16 million debt the athletic department will have to repay back to the university beginning in November.

No other Big 12 teams are ranked in the top 25 in the final LSIA standings. Oklahoma State is ranked 28th and Baylor is 34th.

Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne is facing some difficult financial decisions as he attempts to balance his budget. But at least in one determination, he can take some solace in seeing his programs are getting some recognition for accomplishments done in an efficient manner.

Big 12 coaches' records -- as head coach and assistant

June, 17, 2009
6/17/09
6:00
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Minnesota coach and former Texas assistant Tim Brewster got himself into some hot water last week when news surfaced about him claiming his record as a head coach and assistant as his coaching record on the Minnesota Web site.

Brewster earlier claimed his career coaching record was 113-61-1, which would be true if you included his record as an assistant and a head coach.

Brewster's current record as a head coach after two seasons at Minnesota is 8-17 with a five-game losing streak heading into the season.

So while Brewster is technically correct, the inference is that the record was generated with him as the head coach.

That controversy got me thinking about examining all of the Big 12 coaches and giving their backgrounds and coaching records a careful check.  

Bob Stoops' teams were 6-16 in his first two seasons as an assistant with a 5-6 record at Kent State in 1988 and a 1-10 record at Kansas State in 1989. But his coaching helped his teams improve immeasurably later in his career as an assistant. His last three teams at Florida, from 1996-98, went a combined 32-5. And his final three teams at Kansas State went 28-7-1.

Mike Gundy labored at some struggling jobs early in his career. His team didn't fashion a winning record as an assistant until the 13th season of his career when the 2002 Oklahoma State team went 8-5. But he had some bad previous jobs as an assistant, working at Oklahoma State, Baylor and Maryland before returning to Oklahoma State to work under Les Miles.

But no Big 12 coach has had more fortunate situations than Nebraska coach Bo Pelini, who jumped from quarterbacks coach at Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown, Ohio, in 1993 to a job coaching defensive backs with the San Francisco 49ers the following season.

All but one of Pelini's teams have had above .500 records in his 14-season career as an assistant. And that one was a 1999 New England Patriots team that went 8-8. In Pelini's final four seasons as a college assistant -- the 2004 season at Oklahoma and 2005-07 at LSU -- his teams were a combined 46-7.

Here's a look at how Big 12 coaches would be ranked if their career records as a head coach and as an assistant were combined. For the purpose of this study, only records at four-year colleges and NFL teams have been included. That determination hurts Baylor coach Art Briles, who compiled a Stoops-like 172-42-4 record coaching high school teams in Texas.  

The winning percentages were figures with the determination that ties count as a half win, half loss.

Big 12 Coaches' Records (As Head Coach and Assistant)
Coach, School Overall Pct. As HC Pct As Asst. Pct.
Bob Stoops, Oklahoma 192-68-1 .738 109-24 .820 83-44-1 .652
Bo Pelini, Nebraska 161-62 .722 10-4 .714 151-58 .722
Bill Snyder, KSU 244-115-5 .677 136-68-1 .666 108-47-4 .692
Dan Hawkins, Colorado 175-86-1 .670 105-47-1 .690 70-39 .642
Mike Leach, Texas Tech 167-85-1 .662 76-39 .661 91-46-1 .663
Mark Mangino, Kansas 179-93 .658 45-41 .523 134-52 .720
Gary Pinkel, Missouri 250-135-5 .647 132-78-3 .627 118-57-2 .672
Mack Brown, Texas 253-147-4 .631 201-100-1 .667 52-47-3 .510
Mike Sherman, Texas A&M 218-137-2 .613 63-51 .552 155-86-2 .642
Art Briles, Baylor 61-52 .540 38-36 .514 23-16 .590
Paul Rhoads, Iowa State 85-112 .431 --- --- 85-112 .431
Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State 92-126-3 .423 27-23 .540 65-103-3 .389

A&M one of nation's most open schools in information provided

June, 1, 2009
6/01/09
3:00
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

There was a fascinating story over the weekend in the Columbus Dispatch that detailed the means that some schools will go to shield public information in their athletic department operations.

Some schools go to great lengths to censor information in the name of student privacy, invoking a 35-year-old federal law whose author says it has been twisted and misused by schools over the years.

Former U.S. Sen. James L. Buckley told the Dispatch it's time for Congress to rein in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which he crafted to keep academic records from public view.

The Dispatch sent public-records requests for athletic-related documents to 119 Division I-A colleges in a series of stories entitled "Secrecy 101." 

Their intention was to find out about the openness of each program and the use of the FERPA and study the conflicting interpretations of the law.

The newspapers were requests were specific: airplane manifests for football-team travel to road games, lists of people who have been designated to receive complimentary admission to football game, documents for football players' summer-employment opportunities and reports of NCAA violations.

The paper found that schools had different interpretations of how much information to release.

For example, two Big 12 schools asked for the most money in copying costs, effectively making the information too expensive for wide public dissemination.

More than half of the schools provided the information free and others charged a nominal copying fee. But Texas asked for $729 (third most of any school surveyed) and Kansas asked for $328 (eighth).

Both schools' copying requests were high, but were nothing like the $35,330 asked by Maryland to top the list.

The Dispatch found that of the 69 schools that provided information:

  • More than 80 percent released unedited information from ticket lists.
  • About half did not censor flight manifests.
  • Twenty percent gave full information about summer jobs held by football players.
  • Ten percent provided unedited NCAA violations. 

The Dispatch reported that those results stunned Buckley, a retired former federal judge from Connecticut. As a senator, he wrote the law as a means to shield students' reports cards and transcripts. But he can't understand why the specific information asked for by the newspaper from the various athletic departments would be withheld.

"Those examples provide zero harm to the kids," Buckley told the Dispatch.

Here's a look at how each Big 12 team was judged on its openness replying to the Dispatch's requests along with a link that provides some interesting data about graduation rates and the expenses and revenue generated by each school. It's worth the time to check out.

Baylor: Private school and therefore not required to turn over lists to the newspaper.

Colorado: Provided all lists but blacked out the name of all student athletes and some non-students who were involved in NCAA violations.

Iowa State: Withheld no information except blacking out the name of students and some non-students in NCAA violations.

Kansas: Ignored the request or wanted too much money to comply.

Kansas State: Ignored the request or wanted too much money to comply.

Missouri: Blacked out the names of students on flight manifests, refused information on complimentary tickets, did not keep records of summer job forms and blacked out the name of students and non-students who were involved with NCAA violations.

Nebraska: Provided all information on team flight manifests, refused to provide information on complimentary tickets, summer job forms or NCAA violations.

Oklahoma: The school did not keep record of team flight manifests, refused to provide information about complimentary tickets and blacked out names and details for summer job forms and NCAA violations.

Oklahoma State: Provided all information on team flight manifests and complimentary tickets, refused to provide any information to protect privacy on summer jobs and blacked out the names and details of NCAA violations.

Texas: Ignored the request or wanted too much money to comply.

Texas A&M: Provided all information on team flight manifests, complimentary tickets and summer jobs forms, blacked out the name of student-athletes involved in NCAA violations.

Texas Tech: Provided all information on team flight manifests, refused to provide information on complimentary tickets and summer job forms, blacked out the name of students and some non-students involved with NCAA violations.

Mike Leach dispenses opinions about the NFL draft

April, 27, 2009
4/27/09
11:29
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Texas Tech coach Mike Leach professed no interest in the NFL draft a couple of days before the proceedings. Instead, he claimed he would be riding his bike, watching movies and doing anything besides following how his players fared.

Interestingly, Leach had a couple of comments about the draft during the activities.

First, Leach blamed Cleveland Browns coach Eric Mangini for causing Michael Crabtree's draft stock to fall after reports that Crabtree had acted like a diva during his pre-draft visit with the Browns.

Crabtree went 10th in the first round after some early projections had him going as high as fourth or fifth. Oakland opted to draft Maryland receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey instead of Crabtree with the seventh pick in the draft.

Leach told the Sacramento Bee that Mangini might not find himself too welcome on future trips to Tech's campus.

"Michael Crabtree has been more successful as a receiver than that guy as a coach at this point," Leach said of Mangini. "Part of the reason is he's (Crabtree) too shy to be like that."

Leach said that he didn't consider Crabtree as a diva.

"My definition of a diva is someone who's loud and self-absorbed," Leach told the Bee. "Michael Crabtree is the furthest thing from loud that I've seen. ... Let's see how all those non-divas do up in Cleveland this year."

And Leach had a zinger for Texas A&M after Aggie quarterback Stephen McGee was drafted by Dallas during the fourth round. McGee told reporters he viewed himself as a "first-round player" who would have ended up picked in the first round if he had played in the right system.

Leach had an opinion on McGee's draftability, too.

"I'm happy for Stephen McGee," Leach told the Dallas Morning News. "The Dallas Cowboys like him more than his coaches at A&M did."

Super-sized Taylor hungry for second chance at Baylor

March, 30, 2009
3/30/09
7:30
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

WACO, Texas -- On a hot, sticky March afternoon in Central Texas, many players might be wondering about the drudgeries of another blistering spring practice.

Even after enduring the excruciating work in another one-on-one drill and a few skips and hops around tackling dummies to build his footwork, massive Baylor defensive tackle Phil Taylor still is enjoying being back in the trenches. A year on the scout team convinced him how much he missed everything associated with playing on Saturdays.

 
  John Albright/Icon SMI
  A mammoth defensive tackle like Phil Taylor is just what Baylor's defense needed.

"It feels really good to get back out there and play again," Taylor said. "Getting the cobwebs out after waiting so long -- it's just good to get back again."

Taylor's football future was tenuous after he was kicked off the Penn State team several weeks before the start of the 2008 season for his role in an on-campus brawl at the school's student union. Taylor pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges, but got the boot from no-nonsense Penn State coach Joe Paterno after the Nittany Lions' program endured a rash of off-field problems.

And after pondering his future for a few days, the 6-foot-4, 345-pound Taylor ended up at Baylor where he has received a clean slate for his final two years of his college career.

Taylor is reticent to discuss what happened at Penn State. He was kicked off the team a few days after a report on ESPN's "Outside the Lines" on legal problems surrounding Paterno's program.

"I don't really want to talk about it too much," Taylor said. " I feel that I wasn't treated fairly because there were a lot of others in the same situation for similar things there."

He is already struck by the difference in the leadership styles of Baylor coach Art Briles and Paterno.

"I've been around a lot of teams, but here, it's more loose," Taylor said. "The coach lets us have fun. We still work very hard and do the things that we are supposed to do. But it's not quite as regimented as it was there -- do this, don't do that.

The feeling around the program is different, too, Taylor said.

"Here, they treat us more like adults," he said.

Briles has a quick rapport with Taylor, who refers to his super-sized defensive tackle as "Cousin Phil" for a reason, he said.

"If I've got a cousin, I'd like him to be big and strong like Phil," Briles said, chuckling.

Taylor had opportunities to play at Virginia Tech, Tennessee and Maryland after he left school. But he decided that Baylor -- 1,247 miles away from his home in Clinton, Md. -- was his best opportunity.

In a sense, the Bears represented an ideal landing place, despite the distance. He was reunited with Bears defensive coordinator Brian Norwood, who coached defensive backs at Penn State when he arrived there.

Norwood had been a friend of the Taylor family for many years after playing on a team in youth YMCA football that was coached by Taylor's uncle. And Norwood's son, Jordan, was a member of the Penn State football team with Taylor.

The switch to Baylor has brought out a different attitude in Taylor that has been noticeable from his arrival.

"Phil was always a hard-working, strong, very impressive athletic defensive tackle," Norwood said. "And this spring he's working to get better and play at a high tempo consistently in everything we're doing."

His footwork shows a freakish athleticism for somebody who is as big as he is.

"I still look at him in the huddle and I'm amazed how big he is," Baylor safety Jordan Lake said. "I remember at a practice last year watching him move from sideline-to-sideline. It's so cool to see a guy who was 360 pounds move like he can."   

Norwood saw Taylor become a strong player late in his sophomore season at Penn State. And he's hopeful that he can return to that form with the Bears.

"The sky is the limit for him, but Phil is still chopping wood and getting ready to play," Norwood said. "His potential is off the charts. But at the same time, he's doing the little things we've asked him to do and that's made me excited."

The Bears need a run-stuffing defender in the worst way. In 2008, their defense ranked 85th in total defense, 87th in scoring defense, 84th in sacks and 109th in tackles for losses.

"Phil is a rare blend of size and quick-twitch muscles," Briles said. "I'll be disappointed if he's not first-team All-Big 12 because he physically possesses that type of ability. That doesn't mean he'll do it, but physically, he has that type of ability."

If he approaches those lofty platitudes, Taylor could be mentioned in the same breath as other Big 12 defensive linemen like Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy and Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh.

"What he brings us is a legitimate big-time defensive player who is a threat on the defensive side of the ball," Briles said. "He'll allow other guys to be more productive because he'll require more attention. If you've got men up front you have a chance to have a great football team. Especially at defensive tackle. They can make everybody else."

Taylor is rounding into shape and showing something every day at practice. His weight is down from the 380 pounds he weighed when he arrived at Baylor last August.

But he's most excited about his second chance at restarting his college career.

"When I came down here, it was like a new beginning for me," Taylor said. "I've got my head on straight and there are no more problems hovering around me. I'm ready to play."

Oklahoma bowl tidbits

January, 8, 2009
1/08/09
12:55
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Here are a few factoids about Oklahoma's bowl history as we get ready for tonight's FedEx BCS National Championship Game against Florida.

Bowl record: 24-16-1

Current bowl streak: Lost 2

Most memorable bowl victory: Bud Wilkinson directed his team to the 1956 Orange Bowl, wrapping up the first time that the Sooners ever finished the season with a bowl championship and a national championship in the same season. After spotting Maryland a six-point halftime lead, the Sooners charged back to claim a 20-6 victory by scoring the game's final 20 points. Quarterback Tommy Harris rushed for a team-high 50 yards to pace the victory as the Sooners forced five turnovers and limited the Terrapins to nine first downs and 233 total yards.

Most disappointing loss: An explosive offense keyed by Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush enabled USC to dominate the Sooners in a 55-19 loss that ranks as the largest margin of defeat in an Oklahoma bowl game and also for a loser in a BCS title game. Leinart threw for 332 yards and five touchdowns and LenDale White rushed for 118 and two touchdowns to lead the Trojans to their first national championship under Pete Carroll. Oklahoma scored the first touchdown but the Trojans blew the game open by scoring 28 straight points midway through the first half.

Best individual bowl performance: Marcus Dupree rushed for 239 and had the Sooners ahead in the 1983 Fiesta Bowl until he was sidelined with leg injuries that kept him from playing in the rest of the game. Arizona State took advantage of his departure to claim a 32-21 victory over the Sooners, despite Oklahoma rolling up 417 rushing yards.

Record against Florida: First meeting.

Common 2008 opponents: None.

The number: 7. National championship won by Oklahoma in school history - more than any team in the Big 12.

Cosh named Wildcats' co-defensive coordinator

December, 6, 2008
12/06/08
11:44
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Maryland defensive coordinator Chris Cosh has been hired as Kansas State's co-defensive coordinator and assistant head coach.

Cosh previously worked under Bill Snyder in 2004-05 as the Wildcats' linebackers coach.

The Terrapins ended the regular season ranked 35th nationally in scoring defense (21.4 points allowed per game) and were led by All-ACC performers Alex Wujciak at linebacker and Jeremy Navarre on the defensive line.

Earlier, Cosh worked as linebackers coach and defensive coordinator at South Carolina under Lou Holtz and as defensive coordinator under Nick Saban at Michigan State. 

It's a solid hire and Cosh is a respected, veteran coach. I'm still curious who will be working with him as co-coordinator.

I'm still hearing that Vic Koenning, most recently of Clemson and a former standout linebacker at Kansas State during his playing career, might be the choice. We'll see over the next few days.

Brown's stance on fans has changed

November, 7, 2008
11/07/08
12:43
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

The blog Carolinamarch.com revisted an interesting story stemming from Texas coach Mack Brown's public stance against fans charging the field after games.

Brown's comments came after Texas Tech charged the field in the wake of the Red Raiders' wild 39-33 comeback victory over Texas last week.

"It's really, really dangerous," Brown said. "It's amazing, with all the talk about security, that we'll turn everybody loose. For the first time while I was at Texas, I didn't get to sing 'The Eyes of Texas' after the game."

Brown's concern is well intentioned. But according to the blog, it's a big difference from when Brown was coaching at North Carolina.

In 1994, Brown was acting differently, according to the blog. In an effort to whip up interest for the Tar Heels' upcoming homecoming game against a 1-3 Georgia Tech team, Brown wrote a letter to the Daily Tar Heel, reminiscing about his first season coaching at North Carolina. He  opined about the support that the fans gave him during his 1-10 season and reminisced fondly about how those students stormed the field after the Tar Heels' only victory that season over Georgia Tech.

After the letter appeared, the Tar Heels won the game and students charged the field to rip down the uprights. They did the same thing the following week after a victory over Maryland before Brown felt compelled to write a second letter to the student newspaper telling the kids to cool it.   

Brown brought up his concerns of danger again this week. Maybe it reminded him of a point earlier in his career when he had to tell students to tone down their excitement.

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Conventional football philosophy usually ascribes that the most successful teams are the ones that control the ball by keeping it away from their opponents.

But Missouri's productive offense is making a mockery of that line of thinking. The Tigers rank second nationally in scoring and third nationally in passing and total offense. And they are doing it although they rank next-to-last nationally in time of possession with an average of 26 minutes, 7 seconds per game.

It's typically very rare for a team to rank low in time of possession and have success. Of the 10 bottom teams last season in time of possession in the NCAA's final statistics, only Hawaii had a winning record.

But Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said the statistic might be overrated in terms of determining success, especially with a squad like his having the proficiency it has exhibited in running the no-huddle offense.

"If you're going to have the offense we run -- up-tempo, fast, attacking -- we're going to throw the ball a lot downfield," Pinkel said. "You can't be concerned about time of possession."

The Tigers showed they can control the ball when they need to, eating up 8 1/2 minutes during one second-half drive last week against Nebraska.

"I didn't want to score any more points going into the 4th quarter, so I'm thinking we've got to change what we're doing," Pinkel said. "We had about an 8-minute drive there which is really good. Our offense is like that."

The Tigers will be matched against a team with a different philosophy Saturday. Oklahoma State leads the Big 12 and ranks 10th nationally with an average time of possession of 32:47 per game.

"Bottom line, when you get the opportunity, you have to score," Pinkel said. "What they (Oklahoma State) like to do is control the clock, they're efficient and they score. It certainly puts a lot of pressure not only on our defense, but on your offense, that when you get the opportunity, you have to take advantage of it."

The NCAA has recorded time of possession as a statistic for only three seasons. During that period, only two teams that ranked in the bottom five during those years made bowl trips -- 2006 Central Michigan and 2006 Troy.

But that trend may be less important this season. Maryland and North Carolina both rank among the bottom five in time of possession this season with Missouri. All have winning records.

This day in Big 12 history

September, 19, 2008
9/19/08
4:06
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

As Baylor prepares for a rare national television shot tonight at Connecticut, here are a couple of notable events that happened on this day earlier in Big 12 history. 

Sept. 19. 1964 - No. 2 Oklahoma 13, Maryland 3 (College Park, Md.) - After struggling most of the game, the Sooners struck twice in the final quarter to claim Coach Gomer Jones' debut with the team. Third-string QB John Hammond hooked up with Lance Rentzel on a 90-yard TD pass with less than 4 minutes remaining to give the Sooners the lead for good. And QB Mike Ringer iced the victory with another TD run.

Sept. 19, 1970 - No. 9 Nebraska 21, No. 3 USC 21 (Los Angeles) - Clarence Davis' 9-yard run with 6:44 remaining pulled the Trojans into a tie that would be the only blemish for the Cornhuskers during this season. QB Jerry Tagge passed for 140 yards and a TD despite being hospitalized most of the week before the game with a broken vein in his leg.

Things I noticed watching Saturday's games

September, 13, 2008
9/13/08
6:41
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

The ability to sit in the studio gave me the opportunity to watch a lot more football than I usually do when I'm sitting in a stadium watching a game. Heck, even more than when I'm at home and it seems like I forever have some household chore to do.

So being in Bristol gave me a chance to really watch football. Here are some things I noticed today.

1. Is anybody else surprised that East Carolina struggled before barely escaping New Orleans with a narrow victory over Tulane? How many times have we seen the BCS-buster du jour come up flat after a couple of wins against the big boys? And the Pirates better prepare for it every week as Conference USA play continues.

2. Who needs View-Masters to hype Missouri QB Chase Daniel for the Heisman? After three games, how about 10 touchdowns and one interception. His quarterback efficiency rating has been more than 250 in each of the last two weeks.

3. Injuries for coaches are a miserable time. But doesn't Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis look especially glum after he was leg-whipped by John Ryan along the sidelines late in the first half?

4. Seeing Dennis Quaid be such a prominent part of the Syracuse game-day experience today was somehow fitting as the Orange struggled through another disappointing loss. Remember, Quaid used to be "The Grey Ghost." And Syracuse used to be a place where running backs flocked.

5. Best story of the day was the emergence of Florida State WR Corey Surrency, who never played high school football. Surrency made his start playing in flag-football tournaments before going to El Camino Community College. He's simply emerged as Christian Ponder's go-to receiver.

6. Wonder how much moving Houston's game against Air Force to Dallas hurt the Cougars? Air Force jumped to a 31-7 lead before Houston stormed back to pull within 31-28 late. The Cougars have piled up 749 passing yards and 1,017 yards in their last two games. All they have to show for the offensive explosion are two losses.

7. Worst weekend this year goes to the Pac-10 for enduring humiliating losses (Baylor over Washington State, Maryland over California, TCU over Stanford, BYU over UCLA and Oregon's struggles with Purdue). But just like they've said over the last few years, thank goodness for USC.

8. Best finish of the day came at UB Stadium in Buffalo, where the Bulls eked out a narrow 30-28 victory over Temple thanks to a 35-yard pass from Drew Willy to Naaman Roosevelt with no time left. If I'm an athletic director at a struggling BCS school, I'm thinking about giving Buffalo coach Turner Gill a chance.

9. Seeing Michigan State RB Javon Ringer pick up a career-high 43 carries en route to 282 yards brings back memories of when Lorenzo White was toting the rock that much for the Spartans.

10. Sure, Northwestern has only beaten Syracuse, Duke and Southern Illinois this season. But coach Pat Fitzgerald's team has quietly fashioned a 3-0 record and is halfway to bowl eligibility.

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