Big 12: Rich Brooks
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
While doing some research for another story, I developed this chart. I was curious which coaches in BCS-affiliated conferences had the longest tenures without making a BCS bowl trip.
- Jim Leavitt, USF: 13th season at job
- Randy Edsall, Connecticut: 11th season at job
- Mike Leach, Texas Tech: 10th season at job
- Gary Pinkel, Missouri: ninth season at job
- Al Groh, Virginia: ninth season at job
- Mike Riley, Oregon State: ninth season at job
- Greg Schiano, Rutgers: ninth season at job
- Jeff Tedford, California: eighth season at job
- Bobby Johnson, Vanderbilt: eighth season at job
- Rich Brooks, Kentucky: seventh season at job
- Mike Stoops, Arizona: sixth season at job
I think the list highlights several interesting trends. The top two are coaches who have led their programs from the formative stages.
Then, it gets interesting. Leach consistently has been one of the outstanding coaches in the nation. But his program still has never taken the "next step" to a BCS game.
The same goes for Pinkel, Groh, Riley and Schiano -- all accomplished coaches who have repeatedly taken their programs to bowl games over the years. They just haven't been able to take their program to that "big game."
Of those on the list, I think that Tedford has the best opportunity to break that streak this season as the Bears might be in line to challenge USC in the Pac-10 and maybe be in contention for a BCS at-large berth.
But I thought it was very interesting that two coaches who qualified for a share of their respective divisions championships in the Big 12 rank so highly on a list for the lack of a BCS bowl appearance.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Missouri (Big 12 No. 8) vs. Kentucky (SEC No. 8)
Missouri's record against the SEC: 4-1
Kentucky's record against the Big 12: 0-0
Previous series: Kentucky leads, 2-0
Most recent meeting: Kentucky, 12-6, at Lexington in 1968.
Distance between them (according to How Far Is It): 431 miles.
Where they should play: Paducah, Ky. (237 miles from Lexington, 240 miles from Columbia)
Who wins: Missouri.
Why: Both teams are coming off recent runs that have been the most successful in recent history. Missouri has made back-to-back appearances in the Big 12 title game. And Kentucky has made three straight bowl appearances for the first time since 1950-52 under coach Rich Brooks.
In this mythical matchup, Missouri will send a rebuilding offense keyed by quarterback Blaine Gabbert against a salty Kentucky defense unit led by cornerback Trevard Lindley. The key, like most games for Missouri this season, will be consistent production from its running game led by Derrick Washington and De'Vion Moore.
Missouri returns only four starters on defense, but Gary Pinkel has been raving about the increased athleticism at defensive end and at cornerback. Streaky Kentucky quarterback Mike Hartline hasn't shown much consistency in his career and likely would struggle against the Tigers' defense, particularly linebacker Sean Weatherspoon.
In the end, I think Missouri grinds out a victory because of the running game and with Gabbert making just enough plays to let them win.
Thursday: Colorado (Big 12 No. 7) vs. South Carolina (SEC No. 7).
The count: SEC, 3-2.
All cumulative records against a conference go back to the 1996 season - the first of competition in the Big 12.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Kansas State announced Monday it had filled its 2009 schedule with a game Sept. 26 against FCS representative Tennessee Tech.
While it might not rank with finding a new offensive coordinator or a quarterback, I'm betting that Bill Snyder has a certain amount of relief after filling the last scheduling hole.
And considering Snyder's rebuilding plans, Coach Watson Brown's Golden Eagles are probably a safe choice. Tech finished the season on a seven-game losing streak and finished last season ranked 100th or worse in six major team categories. Including in that grouping was 117th (next to last nationally) in turnover margin, 108th nationally in scoring defense and punt returns, 105th in rushing defense and pass efficiency defense and 100th in total defense.
According to the Web site Nationalchamps.net, the Wildcats were among nine FBS teams that still need an opponent to fill their 2009 schedule.
The others include Akron, Arkansas State, Florida Atlantic, Houston, Kentucky, Louisville, Mississippi and Rutgers.
While I would assume that some of these teams could hook up to fill their schedules, it was understandable why Kansas State and Snyder were very judicious in who they ended up playing. And that's on top of the Wildcats' already difficult road trip scheduled at UCLA and Snyder's traditional hesistancy in scheduling too many tough games before conference play begins.
Here's how I ranked the eight remaining FBS teams as far as attractiveness to appear on Kansas State;s schedule.
1. Akron (Mid American): Could have been the ideal team to finish the schedule -- if Snyder wants to schedule another FBS foe. The Zips ranked 90th or worse nationally in every major defensive team statistic. Akron was 115th nationally in sacks and 100th in tackles for losses. Does that sound comforting considering the Wildcats will be breaking in a new quarterback? You bet.
2. Florida Atlantic (Sun Belt): Howard Schnellenberger's Owls might have been another attractive opponent, but it's doubtful they were willing to travel to the Little Apple. FAU already has road games against Nebraska, UAB and South Carolina to start the season.
3. Louisville (Big East): The heat is on Steve Kragthorpe and quarterback Hunter Cantwell is gone. But the two teams have played in each of the last two seasons, making a rematch for a third-straight season less than attractive.
4. Arkansas State (Sun Belt): The Red Wolves are expected to challenge for their conference championship this season. But Snyder likely asked Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman about the sagacity of scheduling them. Arkansas State already has tough road games against Iowa and Nebraska next season, probably making them leery about another road trip.
5. Rutgers (Big East): Rutgers QB Mike Teel is gone and the Scarlet Knights' defense has some holes, but stopping running threat Kordell Young would have proved to be a problem for most defenses -- including the Wildcats.
6. Kentucky (Southeastern): It would have been an interesting battle between two veteran coaches like Rich Brooks and Snyder. But Brooks' development of the Wildcats' program is a little more advanced than what the new Kansas State coach will be inheriting.
7. Houston (Conference USA): I'm thinking that Chris Cosh's defense might not be quite ready to face Case Keenum and the Cougars' strong passing attack -- at least this season.
There's no wonder why Tennessee Tech looked a lot better to Snyder than any of the available FBS teams he could have scheduled.