Big 12: Steve Mocco
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
To say that the arrival of Bo Pelini has captivated the Cornhuskers' fan base would be a big understatement. Even before his team's first game, the new Nebraska coach is the subject of his own polka written by Cornhusker fan Carl Dare.
It might seem a stretch to write a song about a coach before his first game with his new team, but Dare's excitement about Pelini is genuine, like those of many Cornhuskers who hope to quickly forget about the misery of last season's disappointments under former coach Bill Callahan.
It's not hard to envision Nebraska fans listening to this song at tailgate parties before the Cornhuskers' first game on Aug. 30 against Western Michigan. The Cornhuskers then will have to live up to all of the excitement that has made Pelini a polka icon, which is even bigger than being a rock star in Nebraska hamlets like Cozad, Tecumseh and Plattsmouth.
Here are a few other stories that have people talking across the Big 12 this morning.
- Texas QB Colt McCoy can't get away from people who recognize him, even at a remote restaurant in Iquitos, Peru, writes Brad Gray of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
My take -- McCoy is maturing, but his baby face remains instantly recognizable anywhere in the world among Longhorn fans.
- Missouri and Kansas are hopeful of not becoming the Big 12's latest one-hit wonders, writes Randy Riggs of the Austin American-Statesman.
My take -- History tells us the Tigers and Jayhawks likely won't remain entrenched at the top of the North Division -- particularly if Pelini's teams live up to his polka.
- Texas fans will receive their annual opportunity to watch the Longhorns practice next week.
My take -- Calling these practices vanilla doesn't do justice to Blue Bell Ice Cream's homemade version.
- The Oklahoman has a link that is assured of getting all Oklahoma fans pumped up for the upcoming season.
My take -- A glorified commercial can do the trick in the dog days of summer.
- Former Oklahoma State football player Steve Mocco, now an Olympic wrestler getting ready for Beijing, would be hardly recognizable to his old Cowboy teammates. Mocco now weighs a svelte 264 pounds -- more than 30 pounds less than during his one-season stint as a backup Cowboys' defensive tackle in 2006.
My take -- Mocco's progress will give me something solid to follow in the middle of all of NBC's feel-good Olympian stories.
- Oklahoma's depth at defensive end took a hit with an emergency appendectomy for Auston English and redshirt freshman David Anderson's quitting the team, writes Jake Trotter of the Oklahoman.
My take -- So much for any last-minute relaxation for Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables. The end of his vacation just got a lot more harried.
- Tulsa World sports editor Mike Strain prepares for the travails of becoming an Associated Press Top 25 football poll voter.
My take -- As a long-time AP voter in another life, I would advise Strain to prepare for a lot of long Saturday nights awaiting scores from Hawaii.
- A "Face Book for Football" video system employed by Bill Callahan will be following the former Nebraska coach to his new job with the New York Jets, the New York Times reports.
My take -- I bet there are other parts of the Callahan legacy that Nebraska fans wish he would take with him, too.
- Former Nebraska players Mike Rucker and Mike Minter will serve as college football analysts for ESPNU starting next month.
My take -- If one "Mike and Mike" program has worked for the network, how about another one?
- Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne remembers what impressed him during Bo Pelini's job interview, writes the Lincoln Journal-Star's Steve Sipple.
My take -- And that was long before people starting writing books and polkas about him.
- Former Missouri TB Tony Temple says he would "work for free" for another NFL shot after failing to stick after tryouts with five pro teams.
My take -- Wonder if Temple wishes he had his decision back about turning pro? His old college team should be pretty good this season, I hear.