Big 12: Tommy Nobis
Craig's candidacy appears to be strong. He was a member of three Super Bowl championship teams with the San Francisco 49ers. He was a four-time Pro Bowler who led the league in receptions in 1985 and ranked among the top seven receivers during four consecutive seasons from 1985 to 1988. He also finished in the top 10 in rushing for three straight seasons from 1987 to 1989.
His numbers appear strong, but he likely will be hurt by two "no brainer" selections. Smith and Rice have to be picked in their first seasons of eligibility. Smith was the greatest running back of his generation and Craig pales compared to him. And I'm thinking if voters choose to reward a player from the San Francisco dynasty of the late 1980s, it will be Rice.
The Big 12 is underrepresented in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. There hasn't been an alumnus from the conference selected since Thurman Thomas and Roger Wehrli in 2007.
Here's a look at the Big 12 schools and their alumni chosen for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Baylor: LB Mike Singletary (1998)
Iowa State: None.
Kansas: T Mike McCormack (1984), RB John Riggins (1992), RB Gale Sayers (1977).
Kansas State: None.
Missouri: CB Roger Wehrli (2007), TE Kellen Winslow (1995).
Nebraska: T Bob Brown (2004), E/coach Guy Chamberlin (1965), T William "Link" Lyman (1964).
Oklahoma: QB Troy Aikman (later finished at UCLA/2006), WR Tommy McDonald (1998), DE Lee Roy Selmon (1995).
Oklahoma State: RB Barry Sanders (2004), RB Thurman Thomas (2007).
Texas: RB Earl Campbell (1991), DB/coach Tom Landry (1990), QB Bobby Layne (1967), administrator Tex Schramm (1991).
Texas A&M: DB/P Yale Lary (1979).
Texas Tech: None.
How about it, readers? Are there any Big 12 products either retired or playing today in the NFL who deserve a slot in Canton for their deeds in the NFL?
I think an argument can definitely be made for Craig and for former players Tommy Nobis (Texas) and Lester Hayes (Texas A&M). I can also see recently retired players like Zach Thomas (Texas Tech) making it one day. And it also wouldn't surprise me to see Adrian Peterson (Oklahoma) and Wes Welker (Texas Tech) there if they can keep progressing in their careers.
What do you think?
Darrell K. Royal/Texas Memorial Stadium now has more than 100,00 seats. The Longhorns have a designated successor for Brown in place with rising star Will Muschamp. And that pesky problem with Bob Stoops has been alleviated recently with four victories in the last five seasons over the Sooners.
Times are good for Brown.
Here's a look at the Longhorns’ all-decade team during that time.
QB: Vince Young
RB: Jamaal Charles
RB: Cedric Benson
WR: Jordan Shipley
WR: Roy Williams
TE: David Thomas
OL: Justin Blalock
OL: Jonathan Scott
OL: Derrick Dockery
OL: Leonard Davis
C: Lyle Sendlein
DL: Brian Orakpo
DL: Cory Redding
DL: Shaun Rogers
DL: Casey Hampton
LB: Sergio Kindle
LB: Derrick Johnson
LB: Roddrick Muckelroy
DB: Earl Thomas
DB: Michael Huff
DB: Nathan Vasher
DB: Aaron Ross
P: Richmond McGee
K: Hunter Lawrence
KR: Quan Cosby
Offensive player of the decade: QB Vince Young. The most electrifying player of the decade capped his career by scoring the game-winning touchdown to lead his team to the national championship in his final drive. Brown finished with a 30-2 record, 6.040 passing yards and 3,127 rushing yards.
Defensive player of the decade: LB Derrick Johnson. He wasn’t around when the Longhorns won the national championship, but was perhaps the best player at his position at the school since Tommy Nobis. He capped his career with the Nagurski and Butkus Awards after earning All-America honors in each of his last two seasons.
Coach of the decade: Mack Brown. Remember when people used to joke about his inability to win big games or how he coddled his players. That all changed as the decade progressed. Brown got tougher and made some astute moves at defensive coordinator to help his program take the next step with the addition of coaches like Gene Chizik and Will Muschamp.
Moment of the decade: Vince Young’s run leads comeback victory to the 2005 national championship. Young’s game-winning 8-yard TD run with 19 seconds left boosted the Longhorns to a 41-38 victory over USC in the 2006 Rose Bowl, providing the margin of victory in one of the greatest college football games in history. Michael Huff’s fourth-down stop of LenDale White on the preceding drive set up Young’s heroics to snap the Trojans’ 34-game winning streak.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Oklahoma and Texas played two players apiece on the Outland Trophy watch list released Tuesday by the Football Writers of America.
The Sooners and Longhorns were joined by Florida, Penn State, Alabama, Georgia and USC as the only teams to place two members on the 40-man watch list.
The Big 12 had nine players on the list, trailing only 10 players from the Southeastern Conference. No other conference had more than four.
Here's the list of Big 12 nominees
- Baylor C J.D. Walton
- Missouri G Kurtis Gregory
- Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh
- Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy
- Oklahoma T Trent Williams
- Oklahoma State T Russell Okung
- Texas T Adam Ulatoski
- Texas C Chris Hall
- Texas Tech G Brandon Carter
The Outland Trophy, presented annually since 1946, is the third-oldest award in major college football. The winner will be announced on the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show on Dec. 10 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
The Outland Trophy presentation banquet, sponsored by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee, will be held on Jan. 14 in Omaha, Neb.
The Big 12 has had two previous winners in its history with Aaron Taylor of Nebraska in 1997 and Jammal Brown of Oklahoma in 2004.
Among the previous winners from Big 12 schools before the conference was created include Larry Jacobson, Rich Glover, two-time winner Dave Rimington, Dean Steinkuhler, Zach Wiegert, and Will Shields, all of Nebraska; Jim Weatherall, J.D. Roberts, Lee Roy Selmon and Greg Roberts, all of Oklahoma; and Scott Appleton, Tommy Nobis and Brad Shearer, all of Texas.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
I got a chance to watch College Football Live's recent two-day look at the traditions and greatest players and teams from Texas.
Here are the most recent results of the viewers and readers poll taken in conjunction with the visit, which is part of the program's state-by-state tour leading up to the season.
The results of the poll are up-to-date through noon ET on Wednesday. I'm also including my thoughts on the vote.
Which team is the best in state history?
- 1939 Texas A&M 41 percent
- 2005 Texas 28 percent
- 1938 TCU 27 percent
- 1982 SMU 2 percent
- 1969 Texas 2 percent
Ballots cast: 2,586 votes.
Right or wrong: Wrong.
My take: It's hard to believe there are too many teams better than the 2005 Texas team. It looks like a lot of voters have read Mickey Herskowitz's fine book about that A&M team, elevating them above the others because of the mystique of being the "greatest generation's greatest team."
Who is the best player to play college football at Texas?
- Earl Campbell 55 percent
- Vince Young 27 percent
- Ricky Williams 7 percent
- Bobby Layne 6 percent
- Tommy Nobis 5 percent
Ballots cast: 3,622 votes.
Right or wrong: Right.
My take: Hard to argue with "The Tyler Rose" as the best player in the history of the school.
Who is the best player to play college football at Texas A&M?
- John David Crow 49 percent
- Aaron Glenn 16 percent
- Lester Hayes 15 percent
- Darren Lewis 10 percent
- Johnny Holland 9 percent
Ballots cast: 3,378
Right or wrong: Right.
My take: The school's only Heisman Trophy winner always epitomized to me what an A&M player should be -- tough and determined. But I was surprised that Dat Nguyen, the greatest modern-day defensive player in school history, wasn't included on the list.
Who is the best college player at a school other than Texas or Texas A&M?
- LaDainian Tomlinson, TCU, 36 percent
- Eric Dickerson, SMU, 22 percent
- Sammy Baugh, TCU, 19 percent
- Doak Walker, SMU, 17 percent
- Davey O'Brien, TCU, 7 percent
Ballots cast: 3,742.
Right or wrong: Wrong.
My take: Even with recent familiarity from watching him, how could voters elevate Tomlinson above three iconic figures in Baugh, Walker and O'Brien who all have trophies named after them? My pick would be Walker, but you can't go wrong with either of the other players.
Which coach is the best in state history?
- Darrell Royal, Texas 33 percent
- R.C. Slocum, Texas A&M 30 percent
- Mack Brown, Texas 17 percent
- Dutch Meyer, TCU 11 percent
- Bill Yeoman, Houston 8 percent
Ballots cast: 4,055
Right or wrong: Right
My take: The homespun Royal didn't attend college in Texas, but got there as fast as he could after his playing career.
Missouri remains the last of the Big 12 states to be profiled. The show will examine "the Show-Me State" in detail on July 29.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
It's good to be the matchmaker.
Texas has made some noise about wanting to improve its nonconference schedule. And that's even before the Longhorns' Louisiana-Monroe/UTEP/UCF/Wyoming trip through the pastry wagon might bite them in the BCS this season.
Alabama coach Nick Saban checked in with reporters before leaving on vacation. Among the topics he broached was the Crimson Tide's upcoming schedule.
The Crimson Tide have a future home-and-home series with Penn State, Michigan State and Georgia Tech. Saban told the Tuscaloosa News that those are games he "likes to play."
Saban repeated a notion about Alabama's future scheduling, saying it would be exciting for his team to play upcoming matchups against five of the nation's top programs, "including ones that have a history with Alabama." He mentioned five potential targets for those games: Notre Dame, Penn State, Michigan, USC and Texas.
Ah yes, Texas. The Crimson Tide and Longhorns have plenty of history. Remember Tommy Nobis and Joe Namath in the 1965 Orange Bowl? Randy Braband stopping Wilbur Jackson on fourth down in the 1973 Cotton Bowl? Or Russ Wood's four sacks that Texas still overcame to win the 1982 Cotton Bowl?
The Longhorns are 7-0-1 in their history against Alabama. The two teams haven't played during the regular season since 1922.
Saban told reporters that the Crimson Tide would be willing to play at neutral-site games in the future against top opponents, as well as work them into future schedules in home-and-home series.
Texas could either bow to tradition and play at the Cotton Bowl, or opt for megabucks and bells and whistles by playing at Jerry World in Arlington, Texas. Or play the game in Austin.
There's a history between Saban and Mack Brown. Remember what an Internet sensation it was when Saban was coaching the Miami Dolphins and was pictured wearing Longhorns gear during a scouting trip to Austin?
Could that help the two old friends pulling off a scheduling deal?
All of us as football fans can only hope so.
Almost as delicious as the possibility of future Texas-Alabama games are these lunchtime links.
Enjoy them and enjoy Father's Day over the weekend.
- I Am the 12th Man contrasts the strategies for rebuilding a program employed by Bob Stoops and Urban Meyer, analyzing what would be best for Texas A&M.
- Ready for some football? A free video posted on huskers.com featuring some video clips of Bo Pelini in the Nebraska locker room is guaranteed to get your blood pumping for the upcoming season.
- The Oklahoman's John Rohde reports that even 20 years after his forced resignation as Oklahoma's coach, it's still good for Barry Switzer to be "The King."
- The Austin American-Statesman's John Maher ranks the best pep talks in Texas athletic history. His favorite was Jack Chevigny's pregame oration before the Longhorns' 1934 upset at Notre Dame.
- The Kansas City Star's Blair Kerkhoff writes that new Kansas State athletic director John Currie wants to rebuild the school's credibility one ticket at a time. And the Topeka Capital-Journal's Austin Meek reports that a new policy will require Currie or KSU vice president for administration and finance Bruce Shubert to sign off on any athletic department contract, whether it pertains to personnel, scheduling or services.
- New Kansas chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little can learn something by listening to all the nice things that people were saying about Bob Frederick at his funeral, the Lawrence Journal-World's Bill Mayer writes.
- Former Iowa State football players Bruce Reimers, Chris Washington and Eppie Barney have been selected into Iowa State's Hall of Fame, the Des Moines Register reports.
- Quarterback Justin Gilbert of Huntsville, Texas, has become Oklahoma State's 11th commitment of the 2010 recruiting class, the Oklahoman's Scott Wright reports.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Thanks for squeezing in a few minutes for some lunch links during the basketball games today. Hopefully, these will be more interesting than a couple of early 2-15 blowouts.
Here are some of the more notable Big 12 stories people are talking about.
Enjoy them -- and the basketball games, too.
- The Bryan Eagle's Robert Cessna wonders how many fans really will shell out $300 a ticket -- not including parking -- to watch Arkansas and Texas A&M play this season in the Dallas Cowboys' new stadium in Arlington, Texas.
- Boulder Daily Camera beat writer Kyle Ringo writes about how busy Colorado cornerback Benjamin Burney has been over the last year. Burney has recovered from surgery and rehabilitation on five different body parts, written a 500-page book and is in the process of shooting a full-length movie.
- The College Football News' Pete Fiutak writes that Dan Hawkins and Bill Snyder are among coaches who need to "get their mojo back" this season.
- Sheahon Zenger, a finalist for the Kansas State athletic director's job and a former member of coach Bill Snyder's support staff, has some definite ideas in life. Zenger tells the Topeka Capital-Journal's Austin Meek that he worries about the declining newspaper industry and says that every married man should watch "The Family Man" at least once a year.
- Missouri is trying to overcome extreme youth in its defensive line as it compensates for three missing starters from last season, the Columbia Daily Tribune's Dave Matter writes.
- Rich Kaipust of the Omaha World-Herald analyzes the difficulties that former Nebraska quarterbacks have had after transferring away from the school.
- The Houston Chronicle, consistently one of the area's top Web sites as far as bells and whistles, provides an innovative multimedia presentation of the 13 retired jersey numbers in Texas athletic history. Football players included on the list include Ricky Williams, Vince Young, Tommy Nobis, Earl Campbell and Bobby Layne.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
BRISTOL, Conn. -- Deep in the heart of the Big East Conference, my mind still wanders back to what is happening in the Big 12.
It was a little hard not to after watching two rare Friday night games. Funny what playing those will do for your national attention, isn't it?
Watching Kansas fritter away a victory in a pulsating game for the ages against South Florida got me started. And it was just as interesting watching Baylor QB Robert Griffin turn my computer screen into his own personal playground against beleaguered Washington State. I couldn't get away from Big 12 football.
There will be more of the same Saturday during my turn in the ESPN studios. Here are a few of the links that caught my attention this morning from back home.
- Racing to beat Hurricane Ike, Baylor played with its own raging intensity in a 45-17 victory over Washington State. QB Robert Griffin set a school record with 217 yards rushing, part of a 426-yard effort by the Bears against a dog-tired Washington State defense that had traveled to Waco on the day of the game.
- Daily Oklahoman columnist Berry Tramel compares Oklahoma's game today against Washington with a similar trip to another traditional power at Alabama in 2003. Oklahoman OU beat writers Jake Trotter and John Helsley show a little local color in Seattle while still sprinkling in some talk about Jake Locker in a video. And the Tulsa World's John Hoover writes about the Sooners' redemption hopes after an infamous 2006 loss in Oregon.
- Missouri officials are hoping that sending View-Masters to potential Heisman Trophy voters will spur Chase Daniel's recognition. And as the season progresses they could send similar discs to voters hyping S William Moore and WR Jeremy Maclin. I know I want one of them.
- Missouri LB Sean Weatherspoon's development into a pivotal player mirrors his determination to become a more vocal leader.
- Nebraska's defense will rely on speed and versatility against New Mexico State's high-powered aerial attack. Nebraska offensive coordinator Shawn Watson will be calling the plays, a rarity in modern-day Cornhusker history. The Cornhuskers' sputtering running game should be boosted with the return of T Lydon Murtha, who missed the first two games with an arm injury and a staph infection in his leg.
- Firefighters sucked about 300,000 gallons of water from Jones AT&T Stadium to allow today's SMU-Texas Tech game to be played after torrential rains in the Lubbock area. Prepare for a similar deluge -- of passes -- from both teams tonight in a game matching masterful pass-happy coaches with similar offensive strategies.
- Texas will retire the jersey numbers of Bobby Layne and Tommy Nobis at the Longhorns' rescheduled Sept. 27 game against Arkansas.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
The first Saturday of football season finally is here. I can't wait.
My enthusiasm couldn't even diminished by a balky wireless system that kept me about three hours behind this morning. Fortunately, the hamsters were rousted and the power restored a few minutes ago. Hopefully, these links to whet your appetite on the first full day of the season will be savored.
Enjoy them and check back throughout the day. I'll have tidbits and information as the conference starts play at 2:30 p.m. CT when Oklahoma State squares off with Washington State in Seattle. That gives you guys most of the morning to catch up on your honey-dos before the games start in earnest.
But remember to read your links first. They are a better hangover cure than menudo, my friends back in San Antonio tell me.
- Baylor coach Art Briles has named freshman QB Robert Griffin as his starter for the Northwestern State game next week. "He just gives us a few more options," Briles told the Waco Tribune-Herald. "His poise at quarterback is a given because he's played the position all his life and is comfortable with it and handles it well."
- The Colorado-Colorado State game will return to campus sites in 2009 and 2010, the school's athletic directors announced on Friday.
- Colorado coach Dan Hawkins expects several CU freshmen to have an impact in Sunday's game against Colorado State in Denver.
- Strong debuts by both QB Austen Arnaud and Phillip Bates pleased Iowa State coach Gene Chizik, although he's still unwilling to name a starter for next week's game against Kent State.
- Redshirt Missouri freshman T Elvis Fisher needs to take care of business Saturday night against Illinois All-Big Ten DE Will Davis in their epic "Viva St. Louis" debut.
- Jeffrey Martin of the Wichita Eagle/Kansas City Star reports that Kansas State players insist that last season's late collapse is behind them as they head into Saturday's opener against North Texas. But the Wildcats will have to start without LB John Houlik, who will be suspended three games after being arrested Aug. 1 for driving under the influence.
- Kansas still is getting little respect nationally, Lawrence Journal-World columnist Tom Keegan writes. Maybe he's hasn't seen those national rankings.
- Omaha World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel writes that Nebraska football gets a clean slate with Bo Pelini's first official game as head coach.
- Mike Gundy learned a lesson from his old boss Les Miles seven years ago. That's why he's calling plays as Oklahoma State's offensive coordinator as well as serving as its head coach Saturday, Tulsa World columnist Dave Sittler writes.
- Chattanooga's visit to Owen Field today will be the biggest mismatch in modern Oklahoma history - even if Terrell Owens once played for the Moccasins, Oklahoman columnist Berry Tramel writes.
- Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds escapes the competitive world of college sports with a green thumb.
- Texas will retire Vince Young's uniform number before tonight's game against Florida Atlantic and Tommy Nobis and Bobby Layne later this season. Austin American-Statesman columnist Kirk Bohls wonders who is next?
- New Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman hopes to rally support from Aggie fans as he starts his head coaching career there against Arkansas State.
- Texas Tech RB Baron Batch has a different attitude after enduring seven surgeries during an eight-month period.
- Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News writes that Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp has a perfect stage tonight to debut the team's aggressive new style.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Few schools have the rich historical base of Texas. And that's why the recent addition at Darrell K. Royal/Texas Memorial Stadium is so neat.
School officials have installed an exhibit in the stadium's north end zone that will list and honor the five retired numbers in the school's football history. Players who have been honored include Vince Young, Ricky Williams, Bobby Layne, Earl Campbell and Tommy Nobis.
Other schools have done this. I always have a fond remembrance of the past when I see Johnny Roland's or Kellen Winslow's number at Faurot Field or Rashaan Salaam at Folsom Field. It's a great way to recall the past.
I'm still waiting for some school to erect its own version of Monument Park like I saw at Yankee Stadium. Walking up to the bronze plaques of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Mickey Mantle left me with a lump in my throat. And I don't even like the New York Yankees.
Here's hoping that the Texas architects have arranged for these retired numbers to be prominently displayed where it will occasionally be noticeable on television broadcasts and be clear enough for people in the stadium. Because schools need to remember great players and their history.
And hopefully, these links will be as similarly cherished in 50 years.
- Colorado G Devin Head has adopted a scruffy, unkempt look. He's done it to honor the wife of his former high school coach, who recently died from breast cancer.
- Iowa State will generate more than $2.4 million in new revenue after the addition of new luxury boxes and club seating at Jack Trice Stadium. Only one of the 47 new suites remains unsold.
- Kansas coach Mark Mangino announced that redshirt freshmen Jeff Spikes and Jeremiah Hatch will be his starting offensive tackles for the Jayhawks Aug. 30 opener against Florida International. Spikes, who will replace Outland Trophy finalist Anthony Collins, might be the most adept 300-pound-plus saxophonist this side of Clarence Clemons.
- Veteran Lawrence Journal-World sports columnist Tom Keegan writes that Kansas QB Todd Reesing throws the most accurate ball in practice he's seen since he watched Troy Aikman at UCLA.
- "Mad" Mike DeArmond of the Kansas City Star takes a clue from Alfred E. Neuman in his most recent video log as he breaks down several recent calamities that have hit Missouri.
- Heralded RB Jocques Crawford took most of his repetitions Friday with Kansas' first-string offensive unit. And Mangino isn't bemoaning his depth although he's working with only four scholarship running backs.
- Missouri coach Gary Pinkel tells the Columbia Daily Tribune's Dave Matter he can tell a difference in his team's attitude after watching the end of another intense practice. "About six years ago, hardly anyone would have cared who won those things," Pinkel told Matter. "Now it's like venom. They're in attack mode."
- After producing a Big 12-worst 13 sacks last season, new Nebraska defensive coordinator Carl Pelini is intent on juicing production in his pass rush.
- The Oklahoman reports that former Oklahoma WR Josh Jarboe isn't currently eligible at Troy. Oklahoma officials said they didn't refuse Jarboe admission, meaning that Jarboe now is being treated as a transfer student, Troy coach Larry Blakeney said.
- WR William Cole will miss the upcoming season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. The Oklahoman's Scott Wright analyzes the Cowboys' options after his injury.
- Tulsa World beat writer John Hoover reports that Oklahoma TE junior Jermaine Gresham isn't giving much consideration to jumping to the NFL after this season. That would be good news for Bob Stoops, after losing four players early to the NFL in his last two seasons.
- Missouri QB Chase Daniel tells Terrance Harris of the Houston Chronicle that unfinished business brought him back to Missouri for his senior season.
- Dallas Morning News columnist Chuck Carlton had a great line describing Texas high school relations and player development director Ken Rucker, calling him Jiminy Cricket in burnt orange.
- Speaking of mirth and whimsy, Texas Tech's new "Elf" formation has been developed to get the ball in diminutive WR Eric Morris' hands more often.
- Texas A&M DT Lucas Patterson might be unassuming, but he's emerging as his team's most underrated player. "Lucas is quiet, and so people tend to overlook him," A&M defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt told Brent Zwerneman of the San Antonio Express-News. "That's a mistake."
- Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman is remembering his roots, reaching out to 50 retired high school coaches and retired college assistants he invited to practices this weekend.
- Missouri K Jeff Wolfert, who has a streak of 16 consecutive field goals, is getting some rest in training camp. Coaches are limiting his kickoff duties to keep him fresh for the Tigers' Aug. 30 opener against Illiniois in St. Louis.
- Freshman WR Kendall Wright is making a successful transition after a stellar career as a high school quarterback. And he tells the Waco Tribune Herald's John Werner he plans to join the Baylor basketball team after the football season ends.
- Kansas announced its 2009 football schedule, with non-conference home games against Southern Mississippi, D
uke and Northern Colorado and a road game at UTEP. Site for the "Border War" game against Missouri remains undetermined, although it's slated to be a home game for the Jayhawks.