Dallas Colleges: Big 12 Championship
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Dash Harris and Khris Middleton drilled key 3-pointers in the last 4 minutes and Texas A&M hit 14 straight foul shots to beat Oklahoma, 62-53, Wednesday night in a ragged opening-round match of the Big 12 tournament.
Eighth-seeded Oklahoma, trailing almost the entire second half, sliced the lead to 47-45 on Romero Osby's four free throws before Harris connected for his second 3-pointer at the 3:55 mark.
David Loubeau hit a bucket for the Aggies that Sam Grooms answered for the Sooners. Then Middleton's 3-pointer gave A&M a 55-47 lead with 1:42 left.
Loubeau and Middleton each had 15 points for the Aggies (14-17), playing their last Big 12 tournament before joining the Southeastern Conference. In Thursday's quarterfinals, they will meet No. 3 Kansas, which beat them twice while rolling to its eighth straight regular-season Big 12 championship.
Oklahoma (15-16) got 17 points from Osby and 13 from Grooms
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Oklahoma Sooners rallied from a 17-0 hole early in the second quarter to defeat the Nebraska Cornhuskers Saturday night, 23-20, and win the Big 12 Championship.
The victory propels the Sooners to the Fiesta Bowl against an opponent that will be known Sunday night when the BCS Show unveils the BCS matchups.
As for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, who lose their final game in the Big 12, they could be heading to the Holiday Bowl in San Diego.
The 27-yarder gives the Sooners a 23-20 lead, their first of the game. Nebraska led 17-0 at the 12:14 mark of the second quarter, but its offense has been stymied by the Sooners' defense to the tune of 271 total yards.
The winner of the Big 12 championship game will play in the Fiesta Bowl.
The Nebraska offense stalled with just 32 yards of offense and a turnover. Oklahoma's best chance to get in the end zone came when Landry Jones hit Ryan Broyles in stride for a 47-yard gain to the Nebraska 3-yard line. But, three plays failed to get a touchdown and OU tied at 20-20.
Previously, OU got to the Nebraska 7, but couldn't punch it in against the Cornhusker defense.
The Huskers jumped out to a 17-0 lead, but two turnovers have helped the Sooners get back in it. OU quarterback Landry Jones is 12-of-20 for 196 yards with a touchdown and interception. He hit Kenny Stills for two big pass plays, one being a 49-yard touchdown, and the other going 30 yards to the 1-yard line. Jones finished it off to make it, 17-14.
Roy Helu Jr. zipped 66 yards for Nebraska's first touchdown early in the first quarter, but his fumble in the second quarter set up OU's second touchdown.
Ailing Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez started and is just 4-of-11 for 78 yards. The Huskers' one touchdown pass actually came from I-back Rex Burkhead (of Plano) on a 5-yard toss to Kyler Reed.
Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones again connected with Kenny Stills for an apparent touchdown. But, replays showed Stills' knee was down, marking him for a 30-yard gain to the 1. Jones finished the job for OU's second touchdown of the second quarter.
The Sooners now have big lead in total yards, 170-80, but now the Huskers are on the move.
The completion was the Cornhuskers' first of the game as starting quarterback Taylor Martinez is 0-for-4, and Roy Helu Jr.'s 66-yard touchdown run in the first half remains the bulk of Nebraska's 80 yards of total offense.
But, the Sooners have just 90 yards of offense and a turnover. More than 11 minutes remain in the second quarter, but OU will need to strike soon.
Oklahoma continues to have all kinds of trouble moving the football as they're set to punt for the third time in the first quarter with 4:47 to go. The Sooners have managed 60 yards of offense. Of course, 66 of Nebraska's 68 total yards came courtesy of Roy Helu Jr.'s touchdown run.
The stadium will host four major college football games this season, one shy of last year's total during the mammoth venue's inaugural season (the Texas Tech-Baylor game, at Cowboys Stadium last year, is at the Cotton Bowl this season). This year's slate again includes the Dec. 4 Big 12 championship, the league's final title game before it drops to 10 teams for the 2011 season.
While that means Cowboys Stadium will lose a marquee matchup, Jones said he foresees no problem attracting more games and a large number of them.
"I can tell you that we’re always going to be very aggressive in terms of our approach to hosting these games," Jones said. "We believe this is a hotbed for football. I think schools like to be in our area, playing in front of all the potential players that could be recruits for those schools. Even though right now it doesn’t look like there’s going to be a Big 12 championship game played, we think in due time those things take care of themselves and we’re going to have many opportunities to host games."
He's probably right. In 2013, Notre Dame will play Arizona State and rumors abound that Alabama and Michigan are working on a deal to play underneath the enormous JerryWorld video board in 2012.
Those games are likely just the beginning of annual pilgrimages for other major conference schools seeking to gain a foothold in Texas' fertile recruiting grounds, the main reason why Jones said he has not and will not lobby the Big 12 to reconsider its stance and push to continue the title game.
"We obviously respect our relationships with these people and it’s certainly not our place to tell them how to run their business," Jones said. "We just think in due time that there’s going to be a lot of great football to be played in college and a lot of it played in the North Texas area, and because we have the building that we have we think it’s going to be a natural to host these games and eventually we’ll get the number of games that we want to have."
The 2010-11 college football schedule at Cowboys Stadium:
Sept. 4: TCU vs. Oregon State, 6:45 p.m.
Oct. 9: Texas A&M vs. Arkansas, TBA
Dec. 4: Big 12 championship, 7 p.m.
Jan. 7: Cotton Bowl, 7 p.m.
In the same breath Beebe managed to turn "at all" into: "And certainly we wouldn't look to expand with any institutions that are in our geographic five-state area now."
If the Big 12 as 10 is not looking to expand at all, why the need to add the caveat of well, not in the five states we currently occupy? In college athletics we've learned never say never and no could mean yes and vice-versa. As long as money is green, nothing is certain.
This becomes all the more intriguing with word that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, seeing green fly out the window now that he's suddenly left without the coveted Big 12 football championship game at his palace in Arlington, is eager to bring his alma mater Arkansas into the Big 12 fold -- oh yeah, and maybe even Notre Dame.
I'm no geography major, but I do know that Notre Dame is in the great state of Indiana and that Arkansas, although it sits next to Big 12-occupied Texas (hence, the beautiful border town of Texarkana) the Natural State is actually in Arkansas. The Big 12 currently reaches into Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Iowa.
While Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long, in office a couple of years since coming from Pittsburgh to replace the legendary Frank Broyles, quickly nixed Arkansas to the Big 12, the move actually makes some sense. Leaving the SEC was always dismissed simply because of the financial muscle of the conference, but clearly we're seeing a Hog pity party that includes unhappiness with a lack of true rivalries, a lack of success in football and diminishing recruiting returns in Texas, once fertile Hog grounds.
The Big 12 has assured itself a highly profitable future after the threat of Texas and others moving to the Pac-16 (and possibly Texas A&M to the SEC). Arkansas could get in on that new revenue, get back to its natural, hated rival in the Longhorns and likely begin competing immediately as a top-four football program in the Big 12.
When Long says no, he might mean yes, in time, just as Beebe said the Big 12 won't expand, er, at least not in the current five-state setup.
The source said the meetings included the chancellors, presidents and athletic directors from the three schools. Not present was a Baylor contingent. Baylor is locked in a battle with Colorado for what is presumed to be the sixth spot along with Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State that would create a 16-team superconference with the Pac-10 schools. Colorado is believed to be favored by the Pac-10.
Texas and Texas A&M will meet Thursday to discuss their next move with Nebraska apparently on the verge of leaving the conference. Another Big 12 source said that Nebraska's actions have greatly accelerated talks among officials at Big 12 schools.
The source said that athletic director DeLoss Dodds and school president William Powers met with the Texas coaches on Wednesday to update them on the swirling realignment talks.
Texas and the other Big 12 South schools, the source said, continue to work to keep the Big 12 intact.
Earlier in the week, the website reported that the Pac-10 is planning to extend invitations to Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado.
"If you're going to have an exported commodity involved in this, do you think we're going to allow a school from outside the state of Texas to replace one of our schools in the Big 12 South? I don't think so. We're already at work on this," a high-ranking member of the Texas Legislature who asked not to be identified told Orangebloods.com.
The source said that there is a block of 15 legislators working to make sure that Baylor, not Colorado, is invited to join the Pac-10. The source pointed to the political and economic importance of keeping the Big 12's Texas schools together as well as Colorado's recent athletic struggles and lack of sports such as baseball, softball and men's tennis.
Meanwhile, Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott laid out a host of expansion scenarios to athletic directors Friday, the first day of conference meetings in San Francisco. They range from a full merger with the Big 12; to merging with six current Big 12 schools, including Texas; to adding Colorado and Utah; to the status quo, according to one athletic director.
On Sunday morning, Scott will brief school presidents and chancellors.
There's been no definitive decision on the future site of the Big 12 title game, but commissioner Dan Beebe did little to dispel rumors that an official decision to move the game to Cowboys Stadium for the next three years is a formality.
"With the best facility in the world in our backyard, I don't care where it was located. It could be in Oklahoma City, it could be in Omaha, it could be in Lincoln," Beebe said. "We would be foolish not to take advantage of that for all sorts of reasons. For fan experience, for student-athlete experience, for recruiting of players everywhere, it's at least one more recruiting pitch you can make. You come here, and we play, we're going to play in the Dallas Cowboys' stadium. Those kids' jaws dropped when they walked in. For all of those reasons, I think we need to take advantage of that facility and that's what I've expressed. The board will finalize what direction we'll go for the next three years after this year, and that'll come up, we'll have a report on that later."
For more, including those who oppose the idea, go here.
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