Dallas Colleges: Air Force Falcons

Video: Championship week predictions

March, 11, 2013

I'd like to see Myck Kabongo return for a full season at Texas. His 23-game penalty (originally a full year) was excessive for a workout last May and the expenses incurred. But he wasn't truthful with Texas when asked initially and that cost him dearly. The Texas staff told Kabongo to watch what he did and yet he still went ahead and put himself in a position to be caught or at the very least in a precarious situation. It was unnecessary. He didn't need the pro workout when he was hardly a lock for a first round spot. The draft is not strong but I'll be surprised if NBA teams are lining up to get Kabongo. He should return to see if he can get Texas back to the NCAA tournament after this disappointing and disjointed season. Returning to lead would also prove to NBA teams that he has matured and worked on his all-around game.

Big East invites five

October, 15, 2011

It appears as if the Big East is ready to make a move.

ESPN.com's Andy Katz reported late Friday that the league has sent conditional invitations to Houston and SMU in all sports, and Boise State and Air Force in football only. A separate all-sports invitation has been sent to UCF.

According to Katz, if Houston, SMU, Boise State and Air Force all agree to join, then the remaining six football-playing schools will agree to increase the exit fee from $5 million to the $10 million range as a show of commitment to the league. But the remaining football playing schools won't commit to raising the fee unless all four say they will join the Big East.

Houston athletic director Mack Rhoades issued a statement late Friday night saying, "We are aware of the growing speculation regarding conference realignment and do not feel it would be appropriate to comment on the possible intentions of another league. We are flattered to be mentioned as an athletics program of national importance and we are grateful for our strong traditions and the dedication of our fans, alumni, staff and student-athletes.”

Earlier in the day, the Mountain West and Conference USA announced the formation of a football alliance. On a conference call announcing the move, C-USA commissioner Britton Banowsky said he had been informed by UCF of its discussions with the Big East. But he said he was unaware of any discussions between SMU, Houston and the Big East. Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson confirmed Boise State and Air Force were in discussions with the Big East. All four of those schools participated in the vote to form the new MWC/C-USA alliance.

Casey Pachall talks Baylor, looks ahead

September, 7, 2011

ESPN Dallas' Jeff Caplan catches up with TCU quarterback Casey Pachall to discuss the Horned Frogs' opening loss and look ahead to Air Force.

Downhill Badgers are Gary Patterson's focus

December, 6, 2010
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Gary Patterson has put his TCU Horned Frogs defense to the test on multiple occassions through the years. Most notable remains the 17-10 win over the Adrian Peterson-led Oklahoma Sooners in 2005, and the 12-3 victory over Mike Leach's points-happy Texas Tech Red Raiders in 2006.

But, neither of those outfits compare with the downhill rushing attack of the No. 5 Wisconsin Badgers-- tied with TCU as the fourth-highest scoring offense in the land (43.3) -- will bring to the 97th Rose Bowl on New Year's Day. This will be Patterson's greatest challenge of his career.

The Wisconsin offensive line far outweighs TCU's excellent defensive line, and a trio of running backs -- James White, John Clay and Montee Ball -- have at least 800 yards each, combining for nearly 3,000 yards and 44 touchdowns.

"You know what they’re going to do and they do a great job of running the football; they do a great of play-action," Patterson said. "They’re not one of those teams that are going to try to fool you. They come after you and say, 'Are you better than us?' And, for us we’ve got to go out and get ready to play and we’re going to have to tackle and tackle some more and tackle some more, and get ready to go."

The TCU defense, statistically No. 1 in total defense for a record third consecutive season, has been particularly stingy against the run this season, ranking third in the nation, surrendering less than 90 yards a game. The Frogs haven't allowed a team to rush for 100 yards since Oct. 23 and only the option attack of Air Force (184 rushing yards) and SMU (190) have topped 100 yards on the ground all season.

However, No offense the Frogs have faced, not Oregon State with Jacquizz Rodgers, not Air Force and not San Diego State with Mountain West Conference leading rusher Ronnie Hillman can compare to what Patterson's defense will see from the big, bad Badgers, the nation's 12th-ranked rushing offense.

"I don't know if we've played anybody specifically just like Wisconsin where they just keep coming at you with the power running game and then they try to stretch you on the edge," Patterson said. "It will be a great challenge for us because you find out as a football team what is the highest level you can play at, and that's why you play in the Rose Bowl. "

There is interesting film for Patterson to study, which he said he started breaking down last week. In its three games against Top 25 opponents, all within Big Ten play -- wins over Ohio State (31-18) and Iowa (31-30), and a loss to Michigan State (34-24) -- Wisconsin has rushed for an average of 163.7 yards, well below its season average of 247.3 yards.

"Obviously they come downhill and they come at you all day long," Patterson said. "As a football team, the best way to keep them off is for us to do well on offense. That’s one of the ways that you stop them. We have to tackle well. It’s one of the reasons why two weeks ago once we got done with the season, we got back in the weight room. We got back to running, getting ourselves back into beginning-of-the-season shape and getting our shoulders and our legs stronger.

"Good tackling teams tackle because you’re healthy and we’re going to need to be a healthy football team going into that ballgame."

Frogs will have eyes on K-State tonight

October, 7, 2010
The No. 5 TCU Horned Frogs will become big backers of the undefeated, yet still unranked Kansas State Wildcats (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) when they take on the No. 7 Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-0, 0-0) in Manhattan, Kan., on ESPN.

Meanwhile, the Frogs (5-0) begin a three-game homestand Saturday against the Wyoming Cowboys, followed by the BYU Cougars and the No. 25 Air Force Falcons, all seemingly must-win games if TCU is to keep alive its BCS hopes.

Those hopes would be aided by a Kansas State victory tonight to knock the Cornhuskers from the ranks of the unbeaten. The bottom line for the Frogs is if they and fellow BCS-buster candidate, the No. 4 Boise State Broncos, finish the season undefeated, the Broncos are on course to likely get the one automatic bid the BCS grants to the champs of the non-automatic qualifer leagues (there is the thought that TCU could pass Boise in the rankings due to overall strength of schedule).

In the case Boise finishes ahead of TCU in the final BCS standings, the Frogs would be left to cross their fingers for an at-large bid, and the only way that would happen is if only two of the six power conferences get a second team into the BCS.

Here's how it works: Ten BCS spots are up for grabs. The conference champ from each of the six BCS conferences earns an automatic berth. One additional team from each conference can get in as an at-large selection. So, for example, if the Big 12, SEC and Big Ten each send two teams, and Boise gets the one automatic berth for the non-AQs, then there's your 10 BCS teams.

That's right, TCU can go undefeated and play in the Poinsettia Bowl. Boise experienced that buzz kill two years ago and then lost to TCU in San Diego.

So the Frogs will root hard for the Wildcats tonight. If K-State can't get the job done, then TCU will have to hope the unranked Texas Longhorns can get it together and topple Nebraska in Lincoln (Oct. 16). After that the Huskers' schedule is quite favorable.

TCU would also love to see the No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners get upset Saturday by the visiting Iowa State Cyclones. And if not, then they'll hope the Sooners get bit playing either at the Missouri Tigers (Oct. 23), at the Texas A&M Aggies (Nov. 6) or at the Oklahoma State Cowboys (Nov. 27). TCU wants the Big 12 South and North champs to have at least one loss heading into the Dec. 4 title game at Cowboys Stadium, ensuring that one will leave with two losses and likely out of the BCS mix.

Similar scenarios in the other power conferences are also preferable to TCU's quest. Having said all that, the Frogs could benefit from relatively weak power conferences this season. The Sooners look vulnerable. Which is the SEC power team beyond the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide? How about behind the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes in the Big Ten?

If TCU can't help elsewhere, what are the chances Boise loses one of its remaining eight games? The Broncos' most difficult challenge would seem to be the No. 21 Nevada Wolf Pack (Nov. 26). TCU, as of this week's rankings, faces two more Top 25 teams, No. 25 Air Force and at the No. 10 Utah Utes (Nov. 6).

That's the system, folks.

More lineup changes for reeling Horns

September, 28, 2010
The Texas backfield could now belong to the speedy D.J. Monroe after he received his first carries of the season in last week's embarrassing loss to UCLA, the Longhorns' worst home loss in 13 years.

Monroe is listed as a co-starter with Fozzy Whittaker for Saturday's Red River Rivalry at the Cotton Bowl. Tre' Newton (hip pointer) and Cody Johnson (ankle) continue to deal with injuries. Monroe could become the fourth starter at tailback in five games.

"He's really fast," offensive tackle Kyle Hix said of Monroe. "He's a hard guy to tackle in space."

Mack Brown and the coaching staff hope the No. 21 Horns can take advantage of Monroe's speed against the No. 8 Sooners, whose defense that ranks 93rd in the nation against the run (177.5 ypg). However, that number is bloated due to surrending 351 rushing yards to triple-option Air Forcetwo weeks ago. In OU's other three games, it has allowed an average of 119.6 rushing yards, led by 156 last week by Cincinnati.

Monroe, who spent most of fall camp working at receiver, is one of three changes to the Texas depth chart this week. Alex Okafor replaced Tyrell Higgins as the starter at defensive tackle and Emmanuel Acho moved from middle linebacker to strong-side linebacker, replacing Dravannti Johnson. At middle linebacker, Dustin Earnest and Jared Norton are listed as co-starters. The Horns are looking for playmakers throughout the lineup to ward off what has the potential to sprout into a three-game losing streak. After OU, Texas has a bye and then plays at No. 6 Nebraska.

"We have a great coaching staff, and that's what they are here for," Acho said. "They watch the film. They are going to get us ready, so we are going to be very well prepared. The coaches coach and we just play, and we both just try to do our jobs adequately."

*It could be a disappointing return home for freshman wide receiver Mike Davis, who is questionable for Saturday's game with a knee injury suffered Saturday against UCLA. The former Dallas Skyline star leads the team in receptions (16) and touchdowns (2) and is second in receiving yards (183). The injury is said not to be serious, but it could keep him out of his first Red River Rivalry at the Cotton Bowl, about five miles away from his high school.

No. 4 Frogs get a jolt in more ways than one

September, 25, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas -- Gary Patterson was hacked at half time and he wasn't too thrilled immediately after Friday night's hot Skillet game either.

"He was pretty fired up at halftime," game hero Jeremy Kerley said. "Miscues and misplays, that’s basically what it was."

Patterson told his team: "We’ve got to go take the ballgame. They were walking in with their heads down because it was 14-10. I said, 'You’re ahead. This team probably was preparing for you from last spring. You took their best shot. Now we got to go out and we got to play. That’s what it’s all about.'"

As the media gathered outside the visitor's locker room for coach and player interviews after TCU's 41-24 win over June Jones' inspired SMU team, media relations director Mark Cohen marched over and whispered orders from the head coach: Only one player would be made available to meet the media. Hello, fullback Luke Shivers.

No disrespect to Shivers. He landed the knockout touchdown from 4 yards out early in the fourth quarter. But, reporters that coverd this re-budding little rivalry Friday night wanted to also talk to players like Kerley, who gutted through a stomach virus, senior quarterback Andy Dalton, and junior linebacker Tank Carder and others on a veteran-laden team that ranks fourth in the nation and moved to 4-0.

Not until Patterson wrapped up a nearly eight-minute press session that touched on themes from Dalton's two interceptions ("he needs to stop") to TCU's place in the next poll ("the only thing we can control is at the end of the season we have an argument if we’re still undefeated"), did he soften and relent on a last-ditch request to talk to Kerley, a wily senior who's been there before.

His 83-yard kickoff return after SMU took a 17-14 lead early in the third quarter, quickly snapped momentum back in TCU's favor. He was asked what it felt like to have essentially saved the season. He also had four catches for 33 yards and a completion for 11 yards.

"I wouldn’t say I saved the season [with the return]," said Kerley, who acknowledged SMU stunned the Frogs early with hard-hitting play. "I’m glad I could step up to do that."

The silliness that governs college football today allows for the odd post-game interview in which the coach won, yet feels compelled to defend the way in which his team won the game. As the fourth-ranked team in the nation, it comes with the territory. He admitted mistakes and some sloppiness, but he ultimately praised his team for persevering in a tough spot, whether it costs them in Sunday's polls or not.

"I can’t worry about all that," Patterson said. "All I can worry about is trying to go into conference next week against Colorado State. If I let this be a negative that we just won a ballgame like that then I’m not the coach that I say that I am. We’ll see what people say about us in December."

TCU now enters its eight-game Mountain West Conference schedule. It starts in Fort Collins then back to TCU for three consecutive games against Wyoming, BYU and Air Force. The triple-option Falcons and the Nov. 6 road game at Utah figure to be the Frogs' toughest challenges in their quest for regular-season perfection.

The Mustangs on Friday night gave TCU, riding high after the Baylor rout, a timely reminder that everyone can be vulnerable.

"You got to give coach Jones and his staff and SMU a lot of credit," Patterson said. "We came into their house, they went door-to-door, they got a big crowd in the stands and it was a great football game in the state of Texas on a Friday night. We’re just glad we won because I think they would probably trade us."

Pros, cons of a MWC-CUSA super game

August, 20, 2010
UPDATE: The Mountain West Conference issued this brief statement on its blog at 1:06 p.m., regarding the Thursday meeting between officials from the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA:

"Followed up on various media reports regarding a potential Mountain West Conference-Conference USA merger, and confirmed that representatives of both leagues did indeed meet yesterday in Colorado Springs. Included were Commissioner Craig Thompson, Commissioner Britton Banowsky (who have a long-standing personal and professional relationship), and a couple MWC Athletics Directors. The informal gathering, which was previously scheduled, covered a wide range of topics, including concepts regarding television, scheduling and the BCS. Yet another example of the Mountain West's ongoing strategic thinking on a number of fronts, as the league continues to position itself in the national landscape."


So the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA have apparently put their two brains together and are talking a one-game showdown -- champion vs. champion -- with the winner being granted an automatic BCS berth.

First question: On the surface, it seems ludicrous, so why would the BCS agree to give an automatic bid to a non-automatic-qualifying conference team every year?

Answer: They won't (in my opinion, but let's continue...). Conference USA hasn't sniffed a BCS berth since long-departed Louisville in 2004 and Tulane a dozen years ago. Last season, unranked East Carolina knocked off No. 18 Houston in the C-USA championship game. East Carolina went to the Liberty Bowl and lost to unranked Arkansas, 20-17, and finished with a 9-5 record. Houston came to Fort Worth and got shellacked by unranked Air Force, 47-20, in the Armed Forces Bowl to finish 10-4. Since the 2006 season, no C-USA team has finished with fewer than three losses. In three of those four seasons, the league's best team had four losses. Can you imagine the national outrage had 9-4 East Carolina actually played its way into the BCS by upsetting TCU in a one-game bonanza?

That's reason enough to end this conversation right here, right now ... but, having said that, the one reason the BCS might bend and agree to such a scenario would be to avoid the embarrassment of last season when it had to deal with two BCS-busters and threw TCU and Boise State into the Fiesta Bowl to eat their own. A MWC vs. C-USA playoff would lump 23 teams (assuming today's count for the 2011 season of 11 teams in the MWC and 12 in C-USA -- things can change quickly, like, say Houston switching sides, but the numbers would stay the same) together and immediately lop off 22. No longer would the BCS have to worry about two teams messing things up.

Second question: This is a no-brainer for C-USA, which has never sent a team to a BCS game, but why would the superior MWC want any part of this?

Answer: Last year, TCU and Boise State both crashed the BCS, but two years ago, undefeated Boise State was left to play one-loss TCU in the Poinsettia Bowl. Would Boise have taken a one-game playoff against the C-USA champ for a shot to play on the big-money stage? Of course. What if TCU and Boise both go undefeated this season? One scenario: Boise gets the BCS bid and unbeaten TCU is invited to the Las Vegas Bowl. Gary Patterson has worked too hard to elevate TCU to a national platform to just give unproven C-USA a ticket to the BCS gates, but in the current system, Patterson might figure he has a better shot each year to win his conference and then win one more against the C-USA champ to ensure getting into the BCS rather than depend on BCS calculations to determine his team's fate.

Also, this would eliminate the undefeated-or-forget-it situation that now exists in the non-automatic-qualifer conferences, easing pressure on TCU and Boise State and the others to sweep their non-conference schedules, typically highlighted by two to three tough matchups against major-conference schools (TCU plays Oregon State and Baylor this season; Boise plays Virginia Tech and Oregon State). A loss in September wouldn't end all BCS hope as it does now.

The MWC and C-USA are also looking toward the future. Although the superconference model didn't come to fruition this summer, nobody is shortsighted enough to believe the Big 12 is stable and the Big Ten and SEC won't seek to expand. When and if superconferences emerge, schools in the MWC and C-USA won't hold their breath for an invite, and that includes TCU. Arranging this championship game would possibly ensure a spot in the BCS when the landscape again changes.

Third question: Would such a championship game generate more money for the two conferences?

Answer: How much is debatable. Surely, ESPN would pay for an elimination game, but it certainly wouldn't rank up there with, say, the attractiveness and popularity of the SEC championship game. And, revenue generated from a championship game would seemingly have to be split among the 23 teams, further watering down the profit margin.

Alternate solution: Merge. Let's say the Mountain West bids farewell to New Mexico, Wyoming and San Diego State (WAC, anyone?) and moves forward with eight -- TCU, BYU, Boise, Air Force, Colorado State, Fresno State, Nevada and UNLV -- and invites four from C-USA -- Houston, Memphis, Tulsa and maybe Southern Miss for a 12-team conference with a championship game. That's not bad football to take to ESPN and other networks to hammer out a more lucrative TV deal than either conference has now. It's also a stonger product than either can currently take to the BCS for eventual automatic inclusion.

Source: Big 12 leftovers could reconstitute

June, 13, 2010
As dead as the Big 12 appears, Baylor, Kansas and the three other schools that would be left behind by an exodus to the Pac-10 are hanging on to the slim hope that Texas can be convinced to stay and lead a 10-team Big 12. If not, those five schools are considering an option to reconstitute the Big 12 by plucking schools from other conferences, namely the Mountain West, according to a source close to the Big 12.

The source said that even though it appears 95 percent certain that an exodus to the Pac-10 is just days away, an internal debate at Texas continues regarding the merits of sticking with a 10-team Big 12.

The Big 12 has been told that a new TV deal, while it wouldn't be as lucrative as if Nebraska remained, would still be considerable, enough to pay out substantially more than the current deal in part because there would be 10 teams instead of 12 to divide revenue. Also, by staying in the Big 12, Texas would remain as the ultimate power broker and could continue with a plan to create its own TV network, something it won't pursue as a member of the Pac-10, which figures to establish a conference network like the Big Ten.

This outcome is obviously favored by the Big 12 North schools and Baylor.

But, if Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State break away, the source said the remaining five schools -- Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Iowa State and Baylor -- could attempt to reconstitute the Big 12 by adding the top teams from the Mountain West -- TCU, BYU, Utah, Air Force and perhaps newly acquired Boise State --plus schools from Conference-USA and even a school such as Louisville out of the Big East, a conference that could soon be facing an uncertain future of its own.

The source said "several teams" have already initiated contact with the Big 12 about such a scenario if the league splits as expected.

The idea behind a rebuilt Big 12 assumes that the league would retain its status as a BCS conference, which grants an automatic bid to lucrative BCS bowl games. That would be an enticing scenario for the Mountain West teams. The MWC is in position to become a BCS conference, but not for another two years once a four-year evaluation period expires.

In the ever-changing college landscape and with the potential for four super-conferences on the horizon, schools are looking out for their best interests. For those four MWC schools, aligning with Missouri, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Baylor presents a stronger long-term viability than the current MWC makeup with Wyoming, San Diego State, UNLV, New Mexico, Colorado State. It could also be possible that the Big 12 simply absorbs the entire MWC.

The Kansas City Star reported Saturday night that the five remaining Big 12 schools communicated via teleconference earlier in the day to discuss their situation, and Big 12 expansion was among the topics.

Of course, as fluid as the situation is, things can change quickly. If the Pac-10 does expand to 16, the Big Ten and SEC could respond by also growing to 16. In that case, Missouri could land in the Big Ten.

The Big East and the ACC could be in store for major changes as both conferences would figure to be raided in the expansion process.

One potential road block for a Big 12/MWC merger is a perceived dislike and distrust between TCU and Baylor dating back to the breakup of the SWC and the creation of the Big 12. Of course, Baylor was granted membership while TCU was left to fend for itself. However, TCU athletic Chris Del Conte Saturday night said TCU and Baylor "absolutely" could co-exist as conference members. The two schools continue a series in football this season at TCU.

Del Conte contradicted a report on Saturday that TCU would seek to block Baylor's inclusion into the MWC, if the MWC sought to expand by adding the remaining Big 12 teams. Del Conte said he spoke to Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw on Saturday.

"That did not come from myself or the chancellor or anyone associated with TCU," Del Conte said of the report.

As realignment continues to swirl, it might not be Baylor looking to join TCU, but rather TCU -- and friends --moving into the Big 12.

However, there are certainly no guarantees.

Oklahoma AD: BYU, Air Force are options

June, 10, 2010
Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione told the Tulsa World that BYU and Air Force are potential options to form a new Big 12, if conference officials can convince Texas to stay and keep everybody else in place.

Some other nuggets from Castiglione:

* The AD confirmed that the Southeastern Conference has shown interest in the Sooners.

* OU has decided, because of the long history betwen the schools, that it plans to stick with Texas -- wherever that may be: "I think it would be a horrendous decision for OU and Texas to break up," Castiglione said. "We're going to stick together if it's at all possible."

Could TCU be on brink of joining Big 12?

June, 10, 2010
With Colorado gone and Nebraska all but gone from the Big 12, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor officials are meeting today in a last-ditch effort to save the Big 12. That still remains the top priority for the Texas schools, so they say.

The alternative is a migration to the Pac-10 for six teams -- Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado -- which would signal the destruction of the Big 12 and would leave Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and quite possibly Missouri -- which wants Big Ten membership, but might not get it -- in limbo.

For days now, Nebraska has been considered the Big 12 linchpin. If the Huskers leave, the conference dissolves. But does it have to dissolve if saving the league is really the No. 1 goal for Texas and the other Big 12 members? If only Nebraska leaves, what would be the quickest fix to replace one school?


Obviously, Nebraska won't be the only Big 12 school on the move. Colorado officially accepted a bid to join the Pac-10 on Thursday. So the Big 12 could operate as a 10-team league or look to fill two spots.

TCU and who? A fellow Mountain West Conference team? Houston from Conference USA? The Big 12 already owns the Houston market. Adding another MWC team like BYU or Air Force would seem the only logical route -- assuming Arkansas has no plans to vacate the revenue pipeline that is the SEC. Of course, the Big 12 could look at this model and deem a move to the Pac-16 as being a vastly more lucrative option.

Back in January in California when TCU coach Gary Patterson accepted his Coach of the Year award from the Football Writers Association of America, he said the Frogs wouldn't hesitate to join the Big 12 if asked. He even joked that it would be all the better if they could hop right into the weaker North Division.

TCU athletics measure up in nearly every sport except men's basketball. Patterson's Frogs completed an undefeated regular season and played in the Fiesta Bowl. The baseball team begins the super-regional round Friday in Austin against the Longhorns, a rematch from last year, for a spot in the College World Series. The women's basketball team has played in multiple NCAA Tournaments. TCU's other Olympic sports are competitive.

TCU has poured money into building first-rate athletic facilities and plans are in motion to renovate Amon G. Carter Stadium.

However, some close to the TCU athletic department are skeptical that the Big 12 would extend an invitation to TCU in its hour of need. One source cited the fact that, like Houston, the Big 12 already owns the Dallas-Fort Worth market. Plus, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech greatly enjoy the recruiting advantage they own with the Frogs in a lesser conference.

A Pac-16, with its massive reach, visibility and popularity would seemingly only accentuate that advantage.

But, say that Texas and friends opt to save a 10-team Big 12 without TCU. Would it pursue BYU and Air Force first? Those schools seem most logical because they at least secure Salt Lake City TVs, while Air Force, based in Colorado Springs, Colo., somewhat taps into the Denver market.

These are fast and crazy times.

Crazy is to think that the Baylor-TCU football game in September is now more likely to be rekindled as a conference matchup in the Mountain West and not the Big 12. Crazy.

Bill Self saw conference writing on the wall

June, 7, 2010
Kansas basketball coach Bill Self saw this coming, the day when Jayhawks hoops, one of the three premiere college basketball programs in America, would compete for conference championships with Utah, BYU, TCU Air Force and San Diego State.

As coach Self knows all too well, basketball is great, but football pays the bills and cold, hard cash (as in fat football TV contracts) is at the heart of impending conference realignment.

If a Pac-10/Big 12 (South) merger were to go down, Kansas (along with Kansas State and Iowa State) would be left out of the major-conference realignment. Kansas could find itself with little choice but to join the Mountain West Conference.

On Feb. 15, as the Big 12 was headed down the stretch run of what was arguably the legaue's most competitive season from top to bottom, and rivaled the Big East for national supremacy, Self was asked about the rumors of realignment, which at that point were being spearheaded by the Big Ten's stated desire to expand.

Here's Self:
"I don't understand all the ins and outs. I would think the Big Ten, with the Big Ten Network and the media markets that they have, naturally would be more of a money-generating league [than the Big 12] from the television aspect of it. But, there's more to it than just the money.

"Having to start new rivalries with people, that would take 40 or 50 years to build and I'm sure it wouldn't be a favorite of the fan base and so many things that go along with it that I don't think it would be positive. But, if the Big Ten were to come after us -- I'm not saying they are, the Pac-10 or any league, because they're not, I don't know anything about it -- that would be something I'd strongly try to fight. There's some things that are inbred with fans and throughout your teams over time that it makes it so special to play certain games and to eliminate those games are in very, very poor taste for so many.

"I do think there is a lot of flirting going on and you certainly understand why people listen, but at the end of the day, I think our league is rock solid."

Self is correct on two of four counts. First, Kansas fans would not be happy dropping its roots rivalries from the Big Eight and newer ones with Texas and Baylor and Oklahoma State and Texas A&M in the Big 12 for Colorado State and Wyoming and UNLV and New Mexico in the MWC.

Second, Self is correct, surely to his chagrin, that neither the Big Ten nor the Pac-10 is coming after Kansas.

Now, the two counts Self got wrong? For one, clearly the Big 12 is not rock solid. And, obviously, there's not more to it than just the money.

Tourney primer: TCU Horned Frogs

May, 31, 2010
Record: 46-11, 22-5 Mountain West, 9-1 last 10

Beat: Cal State Fullerton (2X: 5-2, 8-1), Texas Tech (Series sweep, 25-13 combined score), Oral Roberts (6-4), Texas A&M (6-1), Baylor (5-4), New Mexico (3X: 3-2, 26-4, 2-0)

Lost to: Cal State Fullerton (6-4), Rice (5-4), Air Force (2X: 14-11, 4-2), Dallas Baptist (8-7), Oklahoma (2X: 4-2, 8-3), Baylor (14-4), New Mexico (3-2)

Key Players:

Sophomore outfielder Brance Rivera -- .391, nine of 10 stolen base attempts, 59 hits in just 37 starts

Sophomore outfielder Jason Coats -- .369, leads team in runs (60), hits (86), and RBIs (62), has 13 home runs, but 44 strikeouts

Senior catcher Bryan Holaday -- .357, 58 runs, 85 hits, .989 fielding percentage, caught 21 of 41 baserunners stealing

Starting rotation:

Freshman LHP Matt Purke -- 12-0, 3.34 ERA, 113 strikeouts to 25 walks, allowed four home runs in 89 IP, .225 opponent's batting average

Redshirt Junior RHP Steven Maxwell -- 10-1, 2.73 ERA, 77 strikeouts to 29 walks

Sophomore RHP Kyle Winkler -- 10-1, 3.14 ERA, two complete games, pitched most innings of any TCU pitcher, .243 opponent's batting average

Redshirt Senior RHP Paul Gerrish -- 1-3, 4.57 ERA, seven starts, 36 strikeouts to 15 walks but has a .323 opponent's batting average

Most used relievers:

Senior RHP Tyler Lockwood -- 6-2, 54 IP, 2.00 ERA, four saves, .230 opponent's batting average

Junior RHP Trent Appleby -- 3-1, 37 IP, 3.41 ERA, 23 strikeouts to 11 walks

Sophomore RHP Kaleb Merck -- 2-1, 24 IP, 1.12 ERA, 18 strikeouts to four walks, has allowed three earned runs in 18 appearances

Will move on if:

They avoid trouble early. The Horned Frogs' top three starters have been nearly unbeatable (32-2) this season and TCU rode them to an undefeated record in weekend series, the only team in the country to do so. Their offense can score in a variety of ways but has struggled with stranded batters at points in the season. However, for the most part this is a stong baseball team. The Frogs were in contention for a national top-eight seed before their RPI took a big hit in a home loss to lowly Air Force in mid-May.

Could be trouble if:

They lose an early game. The Horned Frogs will start their regional with a Lamar team that snuck into the tournament with a Southland tourney suprise victory. If TCU takes care of business in that game and can outplay the Arizona-Baylor winner in the next, expect the Frogs to move on to the Super Regionals. However, the Frogs don't have a reliable fourth starter. It has hurt the team's RPI, as TCU struggled in midweek games but could power its way to two out of three wins against anyone in a series. If the Frogs lose focus in an early game, as they did in bad losses to Air Force and Dallas Baptist, and have to climb in to the region's final with a fourth starter, they could have a fight in store from Baylor or Arizona.

First game: Friday, 7 p.m. vs. No. 4 Lamar

The tourney primers will continue Tuesday with Oklahoma and Texas A&M.

If Army wins in 2010, Knights to land in Fort Worth

April, 16, 2010
Army Black Knights haven't played in a bowl game since 1996 and the start of the 2010 season is still five months away, but the U.S. Military Academy already knows its bowl destination if it can qualify for a postseason game: The Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl.

The Fort Worth-based bowl reached an agreement with Army to play in the 2010 game at TCU's Amon G. Carter Stadium. The Black Knights of the Hudson would join other military institutions Air Force, which played in the past three Armed Forces Bowl games, and Navy, which has an agreement to play in the 2013 game.

Army fell one game short of bowl eligibility in 2009 under first-year coach Richard Ellerson.

The bowl is currently slated to feature a team from Conference USA against a team from the Mountain West Conference.

the Black Knights must have six wins prior to their annual game with Navy (Dec. 11) in order to secure their spot. The 2010 Army schedule features home games against Hawai'i, Temple, Air Force, Yale and the North Texas Mean Green.

Cadet road games will be at Eastern Michigan, Rutgers, Kent State, Duke, Northwestern and Louisiana Tech with neutral site contests against Notre Dame and Navy.

Second half starts with bang, and bang

December, 31, 2009
FORT WORTH, Texas --Houston's Tyron Carrier just made history with the first kickoff return for touchdown in Armed Forces Bowl history. Carrier returned the opening kickoff of the second half 79 yards, his second return for a touchdown on the season and fourth of his career.

It took 13 seconds for Houston to cut the Air Force lead to 24-13.

And then it took just 16 seconds more for Air Force to return the favor and reclaim an 18-point lead, 31-13. Jonathan Warzeka returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards -- the second in Armed Forces Bowl history -- shaking off tackles and then sprinting down the right sideline for Air Force's first kickoff return for touchdown since 1985.