Friday, October 30, 2009
Halloween treats for Big 12 players and coaches Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Halloween and football always have had a close association to me since I was a small boy.
I'll be celebrating it tomorrow night by dressing up just like everybody else. My costume will be a button-down shirt, khaki pants and a warm jacket that I’ll probably need in the chilly winds of Boone Pickens Stadium.
Others will be taking to the streets, arriving for goodies on Halloween night.
And if I had some special treats for some Big 12 coaches and players, here is what I'd give:
Haunted House: Owen Field in Norman has been a frightening locale for visiting teams ever since Bob Stoops took over the Oklahoma program. The Sooners are 63-2 at home with Stoops coaching, including only one conference loss during his 10-plus season coaching tenure.
Tim Heitman/US Presswire
Sam Bradford's shoulder injuries have been a nightmare for Oklahoma.
Black cat: Texas Tech coach Mike Leach is the Big 12’s resident iconoclast, sharing his opinion with anyone about almost anything. Leach will discuss Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe’s job performance, the conference’s officials, the Swedish bikini team or the relative shape of his players' girlfriends after last week’s loss to Texas A&M. Leach will always provide a sound bite when you need one.
Ghosts, Goblins and Ghouls: The Texas’ “Goon Squad” defense is frightening signal-callers across the Big 12 after knocking out three rival starting quarterbacks in the last three games. Lamarr Houston gave the team the nickname because of its determined nature playing defense. And they're living up to it so far.
The Graveyard: Although Baylor is still three losses from being effectively eliminated from bowl consideration, the Bears might as well be dead after Robert Griffin’s season-ending knee injury. The season turned for Baylor when Griffin was hurt against Northwestern State in the Bears’ third game.
Cursed team: Maybe winning the national championship so early in his career explains the bad karma that’s dogging Bob Stoops, at least for this season. The Sooners lost potential NFL first-round draft picks Jermaine Gresham before the season and Sam Bradford in the first game and later against Texas when he was attempting a comeback. Those losses effectively ended the Sooners’ hopes of an unprecedented four-peat of Big 12 titles. Oklahoma will still have a good bowl trip to play for, but Stoops has to be wondering what he could have accomplished this season with his complete roster.
Trick or treat: Texas will be facing its most difficult game left on the regular-season schedule Saturday night at Oklahoma State, where the Cowboys seemingly are due after losing 11 straight to the Longhorns. Texas’ easiest game will be coming up Nov. 14 at Baylor where Mack Brown has never lost and has won games by margins of 62, 39, 56, 62 and 21 points.
Monster mash: Texas defensive end Sergio Kindle ripped Taylor Potts’ helmet off late in the Longhorns victory over Texas Tech earlier this season. Amazingly, Potts stayed in the game after the hit, which was not penalized.
Witchcraft: Keep an eye on veteran Kansas State coach Bill Snyder, who has his team in the unexpected spot of first place in the North Division heading into Saturday’s games. It will test all of Snyder’s sorcery to be able to keep his overachieving team there as they navigate a punishing season-ending schedule.
Costumes: How about Kansas coach Mark Mangino dressed up as the Great Pumpkin? Or Nebraska coach Bo Pelini as a prison guard, swinging a cattle prod to keep his team aware of his presence, like he threatened earlier this week? Mike Leach could be a swashbuckling pirate? Gary Pinkel as a biker. And owing to his resemblance to actor Tommy Lee Jones, how about Art Briles as one of the Men in Black.
Nightmare on Colorado Avenue: Colorado’s Dan Hawkins needs a quick turnaround, or else he might be looking for another job at the end of the season as his Buffaloes fall out of North Division title contention.