NCF Nation: Bobby Layne

Colt McCoy has to go way back to the dusty playing fields of West Texas to remember the last time he accomplished the ultimate in team goals for a season.

Sure, there have been a slew of individual accomplishments over the years and enough personal records to keep the Texas quarterback satisfied long after his playing career is over.

But McCoy has to revert to his days at tiny Jim Ned High School when his Class 2A team was beating up on the likes of the Bangs Dragons, Ballinger Bearcats, San Saba Armadillos and Coleman Bluecats for District 3 supremacy to remember his last true on-the-field team championship.

[+] EnlargeColt McCoy
Tim Heitman/US PresswireColt McCoy has his sights set on winning a Big 12 title Saturday.
His next chance will come Saturday night at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, when the Longhorns meet Nebraska.

“It’s right there in front of us,” McCoy said. “It’s a goal we’ve worked for all year long and it’s finally here. This is the most important game. We know there are big things after the game if we go out and handle our business. But right now, Nebraska is our focus.”

Only a year ago, McCoy and the Longhorns dealt with the bitter disappointment of failing to make the Big 12 championship game. Earlier, they had defeated eventual champion Oklahoma in a dramatic comeback. But their South Division championship hopes were dashed by a last-second loss at Texas Tech that caused a three-way tie for division title. The split championship affected the computer polls and kept Texas out when the final numbers were tallied at the end of the regular season.

That snub resonated through all of the Longhorns’ offseason practices and workouts before leading to their success this season.

Texas coach Mack Brown reminded them of that past disappointment as they began work for Nebraska earlier this week.

“They were disappointed as any group of kids I’ve ever seen,” Brown said. “But [they] committed themselves to be in this game and win it. And now they have it all in front of them.”

McCoy battled through a mid-season crisis of confidence to direct the Longhorns to a 12-0 record. Only a 16-13 victory over Oklahoma has been by a margin of less than 10 points.

Throughout the season, McCoy has talked about his personal need to play in the Big 12 championship game -- the biggest of all stages in his conference. Such a goal, he said, is bigger than an individual award like winning the Heisman Trophy.

He’s never been there before, watching Paul Thompson and Sam Bradford claim titles for Oklahoma during his career at Texas.

He’ll go down in history as the winningest quarterback in NCAA history. His 44-7 record likely will never be broken -- at least until the NCAA starts mandating 13-game or 14-game regular seasons.

In order to claim his place among the pantheon of great Texas quarterbacks like Vince Young, James Street, Bobby Layne and James Brown, McCoy needs to earn a title.

Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis remembers hearing from McCoy only minutes after he learned that Vince Young was leaving school early for the NFL.

“Colt told me not to worry, that he was ready,” Davis said.

Such a pronouncement might have been construed as a tad bold coming from a redshirt freshman who had never played before. But McCoy has been proving it ever since.

There was his first wild road victory when he beat Nebraska in a raging snowstorm in 2006.

And the way he’s beaten old rivals Texas A&M and Oklahoma in back-to-back seasons. Nobody has done that since the Longhorns’ salad days of late 1960s and early 1970s when Darrell Royal was roaming the sideline.

But the Big 12 title has been elusive for McCoy.

McCoy’s quest has even infused Brown, who said Saturday’s title game will be more meaningful for him for players like his senior quarterback than any sense of personal accomplishment in claiming his second Big 12 title and qualifying for his second BCS title game.

“I would like is for Colt and these seniors to have a championship,” Brown said. “They deserve it. They have given us so much. It’s a thing that’s not on their résumé.

“And that’s what Saturday night is about for me. I want Colt to finish getting the acclaim he should for this program and for college football. He’ll have a lot more by winning Saturday.”

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

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.

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