NCF Nation: Chase Patton

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Who said that May is supposed to be the "dog days" of college football?

How great is it that some topic or another seems to percolate for conversation about the Big 12 almost all the time?

Today was no exception.

  • Tulsa World sports editor Mike Strain wonders if Texas fans will fly banners over the Big 12 meetings later this month as conference athletic directors gather to discuss tiebreaking rules. And Bryan Eagle columnist Robert Cessna thinks that Big 12 coaches made a wise move by not changing the tiebreaking rules.
  • Colorado could be facing a reduction in the number of available football scholarships after player attrition could affect the school's Academic Progress Rate, Boulder Daily Camera beat writer Kyle Ringo reports.
  • Former Texas Tech quarterback Sonny Cumbie will be headed back to Lubbock this fall as a graduate assistant coach for the Red Raiders, the San Angelo Standard-Times' Bill Nance reports (hat tip Double T Nation.com). But first, he's got some playing still left as the quarterback for the San Angelo Stampede of the Indoor Football League.
  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Jeff Gordon says there's some merit to Missouri soliciting an invitation to join the Big Ten, although he thinks adding an Eastern school would be more beneficial to the conference.
  • The Omaha World-Herald's Tom Shatel provides his takes on a potential move in the future for Nebraska-Omaha athletic director Trev Alberts back to Nebraska and his stance on a potential penalty for wide receiver Niles Paul.
  • The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's staff kicks around whether Missouri can maintain its recent success produced after making back-to-back championship game appearances.
  • Austin American-Statesman columnist Kirk Bohls catches up with two Florida fans who are making a cross-country trek in an RV to rally support against the Bowl Championship Series.
  • After washing out at their first NFL minicamps, Dave Matter of the Columbia Daily Tribune reports that Tommy Saunders and Chase Patton will likely get another shot with new NFL teams. Saunders has signed with the Detroit Lions and Patton is close to accepting an offer with the Kansas City Chiefs.
  • Steve Sipple of the Lincoln Journal-Star had some interesting comments from Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne about some dissatisfaction in the Big 12's current television contract:

"One thing we're looking at [in the Big 12] is television because the SEC kind of stole the march on us with its pact with ESPN, which is very lucrative," Osborne told the Journal-Star. "The Big Ten has its own network. We think that's probably OK but not necessarily a super arrangement for them. So I think there's some thought in the Big 12, with our Fox contract expiring in a couple years, that we need to be ready to make a move. That's something in the next year or so that will need to be more clearly defined."

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Here are a few tidbits from around the league as teams prepare for games on Saturday:

1. Imitation is apparently the sincerest form of flattery. Or at least from Nebraska it is. The Cornhuskers picked up the idea of throwing to massive 300-pound defensive tackle/blocking back Ndamukong Suh in a short-yardage situation from watching how Texas had used Roy Miller in a similar role against Oklahoma earlier this season. "We stole it from them," Nebraska quarterback Joe Ganz said. The result was a pivotal 2-yard TD pass that help spark the Cornhuskers' fourth-quarter offensive eruption against Kansas last week.

2. With an extra week to prepare for their huge game against Texas Tech next week, Oklahoma is desperately trying to improve its kickoff coverage. The Sooners were blistered for a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown last week by Cyrus Gray of Texas A&M -- an NCAA-worst third touchdown on a kickoff return allowed by the Sooners this season. Texas Tech's return game is one of the least potent parts of the Red Raiders' surging attack, but Bob Stoops and other Sooner coaches will be up late this week scheming to improve that part of their special teams.

3. Even with Colorado quarterback Cody Hawkins' big second-half comeback against Iowa State last week, look for freshman quarterback Tyler Hansen to still get playing time this week against Oklahoma State. As strong as Hawkins looked in directing Colorado's passing game, Hansen's running skills are still considered a plus that gives the Buffaloes a change of pace. And that balance will be huge as the Buffaloes try to become bowl eligible by winning one of their final two games of the season.

4. Kansas coach Mark Mangino isn't concerned about whether new defensive coordinator Clint Bowen's scheme is working. The Jayhawks' recent defensive problems are more basic than that. Mangino has been harping on the team's basic tackling skills -- both in the box and in the open field. And that's a bad problem against the athletes that Jayhawks will be facing from Texas and Missouri in their final two games of the season.

5. So much for sportsmanship. Consider this exchange at the end of the Missouri-Kansas State game between Gary Pinkel and Kansas State coach Ron Prince. After Missouri went for it with a safe run on a fourth-and-12 from the KSU 13 with a 41-10 lead rather than kick an easy field goal, the Wildcats quickly scored against Missouri's backups and then tried an onside kick to regain possession on the next play.

Pinkel said on his radio show this week that he would have kicked the field goal if he had known that Prince would later try the onside kick. "I was trying to be a nice guy, but I guess I learned it doesn't pay to be nice," Pinkel said in comments reported in the Columbia Tribune. "I'm done being nice."

Pinkel proved that on the next play after regaining possession. He reinserted backup quarterback Chase Patton, who tried to throw a deep pass on the first play from scrimmage that went incomplete. But it was his answer to Prince's onside kick.

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