NCF Nation: Clint Bowen
Akron coach Rob Ianello spoke to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Luncheon Club and outlined his core values for the program.
Wyoming linebackers continue their transition to the defensive line and the 4-3 defense.
Louisiana Tech receivers are forced to learn more advanced terminology in their new offensive system.
Western Kentucky defensive coordinator Clint Bowen saw helping the Hilltoppers, who were 0-12 last season, as a new challenge.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
- Texas A&M's defense is improved, but still untested. It would be hard to imagine a more valuable player for them than hybrid linebacker/defensive end Von Miller, who has produced a nation-leading eight sacks after three games. The Aggies lead the nation with 14 sacks after producing 16 in 12 games last season. Despite that strong early start, the A&M defense will get a heavy dose of reality Saturday when they face Ryan Mallett and Arkansas in Arlington, Texas, their toughest challenge to date.
- Mike Leach's inexplicable gamble. It was obvious that the hot, humid conditions at Robertson Stadium contributed greatly to the problem with cramping for both Houston and Texas Tech Saturday night. But those sticky conditions still can’t explain the brain cramp that Leach suffered when he passed on a field goal that would have given his team an eight-point lead midway through the fourth quarter. That decision went against all conventional wisdom because it would have forced the Cougars to score a touchdown and a two-point conversion to merely tie the game. Leach’s red-zone hubris ended up costing the Red Raiders the game.
- Oklahoma State has the Big 12's deepest collection of backs. The development of Oklahoma State freshman running back Jeremy Smith underscores that Cowboys might have the best collection of productive players at that position in the conference. With 2008 leading rusher Kendall Hunter hobbling, Keith Toston rushed for 84 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. And then Smith produced a school freshman record total of 160 rushing yards in the second half. Throw in Beau Johnson and you have a collection of talent that most other schools will be challenged to match once Hunter is healthy.
- Kansas' defense made a statement with its late stand: For all of the talk about Kansas’ explosive offense, the Jayhawks needed a big defensive effort against Southern Mississippi. And despite some early struggles, the Jayhawks' defense came up big as it turned the Golden Eagles away without scoring on four-straight possessions to salt away the victory. Southern Mississippi was limited to 32 yards on 22 offensive plays in the fourth quarter as the Jayhawks produced three-and-outs in two of the final three drives and allowed one first down on the other drive. The late stand is something for co-coordinators Clint Bowen and Bill Miller to build confidence as they head into conference play.
- "The Sea of Red" remains constant. How about a shout-out to the Nebraska fans, who packed Memorial Stadium for their 300th consecutive sellout Saturday night? The streak has stretched from Kennedy to Obama, withstanding recessions and even the Steve Pederson/Bill Callahan era. The record crowd that jammed the old stadium Saturday night witnessed a vintage performance by the Blackshirts in a 55-0 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette. If the Cornhuskers can keep playing like that, the legions of Nebraska fans could be treated to their second championship-game trip of this decade after making three visits in the first four seasons of the Big 12. And that kind of throwback would be a lot more enjoyable to them than any 1960s vintage uniform the Nebraska athletic department might be selling.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Kansas checks in at No. 22 in the preseason rankings compiled by my colleague Mark Schlabach.
The biggest concern about the Jayhawks has been their defense and specifically the loss of starting linebackers James Holt, Mike Rivera and Joe Mortensen from last season.
Any time you have to replace consistent producers like them, it's a big worry. But it might not necessarily be as troublesome for Kansas as you might expect.
First, Coach Mark Mangino is tinkering with a 4-2-5 defense that he expects he will use in most base situations. It's a good idea because of the heavy aerial attacks in the Big 12, but also because the four players he started in the final six games of the season all return. That group is keyed by a potential big-time producer in strong safety Darrell Stuckey, free safety Phillip Strozier and starting cornerbacks Justin Thornton and Daymond Patterson.
But the biggest reason I expect the Jayhawks to improve will be their depth up front along the defensive line. I really like Jake Laptad at defensive end who is one of the most underrated defensive linemen in the league. And I expect junior college transfer Quinton Woods to be an immediate force on the other side.
The Jayhawks also have a nice set of experienced tackles returning in Jamal Greene and Caleb Blakesley. Their experience will help them immeasurably in their second season together as starters.
It will be interesting to see how much the Jayhawks' statistics are altered with the losses at linebacker. Needless to say there's a lot of pressure on returnees like Dakota Lewis and Arist Wright. And I'm intrigued how much playing time that converted running back Angus Quigley will receive.
Another factor that will be interesting in the team's development will be what the addition of veteran co-defensive coordinator Bill Miller means to the group. Bill Young had all kinds of success with the defense and got much of the acclaim for the team that won the Orange Bowl two seasons ago.
When Young left, it was left to first-year coordinator Clint Bowen to start his program. There were some rocky parts along the way, considering they allowed at least 33 points in seven of their final 11 games.
Development in the defense will be the biggest key in the Jayhawks fulfilling their high preseason ranking and determining whether they will be able to contend for their first berth in the Big 12 championship game.
It won't necessarily be a surprise because Kansas' defense might not be as depleted as some might presume.
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.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
LAWRENCE, Kan. -- The biggest question coming into the game was how Texas Tech's defense would play against a good offense.
After 30 minutes, defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill's unit has answered that question with ringing authority.
The Red Raiders have contributed three third-down stops and a critical fumble recovery to provide the difference in Tech's convincing 35-14 halftime advantage over sputtering Kansas.
Tech's defensive front has been able to pressure Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing with a four-man rush, contributing three third-down stops and a sack that turned into a fumble that was turned into the Red Raiders' final touchdown drive.
The Red Raiders have played offense with cold-blooded efficiency, scoring five touchdowns on their first five possessions in the half before failing on their final possession at the end of the half.
Tech quarterback Graham Harrell has barely been pressured. He's taken advantage of his pass blocking to complete 22 of 26 passes for 274 yards for four touchdowns, involving seven receivers in his mix.
And Tech's underrated running game has provided a lift with 87 rushing yards and 7.9 yards per carry to keep the Kansas defense off balance and keep Kansas defensive coordinator Clint Bowen harried for an answer.
For good measure, Harrell even contributed a season-best 13-yard scramble that helped extend a scoring drive early in the second quarter.
Tech walk-on kicker Matt Williams is quickly becoming a footnote -- literally and figuratively. His only action has been on five extra points and he's converted all of them without a problem.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Here are a few items to watch for around the Big 12 this week
1. Expect a more balanced Colorado offensive attack against West Virginia with the return of TE Riar Geer, who missed the last two games with a sprained knee. His return will give the Buffaloes an intermediate receiving threat important against West Virginia's 3-3-5 defense. Don't be surprised if it also boosts the confidence of QB Cody Hawkins, who will have his favorite target from last season returning.
2. Despite being overshadowed by linebacking mates Joe Mortensen and Mike Rivera, Kansas LB James Holt is being used as the team's top blitzer in new coordinator Clint Bowen's schemes. Holt responded with a game-high 13 tackles, a sack and forced two fumbles while thriving in his new role against South Florida.
3. Junior-college transfer RB Keithen Valentine will get the majority of playing time against Louisville and not just because of his rushing abilities. Kansas State coaches think the 5-foot-8, 197-pound Valentine is the best antidote they have for Louisville's blitz tendencies.
4. Don't be surprised if Missouri opts to bench S William Moore for this week's game against Buffalo. Moore, the Tigers' inspirational leader and best defensive back, tweaked his injured ankle against Nevada. The Tigers would like to have him as near to 100 percent as possible for the start of conference play Oct. 4 at Nebraska.
5. Iowa State QB Austen Arnaud got all the snaps except for three series against Iowa. Despite that imbalance, Iowa State coach Gene Chizik remains committed to a two-quarterback system where Phillip Bates will see some playing time in every game. Chizik likes to use his quarterbacks depending on feel. He expects to use both this week against UNLV.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
The quote of the day comes from Scott Wright of the Oklahoman, who caught up with Troy coach Larry Blakeney and asked him about Oklahoma State's aim for revenge after losing at Troy last season. "They might have a bonfire and burn some of T. Boone's money to get ready for the game," Blakeney said, referring to the megabuck Oklahoma State booster.
Meanwhile, new Baylor coach Art Briles has shucked a traditional playbook in favor of his new team learning his philosophies by seeing and doing rather than reading. It's targeted to a younger generation that doesn't have the attention span to sit and learn by reading a book.
"It does require a lot of film study, because you've got to know what to do in live action in case anything happens," junior receiver Ernest Smith told the Waco Tribune-Herald. "If there's a check or an audible, you've got to be able to react fast. I've watched a lot of U of H film ... just getting familiar with it all."
Briles was successful with his new-age strategy, at least if four bowl appearances in the last five seasons at Houston is any indication. We'll see how it works at Baylor this season.
And for those readers out there who are too impatient to wade through 20 newspapers that cover the Big 12, I've take something from Briles' approach. Here's a condensed version of what's happening around the conference in about 20 quick links.
- Kansas sophomore RB Carmon Boyd-Anderson has opted to transfer from the program for "personal reasons," the Kansas City Star reported.
- A massive offensive line has prompted a new word around the Colorado team to describe them: "gifreakinnormous."
- Des Moines Register columnist Sean Keeler has to cover Iowa State and Iowa relatively equally. That's why he listed his top 23 ranking for a combination of the Big Ten and Big 12 conferences on his blog. Hope that Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany doesn't see this. He might get an idea for some kind of "gifreakinnormous" super-conference.
- The Topeka Capital-Journal's Tully Corcoran unearthed an interesting nugget buried deeply in Ron Prince's new contract.
- Colorado DE Drew Hudgins will miss the season with a knee injury. Hudgins told the Denver Post he plans to petition the NCAA for a sixth season of eligibility.
- Massive Texas A&M FB Jorvorskie Lane tells the Houston Chronicle's Terrance Harris that he's come to terms with his lessened role in the Aggies' backfield.
- New Texas director of high school relations and player development Ken Rucker is credited for the Longhorns' lack of off-the-field incidents this summer, according to Austin American-Statesman columnist Kirk Bohls.
- Mike Leach's European vacation is fodder for the San Antonio Express-News' Mike Finger's report on Texas Tech. Leach earlier described the trip as something like the Griswolds might have made.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
It's always struck me how different Colorado seems from the rest of the Big 12 every trip I make to Boulder.
The scenery for Folsom Field is breathtaking, making it one of the jewels of college football. And school officials and fans seem intent to keep it that way, too.
Colorado school officials announced Tuesday that they are pledging "zero waste" at home games, hoping to recycle 90 percent of the 10 tons of trash generated at each home game this season. They are even offering valet parking for those fans who arrive at games on bicycles.
Such environmental recognition is refreshing -- particularly considering some of the mounds of empty nacho cartons and liquor bottles I've had to wade through heading out of stadiums over the years. It's commendable, but I'm thinking that only in Boulder can you valet-park your bicycle close to a stadium.
Hopefully, these morning links won't prove to be quite as disposable to my readers. Sorry the links are a little light today. The hamsters powering the wireless at the beautiful Fairfield Inn in Topeka, Kan., must have been tired this morning. Some of the more involved Web sites -- yeah, I'm talking about you guys at the Oklahoman -- were difficult to access.
- Only three Big 12 coaches grace the cover of their team's media guides this season, according to Steve Sipple of the Lincoln Journal-Star. They are Kansas' Mark Mangino, Baylor's Art Briles and Iowa State's Gene Chizik. It's particularly hard to believe that Nebraska's Bo Pelini isn't found on the cover of the Cornhuskers' guide. At least until he plays his first game, Bo is bigger than the program there.
- This isn't a misprint. Baylor's offensive line might be a team strength this season for a change, the Waco Tribune-Herald reports.
- Take a number and wait your turn. Colorado offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich is sorting through reps for six quarterbacks this summer.
- Like most college freshmen, TB Darrell Scott's introduction to college football is coming with some growing pains, the Denver Post's Tom Kensler writes. Superman has to learn to crawl before he can fly, I guess.
- Converted WR L.A. Reed is working with Texas Tech's first-team defense at cornerback. Reed has been a tackling machine on special teams for the Red Raiders. If he can bring that same desire to covering wide receivers, Big 12 wide receivers better beware.
- New Texas defensive coordinator Will "Mr. Boom" Muschamp wants to turn up the defensive pressure this season -- even if he doesn't always see many sacks against the Big 12's spread offenses.
- The Oklahoman's Scott Wright says in a video chat that Oklahoma State TE Brandon Pettigrew might be the state's top NFL prospect this season.
- Oklahoma backup QB Landry Jones isn't flinching, despite the likelihood that he'll be watching a lot of Sam Bradford for the immediate future.
- Texas coach Mack Brown talked about why playing two quarterbacks will be important this season on "Jim Rome Is Burning." The neatest part of the interview could be seen in the background with the new additions at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium highlighted.
- Bo Pelini's early emphasis has been on producing turnovers. His Cornhuskers have a long way to go, however, considering they had one forced turnover over the final seven games in 2007. "It's embarrassing," CB Armando Murillo told the Lincoln Journal-Star's Brian Rosenthal. "I'm not going to lie. It is."
- Maybe those national title expectations are a pretty good inspiration. Missouri LB Van Alexander returned to practice several weeks ahead of schedule after off-season knee surgery.
- New Kansas defensive coordinator Clint Bowen is a tried and true Jayhawk, according to the Kansas City Star's Blair Kerkhoff. Bowen used to sell soft drinks at Memorial Stadium as a kid, hustling to get rid of his first tray and then knocking off to watch the game. Bowen told me an even better story yesterday about how he and his brothers "know every crack" in the stadium from sneaking into the facility at other games.
- Kansas RB Jocques Crawford admitted to some mixed feelings watching Kansas beat Memphis, his father's old alma mater, for the national basketball championship earlier this year.
- Anybody in the Sunflower State with a little extra room in their attic? The city of Wichita is threatening to evict the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame from its city-owned home within 30 days, the Wichita Eagle reports. Who knows, you might get a Wilt Chamberlain warm-up suit or a jersey worn by Veryl Switzer in the deal?
- Nebraska offensive coordinator Shawn Watson has backtracked a little, saying that Marlon Lucky is still his team's No. 1 I-back. But Watson added that Roy Helu Jr. will also get reps with the No. 1 offense.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Texas coach Mack Brown has been around college football long enough to know about how a conference's national perception can be shaped even before a season begins.
Brown has taken the bully pulpit all summer that the Big 12 is at its strongest level that he's ever seen heading into his 11th season coaching the Longhorns.
"This will be the best balanced league since I've been here," said Brown, the league's current dean of coaches.
Coaches voting in the USA Today poll released last week appear to agree with Brown. Five Big 12 teams are ranked among the top 14 teams in the country. That concentration at the top is more than any other conference in the country. It's also the most Big 12 teams ranked that highly in the history of the conference.
A boatload of returning quarterbacks has made most observers think the Big 12 again will be an offensive league. That will come after conference teams averaged a record 31.2 points and 428.7 total yards per game in conference play last season.
Because of that, a serious case could be made that any of five returning starters -- Missouri's Chase Daniel, Texas Tech's Graham Harrell, Texas' Colt McCoy, Oklahoma's Sam Bradford and Kansas' Todd Reesing -- could have a legitimate chance for a trip to the Heisman Trophy presentation in New York City in December. That is, if they can combine a big statistical season with luck and team success.
But Brown says the Big 12 will be better for other reasons.
"Everybody is better," Brown said. "And it's not only because of the quarterbacks, but also because all of the coaches have done such a great job. Everybody in this league has got a good football team now. And because of that, you can no longer just plan on winning a game in this league. You're going to have to earn the right to win it."
The offensive swing should continue as 10 teams return starting quarterbacks from last season. Only Iowa State and Nebraska are looking for a new starter. And although Nebraska lost Sam Keller, all backup Joe Ganz did was pass for 1,399 yards and 15 touchdowns in his final three starts last season.
That offensive firepower and the lack of defensive depth across the conference should result in a lot of shootouts again this season.
The Sooners made history last season by claiming the league's first back-to-back championship. It marked Coach Bob Stoops' fifth Big 12 championship in the last eight seasons. But another stumble in a BCS bowl -- the Sooners' fourth-straight BCS bowl-game loss -- has diminished some of Stoops' luster and made the Sooners hungry for redemption on a larger scale.
Missouri is picked to be the Sooners' biggest challenger for the title, despite losing twice to them last season. Daniel and most of his offense is back. The Tigers also won't have to potentially face the Sooners this season until the championship game - which will be played at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.
Texas Tech, Kansas and Missouri all have the highest expectations in more than 30 years as each looks for its first Big 12 championship. All will be looking for their first Big 12 title as they try to break up the Oklahoma-Texas logjam that has resulted in six of the conference's eight last championships.
Another trend to watch will be seen as three of the conference's top five contenders will be breaking in new defensive coordinators. Fiery Will Muschamp arrives at Texas from Auburn. Wily veteran Bill Young left Kansas for Miami, paving the ascension for his protégé Clint Bowen as his replacement. And Ruffin McNeill was hired as Texas Tech's permanent defensive coordinator after serving as the Red Raiders' interim defensive coordinator most of last season.
With all of the league's elite seemingly so strong on offense, defense will likely determine the conference winner. Oklahoma and Missouri appear to have the best defensive units from those five power teams heading into the season.
Whether that strength will enable the Big 12 to make a forceful assertion as the nation's strongest conference will be determined as the season plays out. LSU was able to make its claim for a shot at the national championship with two regular-season losses and a couple of narrow escapes in 2007.
A Big 12 team has never been able to lose that many games and still be in the national title hunt. It will be interesting if Brown's early spinning and similar comments from other league coaches sell that notion to enough balloters that it could become a reality in December.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
LINCOLN, Neb. -- Good morning from the Cornhusker State. New coach Bo Pelini conducts his first news conference later Monday morning before fall practice begins this afternoon. It's a momentous time. Media outlets from across the state are tripping over themselves to try to outdo the next. There will be streaming media shows from a number of sources as Pelini breaks down his thoughts heading into his first fall camp.
I'll be there too, which makes me feel like I'll be witnessing history. Hard to believe the Cornhuskers finished 5-7 last season with their worst defensive team in history.
Most of the Nebraska citizenry think that Pelini will fix that. I'll be interested to hear his thoughts about his task at hand.
Pelini-mania dominates the news as a couple of other teams across the conference have started practice this weekend. Here's a breakdown of some of what people are talking about.
- Pelini's resuscitation plans for Nebraska's defense. along with a sidebar about his reaching back to the roots of the Cornhuskers' walk-on program, are detailed in a big spread written by Steve Wieberg in USA Today. It doesn't get much bigger than that, does it?
- Baylor coach Art Briles is weighing his options as he decides on a starting quarterback. "It might be decided as we jog out on the field for pregame," Briles told Chad Conine of the Waco Tribune-Herald. "Seriously, I wish I was kidding."
- Missouri QB Chase Daniel has a clear goal this season. "I want to play in Florida," Daniel told the Kansas City Star's Mike DeArmond. And he's not talking about the Gator Bowl, either. The BCS title game will be staged in Miami.
- The Columbia Tribune's Dave Matter ratchets up the pressure on Missouri coach Gary Pinkel and the Tigers. He picks them to finish second nationally and play for the national championship against USC. Matter also predicts Oklahoma to face its third-straight BCS buster as the Sooners will draw BYU in the Fiesta Bowl in his preseason predictions.
- Sure, Missouri's offense will score a lot of points. But with 10 starters back from a team that led the Big 12 in total defense in conference play last year, Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said the Tigers' defense will determine how far the team goes this season. And he's right.
- Steve Sipple of the Lincoln Journal-Star said that Pelini isn't intimidated by facing all of the Big 12's potent spread offenses. "We try to have an offensive mentality on defense," Pelini told Sipple. "We want to dictate to the offense as much as it's trying to dictate to us." Easier said in August than when facing Bradford, Daniel, Harrell, etc., later this season.
- The Oklahoman's John Rohde almost was turning cartwheels after Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops purged his roster of WR Josh Jarboe.
- Oklahoma State has been successful starting seasons against Pac-10 teams on the road. The Tulsa World's Jimmie Tramel said that the Cowboys set the tone for bowl seasons with double-digit victories at Arizona State (1984), Washington (1985) and UCLA (2004). The Cowboys travel to Seattle to face Washington State on Aug. 30.
- Although Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford somehow didn't attend last month's Big 12 media days, the San Antonio Express-News' Mike Finger did a nice job of gauging his importance for the Sooners' hopes of claiming their third-straight Big 12 title.
- Texas A&M reported for practice Sunday without two freshmen who signed in February. TE Blake Chavis and DB/WR Derrick Hall didn't meet NCAA eligibility requirements. And several Texas newspapers reported that DE Mike Bennett, who missed the Alamo Bowl last season because of academics, will be eligible for his senior season this year.
- The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal breaks down Texas Tech's roster with a depth chart as the Red Raiders' practices begin Monday. Notable points of interest include Rylan Reed back starting at LT, Stephen Hamby ahead of incumbent Shawn Byrnes at C and Aaron Crawford, Baron Batch and Shannon Woods listed as co-starters at RB. On defense, heralded transfers Brandon Sesay and McKinner Dixon both are listed as third-string at DE.
- The Oklahoman's Berry Tramel says improvements at "The Boone Bowl" will take your breath away. That's a big step forward from the old days when I thought Lewis Field was the worst stadium in the Big 12.
- Hawaii-born LB B.J. Beatty is continuing Colorado's rich tradition of recruiting in the islands. And he's a pretty good football player, too. There's also a great picture of Beatty's flowing red hair on the Boulder Camera's Web site.
- Iowa State coach Gene Chizik is looking for more production from a puny offense that scored a conference-worst 18.2 points per game last season. It may start with reinvigorating a running game that ranked 95th nationally -- a big decline from the Cyclones' salad days under former coach Dan McCarney.
- Forget about losing CB Aqib Talib to the NFL. The Oklahoman's John Helsey says that Kansas' biggest loss from last season will be the departure of wizened coordinator Bill Young to Miami. His protégé, Clint Bowen, tries to fill his shoes. Young was an underrated element of the Jayhawks' 12-1 record and Bowen will be sorely pressed to match that production -- particularly against a much-tougher schedule.
- Jake Trotter of the Oklahoman said Oklahoma is searching south of the Red River for more players than in recent teams coached by Bob Stoops. Oklahoma is slated to start eight Texans this season, compared to six Oklahoma products. Looks like Stoops has been studying the blueprint that Bud Wilkinson and Barry Switzer employed to turn the Oklahoma program into a monolith -- lots of great players from Texas.
- Suzanne Haliburton of the Austin American-Statesman lists a lengthy to-do list
for Texas coach Mack Brown during fall practice. The Longhorns started practice this morning almost as early as a typical ESPN.com conference blogger this morning -- beginning at 6 a.m.
TOP 25 SCOREBOARD
Final 20 Duke 7 1 Florida State 45 Final 2 Ohio State 24 10 Michigan State 34 Final 5 Missouri 42 3 Auburn 59 Final 17 Oklahoma 33 6 Oklahoma State 24 Final 7 Stanford 38 11 Arizona State 14 Final 25 Texas 10 9 Baylor 30 Final 16 UCF 17 Southern Methodist 13 Final Utah State 17 23 Fresno State 24