NCF Nation: Kansas State Jayhawks
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
It was getting obvious that most fans at Darrell K. Royal/Texas Memorial Stadium were getting a little bored.
The appearance of Matthew McConaughey hyping his "Surfer Dude" movie stirred them more than anything Texas QB Colt McCoy had done earlier in the game against Florida Atlantic University's undermanned defense.
That was until late in the fourth quarter, when the biggest response of the second half came after the final score of Arkansas State's 18-14 upset over Texas A&M was flashed on the giant Godzillatron scoreboard. It prompted a celebratory cannonade from the handlers of Smokey the Cannon down on the field and chants of "Poor Aggies" from some fans in the stadium.
That jubilant reaction wasn't shared among Aggie fans or by officials at the Big 12 offices in Dallas, who understand that a loss by one of their member institutions to a non-BCS school isn't good for business.
But that reaction is being shared today in other conference offices around the country. The Aggies aren't alone. Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh, Michigan and Mississippi State all know what it feels like to lose to non-BCS schools in their opener.
The Aggies' loss was the only real blemish in the Big 12's 10-2 opening weekend. Baylor was expected to lose to No. 23 Wake Forest, although they might have found their quarterback of the future with a strong debut by Robert Griffin.
The conference's most impressive winners during the first weekend of the season included Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado. The Buffaloes punctuated the weekend with a strong 38-17 debut over Colorado State, as heralded freshman running back Darrell Scott showed flashes of why he was the nation's top running back prospect by some recruiting services. And his uncle, Josh Smith, also wowed the crowd with a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
This weekend will feature few challenges for the Big 12, as only one conference school will face a challenge against an opponent from a BCS conference. Oklahoma will host Cincinnati while the 11 other conference members all will opt for weaker opponents.
Which will mean they will face the challenge of trying to win a game they are supposed to win -- which isn't nearly as easy in college football today than it might have been a few years ago.
Here's a collection of morning links in honor of Labor Day. Enjoy the holiday.
- Dallas Morning News columnist Chuck Carlton writes that Mike Sherman's honeymoon at Texas A&M is over after only one game.
- The San Antonio Express-News' Mike Finger ranks the Big 12's most embarrassing nonconference losses in history. And yes, A&M's 18-14 loss against Arkansas State is included, checking in at No. 4. Finger also writes that Dennis Franchione still is a handy scapegoat for the Aggies' loss.
- Missouri WR Jeremy Maclin is expected to return to practice this week after an MRI Sunday revealed a strained peroneal tendon in his twisted left ankle.
- Colorado notched an impressive victory over cross-state rival Colorado State that was the largest margin in the series since 2001. The victory left CU tackle George Hypolite in a chipper mood when he told the Boulder Camera: "We're 1-0, so obviously we're still in the national championship picture."
- Rocky Mountain News columnist Dave Krieger writes how Colorado QB Cody Hawkins starred in his big performance in the Buffaloes' victory over Colorado State. I really enjoyed it," he said. "I get to look unathletic in front of millions of people."
- The Kansas City Star's Mike DeArmond writes of concern about Missouri's secondary after the Tigers were blistered for 451 yards in their victory over Illinois.
- Omaha World Herald columnist Tom Shatel isn't ready to break out the Blackshirts after Nebraska's less-than-impressive 47-24 victory over Western Michigan.
- Oklahoma State TB Kendall "Spud" Hunter emerged as a prime offensive weapon, rushing for 107 yards in the Cowboys' impressive victory over Washington State,
- The impressive debut by Oklahoma State has Bill Haisten of the Tulsa World writing about the potential for a 5-0 start for the Cowboys.
- Texas Tech players were angry about their struggling opening-game performance in a pedestrian 49-24 triumph over Eastern Washington.
- Texas' balanced offense in its season-opening victory over Florida Atlantic was picked apart by the Austin American Statesman's Suzanne Halliburton.
- Only a thunderstorm that delayed Oklahoma's 57-2 beat-down of Tennessee-Chattanooga could derail the Sooners, the Norman Transcript's John Shinn writes. The Sooners scored on seven straight possessions before the storm hit.
- Kansas struggled running the ball against Florida International, posting only 128 yards on the ground. It marked only the second time in the last 18 regular-season games the Jayhawks failed to rush for at least 160 yards.
- Despite producing five touchdowns in Kansas State's season-opening victory over North Texas, KSU QB Josh Freeman tells the Wichita Eagle/Kansas City Star's Jeffrey Martin that he would grade himself a "B-minus."
- Former Iowa State coach Dan McCarney is fine, thank you, as Florida's defensive line coach.
- The Waco Tribune-Herald's John Werner writes that Robert Griffin is arguably the most gifted athlete that Baylor has ever had at quarterback. And his youth doesn't concern Art Briles with installing him as the team's starting quarterback. "I feel Robert is the quarterback most capable of helping us put points on the board," Briles said. "No matter what his birth certificate says, Robert is that person."
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Video may have killed the radio star, according to the old English new wave band the Buggles. But expanding mediums are providing additional opportunities for reporters to share their insights with consumers in the rapidly expanding marketplace.
The Big 12 is no different, stocked with a boatload of good weekly vlogs. And work has started early, even before the season starts, at many newspapers.
The spirited competition between the Lincoln Journal-Star and the Omaha World-Herald in the coverage of all things concerning Nebraska football has spilled over into a video war of sorts.
Omaha World-Herald beat writers Mitch Sherman and Rich Kaipust talk about the need for increasing sacks and turnovers in their most recent video chat. And Lincoln Journal Star columnist Steve Sipple and beat writer Brian Christopherson discuss freshmen who will play for the Cornhuskers this season. It will continue for both papers throughout the season.
But the most effective use of video by a newspaper that I've seen so far is what the Oklahoman has done for its stellar series on Bob Stoops. A group of Oklahoman reporters provide analysis of Stoops' leadership, done with tight videography in a style much like ESPN Classic has used in its Sports Century documentaries. Despite the lack of live action footage, the use of some memorable still pictures of Stoops and Sooners was still very effective.
More newspapers are going to this synergy using different formats. I'll try to include some of the more notable ones in my upcoming posts.
But the written word still remains supreme in my mind. And here are some scrumptuous morsels for a Friday morning links collection.
- Baylor coach Art Briles said that freshman QB Robert Griffin will see action in the Bears' opener against Wake Forest and that TB Jay Finley will average 16 to 21 carries per game this season.
- Denver Post reporter Tom Kensler profiles Colorado long snapper Austin Bisnow, a budding songwriter who has twice won Colorado's on-campus "Idol" competition for his singing abilities.
- Some Kansas players are saying their secondary could be better this season with Chris Harris starting in place of departed All-American CB Aqib Talib.
- Nebraska WR Nate Swift has rebounded from a childhood bout with paralysis brought about after being diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome 12 years ago in a story by the Omaha World-Herald's Rich Kaipust. Swift has a complete recovery and needs 41 catches to become the school's leading career receiver.
- Lawrence Journal-World beat writer Dugan Arnett writes about the joy of finding former Kansas RB Donte Bean in the cereal aisle at the Wal-Mart late one night.
- Lincoln Journal Star columnist Steve Sipple profiles MLB Phillip "Jelly Roll" Dillard, who has lost more than 30 pounds since last season in preparation for Bo Pelini's aggressive new defense.
- Jake Trotter of the Oklahoman writes about how Bob Stoops has made it a priority to involve his coaching staff's families in all aspects of the program.
- Texas Tech coach Mile Leach told fans at the annual Red Raider Club kickoff luncheon on Thursday in Lubbock that he may finally have the team to fulfill lofty preseason expectations. "I think what I've been impressed with about this group is they work together, they listen to coaching and as a result, since they're very committed to doing the best they can, you can coach them hard," Leach said. "You can ask more of them than some of the other groups I've dealt with. As a result, we're looking forward to seeing where it takes us."
- Later in the evening, Leach, defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill, QB Graham Harrell and WR Michael Crabtree were among those who signed autographs for more than four hours at the team's annual Fan Night.
- Freshman TB Bradley Stephens accounted for 190 yards at Texas A&M's final scrimmage of training camp. But the most notable development could be the pass-catching abilities of backup QB Jerrod Johnson, who snagged five receptions for 47 yards playing tight end, including a 15-yard TD reception.
- Austin American-Statesman beat writer Suzanne Halliburton broke down the crowded kicking and punting competition at Texas, where incumbent K Ryan Bailey and P Trevor Gerland are facing serious challenges to keep their jobs.
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Mike Jones blogs about the rules that Texas coach Mack Brown will have to consider if he plays quarterbacks Colt McCoy and John Chiles at the same time.
- Heralded recruit Darrell Scott was listed as Colorado's third-string running back and third-string punter in Coach Dan Hawkins' first depth chart released on Thursday.
- Iowa State will receive a guaranteed total of $1.8 million from their two-game series at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City against Kansas State that was announced Thursday. Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard said the school averages $1 million per game in home revenues. And Pollard told the Kansas City Star's Blair Kerkhoff that both schools might seek a sponsor for the game and develop a traveling trophy for the winner of the game.
- No defensive starters saw action in Missouri's final scrimmage of training camp. But LB Sean Weatherspoon said he's excited heading into the Tigers' Aug. 30 opener against Illinois. "I think we're definitely ready," Weatherspoon told the Kansas City Star. "Guys are really excited about this season. The energy level is up. And enthusiasm is free." With backup QB Chase Patton injured, third-stringer Blaine Gabbert saw most of the action at the scrimmage, overcoming early adversity to finish strongly.
- Missouri fans are irate about a $100 seasona
l charge for reserved parking in donor lots at Faurot Field - on top of required season-ticket purchase and a donation to the school's scholarship fund. School officials told the Columbia Tribune that the school was the last in the Big 12 to charge for this.
- A sloppy defensive practice on Thursday resulted in extra running for Oklahoma players and no defensive coaches made available to the media after practice. "We're trying to be national champions, not just win the Big 12 and lose a bowl game," DT Gerald McCoy told the Oklahoman. "We're tired of that reputation."
- Senior Richie Bean and walk-on freshman Randy Bullock are vying for Texas A&M's kicking slot after last year's starter, Matt Szymanski, transferred to SMU.
- Texas QB Colt McCoy likened his first two years starting with the Longhorns to his first two years with a driver's license.
- Old-school Oklahoma State offensive line coach Joe Wickline is impossible to please, according to the Tulsa World's Bill Haisten. "All I see are errors that you can correct," Wickline said. "I'll let someone else tell these guys that they're doing a good job."
- Berry Tramel of the Oklahoman says that Oklahoma State is stuck in a rut of mediocrity.
- John Shinn of the Norman Transcript writes that Oklahoma's current collection of defensive linemen might be the best in Bob Stoops' coaching era.
- Missouri freshmen players Rolandis Woodland and Drew Temple are all but assured of redshirting if they are ever cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center, several Missouri papers reported. Temple is the younger brother of former Missouri leading rusher Tony Temple.
- Veteran Lawrence Journal-World columnist Bill Mayer goes far into his personal "Way Back Machine" to compare Kansas' current football fever to previous seasons.