Bevo's Daily Roundup - March 15, 2010

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Our condolences to the Manley family. Former Texas assistant coach Willie Leon Manley died Saturday.

 

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SI's Stewart Mandel has burning questions about Big 12 football.

The coming Big 12 football season is equally shrouded in mystery. The usual suspects, Texas and Oklahoma, are attempting to replace a bunch of stars. Nebraska lost its biggest star of the decade (Ndamukong Suh), but may be even better. Texas Tech and Kansas both forced out their most successful coaches in recent memory. Colorado brought back its least successful coach of the past 30 years. Texas A&M could be on the verge of a huge breakthrough, or it could go 6-6 again. Oklahoma State could take a step back without Zac Robinson, or it could produce its best team in years.

And good luck predicting the direction of Missouri, Kansas State, Iowa State or even Baylor, any of which could be significantly better or significantly worse.

Big 12 Commish Dan Beebe likes the idea of expanding the NCAA tournament.

A campaign to expand the NCAA Tournament to 96 teams is gaining steam, and no one seriously believes the extra 31 slots won’t go to the power conferences.

"I don’t think it would go that far, but it would go significantly further than it has now, with the quality of our league,” Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe said of expansion to 96 teams.

The Oklahoman has a Q&A with Willie Martinez, the new Sooner DB coach.

Defensive coordinator Brent Venables does want anyone to think OU is loaded at safety.

“Loaded means that you have a ton of guys that have played and played a lot and played really good. To me, to us in this building,” Venables said. “So we’re far from it.

Language is an issue with Kansas coach Turner Gill.

“It probably doesn’t have to be this way,” Gill said in response to a question about how he selected his assistant coaches, “but I decided that I was not going to hire anybody who was going to be cursing and using that type of language. We are here to develop these people as young men, so we don’t need to do that.”

Gill said the policy fits with his belief that coaches must first have a passion for training young athletes. That means communicating with them in meaningful ways, he said.

 

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Former Texas basketball coach Tom Penders has led the University of Houston to the tournament this year.

Saturday, when Houston upset UTEP and won its first NCAA berth in 18 years, Penders went with four guards in a key stretch. The Cougars tossed in a dozen 3-pointers, and Penders became the eighth coach in history to take four different programs to the NCAA tournament.

“We're dancin', we're dancin,” Penders told the media in Tulsa. “I may be dancin' a little slower than I was the last time I went, but we're dancing'.”

Has Deion Sanders has found his calling as a altruistic mentor?

Sanders says two hours after sending his morning text: "I give unconditionally. I'm not looking for nothing back." So do we believe him? It would be much easier if the answer were yes. But it's not that simple, for him or for us -- not after the decade we just endured, when so much of what we thought was real in sports turned out to be bogus. And when your nickname is Prime Time, the skeptics are always ready to pounce. Some believe Sanders mentors for ego. Or money, as the NCAA suspected with Bryant, who ultimately signed with Sanders' friend and former agent, Eugene Parker. Or power, say NFL insiders who finger Sanders as the driving force behind Crabtree's contract dispute.

Sanders has a strong denial for every accusation. And the NCAA inquiry concluded that he did nothing wrong with Bryant. In a different era, maybe those details would have quelled the cynicism. But not today. In this jaded moment, Sanders can have his name cleared and spend all day every day trying to help people, yet still attract suspicion. Is his advice really messing up lives -- or has the sports world lost the ability to take anything at face value?

Did you know that the Big 12 tournament is a gigantic fundraiser to support the educational mission of the participating universities?

I know. I choked on that one, too.

This will make me the top seed for the wet blanket trophy, what with all the excitement going on in town and the expected $14 million economic windfall area businesses expect to reap from the Big 12 tournament.

But I’m hearing about sky-high ticket packages and coaches with multi-million-dollar salaries and I just have to ask: How long will Congress and the IRS put up with the charade of calling college athletics a tax-exempt, nonprofit enterprise?

Michigan is slowly losing the top spot as college football's winningest program.

What was Oregon coach Chip Kelly thinking?

Coach Kelly, there's no incentive to punish a star so harshly. If you're really mad at Masoli, there has to be a walk-on you can jettison. The prosecutor dropped the most serious charges against star tailback LaMichael James (grabbing his ex-girlfriend by the throat and pushing her down). James pleaded no contest to harassment, but after the prosecutor's sentencing memorandum -- which detailed a domestic struggle but certainly not strangulation -- made the rounds, you probably could have gotten away with making James run the steps at Autzen Stadium. Still, you suspended him for the season opener.

But you had to make a statement. You had to place character above winning. You had to send a message to all those little ones who wear green and gold and who sleep under Oregon posters that they shouldn't steal, that they shouldn't lie. You had to tell your fans and boosters that you'd rather risk losing a few games than risk selling your program's soul for a title that would make you a very, very rich man.

What on earth were you thinking?

UTSA is in talks to schedule a series with Baylor.

UTSA took another major step in the construction of its football program, releasing on Friday a first-year schedule featuring an inaugural game against the alma mater of head coach Larry Coker.

Beginning with Northeastern (Okla.) State on Sept. 3, 2011, the fledgling Roadrunners will embark on an eclectic campaign that includes everything from two fellow startup teams to an NAIA school that discontinued its football program for 43 years.

Notre Dame should take the Big 10's offer.

When they did get together, it was anti-climatic and the show went downhill. Not so in a marriage between the Big Ten and Notre Dame. A new day of college athletics would be dawning. Think of Notre Dame playing in a conference championship game. Think of Notre Dame playing in the Rose Bowl. Think of Notre Dame competing for a national championship again.

That's what playing in a conference gets you, especially one as potentially powerful as the new Big Ten.

It's the money, stupid. It always is. Notre Dame basically set us on this road to the BCS by breaking away from the College Football Association 20 years ago to sign with NBC. The money was too good.

Now with the Big Ten Network fueling expansion, the money might be too good again. It's refreshing to at least hear Swarbrick admit it.

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