The New York Times Pete Thamel looks at the Big 12 and this year's bowl games. The verdict is not very favorable.
Here’s the run down of the Big 12’s so-called elite teams and how they’ve performed in the bowl season:
Missouri 30, Northwestern 23 in OTNone of those exactly showcase the elite status that had been conceded to the Big 12 for much of the season. Now bowl games are funny things, and wild results come in every year. But the Big 12’s pedestrian showing is starting to look more and more like a trend. Will it carry over to Thursday night?
Oregon 42, Oklahoma State 31
Mississippi 47, Texas Tech 34
Texas 24, Ohio State 21
What do Bob Stoops and Jim Tressel have in common?
The career arcs of Tressel and Stoops can be broken down formulaically: Grow up in Ohio; take over tradition-rich program; win national championship in second season with former coach’s recruits; start recruiting even better talent on own; bludgeon way through conference schedule; lose a couple BCS title games; forget how to win big games; lose more big games.
San Antonio Express News' Buck Harvey compares Texas to the New York Giants.
But winning championships isn’t always stylish. And what happened on this same Arizona field a year ago said that. Then, the Giants upset the previously perfect Patriots.
Given computers and polls, the Giants would never have qualified for the Super Bowl. In the college system, the Giants would have been sent to the NFL version of the Alamo Bowl.
Instead, the Giants were allowed to compete and surprise, and that’s what the college game is missing. Maybe USC, OU or Florida is the best. Maybe unbeaten Utah is.
Or maybe it’s the team that took over with less than two minutes left, down by four points. OU lost to this team.
The Austin-American Statesman's Suzanne Haliburton asks if there is such a thing as football karma?
Maybe there is such a thing as football karma.
Texas' 24-21 victory over 10th-ranked Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl on Monday night had a very familiar feel to it. It almost followed the same script as the Longhorns' heartbreaking loss in Lubbock in early November.
Except this time, the game could be a springboard to a national championship in 2009 as opposed to dashing hopes for one in 2008.
The Columbus Dispatch has the bottom line on the Texas win over Ohio State.
You just thought you liked Will Muschamp. OU defensive coordinator Brent Venables feels the same way about Texas.
Dexter Pittman is a whole different person. He lost nearly 80 pounds and his body fat has dropped from 44 percent to 8 percent. His game has also improved.
During the early non-conference schedule, Barnes has repeatedly told his players to get the ball to Pittman.
"I think it's time for me to step up and be a player instead of a role player," Pittman said.
Iowa State has hired former Auburn assistant Terry Price as defensive ends coach.
Too much public information? Michael Crabtree's ankle has not healed and he is looking for a specialist.
Crabtree sustained the injury during the Nov. 29 regular-season finale against Baylor. Despite ample treatment from the Red Raiders’ medical staff, he was still hobbling and ineffective during Friday’s 47-34 Cotton Bowl loss to Mississippi.
"We’re just trying to see what’s wrong with it," Michael Crabtree Sr. said. "We need to find a specialist so we can get it properly rehabbed."
The Omaha World-Herald looks ahead to Nebraska and Bo Pelini's future.
Former Baylor coach Guy Morriss taking the head coaching position at Texas A&M Commerce.
OU's worst nightmare. Oklahoma has one of the nation's worst kickoff return defenses and Florida's Brandon James averages 23.7 yards on kickoff returns.
Here's the best part: the Sooners aren't too concerned. Don't believe it? Ask Travis Lewis, OU's star freshman linebacker and one of those starters Stoops used in kick coverage, about kick coverage.
"I've never been in there when a kick has been returned," Lewis said. "I guarantee we won't have problems with this game."
Not only do the Sooners have the BCS title game on their minds, but some have the NFL draft, as well. Bob Stoops is trying to keep their focus on Florida.
Many a bowl game has been lost because of players spending practice time thinking about their futures instead of focusing on the here and now. Stoops has said he's convinced that was the key factor the past two seasons when the Sooners lost to Boise State and West Virginia in consecutive Fiesta Bowl appearances.
The task of keeping the upcoming NFL Draft out of the minds of seniors is nearly impossible, because they know it's their last college game. A coach can plead with them to stay in the moment, but they have to find the discipline to do it because they won't suffer any repercussions if they don't.
Sam Bradford fights the quarterback jinx.
Sam Bradford is well aware of the problems Heisman Trophy winners have had in the postseason. Same goes for Oklahoma quarterbacks.
He just happens to be both.
"You don't need to think about negative things," he said. "I think I'm just going to prepare like a normal game."
Some of the most prolific quarterbacks in the Sooners' storied history have fallen flat on college football's biggest stage in the past few years, resulting in a streak of four straight BCS losses for Oklahoma.
The Sooner's defense is determined to prove everyone wrong.
Oklahoma defensive players say they are inspired to disprove Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes after he referred to the Sooners' defense as "a joke."
Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables declined to comment about Spikes' derogatory remarks.
But his players said that Spikes' comments will make them play harder in Thursday's FedEx BCS National Championship Game against the Gators.
"Everybody will have their opinions and they can say what they want to say," Oklahoma defensive end Frank Alexander said. "But we're hungry because there are a lot of people who are doubting us."
Who will win the game? Several sports writers take a stab at the question. The best response comes from KJM Singleton:
Oklahoma ... or at least it was until OU cornerback Dominique "The Human Bulletin Board" Franks opened his mouth Sunday. Franks called the best player in this game (but only its second-best QB) Tim Tebow a "running quarterback."
To quote Tebow after Florida's lone loss: A lot of good will come out of this.
Since the Ole Miss defeat he has a 11-1 TD-INT ratio, including no picks in Florida's last six games. His arm looks fine.
Dominique, you're a good corner (four picks). I suggest you do something you're used to: backpedal quickly away from these statements.
Jason King, Yahoo Sports, has some ideas on the way OU can beat Florida.
Bob Stoops is asking Miami and Florida State fans to attend the game and root for the Sooners.
“I’m calling on all of the (Miami) Hurricanes fans and the (Florida State) Seminoles fans to come down here and root for us,” Stoops said. “That won’t be hard, I don’t think. There’s a part of South Florida that isn’t for the Gators, and we’re hoping to recruit them here this week.”
Big 12 Sports previews the conference season.
What about that longer three-point shooting circle? Has it made an impact?
“We haven’t noticed a difference,” Texas Tech coach Pat Knight said.
Ditto for … many.
“I don’t think we’ll know until a couple of years of tracking whether it’s had an effect,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said.
Oklahoma State's center Ibrahima Thomas has transferred to Cincinnati.
Oklahoma State pitcher Andrew Oliver is suing the NCAA.
The NCAA suspended Oklahoma State pitcher Andrew Oliver last spring because it argues that advisers he had hired listened in on contract negotiations after he was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in June 2006.
Oliver’s attorneys are arguing that the NCAA shouldn’t restrict a player’s right to have legal help when negotiating a big league contract.
More lawyers. Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff is considering an antitrust case against the BCS.
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff was among the fans at the Sugar Bowl, cheering wildly as the Utes defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Now, fuming over their apparent denial of a national championship after an undefeated season, he's considering launching an investigation into college football's Bowl Championship Series. Shurtleff plans to meet with some of his lawyers and investigators next week to consider building an antitrust case against the BCS.
A University of Michigan graduate student in survey methodology has developed a rating system for college football teams.
Brady West, a doctoral student in survey methodology, developed a rating system for college football teams and – don’t tell the BCS – the top two teams in the country are Texas and Southern California.
More surprisingly, Missouri was No. 3. Florida State was fourth, followed by Mississippi, Texas Tech, Penn State and Clemson. As for the participants in Thursday’s BCS championship game, Florida was tied for 12th (with Nebraska) and Oklahoma was 20th.
Professor of statistics at the University of California, Irvine, Hal S. Stern, has said that no self-respecting statistician should have anything to do with the BCS.
“They’ve set themselves up to solve an insoluble problem,” Stern said. “You have teams that are very difficult to compare across conferences. Is the best team the one that’s winning the most games now, even though they had a lot of injuries early in the season and lost some games? They’ve never said what the criteria are for picking the best team.”
In a humorous coincidence, the company that makes the crystal BCS trophy went bankrupt.
Florida Rep. Cliff Stearns asks Speaker Nancy Pelosi to delay votes scheduled for Thursday and Friday so House members from Florida and Oklahoma can go to the national title game.