Archive for Friday, July 27, 2001

Big 12 football media days: Coaches dislike championship

Jayhawks tapped last in north in preseason media poll

July 27, 2001


— If certain teams had their wish, the Big 12 championship football game would be a thing of the past.

Curiously, one of the most vocal opponents of the game during the first of the conference's annual media days Thursday was the coach who won last year's game.

"It's pretty simple it's a more difficult road to travel," said Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, whose squad followed the Big 12 crown with a national championship last season. "The SEC (Southeastern Conference) and the Big 12 have the most difficult roads to travel to win the national championship by far and away. It's not even close. And there's no question that I think it's something that needs to be addressed.

"I think the championship game is great. It's a great atmosphere and until they do away with it I'm going to think so."

However, now that the Bowl Championship Series doesn't count a second victory against the same team in a season as a "quality win" like the Sooners completing a sweep of Kansas State last season in the Big 12 title game Stoops thinks the conference championship game might need to be re-evaluated.

He's not alone, either.

"I understand the reason that we have the game. It's strictly what you carry around in your pocket. It's dollars and cents," KSU coach Bill Snyder said. "I'm not a proponent of it. I shouldn't speak for all the coaches in our conference, but I know at the initial vote that we took, no one favored that."

Snyder pointed to the Wildcats' losing the championship game in 1998, and Nebraska's defeat in '96. In K-State's case, the setback dropped it out of the national championship picture, out of the BCS entirely and into the Alamo Bowl.

"When you look at it financially," Snyder said, "the difference between winning a BCS game and maybe a bowl game that's not tied to that might be as much as seven, eight million dollars."

Stoops' solution is to have all the top teams play a one-game playoff game the weekend after Thanksgiving to determine the BCS teams, instead of just some conferences playing a championship.

"Think you can get it done?" he quipped to the media.

Welcoming committee: First-year Missouri coach Gary Pinkel was happy to see Kansas University hire Al Bohl as its new athletics director. Bohl gave Pinkel his first head-coaching position at Toledo, where he compiled a 73-37-3 record from 1991-2000.

"Al, he hired me. He gave me an opportunity," Pinkel said. "He's very good at what he does. That's why he's been very successful. I have no question that he'll do a great job at Kansas.

"Hopefully, just not too good a job," he added with a smile.

A change will do you good: One hot topic Thursday was the progress of first-year coaches Pinkel and Oklahoma State's Les Miles. The former has been placing an emphasis on discipline and details, something his players respect.

"It's the little things like jumping offsides or putting your hands on your knees, stuff like that," Missouri senior linebacker Jamonte Robinson said. "When you put your hands on your knees it shows that you're tired. It says that you don't have the will to keep going. You have to stand tall, stay ready.

"When you can do that, it shows that you won't back down."

The Cowboys also have a new attitude under Miles senior quarterback Aso Pogi described it as "it just smells different in Stillwater now" but otherwise the changes haven't been drastic.

"As far as changes are concerned, there's not too many ways that you can run a curl route," Pogi explained. "I think the biggest transition for our football team right now is the terminology learning the terminology, learning the different terminology and definitely a different type of system.

"I think the biggest things about our football team that we're changing right now is the attitude and the effort."

Frazier update: Baylor coach Kevin Steele gave an update on former Nebraska quarterback Tommie Frazier, entering his third season as the Bears' running backs coach and who recently was hospitalized.

Frazier's playing career was hampered by a blood-clot disorder.

"It is not the same thing, although it is somewhat related," Steele said. "But it was a very productive visit. He was treated for eight days. You don't stay in the hospital eight days with a sinus infection. Obviously they had to do some things to find out what was going on.

"They actually made a lot of progress. He's back at work today. He feels great. He's ready to do two-a-days and work the long hours during the season."

Preseason prognostications: Nebraska and Oklahoma have been fingered to win the north and south divisions respectively in the Big 12 media's preseason poll, which was released Thursday.

Kansas was positioned last in the north, behind Kansas State, Colorado, Iowa State and Missouri. Following the Sooners were Texas, Texas A&M;, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Baylor.

Preseason teams tapped: Nebraska, OU and Texas each had five players picked for the media's mythical preseason all-Big 12 squads.

Senior defensive lineman Nate Dwyer was Kansas' lone selection.

K-State saw three players named, while Texas A&M; and Colorado had two apiece. ISU and Texas Tech joined the Jayhawks with a single selection.

Sportspeople of year: Kansas State women's basketball player Kim Woodlee and Nebraska running back Dan Alexander are the Big 12's inaugural female and male sportspeople of the year for the 2000-01 school year, the conference announced Thursday.

Woodlee, a pre-med major, broke the Wildcats' school record for career three-pointers with 285, including 78 her senior season. Alexander, who graduated with a degree in business last winter, covered 1,154 yards and added eight touchdowns.

Upcoming: Coaches and players from the six remaining schools Texas, Iowa State, Texas Tech, Colorado, Kansas and Texas A&M; will address the media starting a 9 a.m. today.

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