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Big 12 Conference Week 6 awards

Maybe Nebraska didn't know any better. But giving Missouri bulletin-board material - and doing it twice, no less - Saturday wasn't the best idea.In case you missed it, Huskers coach Bo Pelini stated before the game, [his goal was to shut out the Tigers at home.][1]If that wasn't enough, an unknown Nebraska player spit on MU quarterback Chase Daniel before the game, [at least according to Daniel][2].Can you imagine how easy it must have been for Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel to give his pregame motivational speech? It must have gone something like this:_Let's see, we haven't won in Lincoln since 1978; it's the first conference game of the season; if we win, we'll keep sole possession of first place in the Big 12 North; anything else, coaches?........................ Oh, Nebraska's coach said his goal was to shut us out, and a player disrespected our starting quarterback by spitting on him like five minutes ago. Everyone ready?_Here's how it all ended: Missouri ripped Nebraska, 52-17. Daniel was 18-of-23 passing for 253 yards and three touchdowns.The lesson? I don't even care about Missouri's 568.8 yards per game of total offense, which ranks third in the nation. When you're an inferior team - like Nebraska - don't talk about shutting out Missouri. They just might embarrass the heck out of you at your place.Quick glance at the AP poll, which still has six Big 12 ranked teams in the top 25: 1. Oklahoma 2. Alabama 3. Missouri 4. LSU 5. Texas 6. Penn State 7. Texas Tech 16. Kansas 17. Oklahoma StateTime for the Conference Chatter Week 5 awards, which will be followed by the Sorrentino Scale.Performer of the week: Graham Harrell, Texas Tech Who knows, [ maybe 58 sprints are coming for the Kansas State defense][3] after it was torched in a 58-28 drubbing by Texas Tech. Harrell was 38-of-51 for 454 yards and seven total touchdowns.Most significant win of the week: Missouri 52, Nebraska 17 Missouri hadn't won in Lincoln in 30 years. Surprise of the week: Kansas 35, Iowa State 33 Particularly because of how flat KU was in digging itself into a 20-0 halftime hole. Credit the Jayhawks for coming back and outscoring Iowa State, 21-0, in the third quarter. If KU would have lost, it would have seriously derailed its chances of challenging in the North. Too difficult a schedule coming up for the Jayhawks to have lost that game, even though Ames is a tougher venue to play in than some might think. Now onto the Sorrentino Scale. The number that follows in parenthesis is what place the team was ranked last week.1 (1). Oklahoma (5-0): Dominating 49-17 victory over Baylor to open conference play. 2 (2). Missouri (5-0): Derrick Washington has a strong case for most underrated player in conference and/or nation. 3 (3). Texas (5-0): Road trip to Boulder to open conference play didn't faze Longhorns. 4 (4). Texas Tech (5-0): Took advantage of K-State's shaky defense. 5 (5). Oklahoma State (5-0): Seems like Dez Bryant does this (5 catches, 106 yards, 3 TD's vs. A&M) every week. 6 (6). Kansas (4-1): Reesing/Meier/Sharp trio saves the day in Ames. 7 (7). Colorado (3-2): QB Hawkins 13-33 (39.4 percent) passing vs. UT. 8 (8). Nebraska (3-2): Number of times Missouri had to punt against Nebraska: 0. 9 (10). Baylor (2-3): QB Griffin could be emerging star. 10 (9). Kansas State (3-2): Gave up 626 yards of offense to Tech. 11 (11). Iowa State (2-3): QB Arnaud rightfully taking all snaps. 12 (12). Texas A&M (2-3): A&M's 402 total yards matched Oklahoma State's 401. The Aggies' five turnovers, however, didn't match the Cowboys' one.Random shout-out of the week: Stroud's in Kansas City, Mo. Visited the restaurant for the first time this past weekend on the way to Ames. They have some pretty generous portions of delicious fried chicken plates. And all parties receive complimentary cinnamon rolls at the end of their meal. You can't really get more unhealthy, but it was worth the trip.That's all for now, friends. As always, discuss. [1]: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/football/ncaa/09/30/pelini.missouri.ap/ [2]: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/football/big12/2008-10-05-missouri-spit_N.htm [3]: http://myespn.go.com/blogs/big12/0-2-186/KSU-defense-sent-running-after-return-from-Louisville-loss.html

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Big 12 Conference Week 5 awards

The Big 12's chances of having a representative in the BCS National Championship Game received a mammoth boost over the weekend, thanks to some surprising upsets. Sayonara USC, Florida and Georgia from the Top 5 (we'll just call it upset weekend with the Chiefs beating the Broncos and the Redskins edging the Cowboys). OK, a quick glance at this poll; I'm thinking it could be a historical year for the Big 12:1. Oklahoma 2. Alabama 3. LSU 4. Missouri 5. Texas 6. Penn State 7. Texas Tech 16. Kansas 21. Oklahoma StateFirst time the conference has had three teams in the top five since 2001. Oklahoma, Mizzou, Texas and Texas Tech could all challenge for the national title.This season, much like 2007, is different than recent BCS years, where a team's title chances were crushed with one poor outing. With the Pac-10 down this year, I honestly thought USC would have a relatively easy path to the title game. Oregon State's victory over USC made me think: One loss in conference play is fine if you're in the Big 12, considering the strength of the conference and other upsets taking place around the nation. Heck, LSU won the title last season with two losses (granted, the Tigers went to a combined six overtimes in those two losses).Onto the Conference Chatter's Week 5 awards, without the fancy and glamorous red carpet.Performer of the week: Manuel Johnson, Oklahoma TCU's appearance in the Top 25 didn't last too long. Neither did its top-ranked defense, which surrendered five receptions for 206 yards and three touchdowns to Johnson. After their road trip to Norman, Okla., the Horned Frogs dropped to sixth in total defense.Big 12 victory of the week: Texas 52, Arkansas 10 Sure, Texas is near the top of the Big 12, while Arkansas is at the bottom of the SEC, but Big 12 fans had to enjoy this classic beating. According to ESPN.com Big 12 blogger Tim Griffin, Arkansas fans chanted "SEC, SEC" following wins against Texas in two of the last three games of the series. Not so much this time.I'm starting to think I was wrong about Texas. I thought they'd be legit this year, but I had them finishing third in the Big 12 South, behind Oklahoma and Texas Tech. It could still happen. But the Longhorns, especially quarterback Colt McCoy, have looked nothing short of sensational this season. McCoy continues to be a dual threat (17-19 passing, 185 yards three TD's; nine rushes, 84 yards, two more TD's against Arkansas). Oklahoma's Sam Bradford garners major attention in the Big 12 (as he should), but don't forget about McCoy. He takes a totally different approach than Bradford, who extends the field more and launches the longball with regularity. Therefore, he'll typically have more incompletions (19-of-34 against TCU).McCoy throws safer routes. Against Arkansas, McCoy threw mostly 10- 15-yard passes to Jordan Shipley and Quan Cosby. He's as accurate as ever, evidenced by his 17-of-19 completion rate against Arkansas. The longest Texas pass play was 27 yards, but if you're moving the chains with the precision that McCoy and Texas have been, who cares?Surprise of the week: Texas A&M 21, Army 17 It was a victory, but when the Aggies were favored by 27 points at home, something went wrong. Army threw five passes the entire game. The Black Knights' triple option kept the A&M defense off balance. Why not stack the box and blow up the line of scrimmage if you're A&M? Is it more complicated than that? I'm no defensive X-and-O guy, but am I missing something? We're talking about an Army team that lost to Temple, New Hampshire and Akron and averaged 6.7 points per game in those losses. I've been saying it for two weeks and I'll continue to do so until it doesn't make sense anymore: A&M is the worst team in the Big 12.Now onto the Sorrentino Scale, a quick-hit feature of conference rankings. The number that follows in parenthesis is what place the team was ranked last week.1 (1). Oklahoma (4-0): Most balanced team in conference and arguably in nation. 2 (2). Missouri (4-0): At Nebraska next weekend; tough conference opener. 3 (4). Texas (4-0): UT defense held Arkansas to 11 yards rushing. 4 (3). Texas Tech (4-0): Thanks to some upsets, Red Raiders in national title hunt. 5 (6). Oklahoma State (4-0): Doesn't get more balanced than this against Troy, formerly 11th in the nation in total defense (Zac Robinson 16-21 passing, 254 yards, 3 TD's; Kendall Hunter 24 rushes, 169 yards, 2 TD's; Keith Toston 17 rushes, 114 yards, 2 TD's; Dez Bryant 6 catches, 118 yards, 3 TD's). 6 (5). Kansas (3-1): One of best WR corps in country; can RB's produce enough? 7 (7). Colorado (3-1): Couldn't get signature non-con win vs. Florida St. 8 (8). Nebraska (3-1): Ditto vs. Virginia Tech. 9 (10). Kansas State (3-1): Barely escaped La.-Lafayette. 10 (9). Baylor (2-2): Welcome to the conference schedule. First one next weekend in Norman. 11 (11). Iowa State (2-2): Austen Arnaud should be Cyclones full-time QB. 12 (12). Texas A&M (2-2): Last week's scale comment on A&M: "If can't beat Army (0-3) next week, I give up." I nearly did. Random shout-out of the week: Mother Nature, for keeping the temperatures in the 80's over the weekend, as we approach October. For some reason, I sense this won't last much longer.That's all for now, friends. As always, discuss.

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Big 12 Conference Week 4 awards

Week 4 has ended. The Big 12 Conference is 34-8 overall with one more weekend of games before conference play begins.It's no secret the Big 12 is a passing conference, but looking at the national statistics paints a vivid picture of the elite class of the conference's signal callers. Honestly, it's rather comical when taking a look at the "passing offense" statistic for the entire nation, for example. Survey says?1. Texas Tech (426.3 yards per game) 2. Tulsa (416.7) 3. Missouri (404.3) 4. Houston (399) 5. Kansas (354) 6. BYU (340.5) 7. Oklahoma (339) 8. Kansas State (307.7)Five of the top eight - yikes.On that note, Sam Houston, we have a problem. Allowing plays like the below clip does nothing but help those statistics above. It made for a heck of a SportsCenter top play Saturday night. Golf clap (in the spirit of the United States finally winning the Ryder Cup) to Todd Reesing and Dezmon Briscoe for pulling off arguably the Big 12's best play of the first four weeks.Onto Big 12 Conference awards for Week 4, followed by the Sorrentino Scale, which will rank each team in the conference.Performer of the week: Colt McCoy, Texas With four touchdowns against Rice, McCoy became the Longhorns' all-time leader in TD passes with 62, passing current UT running backs coach Major Applewhite's previous record of 60. On top of that, McCoy was also UT's leading rusher with 83 yards and a separate score. He ended up with 412 total yards and five total scores.Big 12 victory of the week: Colorado 17, No. 21 West Virginia 14 (OT) Lot of talk surrounding these Big 12-Big East games. Don't get me wrong, the match-ups are interesting, but let's take a closer look:Then-No. 19 South Florida 37, Then-No. 13 Kansas 34 Connecticut 31, Baylor 28 Louisville 38, Kansas State 29South Florida (4-0), Connecticut (4-0) and Louisville (2-1) have the three best records in the Big East. If this were a true Big 12-Big East battle, you'd have Oklahoma at South Florida, Missouri at Connecticut, and Texas Tech at Louisville. Different outcomes? Likely.Surprise of the week: The entire Missouri 42-21 victory over Buffalo Chase Daniel passed for a career-high 439 yards and set a Big 12 record with 20 straight completions, while Jeremy Maclin hauled in 14 passes for 168 yards ... and Buffalo somehow still hung around for three quarters.The reason: Missouri lost three fumbles and had two other special teams miscues, which led to two Buffalo touchdowns. If I'm MU coach Gary Pinkel, I'm irritated, but not livid. For the most part, fumbles and special teams screw-ups are easily correctable. That formula obviously won't win many conference games, but expect the Tigers to correct those problems before Big 12 play.Now onto the Sorrentino Scale, typically a [Big 12 Spotlight][1] quick-hit feature of conference rankings, but it makes an appearance this week on Conference Chatter.1. Oklahoma (3-0): DeMarco Murray 46 rushes, 312, yards, 3 TD's; Chris Brown 42-241-4. Ultra-balanced. 2. Missouri (4-0): Daniel a legitimate Heisman contender again. 3. Texas Tech (4-0): Red Raiders finally crack the Top 10 of the AP poll. 4. Texas (3-0): McCoy will need RB help once Big 12 play starts. 5. Kansas (3-1): Substitute McCoy's name for Reesing in this spot. 6. Oklahoma State (3-0): Best ground game in conference, so far. 7. Colorado (3-0): Beating West Va. nice, but next three opponents: Vs. Florida State (in Jacksonville), vs. No. 7 Texas, then at No. 18 Kansas. 8. Nebraska (3-0): RB Marlon Lucky NFL-ready dual threat in backfield. 9. Baylor (2-2): Forced UConn to 13-for-23 passing for 125 yards and two INT's. Backbreaker in 31-28 loss was 225 rushing yards and four TD's allowed. 10. Kansas State (2-1): QB Josh Freeman needs to be team's leader. 11. Iowa State (2-2): Need the bye week before facing Kansas. 12. Texas A&M (1-2): If can't beat Army (0-3) next week, I give up.Random shout-out of the week: NBC Thank you for returning The Office for a fifth season. Can't wait for the Season 5 opener on Thursday. The [promo looks hilarious][2].That's all for now, friends. As always, discuss. [1]: http://www2.kusports.com/news/big_12/big_12_spotlight/ [2]: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUrD7k...

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Big 12 Conference Week 3 awards

While I was working Saturday night, a buddy of mine sent me a text message. It read: "Haha, Auburn 3, Mississippi State 2. Final."Surely, he was kidding. College baseball ended months ago, so this couldn't be true. I checked the wire and there it was, in all its ugly glory: 3-2. Feel free to call it SEC smashmouth football or good defense. I'm simply calling it boring. If that's a knock on the SEC, so be it, but a 35-yard field goal and a safety rounding out the scoring summary is in no way good football. In total, four fumbles and an interception is not good football. And Auburn's ranked No. 9. Look, the SEC is loaded: Georgia, Florida, LSU, Auburn, Alabama (all in the top 11). That was just awful, that's all.Onto the Big 12 winners and losers for Week 3. Performer of the week: Sam Bradford, Oklahoma The sophomore quarterback was a ridiculous 18-of-21 for 304 yards and five touchdowns. He also ran one in for the Sooners, which improved to 3-0. And how sweet must this one have been for OU coach Bob Stoops, who showed no mercy in OU's 55-14 stomping of Washington. Why should he have shown mercy, though, after this horrid call from Pac-10 refs in 2006?Yeah, not so much in 2008. Give me Oklahoma against anyone in the country right now and I'm confident.Big 12 victory of the week: Baylor 45, Washington State 17 I know, it's Baylor. But bear (no pun intended) with me for a second. Baylor is the alleged worst team in the Big 12, while Washington State is near the bottom in the Pac-10. This victory showed how much deeper the Big 12 is than the Pac-10. Furthermore, check out [ this cool feature by the Bleacher Report on how the Pac-10 is overrated][1]. Tough third week for the west coasters, minus USC.A close second victory of the week had to be Missouri, which put up an insane 651 yards of total offense in its 69-17 drubbing of Nevada. If Missouri faced Auburn in the battle of the Tigers, I'm guessing the final wouldn't be 3-2. OK, I'll drop it. Surprise of the week: Three different Oklahoma State running backs rushing for at least 100 yards Granted, it was against Missouri State, but come on: Keith Toston 11 rushes for 148 yards and a TD; Beau Johnson 13 rushes for 138 yards and two TDs; and Kendall Hunter 11 rushes for 132 yards and two TDs. That's more balance than any coach could ever dream of. It's also interesting that Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy [ said an ideal number of rushes per game for the Cowboys would be in the low 40s][2]. OSU rushed the ball 54 times on Saturday. This is an explosive offense.Random shout-out of the week: James Hetfield, lead singer of Metallica Thank you for this new album. It didn't disappoint me like "St. Anger" did. Reminds me of a lot of old-school stuff that would appear on the albums "Master of Puppets" or "Ride the Lightning." Thoughts on the best Metallica album ever? I'm going with "... And Justice for All."That's all for now, friends. As always, discuss. [1]: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/57299-is-the-pac-10-the-most-overrated-conference-in-college-football [2]: http://www2.kusports.com/news/2008/se...

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Big 12 Week 1 winners/losers

I'd like to start this Conference Chatter Labor Day edition with a shout-out to an infamous Internet icon. Remember Brian Collins, the nervous sports anchor on Ball State University's campus TV newscast? _Later he gets the rebound...passes it to the man...shoots it...aaand, boom goes the dynamite._Despite this painful appearance, Collins apparently stuck to broadcasting. Just recently, [KXXV television in Waco, Texas, hired Collins][1] as a news anchor. I'm happy for the guy. So here's to you, Mr. Collins. On this Labor Day, may your hard work and dedication to a dream be an inspiration to all of us. Amen.On to Big 12-related items. The conference went 10-2 to open the season. There were teams representing the conference well on neutral sites (Oklahoma State, Colorado), and another team (Texas A&M) that got off to a disastrous start.To get this week going, here are some awards from the weekend that was:Performer of the week: Graham Harrell, Texas Tech I have a feeling this won't be the last time the Brownwood, Texas, native will take this spot; completed 43 of 58 passes for 536 yards and three touchdowns (one rushing) in Tech's 49-24 victory over Eastern Washington; TTU's defense giving up 24 points a bit concerning.Big 12 victory of the week: No. 6 Missouri defeating No. 20 Illinois, 52-42 Statement game against the Big Ten Conference, which is undoubtedly weaker than the Big 12 this year; Missouri defense, however, is nowhere near mid-season form. Before the game, if I heard Juice Williams' line would read 451 passing yards and five TD's, I would have thought Missouri had lost.Surprise of the week: Colt McCoy's feat in UT's 52-10 victory over Florida Atlantic McCoy rushed for a career-high 492 yards all of last season; he racked up 103 rushing yards and a touchdown in Game 1 of 2008. With unproven backs and the departure of Jamaal Charles, perhaps the Longhorns will look to McCoy considerably more on the ground this season. Disappointment of the week: Texas A&M's loss to Arkansas State, 18-14 Unacceptable. Mike Sherman's pro-style offense didn't click with Stephen McGee (19-of-27, 170 yards and two INT's) in Game 1. I know it's the first week, but a Big 12 school should never lose to a Sun Belt school at home. Ever. The Sun Belt went 2-8 in Week 1. The local Houston Astros outscored the Aggies' second-half output last Saturday, 8-0. Aggies fans are some of the most supporting in the nation and deserved a better showing.Injury update: Missouri's Jeremy Maclin, despite being carted off the field in St. Louis with a left ankle sprain, could play on Saturday against Southeast Missouri State."If he's healthy, he'll play," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said on Monday's Big 12 teleconference. "Our training staff will make that decision. A decision will be made mid-week to the end of the week."If I'm Pinkel, Maclin doesn't play Saturday. Honestly, Missouri could start each possession from its own 5-yard line and still win this game by at least three touchdowns. The Tigers will need Maclin for field-position wars in conference play. Not this week.Elsewhere, Rivals.com has ranked the best college football quarterback tandems in the country. [ The Big 12 crashes the party][2] with four spots in the top ten.Not so sure about Kansas at No. 8. Kerry Meier may not be Zeus-like at the quarterback position, but I see the Jayhawks in as good a situation as anyone in the country, as far as having a backup plan at the position. KU should be higher on the list.That's about all for now. As always, discuss. And Happy Labor Day. [1]: http://deadspin.com/5039901/brian-collins-career-finally-gets-a-boom [2]: http://collegefootball.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=841555

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Chatting with ESPN.com’s Tim Griffin

With the college football season three days away, ESPN.com Big 12 blogger Tim Griffin was nice enough to catch up with the Conference Chatter blog.

Griffin has covered the Big 12 since its inception in 1996 and started his career with ESPN.com in February 2008.

Eric Sorrentino: Tim, thanks for joining us today. Let's get right to it. OK, so we know the Big 12 is good. I hear the SEC is pretty good, too. How does the Big 12 stack up against the SEC?

Tim Griffin: I think it's probably right there, especially one through five, and with five teams (No. 4 Oklahoma, No. 6 Missouri, No. 11 Texas, No. 12 Texas Tech, No. 14 Kansas) in the top 14, the Big 12 is as good as anyone in the country. I'm still hesitant to say the Big 12 is as good as the SEC in spots eight, nine, 10 and 11. I think they have trouble matching those teams deep in the SEC like South Carolina, maybe a team like Arkansas. Those teams are pretty solid, but that will be the point to see if the Big 12 - teams like Kansas State, maybe Texas A&M - will reach that level.

ES: You recently posted your Big 12 predictions on your blog. You have Oklahoma winning the South, Missouri winning North and the Tigers defeating the Sooners in the Big 12 Championship game in Kansas City, Mo. What was the reason behind your predictions?

TG: I think Oklahoma's not going to be quite as good as they were last year. I'm concerned with their depth at linebacker and I don't know if Ryan Reynolds can make it through the season without being hurt.

(Gerald) McCoy has been good, but (DeMarcus) Granger has struggled with injuries. I think they'll miss guys like Reggie Smith and Curtis Lofton. They were all-conference playmakers.I think Missouri will be a tad better. They're hungry from last year and I think the defense will be better with 10 guys back. If (Missouri and Oklahoma) do have to play this year, it won't be until the end of the season at Arrowhead Stadium, which I consider to be home field advantage for Missouri. I think Missouri's special teams are also a tad better. That might end up being the difference between the two teams.

ES: The Big 12 has a ton of playmakers. Who do you think is the most NFL-ready player?

TG: I hate to sound like (Kansas State coach) Ron Prince, but you can't coach 6-6 and 245 (Wildcats junior quarterback Josh Freeman) ... I think Freeman might be the guy that may end up being the best at the next level. He's probably better situated than any of the quarterbacks. Other guys like (Missouri's Chase) Daniel, (Texas' Colt) McCoy, (Kansas' Todd) Reesing. They may not be as sturdy and durable when they get to the pro game.

In terms of others, maybe a guy like Phil Loadholt. I think Brandon Pettigrew, if he's featured in the right offense, can be a guy like Tony Gonzalez.

I like the Kansas linebackers as well. They're not just products of the system. I think there's a lot of talent there.

ES: What impresses you most about the KU linebackers?

TG: I think that's probably the best linebackers corps in the Big 12. Just in watching them play and develop. I was always impressed with what Bill Young did. Mike Rivera gives them senior leadership, and with Joe Mortensen, they're both run stuffers and both good in pass coverage as well. People tend to forget about James Holt, too. On other teams, he might be a playmaker or star, but he's overshadowed by those two guys. As group, they're as good as anyone in the Big 12, and arguably as good as anyone in the country.

ES: What do you expect from the Jayhawks this year?

TG: I think they might have difficulties this year with their schedule. They might have trouble hanging onto second in the Big 12 North, playing teams like Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma, even though two will be at home. And I know Kansas is tough at home. Then, there's Missouri and they also go up to Nebraska, where they haven't won since 1968. I'd say a realistic goal would be 9-3. I could see them going 8-4 or 9-3.

ES: In your 12 years of covering the Big 12, do you have a favorite KU athlete that you've enjoyed following?

TG: I still think Aqib Talib is as good a player as I've seen. I picked him on my all-time Big 12 team. A lot of K-State fans thought I should have put Terence Newman on there. Aqib blossomed out of nowhere, and ended up being a great player for Kansas.

I also liked Jon Cornish. I thought he was a running back that give them a lot of durability, and did things for them when they didn't have a lot of offensive weapons.

ES: Mizzou vs. Illinois this Saturday - who ya got?

TG: I think I'll go with Missouri. For Missouri and KU, it says a lot about the kind of job Gary Pinkel and Mark Mangino have done, really hitting on marginal recruits that people missed out on in the state of Texas. With Talib, Todd Reesing and Chase Daniel, who bigger schools thought couldn't play. Kansas, you look at Dezmon Briscoe as well. I think that's indicative that they recruit well, but once the players get on campus, they learn with the coaching they receive. That should be a huge selling point with Missouri and Kansas, with the run they've had these past few years.

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Could the Big 12 be overrated?

The TV in my room has gotten to the point of being insulting to the sports junky that I am. The 12-inch Toshiba disaster is such that when you're watching games, you can't even see the score in the corner of the screen. Not exactly a good sign.The digital age caught up to my TV and I had to take action. Thursday was my day off, so I went to Best Buy and placed an order for an upgrade. I'm not sure how I'm going to get rid of my old TV. The thought recently crossed my mind of dropping it down a flight of stairs or beating the darn thing with a baseball bat, but that's likely because I just finished watching Season 3 of Prison Break on DVD. Knowing me, I'll probably just take the Goodwill donation route.Despite having the night off, I didn't think adding to my expenses would be the best option, all due respect to the underrated atmosphere of the Eldridge on Thursdays. So I stayed in and checked out some Big 12 stuff online instead.[Let's start with this rather puzzling piece from the Bleacher Report][1]: Despite having five teams ranked in the Top 14 of this year's AP football poll, the Big 12 is overrated, so says the article. I have to give this guy credit. He did his research and crunched numbers like he was taking an advanced calculus exam.But come on - overrated? Not in 2008. If you take a look at the statistics, you'll see that the analysis stems from the past five years. Thing is, the Big 12 went from being a good conference to a great conference just last year, with the emergence of Kansas and Missouri. The Big 12 went 5-3 in bowl games last year, second only to the SEC (7-2). I don't think you can call the Big 12 overrated for the upcoming season based on a study from the past five years. The conference has changed since then. The spread offense is new and making defensive coordinators everywhere weep. Coaches have been shuffled and programs are different than they were five years ago (see Kansas and Missouri again).The Einstein-esque statistics are nice, but it's overanalysis. If we're talking 2008, give me Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas Tech, Texas and Kansas (in that order) against any other conference, one through five, and I'll take my chances.Elsewhere, [ESPN.com blogger Tim Griffin ranks the best football coaching jobs in the Big 12][2], taking into account factors of prestige, livability of the city, tradition, facilities and the chance to succeed at the national level. Here's his list:1. Texas 2. Oklahoma 3. Nebraska 4. Texas A&M 5. Colorado 6. Missouri 7. Texas Tech 8. Oklahoma State 9. Kansas 10. Baylor 11. Kansas State 12. Iowa StateThoughts?Also, isn't it hilarious that the last two teams on that list will square off [in epic battles in 2009 and 2010][3] at Kansas City, Mo.'s Arrowhead Stadium? UT-OU in Dallas at a neutral site? Sure. KU-Mizzou at Arrowhead? Fine. Kansas State-Iowa State? I'd rather watch the Little League World Series live at Kauffman Stadium.As always, discuss. Ten days until Prison Break returns to my TV - thankfully, I'll have an upgraded model by then! [1]: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/48622-the-numbers-dont-lie-the-big-12-is-overrated [2]: http://myespn.go.com/blogs/big12/0-1-237/Ranking-the-Big-12-coaching-jobs.html [3]: http://www.kstatesports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=400&ATCLID=1566055

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At last … USA Basketball is back

Anyone else wake up early Thursday morning to watch the USA men's basketball team beat Greece? OK, disclaimer: I remained sound asleep when the game tipped off at 7 a.m. local time. But something I like to call DVR saved me from missing it. I don't know about you guys, but I'm hoping to watch every United States game this summer. If I have to work (or sleep through an ungodly hour) when they play, I'll call DVR out of the bullpen again. Finally, USA dominance is back. Gone are the days of 2000 and 2004 when the Americans played individual basketball on offense and ... well, gave no sort of effort at all defensively. The 2008 Redeem Team is, without any doubt, the best USA team since the glorious days of Magic, Michael, Bird and Co. in 1992. Not sure who to thank for this. Perhaps Coach K for preaching defense to create a fast-break, highlight-reel style of offense. Maybe national USA basketball director Jerry Colangelo for putting this team together. No idea ... it's just fun to watch. And I'm not a huge NBA guy.In case you woke up at a normal time and missed the Greece game, check this highlight out: Margin of victory so far in three Olympic games: 25. Defense is back. Hallelujah.My two suggestions after observing: Start Chris Paul over Jason Kidd, and Chris Bosh over Carmelo Anthony. My starting five would then be as follows: 1 - Paul 2 - Kobe Bryant 3 - LeBron James 4 - Bosh 5 - Dwight HowardNow onto Big 12-related stuff... Anyone see [ Rivals.com's piece on the biggest college football stadiums in the country][1]? Interesting stuff. Any guess on No. 1, before clicking on that link? Not sure I would have guessed correctly. A Big 12 school doesn't show up until Texas at No. 5. I must say, it's a bit frustrating to see the Big 10 take the top three spots. Here are the Big 12 schools on the list and how they ranked as the biggest college stadiums:5 - Texas (94,113) 13 - Texas A&M (82,600) 15 - Oklahoma (82,112) 17 - Nebraska (81,067) 31 - Missouri (68,349) 41 - Oklahoma State (62,000) 50 - Iowa State (55,000) 53 - Colorado (53,750) 54 - Texas Tech (52,882) 57 - Kansas (50,071) T59 - Baylor (50,000) T59 - Kansas State (50,000)For some reason, I thought OU flirted with 100,000 after renovations. Guess not. Definitely thought Nebraska would be higher.Anyone been to all Big 12 stadiums (or close to all)? Thoughts on the nicest or most enjoyable stadium to watch a game in the Big 12?As always, discuss. Hope everyone has a nice weekend. [1]: http://collegefootball.rivals.com/content.asp?SID=1144&CID=832931"

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Crucial questions before football starts

Happy One Month to all (sounds kind of like an anniversary, I know). But there's reason to rejoice, or at least there's reason to officially start the countdown.Sorry 80's fans, [not this sort of countdown][1]. Hilarious video, though.As of Wednesday, exactly one month remains until Big 12 Conference schools kick off the 2008 college football season (Baylor and Iowa State begin two days earlier on Thursday, Aug. 28).Exactly one month until homeowners or renters near Mississippi and 11th Streets are considered to live on the most sacred properties in Lawrence.With a month left until the season openers, I have questions. Unlike Radio Shack, however, I'm not sure I have all the answers. Here are my Top 10 pivotal questions about the Big 12 before the season starts.1.Kansas: How much is this year's schedule going to affect the Jayhawks' record? Certainly, this question is up for debate. It's been debated and thrown around Lawrence for months. Here's the facts: Adios Texas A&M, Baylor and Oklahoma State. Hello Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech. Thankfully for the Jayhawk faithful, two of those games (Texas and Texas Tech) are in Memorial Stadium, where KU hasn't lost since Oct. 14, 2006.2.Oklahoma: How many rushing yards will OU running backs DeMarco Murray, Chris Brown and Jermie Calhoun rack up? This question was derived from an insightful comment by KGphoto (I'd cite your name if I knew it) on my column from today. The sophomore Murray (764 rushing yards 13 TD's) will get his yards. Don't look past Calhoun, though, a Rivals.com five-star recruit from Ben Wheeler, Texas. With the entire Sooners offensive line returning, why you would ever pass in this offense is beyond me, all due respect to Sam Bradford and his freshman-record 36 touchdown passes in 2007. The junior Brown (611 rushing yards, nine TD's) is experienced, too. Yikes. Check out some Calhoun highlights from his time at Van High School below. Spoiler: the 30-second mark is ridiculous. And the metal heads might enjoy the background music, although if you have your speakers turned up anywhere past halfway, the music won't exactly be in the background.3.Missouri: Is there any way the Tigers compete for a national title? Such are the expectations in Columbia, Mo. The strength of the Big 12 might prohibit this scenario, though. The Tigers would have to beat Illinois (neutral), Nebraska (road), Texas (road) and Kansas (neutral), along with all their other Big 12 games to pull it off. Oklahoma might not be on the regular-season schedule, but chances are Missouri would have to beat OU in the Big 12 title game to reach the promised land. Last year's match-up wasn't pretty for MU, and Oklahoma is only getting better. There's no arguing Missouri has the talent, though.4.Texas Tech: If you have to take the over-under on the amount of touchdown passes from Graham Harrell to Michael Crabtree this year, with the line set at 22, what would you take? Line is set at 22 because Crabtree destroyed the freshman touchdown record of 16 last year (with 22).5. Texas: Do the Longhorns have a big-play threat on offense to surround quarterback Colt McCoy? The Longhorns have had an NFL-caliber receiver each season for years, with Roy Williams and Limas Sweed. I'm not sure if Quan Cosby and/or Jordan Shipley can amount to the same sort of talent.6. Nebraska: Can first-year coach Bo Pelini pull off a miracle and turn around the Huskers defense in a single year? It won't be a surprise to see quarterback Joe Ganz and tailback Marlon Lucky lead the offense to a good year. Eight wins isn't out of the question for Nebraska, but that success will hinge upon the defense's performance. 7. Oklahoma State: How underrated will the OSU offense be in 2008? Quarterback Zac Robinson combined for 3,671 yards and 32 touchdowns last year, but no one seemed to talk about the guy. Ouch. Well it's time to talk about him. See below.If Bachman-Turner-Overdrive, along with this video, are indeed correct about the junior, to the point where Big 12 fans "Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet," Mike Gundy and the Cowboys will be a sleeper team in the South.8. Kansas State: If this season goes poorly for coach Ron Prince, would he be on the hot seat? I don't know, but signing 19 JUCO players seems like Prince wants an immediate fix. Like, lightning fast.9. Colorado: How many yards will freshman Darrell Scott rush for this season? We'll set the over-under line at 1,000. Much of CU's success could depend upon the real answer. 10. Baylor: Who in the world is going to start at quarterback for the Bears? Blake Szymanski (who started 10 games last year), Miami transfer Kirby Freeman or Navarro junior college transfer Jeremy Sanders? Beats me. In fact, [ I hear Curtis Jerrells is also in the running][2]. OK, he's not really in the running. But this is a quarterback mess, not a QB controversy. As always, discuss. And Happy One Month. [1]: http://youtube.com/watch?v=0ZkllM8znx4 [2]: http://youtube.com/watch?v=w9anGAmF9sg

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LIVE FROM: Day 3 - Media Days

For audio interviews (OU's Nic Harris and Manuel Johnson, and UT's Colt McCoy and Quan Cosby) from the third and final day of Big 12 football Media Days, [click here][1].And I don't know if you guys have checked out our Media Days video interviews of Mark Mangino, Todd Reesing and Mike Rivera, but be sure to [click here][2] if you haven't seen them already. That's all for now. Nice analysis on what it will take to beat OU and Texas from several individuals in the comments today. Keep discussing and happy early kickoff season to all. It's been a great few days.11:45 a.m. update Texas as an underdog? That's the depth of the Big 12 Conference this season. [The Big 12 preseason poll][3] had Texas second in the South, with Texas Tech just barely behind. "It sounds like some people don't think we're going to win the conference or be a top 10 team," UT coach Mack Brown said. "There are so many good teams on the schedule. Arkansas is coming back to Austin. The addition of having to go to (Texas) Tech, when some people have picked Tech as a top 10 team. Kansas is a top 10 team. Missouri is a top 10 team. It looks like a difficult task for us. I think there's a little buzz with our team that some people don't think we're ready for that."If there's a single unit Brown focused on with his defense, it was the secondary."We have not stopped the pass for two years consistently, and when you look at the quarterbacks in this conference, you better be able to stop the pass," Brown said. Stay tuned this afternoon for audio posted from Oklahoma and Texas players.10 a.m. update Interesting tidbit on OU coach Bob Stoops giving his thoughts on how to stop the spread offenses that are prevalent in the Big 12:"I think some of it is more speed and athleticism on the field," Stoops said. "Scheme-wise, you're constantly trying to mix things up and there's always some tweaking there, but the biggest issue is speed on the field. Guys that can play, cover, tackle in space (and apply) pressure."When it comes to team speed defensively, there's little doubt that Oklahoma is the gold standard in the Big 12 (see first YouTube video below for more details). What's going to be the best way for Kansas, on Oct. 18 in Norman, Okla., to offset the Sooners' speed on defense? You have to like the depth of KU's receivers ( [Dexton Fields][4], [Dezmon Briscoe][5], [Kerry Meier][6]), and you know [Todd Reesing][7] thrives on these types of games.Remember the questions leading up to the Virgina Tech game? Can KU deal with the Hokies' speed on defense? Well let's analyze. What worked the best against that speed?Statistically, Reesing was 20-of-37 for 227 yards, one touchdown and one interception - not bad. Brandon McAnderson led the rushing attack with 75 yards on 15 carries. The Jayhawks seemed to have more success throwing the ball.But it's no secret the true difference of that game: Three interceptions (one for a 60-yard touchdown); a fake punt; a blocked field goal. I had a request yesterday for an Orange Bowl highlight video, so I'm going to honor that request here. But I have a point...The point: I think Kansas will need some of the same fortune on the road Oct. 17 for a chance to beat OU. If the Jayhawks can pull off a similar turnover differential (see the 0:21, 1:19 marks in the above video) like they did against Virginia Tech (3 forced turnovers vs. one KU turnover), plus get some special teams gem (like the 1:12 mark of the video), who knows what can happen in Norman?9:30 a.m. update [We talked about Missouri being a confident bunch][8] on the first Day of Media Days on Monday. In all honesty, Oklahoma might be more confident. When Preseason All-Big 12 safety Nic Harris was asked about the Sooners' outlook for the season, his response was rather concise: "National Championship or bust," he said. He didn't hesitate or blink once....hmm.The following clip is what would scare me most about Oklahoma. Another year of maturity for quarterback Sam Bradford is borderline scary after he passed for a NCAA freshman-record 36 touchdowns last season. Oklahoma showed no mercy on Missouri from this clip, and many of these players will return.8:45 a.m. update Kansas City, Mo. - Powerhouse city this morning for Day 3 of the Big 12 Media Days at the Marriott Downtown: Oklahoma and Texas.Oh yeah, Baylor and Iowa State will also be on hand. But back to Oklahoma and Texas, two teams that Kansas will face this year. They are two teams that have dominated the South division of the Big 12...well, forever. The Longhorns and Sooners have represented the South in 10 of 12 Big 12 Championship games. This includes nine straight years. I'm going to go out on a limb (sense the sarcasm?). One of these two teams will represent the South again and make it 10 straight years. Yeah, that wasn't too much of a limb. But I do think Oklahoma wins the South and the Big 12 this year. Let's take a quick glance at how the Jayhawks play into this. Kansas gets Oklahoma on Oct. 18 in Norman, Okla. KU will play host to Texas Nov. 15 at Memorial Stadium. My question to you guys is what do you realistically think about facing Oklahoma and Texas this year? What do the Jayhawks have to do to win in Norman? How about beating Texas at home? As always, discuss. [1]: http://www2.kusports.com/audioclips/sets/2008_big_12_media_days/ [2]: http://www2.kusports.com/videos/sets/... [3]: http://www2.kusports.com/news/2008/ju... [4]: http://kuathletics.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/fields_dexton00.html [5]: http://kuathletics.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/briscoe_dezmon00.html [6]: http://kuathletics.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/meier_kerry00.html [7]: http://kuathletics.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/reesing_todd00.html [8]: http://www2.kusports.com/podcasts/spodcasters/2008/jul/21/big_12_media_day_confucius_speaks/

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LIVE FROM: Day 2 - Big 12 Media Days

Thanks again to all who checked out today's blog. I'll leave you with a few clips.For audio of KU linebacker Mike Rivera answering the media's questions, [click here][1].For the latest spodcasters, Day 2 edition, from Big 12 Media Days, [click here][2]. 11:30 a.m. updateYesterday, we talked about some of the good (or great) quarterbacks in the Big 12 Conference. In no particular order, Todd Reesing, Chase Daniel, Graham Harrell, Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy. What about K-State's Josh Freeman, who passed for 3,353 yards and 18 touchdowns (compared to 11 interceptions) last season? Buy or sell as a top-half (six) quarterback in the Big 12?Personally, I'd sell. The Wildcats lost Jordy Nelson's 122 receptions to the NFL and there are just too many other quarterbacks to choose from. That said, I wouldn't be surprised if K-State's Deon Murphy has a big year. Not Nelson-like (122 rec, 1,606 yards, 11 TD's), but still big (maybe more like 75-1,200-10?).Coach Ron Prince spoke at the podium at Big 12 Media Days about Freeman."I think his best football is ahead of him," Prince said. "The sky's the limit. I wouldn't trade our quarterback for any other quarterback in the country. And I think our conference has great quarterbacks, maybe eight of them."11 a.m. updateSurely, KU fans remember coach Mark Mangino [going ballistic on the sidelines][3] last season after Raimond Pendleton returned a punt and went airborne into the end zone.KU quarterback Todd Reesing was asked if he's seen the video."Well, I saw it live," Reesing said, amongst a chorus of laughter. "I have to say, I guess it might have been a little bit funny. But I think the general point he was trying to get across was that it was a great run and a great punt return, but there were 10 guys that were blocking for him to make it happen."So has Reesing ever received an earful like that from Mangino?"Absolutely," Reesing said. "I don't think I've gotten it too bad on the field, but behind closed doors, I definitely took my share."Well, did you deserve it?"Everyone deserves it at some point," Reesing said. "Sometimes, you may not believe you deserve it, but in their minds, you do. It doesn't really matter what you think because it's their right, because they're the coaches." 10 a.m. updateKU coach Mark Mangino commented at length on the prospect of seeing Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech on the schedule this season. I'm thinking that his response will fire you guys up. No lie, it pretty much pumped me up as a member of the media."We've always said that we want our program to compete with the best teams in the league," Mangino said. "The fact we're picking up Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech is something we look forward to. We want to play against all the best teams in our league and be able to beat them. We will never truly get over the hump, in my eyes, until we're able to defeat those teams as well."The seventh-year coach continued."The schedule, yes, is tougher. But let's back up a minute here," Mangino said. "Everyone talked about last year's schedule. Let's stop and think for a minute. Kansas' football coach has been asked about his 2007 schedule being tough, in a year (Kansas) defeated Nebraska, Texas A&M, Colorado and Viriginia Tech. All that says is we're making progress."Soooo...how many days 'till kickoff? (math isn't my thing, but Aug. 30 isn't that far away).Still not fired up? I realize it's a bit after 10 a.m. This might do it for you, then. Have you guys seen this YouTube clip on the 2007 season? Kind of fitting, especially considering the Foo Fighters just came to Kansas City last week. Take particular note of the 27-second mark. Was that not the biggest hit ever? Speaking of big hits. I asked KU safety Darrell Stuckey who he thought the biggest hitter in the KU secondary was. Surprising answer, actually, although I guess it's not too surprising he didn't say himself (because that _ is_ the right answer, isn't it)?Here were the two names Stuckey gave: Junior safety [Olaitan Oguntodu][4] and senior [Tang Bacheyie][5]. Interesting names to keep an eye on for next season, I suppose.Stuckey said the the KU secondary has natural aggressive intentions on the field."We're like big, old kids. It's crazy how physical we are," Stuckey said. "Our receivers get on us all the time. Coach (Ed) Warinner (offensive coordinator) gets on us all the time. Coach Mangino gets on us all the time. He's like, 'Guys, what are you doing? They have to play on Saturday, too.' It's one of those things where we're just out trying to get better."9 a.m. updateKansas City, Mo - OK, it's fairly early. For me, at least, as a sports copy editor. If you're up and following the blog, thank you. And congratulations, really. You truly bleed the crimson and blue. Kansas coach Mark Mangino is about to address the media for Day 2 of Big 12 Media Days at the Downtown Marriott in Kansas City, Mo. Side note: Has anyone actually made the drive to this place? It's one of the straightest shots ever, but we made it entirely too complicated for Day 1 yesterday. Here's what I mean: 70 East, stay left to 670 E, exit Central/Downtown's exit and make a left. The Marriott's right there. Cake. For anyone thinking of hot spots to bring your significant other/date in downtown K.C., this place is a solid option that has a lot to offer. Sorry for the tangent. We're here to talk Kansas football. Mangino is sure to answer questions about the following: Topic 1: Is there any way the Jayhawks replicate the year they had in 2007? Topic 2: Is there any way quarterback Todd Reesing has a year like he had last year (33 TD's, only seven interceptions)?Topic 3: What's up with replacing Brandon McAnderson at the running back position ... Will Jake Sharp handle the bulk of the carries or can highly anticipated junior college recruit Jocques Crawford take over those duties?The Jayhawks have a great lineup of players onhand for media day: Reesing, Mike Rivera and Darrell Stuckey. I'll be posting audio later this afternoon, so stay posted. And as always, discuss. [1]: http://www2.kusports.com/audioclips/ [2]: http://www2.kusports.com/podcasts/spodcasters/2008/jul/22/big_12_media_days_day_2_kansas_city/ [3]: http://youtube.com/watch?v=zmAYpAzNB34 [4]: http://kuathletics.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/oguntodu_olaitan00.html [5]: http://kuathletics.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/bacheyie_tang00.html

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LIVE FROM: Big 12 Media Days

5:45 p.m. updateThanks to all who checked out today's blog. Be sure to check back in tomorrow for action from Day 2. We're at a considerably earlier time tomorrow. Kansas coach Mark Mangino will speak to the media at 9 a.m., so wake up early like you did last weekend for the British Open and check KUSports.com for the latest on the Jayhawks at Media Day. I'll leave you with some audio clips from Day 1. For interviews with Mizzou wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, Nebraska quarterback Joe Ganz and Texas Tech defensive back Jamar Wall, check out [this link][1].I thought the Maclin interview was particularly interesting. He gives his opinion on who he thinks the best athlete is on the Missouri roster, along with who he modeled his game after as a kid.3 p.m. update So if you had to compare Missouri all-purpose threat Jeremy Maclin to one football player, who would it be? According to Maclin, it's Rams receiver Torry Holt.Comparing only the basics, Holt is 6 feet tall, 190 pounds, and Maclin is listed as 6-foot-1, 200 pounds. Not a big difference.You make the call. It's fair to say from this clip that Maclin possesses blazing speed.

Holt isn't so bad of a [playmaker][2] himself. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel just finished taking questions. He explained how he first thought to incorporate the spread offense in Columbia, Mo."Originally, I felt we needed an edge," Pinkel said. "I looked at (coach) Mike Leach, what he did at Texas Tech, his version of spread offense, going to bowl after bowl after bowl. I contacted a lot of defensive coordinators, and asked what offense they hated playing the most. They said it was the spread offense."OK, so it's no secret a number of Big 12 teams are incorporating the spread offense. My question is who will be the most explosive offense in the conference next season?Will it be Missouri and its deadly combination of Chase Daniel, Jeremy Maclin and company? Texas Tech, with Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree? Oklahoma with Sam Bradford and an entire offensive line of returning starters? I haven't even mentioned Colt McCoy and Texas. If I had to guess, I'd say Texas Tech or Missouri. Too much experience and enough fireworks to make your favorite 4th of July skylight encore seem yawn-worthy.2 p.m. update Nebraska's interviews just concluded before 2 p.m. First-year coach Bo Pelini talked about how he planned to stop the spread offenses that are so prevalent now in the Big 12."Florida's spread offense is different than Kansas or Missouri's," Pelini said. "You have to develop a game plan to offset what they're trying to accomplish ... We have an offensive mentality on defense. We want to attack and we want to dictate to the offense as much as they dictate to us."Quarterback Joe Ganz said that Pelini is a players' coach and is just like one of the guys. An interesting tidbit: On the plane ride to Kansas City, Ganz and Pelini sat near each other and held a conversation for the duration of the plane ride. Football was mentioned only twice.Ganz said he joked around with the coach much of the time about Major League Baseball. Apparently, Pelini is an Indians fan and Ganz is a Cubs fan. Ganz said he was disappointed that Pelini's team traded ace CC Sabathia to the Brewers, one of the Cubs main rivals in the NL Central.Texas Tech is about to start, so I'm off. Be back soon.1:26 p.m. update [Day One of Big 12 football Media Day][3] at the Marriott Downtown in Kansas City, Mo., will feature the following teams: Nebraska, Texas Tech, Missouri and Texas A&M.Not a bad lineup for today's slate. For reference, Kansas is scheduled for Tuesday morning.This lineup should generate a plethora of topics. Among them:For Nebraska: Can first-year coach Bo Pelini resurrect a suspect defense that gave up close to 40 points a game last season? As the former defensive coordinator of the national champion LSU Tigers, one would think he has the resume. But how long will the transition take?For Texas Tech: Can the Red Raiders legitimately challenge Texas and Oklahoma this year? This might be the highest the expectations have ever been for coach Mike Leach. In case anyone forgot about the juggernaut status of the Red Raiders' offense, take a look at this:Michael Crabtree was my pick for Big 12 Offense Player of the Year. Watch him get hurt in the first play from scrimmage.For Missouri: Can Chase Daniel win the Heisman Trophy? Are the Tigers a legitimate top five team in the nation?For Texas A&M: How Will first-year coach Mike Sherman fit in? How will his NFL knowledge blend with the team?I'll be back throughout the day to update the blog with audio from interviews with players and coaches.In the meantime, what do you guys think is a better combo? Graham Harrell to Michael Crabtree or Chase Daniel to Jeremy Maclin? Or maybe even Todd Reesing to Dexton Fields? Discuss. [1]: http://www2.kusports.com/audioclips/ [2]: http://youtube.com/watch?v=WOHmQXYpkcQ&feature=related [3]: http://www.big12sports.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/footbl-media-day-central-08.html

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