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November 27, 2008

Big 12: Texas, Oklahoma wait on BCS

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Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said Tuesday he was done campaigning for the Sooners in the BCS after using most of Saturday, Sunday and Monday to pitch voters to move his Sooners ahead of Texas in next week's BCS standings, which could be used to break a three-way tie in the Big 12 South.

Meanwhile, Texas coach Mack Brown vowed not to campaign for the Longhorns, who currently sit No. 2 in the BCS one spot ahead of OU unless his team proves itself one final time Thanksgiving night against Texas A&M.

"I will be honest with what I think about our team and what they've accomplished," Brown said. "But if we don't play well Thursday night, it's not an issue. That's why I'm not saying anything between now and then. I don't think it's a factor until we prove it."

Brown finds all of the campaigning intriguing. In 2004, Brown was knocked for lobbying his team's cause to go to the Rose Bowl instead of California, and voters gave the edge to the Longhorns.

"In 2004, I was criticized for being political and whining," Brown said. "And now the BCS has made it popular to where the coach sticks up for his team. So I guess I was a trendsetter. Now it's gotten to be, 'That coach really has guts and he's standing up for his team' instead of, 'That guy is political and whining.' "

The BCS has worked out for Oklahoma in the past. In 2002, OU went to the Rose Bowl despite losing to Texas A&M and Oklahoma State, two teams Texas beat that season. OU was BCS-bound because it beat Texas head-to-head; Texas lost to OU and Texas Tech that season. In 2003, OU got to play for the national title despite losing to Kansas State 35-7 in the Big 12 title game.

The sense is Stoops is working overtime this season because he doesn't have the head-to-head advantage with Texas.

Stoops began shooting holes in the argument that Texas should remain ahead of OU because of the Longhorns' 45-35 victory over the Sooners in October, saying Texas Tech would have to remain ahead of Texas based on the same logic; Tech beat Texas head-to-head.

Stoops used Florida as an example of why the Sooners should be judged on how they're playing now and not back in October. Of course, none of Stoops' campaigning matters if his Sooners don't go to Stillwater and beat Oklahoma State, which is No. 12 in the BCS.

"I just hope [the Sooners] don't overdo it before their next game," Texas senior defensive end Henry Melton said. "We're taking it one game at a time."

Texas fans seem poised to help make the case for their Longhorns. The Texas student newspaper printed up a two-page foldout that reads simply, 45-35.

  • Best matchup
  • Oklahoma State's offense vs. Oklahoma's defense. The Cowboys can pose a challenge to OU that Texas Tech couldn't balance. Oklahoma State quarterback Zac Robinson can run; so can running back Kendall Hunter. Play-action can freeze OU's secondary and allow tight end Brandon Pettigrew and wide receiver Dez Bryant to get deep. Of course, OU's defense looked awfully good last week against Texas Tech. Now, the Sooners have to take their show on the road.

  • Player to watch
    Texas A&M at Texas, 8 p.m.
    Colorado at Nebraska, 3:30 p.m.
    Kansas vs. Missouri, 12:30 p.m.
    Baylor at Texas Tech, 3:30 p.m.
    Oklahoma at Oklahoma State, 8:00 p.m.

    Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell . The Heisman was his to lose against Oklahoma, and it appears he lost it. Now, Harrell has to gather himself and re-connect with Michael Crabtree and Co. to put away Robert Griffin and Baylor in Lubbock on Saturday. A flat performance could allow Baylor to make a game of it. A Tech victory and an Oklahoma State upset make the Red Raiders the Big 12 South champ.

  • Who's hot
  • Bill Snyder, 69, ended a three-year retirement to once again coach at Kansas State, where he has a 136-68-1 (.666) record - including a 75-35-1 (.585) mark in conference games. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel, 56, on Tuesday agreed to a new seven-year deal that will pay him a minimum of $2.3 million annually. Stoops challenged his home crowd to be noisy against Texas Tech and fans responded, helping OU to improve to 60-2 at Owen Field under Stoops and 34-1 in Big 12 home games. Sam Bradford threw four touchdown passes against Tech, giving him 42 for the season and eclipsing the school record of 40 set by Jason White in 2003, when White won the Heisman. OU's 35 second-quarter points against Tech tied a school record for points in the second period. It was the fourth time the Sooners have accomplished the feat.

  • Who's not
  • The 65 points given up by Texas Tech in its loss at Oklahoma were the most in school history. Tech's Crabtree, who had caught a touchdown pass in 13 consecutive games, was kept out of the end zone by the Sooners. The Red Raiders' 21 points marked their lowest scoring output in 16 games. ... After opening with two victories, Iowa State ended the 2008 season with 10 consecutive losses. Baylor is 0-4 on the road this season. The Bears have lost eight in a row on the road overall and 10 consecutive road games in Big 12 play. ... Tech's current 12-game series win streak against Baylor is the longest by either team in the series. ... Ron Prince finished his three-year coaching stint at Kansas State with a record of 17-20, including 5-7 this season.

  • What they're saying
  • "I think K-Staters, to a degree, are in a state of flux. The important thing is to be able to smooth those waters and draw the K-State family back into a true family."
    Snyder, on coming out of retirement at age 69 to reclaim the coaching job he walked away from three years ago

    "If you can't move us in front of Texas because they beat us, then you have to keep Texas Tech in front of Texas. If it's logical for one, it's logical for the other. If you're going to forgive other teams with one loss because they're playing well now, well, we're playing pretty well now, too. If it's logical for someone else, it's logical for us. We're in it with everybody."
    Stoops, after his Sooners beat Texas Tech 65-21

    "I think that we wanted to do well and we over-tried. Rather than just trying to do the little routine plays, we tried to make super plays. I felt that we squandered the first half trying to make too much happen and trying to be too good."
    Texas Tech coach Mike Leach

    "I told the team the only input we can have on the BCS is to play well Thursday night. We have a live audience with every voter who votes in the country. It's kind of like a playoff. We told the guys if that's pressure, it's pressure. People will be watching Colt [McCoy] for the Heisman, and people will be watching our team to see how good they think we are."
    Texas' Brown, on his team's game against Texas A&M

  • Etc.
  • Each of the finalists for the Davey O'Brien Quarterback Award, given annually to the nation's best quarterback, is from the Big 12 Texas' Colt McCoy, Oklahoma's Sam Bradford and Texas Tech's Graham Harrell. Kansas and Missouri will be meeting for the 117th time Saturday, the nation's second-most played rivalry, behind only Minnesota-Wisconsin; those teams have met 118 times. Kansas QB Todd Reesing has thrown a touchdown pass in 16 consecutive games. Each of the finalists for the 2008 John Mackey Award, given annually to the nation's top tight end, is from the Big 12 Missouri's Chase Coffman, Oklahoma's Jermaine Gresham and Oklahoma State's Brandon Pettigrew. Colorado, at 5-6, is attempting to become the Big 12's eighth bowl-eligible team Friday at Nebraska. Baylor has at least one rushing touchdown in 11 consecutive games, the Bears' longest such streak since a 14-game run over the 1997 and '98 seasons. ... By going 33-of-55 for 361 yards and three touchdowns, Tech's Harrell moved into second place on the NCAA career passing list with 15,120 yards ahead of BYU's Ty Detmer (15,031) and behind Hawaii's Timmy Chang (17,072). Texas and Texas A&M are playing on Thanksgiving for the first time since 1993. The game is being televised by ESPN, and the Aggies are 9-0 against Texas when the game is on ESPN. ... Senior quarterback Stephen McGee, who has led A&M to victory over Texas in each of the past two seasons, is listed as the Aggies' starter. Sophomore Jerrod Johnson has started the past seven games for A&M.

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    Chip Brown is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at cbrown@rivals.com.



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