Five things about the Big 12
1. Coach of the year. For now, it has to be Tommy Tuberville. Texas Tech's new coach was reprimanded for saying what we were all thinking: The Big 12 is not long for this world. On the field, Tubs has to clean up the mess left by Leach. There is plenty of talent -- including Craig James' son who is still on the roster. Tuberville plans to play more defense, tweak the offense and grab the first decent job in the SEC. OK, I added that last one myself. The prediction here is that Tuberville will upset Texas at home, finish second in the South and play in the Cotton Bowl. Reprimand that!
2. Sexiest opening. It might soon be at Oklahoma State where Mike Gundy is feeling a bit of heat. The season ended horribly with a 27-0 loss to Oklahoma and a listless 21-7 bummer against Ole Miss in the Cotton Bowl. A Big 12-low eight starters return. Six of the top seven tacklers are gone too. Mike Leach was seen around the team helping old friend, and new offensive coordinator, Dana Holgorsen install the offense. If Leach ever gets his lawsuit against Texas Tech settled, he would actually make a nice fit in Stillwater. Think of that: A billionaire (Boone Pickens) and a pirate.
3. Once more with feeling. Nebraska is playing its final year in the Big 12 trying to win the league for the first time since 1999. Just as the Huskers are getting back on top, they are departing for the Big Ten. Wonder how that will affect their comeback attempt? Best guess: The competition in the Big Ten will be about even with the Big 12. The absolute best finish for the Huskers would be to play Oklahoma, one last time, in the Big 12 title game. After this season, that conference rivalry goes away. Forever.
4. Oklahoma is OK again. The media picked Oklahoma to win the Big South. More than that, Phil Steele picked Oklahoma to win the national championship in his magazine annual. Strange. Texas just came off playing for the national championship and, at least, has been dominating OU lately. Meanwhile, the Sooners just had seven guys drafted, four in the first round. That, off a team that lost five games. OU No. 1 in the South? Not outrageous but strange.
5. The perfect media gift. The Insight Bowl hat handed out to the media summed up current state of the conference. Upheaval! One side of the hat is adorned with a Big Ten logo (hello, Nebraska!). The other side has a Big 12 logo which, of course, doesn't add up to 12. There is still debate whether to keep the name despite the league having only 10 members. Nebraska and Colorado left this summer. As for the Insight Bowl itself, it is one of the reasons Missouri felt slighted and started making noise about the Big Ten. Mizzou was supposedly "passed over" by the Insight and played in the Texas Bowl last year where it stunk up the joint losing to Navy.