September 05, 2011
Making the morning rounds.
• It won't be long now. The metaphorical clock ticking toward a decision on the fate of the Big 12 now appears to be attached to a time bomb, after multiple outlets reported over the weekend that Oklahoma is actively pursuing a defection to the Pac-12 — and multiple officials, given the opportunity, said nothing to disabuse them of the notion. With Texas A&M on the SEC's doorstep, Oklahoma president David Boren conceded at a Friday press conference that the Sooners are effectively up for grabs and will make a decision on whether to stay or go by the end of the month; Oklahoma State issued a statement on Saturday suggesting it plans to stick with Oklahoma either way. Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, while insisting that his conference has not been "predatory," acknowledged Saturday that "schools have reached out to us."
The potential roadblock is Texas, the crown jewel of Scott's initial expansion efforts in 2010 and the only school with the clout to conceivably keep Oklahoma in the fold if OU is determined to go. According to Orangebloods.com, Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe convened an emergency meeting Friday with his university presidents — minus their counterparts from Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M — to urge them to "work on Texas," betting that either a) Oklahoma won't leave without the Longhorns, or b) The Pac-12 won't take Oklahoma without the Longhorns. And the Longhorns have one very lucrative incentive to stay: The Longhorn Network, which reportedly ended their flirtation with the Pac-10 last year and would have to be reconciled with the family of networks the Pac-12 announced earlier this year.
In the meantime, if the Big 12 does start to crack up, the Big East is waiting for the refugees with open arms. [The Oklahoman, New York Times, Associated Press, The Business of College Sports, Orangebloods.com]
• RIP. Oklahoma great Lee Roy Selmon, a College and Pro Football Hall of Famer considered easily one of the greatest defensive tackles in modern history, died Sunday at the age of 56 as a result of a stroke. Selmon was a two-time All-American as the anchor of back-to-back national championship teams in 1974 and 1975, before going on to become the first ever pick of the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1976. In his four years on campus, Oklahoma finished 43-2-1 with four consecutive Big 8 titles. [The Oklahoman]
• Back to the drawing board. Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said he hasn't settled on his starting quarterback for Saturday's primetime trip to Michigan after yanking starter Dayne Crist for Tommy Rees after a three-hour raid delay in a 23-20 loss at the hands of South Florida. Crist moved the offense in the first half but killed a possible scoring drive with an ugly interception into the end zone and failed to produce any points; Crist responded with three touchdown drives after the break but also contributed to the five-turnover debacle with a pair of interceptions of his own. [Chicago Tribune]
• Tuel Time has been canceled. Washington State quarterback Jeff Tuel suffered a broken clavicle on the Cougars' 64-21 rout over Idaho State, potentially sidelining him for up to two months. Backups Marshall Lobbestael and Connor Halliday filled in with 297 yards and three touchdown passes between them against the outmanned Bengals, but with Tuel likely out for at least the first half of Pac-12 play, Wazzu loses its best (and perhaps only) prayer of reaching a bowl game, and perhaps of saving coach Paul Wulff's job. [Seattle Times]
• They've entered the Octagon of Orthopaedia. Ole Miss' backfield for Saturday's date with Southern Illinois is a complete mystery after the top two running backs were injured and the top two quarterbacks played poorly in the Rebels' opening-day loss against BYU. Starting tailback Brandon Bolden will have an MRI today on an injured ankle, which is suspected to be fractured; backup Enrique Davis suffered from a hyperextended knee. Coach Houston Nutt said Sunday he'll "continue evaluating the position" at quarterback, where starter Barry Brunetti was pulled after an ineffective first half and backup Zack Stoudt failed to lead a scoring drive before handing the Cougars the winning touchdown on a late fumble. [Clarion-Ledger]
Quickly… Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree is expected to miss up to six weeks with a broken foot. … The Longhorn Network will broadcast UT-San Antonio's final five home games. … Michigan's storm-shortened win over Western Michigan would have resumed if the game was still within the Broncos' reach. … Georgia's not changing anything in the backfield. ... Cal Poly coaches complained that their headsets didn't work in the second half of a loss at San Diego State. …
And Andy Staples commits a mortal sin.