Many in the Big 12 Conference know that to be mentioned in the same breath as the powerhouse Southeastern Conference, the Big 12's North Division must start holding up its part of the bargain.
The prevailing sentiment this week at the Big 12 football media days: It is time for the North to compete.
The South's dominance has been the talk for a few years, but coming off last season when the South was 15-3 against the North, it's hard to shake the national perception of "And you're saying that's a powerhouse conference?"
It doesn't help that 21 of the 26 players on this year's preseason all-Big 12 list come from the South Division.
"We have to prove that all of these teams, from top to bottom, can play with each other," Kansas senior quarterback Todd Reesing said. "That's what we strive for ? to get that recognition and be on the national scene, year in and year out."
For the foreseeable future, at least, the divisional imbalance appears alarming. The major polls have not yet been released, but preseason college yearbooks do not afford the North much respect.
The Sporting News' top 25 has No. 2 Texas and No. 3 Oklahoma challenging Florida for the top spot, and Oklahoma State at No. 10. Texas Tech checks in at No. 20, but readers might lose interest before getting to a Big 12 North team. That's Kansas, at No. 25.
Following is a list of the remaining stops on the Jayhawk Summer Tour. You can find more information by visiting kualumni.org.
Wichita: July 30, 2009 Head Coach Mark Mangino will address the Jayhawks in Wichita. Larry Bud’s will host the event. Inflatable games, food and beverage will be available.
Emporia: July 31, 2009 Members of the KU Alumni Association and football staff will be on hand for the rally in Emporia. Commemorative football items and inflatable kids’ games will highlight the stop in Emporia.
Kansas City: August 21, 2009. Corinth Square, Prairie Village, Kan. Jayhawk fans can flock to 83rd and Mission to hear from women’s basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson and head football coach Mark Mangino. Inflatable games, Jayhawk apparel and 2009 commemorative items will be available. KU Athletics
How old is Texas wide receiver Jordan Shipley? Well, he’s 23. But in college football years, he’s Methuselah.
Shipley arrived in Austin in 2004, which means he has now played with members of 10 Texas recruiting classes (guys from the class of 2000 would have been fifth-year seniors when Shipley was a freshman). He has been connected to a decade of Longhorn football.
...Kansas State expects its junior-college transfer quarterback, Daniel Thomas, to be eligible, coach Bill Snyder said. “He’s finishing up summer school classes,” Snyder said. “I think he has completed them. He’s not enrolled yet. That will take place quickly.”
...ESPN.com’s college football front page has a poll asking which team will win the Big 12 North.
What makes it fun is that it features a map that tallies the votes by state.
As you might expect, Missourians pick Missouri, Kansans pick Kansas, and Nebraska and much of the rest of the nation picks Nebraska. Curiously, Iowa State is not an option for voters.
In some less-obvious voting precincts: New Hampshire has 10 votes counted and is in a dead heat between Kansas and Nebraska. Meanwhile, Missouri is leading in Michigan and Hawaii.
In Kansas, K-State was running a distant fourth. The Jayhawks led with 46 percent, followed by Nebraska (26 percent), Missouri (15 percent) and K-State (11 percent). KC Star*
Around College Football
USC football Coach Pete Carroll employed a former NFL tactician last season to help with the team's punting and kicking game, an arrangement that may have violated NCAA rules that prohibit consultants from coaching, The Times has learned.
Carroll's action could widen a continuing investigation by the NCAA, the governing body of major college sports, which has been looking at USC football for more than three years and the school's basketball program for the last year. The probe has been examining specific allegations of improper payments to two players as well as the broader question of whether USC has lost "institutional control" of its athletics department.
The new issue involves the employment of Pete Rodriguez, who has coached for several professional franchises. In an interview with The Times, he acknowledged that he attended USC practices, monitored games and offered Carroll behind-the-scenes advice on matters ranging from the needs of individual players to avoiding penalties during punt returns.
"I would watch practice and tell Pete, 'Hey, this guy needs this and this,' " Rodriguez said. He said he believed that his work complied with National Collegiate Athletic Assn. regulations that cap the number of coaches a team can have and that restrict consultants.
But experts contacted by The Times said the type of assistance that Rodriguez described could constitute a serious violation.
"That's coaching," said J. Brent Clark, a onetime NCAA investigator who practices law in Oklahoma, when told of Rodriguez's statements.
"The rules are designed to level the playing field for all institutions regardless of the size of their budgets. It would make no sense for the rich and powerful to be able to compensate coaches with NFL backgrounds outside the coaching-limitation rules."
James Grant, USC's media relations director, issued a brief statement Wednesday in response to questions from The Times.
"We are aware of this issue and are looking into the matter. We will have no further comment at this time," the statement said. LA Times
NBA Indiana Pacers' Brandon Rush sings with the children of a migrant workers at a the Hongshan primary school in Beijing, China. NBA Cares, an NBA community outreach program, recently helped refurbish Hongshan Primary school, which teaches children of migrant workers in Beijing. -- PHOTO: AP
Kansas coach Bill Self said he expects junior guard Sherron Collins to get down to 207 pounds by the time the season starts. He said Collins was up to 229 at one point and then down to 213.
"He had some things going on and he had to shut it down for six weeks and let his body heal up from a long season," Self said. "He also had some personal things going on with his mother. She's fine and feels better."
Kansas remained the consensus No. 1 selection among the coaches who were on ESPNU on Sunday and Monday night. With the development of Tyshawn Taylor for the gold-medal-winning U.S. Under-19 team in New Zealand and the arrival of Xavier Henry, the Jayhawks now have at least four consistent scorers, as opposed to two last season.
Self said he expects some of the pressure to score to be taken off Collins and Cole Aldrich, the only two players who averaged double figures for KU last season. Andy Katz
For a guy whose North Carolina basketball team ran away with the NCAA championship and cranked out enough NBA draft picks to qualify for expansion franchise consideration, Roy Williams is getting zero respect these days.
The latest blow landed Wednesday, when The Sporting News revealed its 50 all-time greatest coaches and Ol' Roy was no more on the list than Rachael Ray.
...According to The Sporting News, Williams finished No. 51 on the all-time list. How's that for a royal bite on the bubble? Just a few less votes for No.50 Herb Brooks and Roy would have been in the field. Or if the Soviets had just won that Olympic hockey game.
Oh well. Roy's just going to have to work a little harder or be happy with the NIT (Nearly In There) in this case. He had a vote on the dadgum thing, so maybe he just didn't network enough with other members of the Electoral College.
...Poor old Maryland coach Gary Williams didn't even get a vote, not the first stinking one, according to The Sporting News. Lefty Driesell got some voting support, but no one broke a sweat for Gary, who won a national championship.
Hey, wait just a %! minute, as Gary might say.
Unless The Sporting News folks have the facts wrong about their own project, that has to mean Roy didn't vote for Gary.