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Tag:Baylor
Posted on: March 8, 2012 1:47 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2012 8:48 pm
 

Baylor's Human Highlighters and Adidas

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- If clothes make the Bear, consider Sprint Center the latest battleground in the apparel war.

That would be the war between Nike and pretty much everyone else. Fifteen months ago, the first BCS title game between the two apparel titans took the field when Auburn played Oregon in the BCS title game. That would be Auburn, an Under Armour school, and Oregon, a well-known Nike school.

The uniform war was on the night before the game when Nike projected laser images of its swoosh logo on the side of Camelback Mountain. So, yeah, this is getting serious.

The latest apparel incendiary was dropped by Baylor on Thursday in the Big 12 tournament. The Bears wore canary yellow Adidas threads head to toe against Kansas State. Socks to T-shirts. The nuclear yellow was part of the same color combination worn by Oregon 15 months ago. One press row wag took one look at Baylor and said his sinuses were cleared.

They were that bright.  

On national cable, Adidas just fired off a shot across Nike’s bow. Why it matters: Recruits have chosen schools for lesser reasons than uniforms. If you think it doesn't matter, check out Kansas' Thomas Robinson, who tweeted that he thought Baylor's unis were "tuff."

Even if Baylor as a team isn't tuff all the time.

If you haven't noticed, high-profile games have become the new fashion runways for apparel manufacturers. Baylor got a two-hour plus commercial Thursday for Adidas -- and Baylor -- in that order. Twitter blew up -- not necessarily about the game but about the uniforms.

One tweeter called Baylor, "The All-Star Crossing Guard Team From Waco."

Another: "Here's every idea they've [Adidas] ever had: 'Let's put three stripes on it.'"

Shot across Nike's bow? "Those are hand-me-downs"

If it matters to Oregon fans, then it matters to Nike. If it matters to Nike, it matters to Adidas. If it matters to Adidas, it means something to Baylor. This game alone may enhance a relationship that just got a lot more intimate. Adidas' deal with Baylor has a year to go.

Expect a long-term extension? 


Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 14, 2012 1:05 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 3:30 pm
 

Big 12 schedule released -- finally

It was the most anticipated schedule since Elvis’ coat went on tour

The Big 12 finally released its 2012 football schedule on Tuesday – most of it, at least – to the relief of schools and scores of sportswriters. Don’t forget the fans. They’re they ones who apparently crashed West Virginia’s website briefly on Tuesday.

The primary news was the school finally extricating itself legally from the Big East. Call it the legal version of all those switchbacks in the state’s noted mountain landscape. The delay built anticipation. The schedule release itself could have been sold as a prime-time event.

(I just put an idea into a marketer’s mind somewhere but moving on …) To put Tuesday’s developments in perspective, the Pac-12 and SEC released their schedules in late December and early January. The delay also means it's a sellers’ market, if you’re a football bottom feeder willing to yourself to the highest bidder. There is talk of I-AA schools (FBS) with openings on their schedule getting $800,000-$1 million to come get their butts beat by a BCS school.

Either the Big 12 or Big East was going to get screwed by where West Virginia ended up. Turns out it’s the Big East – although $20 million richer – that is looking for an extra non-conference game for its teams now that the Mountaineers have left. That could change if somehow Boise State is able to get to the Big East in 2012

That’s why the simple release of a football schedule became an economic mystery.

Interim commissioner Chuck Neinas promised a Feb. 1 deadline. It came and went with only TV partners getting a copy. Somehow Texas Tech’s schedule slipped out early on Friday. Apparently forgotten was the fact there are people – some call them fans – trying to schedule and budget in order to see some of those Big 12 games. They will do so knowing that Oklahoma still had two holes in its schedule, although there are indications contracts could be signed shortly.

In a weird piece of realignment fallout, West Virginia paid the Big East that $20 million for the right to go to Ames, Iowa. That’s another way of saying that Iowa State is the Mountaineers’ closest opponent now that it is in the 10-team Big 12.

“We had a great legal team,” said Oliver Luck, West Virginia’s AD.

Hooray for that. Courtroom prowess replaced proximity in the mad realignment dash long ago. The Big East and whatever Conference USA/Mountain West calls itself in the future are spread coast to coast. Texas AD DeLoss Dodds continues to work on Notre Dame forming some kind of non-football alliance with the Big 12. Never mind that the closest Big 12 school for the Irish is two states away.

Louisville desperately wants into the Big 12. BYU still might be a possibility in the future. The Big 12 could get to 11 easily in 2013. The problem is finding a 12th team that is a good fit. So Tuesday’s announcement is one of those clip-and-save moments. It’s a 10-team Big 12 for now. There are still some holes in the schedule but at least we have a working model.

Back in November Big 12 officials flew out to Morgantown for a reception welcoming the Mountaineers as a replacement for Texas A&M or Missouri. Not sure which. It doesn’t matter. TCU is also in after a slightly shorter dalliance itself with the Big East.

Point is, the unification of Big East defector and the Pure Prairie League didn’t become reality until Tuesday. Time for another reception?

“As you may be aware the Big 12 is a very stable conference,” Luck added.

 We’re not but that’s not the point right now.

 

The highlights …

--The “new” Big 12 kicks off Sept. 15 with TCU playing its first Big 12 game at Kansas.

--Each team will have a double-bye, the function of 12 games being played in a 14-week college football calendar in 2012.

 --The first beer served in a Big 12 game since Colorado was a member will be Sept. 29 when Baylor visits for West Virginia’s conference opener. We’ll let that issue breath a bit as you consider alcohol-serving state school vs. Baptist flagship.

For now, call it the Lawsuit Bowl. Five months ago Baylor was threatening to sue the SEC over its “poaching” of Texas A&M. West Virginia had sued the Big East to get out of the conference (and were sued right back).

 --Eight of the 10 teams will be in action on the last day of the season (Dec. 1). That’s a brilliant piece of scheduling making it more likely that the Big 12 title will be in play the same weekend as the SEC, ACC, Pac-12 and Big Ten play conference title games.

Last year, Oklahoma State clinched the title on the last day of the season against Oklahoma. Robert Griffin III more or  less clinched the Heisman Trophy on the same day after beating Texas.

--The conference's showcase game -- the Red River Shootout -- is Oct. 13 the week after Oklahoma plays at Texas Tech and Texas hosts West Virginia.

 In case you’re counting this is the third different lineup for the Big 12 in three years.  This time it just might work – at least until Notre Dame says yes. Just don’t put a deadline on it.  

Posted on: December 10, 2011 8:56 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2011 10:01 pm
 

Robert Griffin III wins the 2011 Heisman

NEW YORK -- The humble son of two retired Army sergeants now becomes a name for the ages.

Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III became the 77th winner of the Heisman Trophy here beating out two-time finalist Andrew Luck of Stanford. Alabama's Trent Richardson was third.

The redshirt junior caught the nation’s attention with his accurate arm, incredible moves and scholastic achievements. In other words, what the Heisman should be about. Griffin threw for almost 4,000 yards and accounting for 45 touchdowns for an equally humble Baptist school in central Texas.

His win helps Baylor elevate itself from a low point that included a player’s murder eight years ago. Twice in the last 18 months, the program faced an uncertain future with the possible breakup of the Big 12.

But Griffin changed all that. He has been compared to everyone from Michael Vick to Vince Young to any role model you can imagine. If he doesn’t declare for the NFL next month, Griffin will apply for Baylor Law School. There can’t be many former winners who were pursuing their master’s when they accepted the award.

Griffin had two signature Heisman moments this season. On Nov. 19 he threw the game-winning touchdown pass against Oklahoma with eight seconds left. A week ago, he threw for two scores and ran for two more in a blowout win over Texas. In terms of Heisman voting, that was the clincher. Luck and Richardson had completed their seasons.

Actually, there was a third Heisman moment. Griffin outdid himself as a wearer of outrageous socks. He pulled up his pant leg at the ceremony to reveal he was wearing Superman socks – complete with cape. He is the first Heisman winner to play his high school football in Texas since BYU's Ty Detmer in 1990. That's also the last year a player won it from a private parochial school.

Luck and Richardson were thought to be the leaders late into November. But Griffin overtook them winning comfortably by 280 points over Luck (1,687-1,407). For those on the Richardson bandwagon, he didn't even carry his own region. Griffin won even that region 303-256 over the Alabama tailback. 

Griffin was born in Japan, the son of Army lifers Robert Sr. and Jacqueline Griffin. Enrolled at Baylor at age 17, he was a Big 12 400-meter hurdles champion in track before he took a snap. When he did, he became the youngest starting quarterback in FBS in 2008.

Coach Art Briles saw something that others didn’t. Other schools projected him either as a track star or something other than a quarterback.

But that was at Houston where Griffin originally committed. When Briles got the job at Baylor, Griffin followed like a loyal puppy.

“A big part of the decision was I wanted to go where I could play early,” he said. “Not that I thought I was better than anyone else, I just didn’t feel like it would be good to sit behind somebody for two years then play.”

In the third game of the 2009 season he tore his ACL. In 2010, he was back throwing for 3,500 yards. This season he threw for almost 3,998 yards and 36 touchdowns. He was more accurate than Luck, more exciting than Richardson. If his pass efficiency numbers hold up through the bowl game, Griffin will complete, statistically, the best season in NCAA history.

RGIII also became the third player in FBS history to throw for 10,000 yards and 2,000 yards rushing.

 

 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: December 8, 2011 3:08 pm
 

Robert Griffin in a landslide in my straw poll

Robert Griffin in a runaway.

That’s how much Baylor’s quarterback has captured the nation – or rather the ballots of Heisman voters. Griffin was the landslide winner in the Dodds and Ends straw poll canvassing of 23 Heisman voters.

Griffin was named on all 23 ballots, getting 19 first-place votes. Stanford’s Andrew Luck was second having been named on 13 ballots, getting two first-place votes. Alabama’s Trent Richardson was third.

Ballots were due to the Heisman Trust on Monday. This poll suggests that Griffin made huge gains after beating Texas on Saturday. Before that, it seemed that Luck and Richardson had dominated the voting.

If Griffin follows through and wins the Stiff Arm on Saturday, he would be the first player from a private parochial school to win the Heisman since BYU’s Ty Detmer in 1990. He would be the first player from a non-traditional football school to win it since Boston College’s Doug Flutie in 1984.

Since then, the Heisman has been shared by only 17 schools.

 

The totals:

1. Robert Griffin, QB, Baylor, 64 points (19 first-place votes)
2. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford, 25 (2)
3. Trent Richardson, TB, Alabama, 17 (2)
4. Montee Ball, TB, Wisconsin, 14
5. Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU, 11
6. Matt Barkley, QB, USC, 6
7. (tie) Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State; LaMichael James, TB, Oregon, 1

Participating voters: Lee Barknecht, Omaha World-Herald; Tony Barnhart, CBSSports.com, CBS Sports Network; Mike Bianchi, Orlando Sentinel; Dean Blevins, News 9, Oklahoma City, Okla.; Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman; Rick Bozich, Louisville Courier-Journal; Chip Brown, Orangebloods.com; Chuck Carlton, Dallas Morning News; Angelique Chengelis, Detroit News; Bob Condotta; Seattle Times; Dennis Dodd, CBSSports.com; Erik Gee, KNML, Albuquerque, N.M.; Ken Goe, Portland Oregonian; Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune; Matt Hayes, Sporting News; Tommy Hicks, Mobile Register; Ron Higgins, Memphis Commercial Appeal; Todd Jones, Columbus Dispatch; Blair Kerkhoff, Kansas City Star; Stewart Mandel, SI.com; George Schroeder, Eugene Register-Guard; David Teel, Newport News Daily Press; Dick Weiss, New York Post.   

Posted on: December 7, 2011 1:10 pm
 

Robert Griffin wins Scripps Heisman Poll

Baylor’s Robert Griffin III will be the Heisman Trophy winner according to the oldest Heisman poll.

Scripps-Howard News Service announced Wednesday that Griffin had barely nosed out Stanford’s Andrew Luck in its last Scripps Heisman Poll. The Scripps Poll has correctly matched the Heisman winner 20 of the last 24 years since it started in 1987.

Points are assigned on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis.

Ten media members vote each week. They are listed below.

 1. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor, 40 points (6 first-place votes)

2. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford, 38 (3)

3. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama, 19 (1)

4.(tie) Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin, 18; Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU, 18

Others receiving votes: USC QB Matt Barkley 7, Oklahoma State QB Brandon Weeden 5, Houston QB Case Keenum 3, Boise State QB Kellen Moore 2.

Voters: Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman; Randy Beard, Evansville Courier and Press; Jimmy Burch, Fort Worth Star-Telegram; Bob Condotta, Seattle Times; Dennis Dodd, CBSSports.com; Vahe Gregorian, St. Louis Post-Dispatch; John Helsley, The Oklahoman; Mike Griffith, Knoxville News-Sentinel; Michael Lewis, Salt Lake Tribune; and Tom Luicci, Newark Star-Ledger.

Posted on: December 5, 2011 12:48 pm
 

My 2011 Heisman ballot

In the interest of fair play and ethics, I did actually wait until all the games were played to file my ballot on Sunday. Here, in my opinion, are the three most outstanding players of 2011 ...


1. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor: The Stiff Arm needs some polishing. RGIII has the shammy.

In the last year, Reggie Bush has had to return the award. There was all the controversy swirling around Cam Newton. I’ll never get out of my head, the image of Newton being escorted by eight – 8! – security guards to his Heisman press conference.

Don’t think Griffin will need that. He is smart, charismatic and absolutely the best player in America. A one-man team? Pretty darn close. Baylor isn’t 9-3 without him.

His Heisman moment came on Nov. 19 with that last-second pass against Oklahoma. His final statement was unforgettable, four total touchdowns Saturday against Texas. He is assured of going down in history regardless. Griffin leads the country in pass efficiency and if his current numbers hold up, he would set an NCAA single-season record.

 
2. Montee Ball, TB, Wisconsin: Wisconsin pumps out 1,000-yard rushers like Milwaukee pumps out beer. This one is special.

At the beginning of the season, there was more buzz about 2010 consensus Big Ten freshman of the year, James White. At the end of it, Ball become Big Ten offensive player of the year. There’s never anything wrong with Big Ten’s leading rusher playing for the Big Ten champions becoming a Heisman finalist.

In a program that specializes in sharing the ball, Ball currently leads the country in rushing yards (1,759) and total touchdowns (38). On that subject: Ball needs two more touchdowns to break Barry Sanders’ 23-year-old record for most tds in a season. They would come in the Rose Bowl against Oregon. The junior is taking nothing for granted.

“It could be the last team I play, it could be the last camera I talk to,” Ball said. “You’ve just got to embrace it.”

 

3. Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU: What’s a little synthetic chronic between friends? OK, that’s not fair. Honey Badger was technically suspended for the Auburn game for a violation of team rules.

After watching this kid all year, frankly, I don’t care. Bush once won a Heisman. I’ll take my chances with Mathieu and his blonde Fauxhawk. Besides, the Honey Badger takes what he wants

Mathieu combines the daring of Deion with multi-purpose ability of Charles Woodson, all in a 5-foot-9, 180-pound package. He has created the “Badger play”. In 25 career games, he has averaged at least one of these per game: interception, punt return for touchdown, fumble recovery, forced fumble.

How ridiculous is LSU’s defense? Fellow cornerback Morris Claiborne is an All-American. Mathieu is a Heisman candidate. 

Posted on: December 1, 2011 10:04 pm
 

A&M acts late on Sherman

Something happened with Mike Sherman.

A day ago he was talking about recruiting three stars and turning them into five stars. Come to think of it, maybe that’s why he was fired Thursday.

Targeting three stars is probably not the right philosophy going into the SEC.

Anyway, something happened to Sherman. Radically. A day ago it looked like the Aggies’ coach was safe. The athletic department owed a lot of money to a lot of people but … come to think to think of it, maybe that’s why he was fired Thursday.

Four years, .500 record. A&M had enough especially owing upwards of $50 million to various entities ($16 million loan to the university, $9 million to buyout Sherman, unknown exit fee to the Big 12).

Something happened to Mike Sherman and it likely has a brush mustache and is part of the Bowtie Revolution.

That would be president R. Bowen Loftin, the driving force behind the school’s move to the SEC. A little Bowen mind-reading here: Best to start with a clean slate with the competition about to be ratcheted up in the SEC.

Great idea except that Loftin is an academic making intrusions into a glorious, tradition-bound football program. That said, Sherman was a reach from the start. AD Bill Byrne handed a seven-year contract to the Houston Texans’ offensive coordinator. Who exactly was Byrne’s competition?

What he got in exchange was a 25-25 record and numerous blown second-half leads. The Aggies, in a word, were soft. At least this year. A 20-3 halftime lead at home melted away against Oklahoma State and its 107<sup>th</sup>-ranked pass defense. There was an 18-point halftime lead against Baylor that went pffft. The Aggies led mediocre Missouri 14-0 at home. And blew that one too.

Much more was expected out of a team that was 9-4 in 2010 and returned 18 starters. Someone at A&M likely looked around and saw Arizona hire Rich Rodriguez and Washington State Mike Leach and asked, “Just what the hell are we doing about anything?”

That someone was probably Loftin. He conspicuously changed his tune on Sherman following the Thanksgiving night loss to Texas.

Before: “As far as I'm concerned, yes," he said Tuesday. "We don't want to make any hasty moves, and we look forward to him being our football coach in the future."

After:  "We're thinking hard about [the season and the future]."

A president is allowed to change his mind, but this president has his nose poked so far into athletics that, well, you get it. A&M most likely will pursue Kevin Sumlin, one of its former assistants. Sumlin is right down the road in Houston about to take the Cougars to a BCS bowl.

But A&M might be late. There was a report Thursday that Arizona State had already offered Sumlin. I’ve got a better idea. There’s a young guy up the road coordinating a salty defense. Had a great year. Name’s Manny Diaz. Works for Texas.

But that would be deal breaker for Bowtie Guy who just let century-old ties with the Longhorns to head South. His program may already be headed there. 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: September 29, 2011 10:54 pm
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

Starting with leftovers from the Friday Charlie Weis interview.

Florida's offensive coordinator takes on Alabama Saturday in his biggest college game since leaving Notre Dame in 2009. The knee he had replaced in June is no longer an issue. I began by asking him if walking around pain-free makes a difference in his job. 

"Absolutely no effect," he said.

All righty, then. Moving on. 

Question: You've coached at the highest level. Is the SEC, in some ways, like the NFL because it is a line-of-scrimmage league?

Weis: "It's not just a line-of-scrimmage league, it's how much speed there is. There's fast guys all over the place. That's a big testament to the conference. It's not just the linebackers and defensive backs. There's a bunch of athletic lineman running around too. You have to be on guard just to give yourself the best chance."

Question: When Urban Meyer came into the league one of the first things he realized is he had to have a fullback out there. Was there any surprise about coming into this league?

Weis: "I just came from the NFL so you're used to guys who can run real fast. You see it on a weekly basis. Now especially as we're getting ready for Alabama, I look at these guys on tape. This is what you're used to playing against."

Question: Have you snuck a look at the Chiefs this season?

Weis: "I know what's happened right there. We don't have time to watch any of their games or anything. Sunday is a very busy day for us."

Question: How is your son? (The reason Weis came to Florida was because he could be with his son Charlie Jr.)

Weis: "He's an intern for the head coach. I got him away from me, so he isn't like daddy's little tag along. That's worked out very nicely.

Question: What does he do for Will Muschamp?

Weis: "He's kind of the offensive liaison. He keeps Will [Muschamp] abreast of everything we do on offense. Will is always completely up to date with everything we do on offense. He brings him our daily grades and personnel. It's been a nice role for him."


Jordan Jefferson is back:
Now that LSU's quarterback has been reinstated, could it be that in a convoluted way, that bar fight might be one of the best things that happens to LSU?

Jarrett Lee (this week vs. Kentucky) probably never would have gotten the reps, or the starting job, had Jefferson never been suspended. Now, the Tigers essentially have two starting quarterbacks. If Lee slumps or loses the job, Jefferson is in the wings. Les Miles is already saying Jefferson will play in every game as a super-backup.

WWL would never advocate violence but in a weird way, this episode has worked out in LSU's favor. Jefferson is expected to see action against the Wildcats.


The gift that keeps on giving: The NCAA's top five passers this week all have ties to Mike Leach:

Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden, Houston's Case Keenum, West Virginia's Geno Smith, Arizona's Nick Foles and Oklahoma's Landry Jones.

Weeden, Keenum and Smith are or were coached by Dana Holgorsen, Leach's offensive coordinator at Texas Tech from 2000-2007. Holgorsen has since coached at Oklahoma State and West Virginia.

Foles' offensive coordinator at Arizona, Seth Littrell, played at Oklahoma under Leach. Littrell was also Leach's running backs coach at Texas Tech. Prior to Litrell, Sonny Dykes was Foles' offensive coordinator at Arizona, before going to Louisiana Tech as head coach. Dykes coached with Leach at Kentucky and Texas Tech.

Connection to Jones: Oklahoma's co-offensive coordinator is Josh Heupel who was coached by Leach in 1999 as OU's OC.


This gets a WWL mention because we are a quarter of the way through the season and, well, it matters:
 Temple is No. 1 in scoring defense. The Fighting Addazios (3-1, hosting Toledo) have given up four total touchdowns playing an FCS (Villanova), a conference rival (Akron) and two BCS programs (Penn State and Maryland).


This week's Power Poll
1. LSU
2. Oklahoma
3. Boise State
4. Alabama
5. Wisconsin
6. Virginia Tech
7. Oklahoma State
8. Stanford
9. Nebraska
10. Oregon
11. South Carolina
12. Texas A&M
13. Clemson
14. Baylor
15. Florida
16. Georgia Tech
17. Michigan
18. Kansas State
19. Illinois
20. Michigan State
21. TCU
22. Arkansas
23. West Virginia
24. Arizona State
25. Ohio State



Piling on: George Barlow makes his head coaching debut for crippled, battered, embarrassed New Mexico. The Lobos, 2-26 under Mike Locksley, try to salvage some pride in a rivalry game against New Mexico State. Barlow was New Mexico's defensive coordinator before Locksley was fired on Sunday. That defense is 116th nationally having allowed 24 touchdowns, the most in the country ... Look who is the No. 1 running back in the country. After a slow start against LSU, Oregon's LaMichael James has 613 yards. James is coming off a school-record 288 yards against Arizona. The Ducks play Cal on Thursday ... We'll see how that K-State defense defends its manhood after defending the goal line last week against Miami. Baylor's Robert Griffin threw for 404 yards and four touchdowns last season against K-State in a 47-42 win ... Half of the Big 12 (actually five of 10 teams) are ranked No. 17 or higher in the coaches' poll ... Joe Paterno coaches his 700th game this week as a part of the Penn State staff (at Indiana) ... If South Carolina's Stephen Garcia doesn't get it going this week against Auburn he never will. Steve Spurrier's much-cussed quarterback is ranked second-worst among the 100 quarterbacks rated by the NCAA. Auburn's secondary has allowed opponents to complete almost 68 percent of passes ... LSU is No. 1 for the first time since November 2007.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com