Sports Outside the Beltway

One last time with feeling- Nebraska beats Kansas State 48-13

The Cornhuskers will join the Big 10 next season. From AP-

Instead of resenting No. 7 Nebraska for leaving the Big 12, maybe Kansas State should thank the Cornhuskers.

Who wants to keep playing a team that always beats you silly?

Quarterback Taylor Martinez rushed for 241 yards and four touchdowns and Nebraska ended a 99-year rivalry in the same lopsided fashion it began, thrashing the slower, outmanned Wildcats 48-13 on Thursday night.

Martinez, a redshirt freshman, pushed his five-game rushing total to 737 yards and also threw a 79-yard scoring pass for the Huskers (5-0), who head off for the Big Ten next year with an domineering overall record against Kansas State (4-1) of 78-15-2.

Unbeaten in their first four games and with senior running back Daniel Thomas averaging 157 yards per game, Kansas State fans had hoped to send the Huskers out the Big 12 door with a loss.

But the Wildcats were helpless against such offensive and defensive speed and the night belonged to Martinez. He broke the team record for rushing yards by a quarterback and tied the team mark for rushing TDs by a quarterback while Thomas was held to 63 yards on 22 carries.

“Pretty much everything we ran was clicking pretty good,” Martinez said. “I was making the right reads. I just do what I can do — make plays.”

Martinez rushing performance was the best ever by a Cornhusker QB but only the 8th best by any Nebraska player.

Kansas State until fairly recent had the worst record of any Division I school. So the lopsidedness of their series with Nebraska isn’t very surprising.


Report: Big Ten Makes Expansion Offers To Four Colleges

If this report from a Kansas City sports radio station is to believed, the Big Ten Conference is thinking big when it comes to expansion:

big_ten_mini_pennant_set_23109bigThe Big Ten Conference has extended initial offers to join the league to four universities including Missouri and Nebraska from the Big 12, according to multiple sources close to the negotiations.

While nothing can be approved until the Big Ten presidents and chancellors meet the first week of June in Chicago, the league has informed the two Big 12 schools, Notre Dame and Rutgers that it would like to have them join. It is not yet clear whether the Big Ten will expand to 14 or 16 teams but sources indicated Missouri and Nebraska are invited in either scenario.  Notre Dame has repeatedly declined the opportunity to join the Big Ten.  If Notre Dame remains independent, Rutgers would be the 14th team.  The Big Ten would then decide whether to stop at 14 or extend offers to two other schools.  If Notre Dame joins, sources say an offer will be extended to one other school making it a 16-team league.

All four are interesting choices, for different reasons.

Notre Dame, of course, is a prize that the Big Ten has been pursuing for years, but it’s always been the one that got away. Given their lucrative television contract and national fan base, remaining independent has always seemed to be to Notre Dame’s advantage. Times are changing, though, and the Fighting Irish aren’t what they used to be. Putting them at the center of a conference where they would be instantly competitive might just be what’s needed to reinvigorate a program still hurting from the Charlie Weis years.

Rutgers seems like a odd choice at first because of it’s geographic distance from the rest of the Conference, but there are two reasons why it makes sense. Under Greg Schiano, the Rutgers football program (and make no mistake, this expansion is mostly geared toward football) has become credible in a way that it never was before. When I attended there in the late 80s and the Scarlet Knights played a rare game against Michigan State, it was an occasion for laughter in Lansing, Michigan. Not anymore. Second, bringing in Rutgers gives the Big Ten access to two of the biggest media markets in the country, which would be a big deal for both football and basketball.

As for Missouri and Nebraska, it’s interesting that the Big Ten would be so brazen about poaching from the Big 12, but both schools would be excellent additions on the football side to a conference that has come to be dominated in recent years by Ohio State and Penn State. Bringing the Tigers and Cornhuskers into the conference, along with Rutgers and Notre Dame, would instantly make football season much more competitive.

All in all, this seems like a smart move for the Big Ten.


Kansas State Coach Frank Martin sorry for hitting player on arm

Is another college coach in the state of Kansas about to lose his job for striking or abusing his players. From AP-

Kansas State’s Frank Martin is a fiery old-school screamer who expects his players to play with the same kind of passion he coaches with.Frank Martin

That passion got the better of Martin on Saturday — and he feels bad about it.

Caught up in the heat of a tight road game, Martin hit senior Chris Merriewether on the arm with the back of his hand late in a 74-68 loss to Missouri for Kansas State (No. 10 ESPN/USA Today, No. 11 AP). Martin wasted little time in apologizing, telling reporters he was wrong before taking questions during his postgame news conference.

“That’s a mistake on my part,” Martin said. “I’m an old-school guy, but I understand the times are real sensitive now. I love him. I don’t know what to tell you. It’s wrong on my part and is completely out of line and has no part in the game. I need to apologize for that.”

Martin’s swipe came during a timeout with 1:17 left after a turnover by Merriewether led to a foul at the other end.

Before Marcus Denmon hit one of two free throws to put Missouri up 66-63, Martin called timeout and gathered his team in front of the bench. He immediately started screaming at Merriewether and flicked the back of his hand at the senior, striking him on the arm with his fingers.

The crowd at Kansas State’s end of the floor reacted and Martin, realizing he had made a mistake, flipped his hand again, appearing as if he were trying to high-five Merriewether.

Martin sought out Merriewether in the locker room after the game and apologized for popping him.

The quick and immediate apology by Martin(He’s Cuban-American and was born in Florida) may just end up saving his job. I’m not an advocate of zero tolerance rules because so often they are really no brains rules.

No question, he is intense. Volatile, even. While Martin has proven he can coach, something many doubted, he must now prove he can control his temper. Currie may have accepted Martin’s apology, but the K-State AD surely can’t accept another such outburst.

Kevin Haskin of the Topeka Capital-Journal writes-

No question, he is intense. Volatile, even. While Martin has proven he can coach, something many doubted, he must now prove he can control his temper. Currie may have accepted Martin’s apology, but the K-State AD surely can’t accept another such outburst.

At least Martin was quick to address his sideline indiscretion and appropriately confronted it head on. The matter was handled swiftly, and properly, especially based on Merriewether’s own reaction.

KSU should investigate and if Martin doesn’t have a history of previous incidents, let him off this time with a warning.


Texas Tech hire Tommy Tuberville to be next football coach

He will replace the fired Mike Leach. From

Former Mississippi and Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville has been hired as the next head football coach at Texas Tech, the university announced Saturday.Tommy Tuberville

A news conference to introduce Tuberville will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday in the United Spirit Arena. It is closed to the public, Tech officials said. Tuberville was getting ready to fly to Lubbock Saturday afternoon and said university officials had instructed him not to discuss his hiring until Sunday.

Tuberville will have a five-year contract, a source told the A-J.


Former Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum said he thinks Tuberville is an ideal choice for a program that has won 29 games in the last three years.

“I think that’s a good fit,” said Slocum, who once had Tuberville on his staff. “He’s not one of those guys that feels like he has to come in and tear everything down and put his stamp on it. I don’t see him being that kind of ego guy.

“He’s smart enough to know … They’ve been pretty dang impressive to me, and I think he’d have the same opinion. He can probably lend a little help to the defensive side and shore that up and then kind of keep the scheme offensively, so I think it’s a really good fit.”


Slocum hired Tuberville to be Texas A&M’s defensive coordinator in 1994 after Bob Davie left to become defensive coordinator at Notre Dame. At the time, Slocum said he wanted someone to just keep the defense then known as the “Wrecking Crew” pointed in the same direction.

Tuberville lost his Auburn job(Here’s some dispute over whether he resigned voluntarily or was forced to resign) after one bad season. Based on Tuberville’s track, I think he has a good chance of building on Texas Tech’s recent success.


Texas Tech fires Coach Mike Leach

He was threatening to sue the school before the firing. From ESPN-

Texas Tech fired coach Mike Leach on Wednesday, two days after he was suspended by the school as it investigated his treatment of a player with a concussion.

The school handed a termination letter to Leach’s attorney, Ted Liggett, minutes before the two sides were to appear in a Lubbock courtroom for a hearing on the coach’s suspension.

Liggett said Texas Tech general counsel Pat Campbell approached him outside the courtroom and told him that win, lose or draw in the hearing, Leach was out effective immediately.

Liggett told the judge there was no need for the hearing on Leach’s request that he be reinstated to coach the Valero Alamo Bowl. Texas Tech plays Michigan State on Saturday in San Antonio.

As for Leach’s reaction, Liggett said, “Well, he’s not thrilled.” Liggett said he planned to file a lawsuit on Leach’s behalf against the school “soon.”

“We can guarantee that the fight has just begun,” he said.

Leach was suspended by the university on Monday as the school investigated his treatment of receiver Adam James. The sophomore alleged the coach twice confined him to small, dark spaces while the team practiced.

I hold to my original opinion, Leach didn’t just deserve to be fired but prosecuted criminally. He involuntarily confined a injured football player. There is no excusing it. I’d find myself behind bars or so would any employer and deservingly. Leach shouldn’t be any different.

This kind of abuse of athletes is probably more widespread than the public knows and the Leach and recent incidents at Army and Kansas should be a siren call. These people can’t just do anything to the young men and women put in their charge and if a coach steps over the line, they should face stiffest of punishment.


Texas Tech suspends Coach Mike Leach

I’ve heard many a tale of coach abuse of college athletes, but never imprisonment or kidnapping. From ESPN-

Texas Tech coach Mike Leach has been suspended while the school investigates complaints from a player and his family about treatment after an injury.Mike Leach

The school said in a release Monday defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill will be the interim coach and lead the team in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Jan. 2 against Michigan State. McNeill will remain in charge of the team until the investigation is complete.

The player, Adam James, is a redshirt sophomore wide receiver for the Red Raiders and the son of ESPN college football analyst Craig James.

A source close to the family told ESPN’s Joe Schad that James sustained a concussion on Dec. 16, was examined on Dec. 17 and told not to practice due to a concussion and an elevated heart rate. The source said Leach called a trainer and directed him to move James “to the darkest place, to clean out the equipment and to make sure that he could not sit or lean. He was confined for three hours.”

According to the source, Leach told the trainer, two days later, to “put [James] in the darkest, tightest spot. It was in an electrical closet, again, with a guard posted outside.”

An attorney for Leach said that while James was secluded twice, the circumstances were not as portrayed in that account.

If Leach had James involuntarily confined under any circumstances, he just shouldn’t be fired but criminally prosecuted. He had no right to imprison anyone for any length of time.

The Lubbock Avalanche Journal has more-

Leach had until Monday to write an apology and when he did not, the university felt it had to take action.

“This was not taken lightly,” the source said, adding that Leach did not show any signs of remorse or did not say he wouldn’t do it again. The player suffered a concussion at practice on Dec. 16 and Leach thought the player was faking.

The article went on to say Leach didn’t have James confined just once but twice. Texas Tech should fire this idiot and Texas prosecutors bring him up on criminal charges. Leach should spend some time behind bars and be shown how it feels to be imprisoned and have your rights taken away.


Big 12 hoping for more lenient bowl requirements

Some mediocre college football teams want Santa Claus to come early this year. From AP-

Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe wants the NCAA to treat teams with 6-6 records the same as teams with winning records when it comes to bowl games.

Under current rules, teams with .500 records can receive a bowl bid only if the school’s conference already has a deal with a bowl and all other teams with winning records have been invited to postseason games.

A winning Division I team should receive a bowl bid before any 6-6 teams. I’ve lived long enough to remember Florida State(8-3 in 1978) and the University of Miami(7-4 in 1982) being locked out of the post season in spite of their having better records than teams that did get bids. The Independence Bowl passed on the Hurricanes to invite schools, Kansas State(6-4-1) and Wisconsin(6-5). Who then played a real snoozer of a 14-3 game.

That said, I strongly believe there are too many bowl games played these days. Nothing would be lost if about six of them went away IMHO.


Oklahoma WR injured in car crash

The accident took place on Friday afternoon.

Oklahoma wide receiver Corey Wilson has been critically injured in a rollover collision on Interstate 35.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says the 20-year-old from Carrollton, Texas, was flown in critical condition with head and internal injuries to OU Medical Center after the crash about 1 p.m. Friday near Pauls Valley. A hospital spokesman says Wilson’s family asked that his condition not be released.

The patrol says Wilson was southbound on I-35 when his Chevrolet Trailblazer collided with a pickup, ran off the road and rolled twice, throwing him about 45 feet from the vehicle.

Say a prayer for Corey Wilson and his family.


Iowa State hires Auburn’s Paul Rhoads

When’s the last time two colleges took their next head coaches from one another? From ESPN-

The icy roads, daunting upcoming schedule and tough conference affiliation might have scared away many potential candidates.

But not Paul Rhoads. He made a head-long charge into his new job as Iowa State’s new coach, before vowing to create a blue-collar mentality of hard work central for his new team.

Paul Rhoads, a former assistant at Iowa State, is returning to the Cyclones, this time as head coach.
The former Auburn and Pittsburgh defensive coordinator and one-time ISU defensive coach was introduced Saturday as the 31st head football coach in the school’s history.

And he couldn’t be more excited for what he termed as “a dream job” where he will coach only a couple of long touchdown passes away from the Ankeny, Iowa, area where he was born and raised. His father, Cecil, is a member of the Iowa High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame.

“There are deep roots here,” Rhoads said. “My youngest was born here. I was born 10 miles down the road. The group over here . . . I have more support and they are all family. I could see myself here for a long time.”

Those words were soothing for Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard, who was burned when Gene Chizik packed up and left the Cyclones for Auburn after twice telling Pollard he would stay. Chizik compiled a 5-19 record in his two seasons with the Cyclones, leaving with a 10-game losing streak that is tied for the second-longest among all FBS teams.

The merry go round between Auburn and Iowa is amusing. Rhoads better be a miracle worker, for Iowa State is in need of a major reclamation project before it becomes even a .500 team.


Texas Tech QB’s fingers broken in 9 places


Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell played with two shattered fingers on his non-throwing hand Saturday in the Red Raiders’ victory over Baylor.

Harrell underwent four hours of surgery Sunday on the pinkie and ring fingers on his left hand, with 17 pins and two plates inserted in his hand to heal nine separate breaks, a source said. Despite the extent of the injury, suffered in the second quarter, Harrell finished the game against the Bears and is expected to be fine for Tech’s bowl game.

Texas Tech football spokesman Chris Cook said that coach Mike Leach’s policy is not to comment on the specifics of players’ injuries. But he confirmed that Harrell did have surgery Sunday morning.

It is plain incredible Harrell was able to keep playing. I sincerely hope no permanent damage was done.


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