Odds and Ends
Suing the NCAA and Having a Chance
Suing the NCAA isn't anything new, but it appears that the current lawsuit filed by former UCLA Bruin Ed O'Bannon has some fairly serious legs. I've always wondered, to myself, how the NCAA was able to continue to utilize and profit from images and likenesses from players no longer in college, and along with Nebraska QB Sam Keller's suit against EA Sports, we might just find out. I'm surprised this suit hasn't happened earlier and I'll be following this, although it will probably take years, throughout the process.
Texas Tech Football
Running Backs Carrying the Load
ESPN's Tim Griffin has an interesting look at how the "workhorse back" has essentially disappeared from the Big 12 and last year, your very own Shannon Woods led his team and the Big 12 in the percent of carries of all Big 12 running backs. Naturally, the evolution of offenses is part of the reason, and like most NFL teams, having two running backs seems to be the way lots of college teams are rolling. Next year, the tandem of Baron Batch and Harrison Jeffers / Aaron Crawford should be a big part of the Texas Tech offense, although I would expect that Batch gets roughly the same percentage of carries that Woods did last year. We might like to see Batch more than that, but I just get the feeling that this is how Leach is going to roll from this point forward, unless one of the runners proves to be unable to carry his part of the load.
Top Game of 2008
I don't think there was ever any question that the 2008 Texas v. Texas Tech game was voted by the Big 12 official site as the game of the year:
If the 2008 season was the greatest so far in Big 12 history, it started to tilt toward tremendous on the fulcrum of Texas Tech's scintillating 39-33 victory over Texas.
If you've been following the countdown, the best game of 2008 was an obvious choice. The media voters who selected the top 10 games were unanimous in their selection of the No. 1 game.
There's little to argue with the voters' decision. The Nov. 1 game in Lubbock had a buzz that reverberated through West Texas. An ABC prime-time national television audience plus a raucous Red Raiders crowd watched a game of mood swings that was decided on the signature play of the '08 season.
Harrell "Injures" Himself Doing Absolutely Nothing, to Injured List
It appears that QB Graham Harrell will have to wait a bit before starting his CFL career as he has promptly been placed on the Saskatchewan Roughriders injured list, which means that he's apparently out for at least nine games and his salary does not count against the team's salary cap:
And therein lies the key to the Riders' surprising move. According to a source who does not believe Harrell is hurt, the Riders are using the nine-game injured list to their advantage.
Harrell had an offer in excess of $100,000 if he started for the San Francisco franchise of the fledgling United Football League scheduled to start in the fall.
The Riders could not afford to attract Harrell with the $600 a week salary alloted to players joining a team's practice roster. It's believed he has a base pay of about $70,000, which is the going rate for rookie players of his stature and position, with incentives to increase the overall amount, hence the move to keep him on the team and not have it impact on the cap.
Mr. Crabtree, No Diva
San Francisco 49er WR Michael Crabtree talks with FanHouse's Calvin Watkins about all of the rumors that were flying around leading up to the draft. Crabtree apparently did every interview while at ESPN, did not cry after head coach Mike Singletary told him to get off the field and has never been late for a meeting. Is it just me, or is it weird that so many things are said about Crabtree that aren't true? Am I the only one that really wants Mr. Crabtree to focus on football and not anything else for quite some time?
Top Stories of the Big 12 South for 2009
CT's Dave Matter runs down what he believes are the top stories will be for the Big 12 South in 2009 and in at #5 (we all love lists) is the rebuilding job that Captain Mike Leach has in front of him:
5. Rebuilding Raiders: From year to year, Mike Leach seamlessly reloads his offensive firepower at Texas Tech. This time around, some are skeptical he can do it again. With junior Taylor Potts on deck to succeed quarterback Graham Harrell, the Red Raiders’ real challenge will be replacing two-time Biletnikoff Award-winner Michael Crabtree, the country’s most productive wide receiver the last two years.
2009 Top Cupcakes
ESPN's Tim Griffin ranks the tastiest cupcakes on the schedules of the Big 12 and in at #4 is Texas Tech vs. North Dakota:
4. North Dakota at Texas Tech, Sept. 5: The Fighting Sioux were a Division II team last year. They are transitioning to Division I-AA status and this game will be their first battle in modern history against an FBS opponent. That won't help them in an opener as Mike Leach tries to build confidence in his retooled offense quarterbacked by first-year starter Taylor Potts.
Texas Tech Basketball
Big 12 Schedule Released
The Big 12 has released their schedule for the 2009-2010 year and the Red Raiders start conference play on January 9th against Oklahoma St. in Lubbock. I haven't had the time to look at every match-up, but there is a three game stretch starting on Wednesday, January 27th, where Pat Knight and his Red Raiders travel to UT, TAMU and OU. That's a tough three game trip, especially in the middle of the season and might be a really good indicator as to how the season will play out.
I don't get into recruiting much, but I did see that Pat Knight attended a fairly significant high school tournament in Las Vegas, NV and a number of players are profiled in this linked article. I thought that this is something to remember, perhaps we'll see if Knight is able to sign anyone of these recruits. And I wonder too if it would be a fair statement that there's no way in hell that Bob Knight would be at an event like this, perhaps one of the many reasons why BK was done with coaching.