Is Bo Pelini's conduct getting out of line? Big 12 bullet-point observations
As a result of an eventful football weekend around the Big 12 Conference, I've decided to adopt the bullet-point approach for today's blog entry.
I have quite a bit on my mind following the weekend. Bo Pelini doesn't like referees, and his temper flared at Texas A&M. The Big 12 South could come down to a three-way tie (again). The Big 12 North will come down to the last week as well. I went 5-2 in picking Big 12 games in week 12 of Conference ChatterTV, which can be seen below:
Here goes nothing. Welcome to Conference Chatter's Big 12 bullet points. • Nebraska coach Bo Pelini ripped into quite a few people Saturday night. He lashed into the referees, clearly irate on a slew of calls (the Huskers were flagged 16 times for 145 yards) during NU's ugly 9-6 loss at Texas A&M. A roughing-the-passer call against Courtney Osborne enabled Texas A&M to extend a late drive and set up the game-winning field goal. Pelini had a point. The call was dreadful.
But the coach also went berserk on his own players, and starting quarterback Taylor Martinez, in particular, witnessed the wrath of the outrageously livid Pelini on the sidelines.
The way Pelini carried himself was unprofessional and bothersome. He's tried to control his hot temper this season, but his sideline demeanor reached a new boiling point on Saturday.
The whining and complaining, as if the referees conspired to job Nebraska, grew tiresome. Yes, this is Nebraska's last season in the Big 12, and no, I don't think the Big 12 zebras intentionally hosed the Huskers. What good would that do for the Big 12? Nebraska was one of the final conference teams left with an outside chance of playing for the BCS Championship.
Back to Pelini. The roughing-the-passer call on Osborne was terrible. Fair enough. Let's pretend that it didn't even happen. Given the difficulty NU had in moving the ball, it's not exactly a given the Huskers' offense would have marched back down the field and won the game.
Nebraska's vaunted rushing attack, which averages about 270 yards per game, only rushed for 142. Martinez and his backup, Cody Green, had trouble completing passes against a Texas A&M secondary that ranked in the bottom 10 in the country in pass defense coming into the game.
I respect coaches who carry themselves with extreme intensity (see Kansas State basketball coach Frank Martin), but there's a difference between extreme intensity and excessive griping. Pelini feverishly chasing down referees seemed desperate and childish.
NU chancellor Harvey Perlman and athletic director Tom Osborne had to have a meeting with Pelini on Sunday morning to talk about his conduct.
I respect what Pelini has done in taking a defense that lacked speed and tackling ability in the Bill Callahan era and turning it into one of the best units in the country. But he's the head coach at one of the most tradition-rich football programs of all-time. Pelini should think more about how his decorum is perceived, because it looked outrageously petulant on Saturday night.
• If Nebraska fans have a sky-is-falling outlook, they shouldn't. All the Huskers need to do is beat Colorado on Friday at home and they will represent the North in the Big 12 Championship. Winning the Big 12 is still well within reach. Nebraska likely wasn't going to play in the BCS Championship anyway.
• Colorado interim coach Brian Cabral restored last names on the backs of his players' jerseys this past weekend. This season was the first in at least 25 years that the Buffaloes didn't have last names on the jerseys. Colorado won its second consecutive Big 12 game when it defeated Kansas State, 44-36, this past weekend.
Kansas, please take notice. Last names belong on the jerseys.
• Should Cabral, who has won two games since taking over for Dan Hawkins, somehow knock off Pelini's Huskers in Lincoln next week, he should immediately be front-runner for the next coach in Boulder. That figures to be a tall order. Nebraska opened as 20-point favorites Sunday night.
• Switching gears to the Big 12 South: This division will also come down to the final week of action. Oklahoma State (6-1 Big 12), Oklahoma (5-2) and Texas A&M (5-2) still have a chance to take the division crown. Oklahoma State will face Oklahoma next week in the annual Bedlam series, while Texas A&M will travel to Texas.
Scenario 1: If Oklahoma State wins, nothing else matters. The Cowboys would play in the Big 12 title game.
Scenario 2: If Oklahoma beats Oklahoma State, and Texas A&M beats Texas, there would be a three-way tie at 6-2 atop the South. The tiebreaker would come down to who's ranked the highest in the BCS standings when they're released next Sunday night (in this scenario, probably Oklahoma).
Conclusion: Oklahoma at Oklahoma State will essentially decide the Big 12 South.
The last time the South finished the regular season in a three-way tie was 2008, when Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech all finished 11-1 and 7-1 in the league. The Sooners had the best BCS ranking and advanced to the Big 12 Championship.
• Here's the latest edition of the Sorrentino Scale. The number that follows in parentheses is what the team was ranked last week:
1 (2). Oklahoma State (10-1): Biggest game in school history to take place Saturday vs. Oklahoma, likely for rights to Big 12 title game.
2 (3). Oklahoma (9-2): Sooners have won past seven meetings against Oklahoma St.
3 (1). Nebraska (9-2): Will Martinez look as healthy as earlier in year at any point again this season?
4 (4). Missouri (9-2): Tigers quietly having great season. What percent do you give Kansas staging an upset on Saturday in Kansas City, Mo.?
5 (5). Texas A&M (8-3): Yeah, I know. A&M beat Nebraska and Oklahoma. But Aggies also lost to Missouri, Oklahoma State and out of conference against Arkansas.
6 (6). Baylor (7-5): Bears finish solid season losing last three games.
7 (7). Kansas State (6-5): 'Cats have lost four of last five games.
8 (9) Texas Tech (6-5): Red Raiders close at home vs. Houston.
9 (8). Iowa State (5-7): Cyclones' season over after losing last three games and chance at a bowl berth.
10 (10). Texas (5-6): Beating Florida Atlantic is nice, but Texas won't climb in standings for rest of season unless it beats A&M this week.
11 (12). Colorado (5-6): Cabral working wonders so far in Boulder.
12 (11). Kansas (3-8): Back to cellar for Jayhawks. Colorado got hot after monumental collapse at KU.
That should be all for now, friends. As always, discuss.