What should we expect from Big 12 athletic directors this off-season? Or, better yet, will we see what we should see? Early on, it looks like most of the Big 12 offices mulling a firing of the head football coach are inclined to give it one more year; really, the two hot seats are Colorado and Kansas.
We've already heard that Colorado plans to give coach Dan Hawkins one more year. Maybe it does believe in Hawkins, and maybe there are signs of improvement. I think there might be, but I'm convinced of Colorado's fear of the buyout in Hawkins' contract more than I am its fear of ruining forward progress. In a recession, and at a school with a meager athletic fund, it's not surprising that Hawkins is coming back. Coach should be thanking the state of economics more than the grace of his athletic director, but he lives on regardless.
The verdict is still out on Mangino, but that doesn't mean Kansas isn't trying to get rid of him. It's more likely the Jayhawks are trying to find cause to fire him and save the school a boatload of money. Until the investigation of Mangino gets sorted out, you can expect him to remain head coach. The longer they wait to fire him, though, the tougher it will be to pull the trigger, knowing the potential ramifications such a move could have on the recruiting front.
This week: 4-1 overall, 4-1 Big 12
Overall: 69-26, 36-12 Big 12
Texas 49, Texas A&M 39: The Aggies made an impressive show of their battle with the Longhorns, but all it ended up doing was provide Texas QB Colt McCoy to have a signature Heisman performance.
Nebraska 28, Colorado 20: Nebraska didn't instill much faith that it can keep close to Texas in the Big 12 Championship Game this week, but it's hard to predict how the game should have gone given the pretenses leading up to it: Nebraska had won the Big 12 North, and Colorado had already solidified its losing season. Add on Colorado's decision to retain Hawkins regardless of the game result, and you have a perfect storm of disinterest.
Oklahoma 27, Oklahoma State 0: I'll tell you what, only the loosest gambler would ever make a wager in an Oklahoma State football game. Even if you picked Oklahoma to win, no one with a brain would have predicted a shutout. But hey, that's OSU football: They have no idea who they are.
Texas Tech 20, Baylor 13: Baylor kept it close with some impressive defense, and it's too bad its late drive to tie the game stalled. Both teams had impressive moments this season, but I doubt you'd find many people aligned with either school that was happy with the season results.
Missouri 41, Kansas 39: If Mark Mangino remains the head coach at Kansas, that school doesn't deserve a good football team. Forget the Orange Bowl win a few years back. The Jayhawks just missed a bowl trip with the best quarterback in school history (Todd Reesing), two of the best receivers in school history (Desmon Briscoe and Kerry Meier) and a defense that was supposed to be revamped and respectable. There's no upside to this program. And now Mangino looks like an overweight, angry man that eats players' self-esteems for lunch (with a side of Crisco). I realize firing Mangino means you're basically saying the forward movement the program made was an illusion. But let's take the body of work for what it is. Mangino brought the Jayhawks to heaven and back to hell. Tell him thanks for the honeymoon, and send him on his way.