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Hurricane rearranges Big 12 schedule

Monday, September 15, 2008 | 11:44 p.m. CDT; updated 2:52 p.m. CST, Thursday, January 15, 2009

Before the season, Texas coaches thought their schedule presented an ideal situation. A Sept. 27 open date separated the Longhorns' four nonconference games from their Big 12 Conference slate. There was a convenient break in the season, coach Mack Brown said, a favorable way to approach the Longhorns' campaign toward their first Big 12 South title since 2005.

Then Hurricane Ike scrambled their plans.

"The storm was a surprise, obviously, to all of us," Brown said. "We thought we had it set up perfectly. We had the four out-of-conference games. Then we had an open date.

"But it doesn't matter. Arkansas has the same situation as us. ... We're just going to go ahead and start the season over. The first two games are behind us. Rice will be our opening game with our mentality."

Texas' mentality will be an adjustment. The Longhorns' game against Arkansas in Austin, scheduled for last Saturday, was moved to Sept. 27 because of Hurricane Ike. Texas loses its bye week and a seamless transition into the conference season.

Texas wasn't the only program affected. The Washington State-Baylor game was moved to last Friday night, and the Air Force-Houston game was relocated to SMU's campus in Dallas. TCU moved up its kickoff against Stanford six hours to noon last Saturday.

Early Saturday morning, Ike came ashore near Galveston, Texas, as a Category 2 storm with 110 mph winds. It moved northeast, causing heavy rainfall throughout the Southeast and Midwest.

Texas (2-0) resumes its season against Rice on Saturday. For the past five years, the Longhorns have defeated the Owls by an average score of 49-10.

"We got the call at about 8 p.m. on Wednesday that the game was going to be postponed," Brown said. "The first thing we tried to do before it got public ... was text all the players to let them know that the game had been postponed. The second thing we tried to do was have all our coaches immediately shift to Rice.

"A lot of things had to be done immediately."

FRIDAYS NO FUN FOR JAYHAWKS: If Kansas coach Mark Mangino has his way, the Jayhawks won't play before Saturday any time soon.

On Friday, Kansas (2-1) traveled to Tampa's Raymond James Stadium and lost to South Florida, 37-34, when South Florida safety Nate Allen intercepted quarterback Todd Reesing late in the fourth quarter. The turnover set up a short scoring drive for the Bulls, who won as time expired when kicker Maikon Bonani's 43-yard field goal sneaked inside the right upright.

"In my opinion, college football is made for Saturdays," Mangino said. "We losing had no bearing on what day we played, let me make that clear. We have a routine here. We are comfortable with it. Our players are comfortable with it. It has been good to us, and we would like to stay with it. My preference would be to play on Saturdays. College football was made for Saturdays."

SOONERS FARSIGHTED: Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said he doesn't concern himself with polls in September, though Oklahoma (3-0) jumped Georgia in both rankings Sunday to gain the No. 2 position. The Bulldogs struggled to win at South Carolina, 14-7, whereas the Sooners beat Washington 55-14.

"In the end, it's a long year," Stoops said. "All we can focus on is being the absolute best we can be each time we play. It's a long way to earning your way to something like (the BCS championship game). That's what our focus will be on, earning it and earning it each week."

STRONG QBS: Coaches had plenty of praise for Big 12 Conference quarterbacks, who have produced dizzying numbers through the first three weeks.

Last year, six of the conference's quarterbacks passed for more than 3,100 yards and many are on pace to eclipse that mark this season. Texas Tech's Graham Harrell leads the nation with 1,251 passing yards, Reesing is fourth with 1,041, Missouri's Chase Daniel is sixth with 973 and Oklahoma's Sam Bradford is 10th with 882. Ten quarterbacks have returned as starters.

Some national pundits consider Daniel and Bradford to be Heisman Trophy front-runners. The two won't meet unless it's in the Big 12 championship game Dec. 6 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.

"We've had a lot of good quarterbacks in this league," Texas Tech coach Mike Leach said.

"The majority of teams have their starting quarterback returning, which I think goes beyond having good quarterbacks. You tend to have really cohesive offenses because the influence those players have in the offseason."

 


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