COLUMBIA - It was a scene every coach dreams of. His team was beating one of the nation's highest-ranked teams. Under the lights. In its home stadium. On national television. With Missouri driving into Oklahoma State territory, however, where was Cowboys coach Mike Gundy? Providing one of the weekend's strangest images, Gundy was parked on top of a crate towards the back of the visitor's sideline, intensely focused on a clipboard and ignoring the action on the field.
"My routine in that game wasn't any different than in any of the other five games we've played," Gundy said during Monday's Big 12 coaches teleconference. "When we play at home, getting away from the action is about 3-feet from the wall, so I'm kind of right there."
At Faurot Field, Gundy was at least 15 feet away from the action, attracting the attention of ESPN's cameras during his team's 28-23 win Saturday night.
"I guess maybe because I had to go sit on that trunk, where we script our next series on offense, it became more visible," Gundy said. "But it hasn't changed for me in any of the games this year."
Defensive coordinator Tim Beckman possesses total control over the Cowboys defense, and because Gundy watches so little tape of opposing offenses, Gundy said interfering would be a detriment to the team.
BIG 12 TURNING TO SAVAGERY?: Oklahoma State's victory over Missouri, and Missouri's impending trip to Austin on Saturday prompted talk of a new trend in the Big 12 that used to be reserved only for the Southeastern Conference. Cannibalization.
"It'd be great if there were only one or two good teams in the conference, if we were one of them," said Kansas coach Mark Mangino, whose team travels to Norman on Saturday to face the losers of the Red River Rivalry, Oklahoma. "Unfortunately, we've got a great conference here and great teams...I don't look at it as a liability, though, I look at it as a great challenge."
After the release of the polls on Sunday, four of the Big 12 South's six teams were ranked in the top eight, with Texas and Oklahoma being only the first of several clashes between teams in the better half of the Big 12.
"Anybody can beat anybody, and they do," said Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops. "That's the way it is when you're in a good league in a good conference. That's going to happen."
LIFE WITHOUT REYNOLDS: Oklahoma linebacker Ryan Reynolds was lost for the season with a torn ACL during Saturday's game against Texas in Dallas. Reynolds also tore his ACL before the 2006 season, but the injury keyed a momentum shift for the Longhorns' offense in the Sooners' 45-35 loss. Now, Stoops is forced to gameplan for a season without a player who recorded 60 tackles a season ago.
"We've got some ideas, we've got several options," Stoops said. "We're going to work with those guys through the week, all of them, and we're going to move some guys around."
MUST BE SOMETHING IN THE WATER: Nine of the nation's top 15 leaders in passing efficiency come from the Big 12, a stat that's garnered plenty of media attention during the 2008 season. Of those nine, five played their high school careers inside the state of Texas. Kansas' Todd Reesing, Texas' Colt McCoy, Texas Tech's Graham Harrell, Missouri's Chase Daniel, and Baylor's Robert Griffin all played inside the state some consider America's richest soil for cultivating football talent.
"Last week having (Oklahoma quarterback) Sam Bradford and Colt (McCoy) in a matchup was really fun, and they both lived up to expectations. It was just amazing to watch them," said Texas coach Mack Brown. "Now we've got Chase (Daniel) and Colt, two top quarterbacks who played for state championships in this state, that were both highly recruited, playing in Austin, which is a great storyline."
Next week, Texas faces No. 8 Oklahoma State, led by Zac Robinson, who was also recruited by Texas.