After a long, hard fought season, Kansas State claimed the Big 12 Championship with its win over Texas last Saturday night. The Wildcats have reigned supreme over the Conference since their late September victory over the Sooners in Norman. However, this season saw nine of the 10 teams in the Big 12 claim bowl eligibility, reinforcing the conference as one of the country’s elite. Let’s take a look at some of the notes heading into the postseason.
• Following speculation that Baylor head coach Art Briles would leave Waco for a bigger name program, like Arkansas, rumors were squashed Tuesday when Briles agreed to a long-term deal to remain the Bears’ coach. Baylor will face UCLA in the Holiday Bowl, the Bears’ third straight bowl game.
• In similar fashion, Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy will remain in Stillwater after speaking with Arkansas and Tennessee about their head coaching positions. Gundy received a four-year extension to remain at his alma mater after last years’ Fiesta Bowl victory. The Cowboys will play Purdue in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
• Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder received the Chuck Neinas Coach of the Year award from the Big 12, along with the Associated Press’ Coach of the Year title. Snyder coached the Wildcats to their first BCS Bowl since the 2003 season.
• To go along with the Wildcats’ return to the upper echelon of college football, the University will begin a $75 million dollar renovation on the west side of Bill Snyder Family Stadium in an effort to expand. The renovations will include a Wildcat Hall of Honor, ticket offices, a new press box and almost double the number of luxury suites, club boxes and club-level seats. There have been ongoing renovations on the north and south portions of the stadium throughout the season; the renovations of the west side will complete the project.
• Former West Virginia head coach Don Nehlen believes utility man Tavon Austin is the best player to hit Morgantown since 1980. It’s high praise from a coach that spent 21 years at West Virginia leading the Mountaineers to a 149-93-4 record. When asked about Austin’s skill, Nehlen responded, “That kid will be a No. 1 draft pick. He’s a dynamic football player. He’s the best I’ve seen around here or anywhere with his talent and speed.”
Printed on Friday, December 7, 2012 as: Baylor holds on to Briles, Gundy inks extension