Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

South Division So Bad It Should Make for an Exciting Race for First

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

South Division So Bad It Should Make for an Exciting Race for First

Article excerpt

Say what you will about the uninspiring inaugural season in the Big 12 Conference South division.

"Should be an exciting finish," Texas coach John Mackovic said, "much like everyone anticipated and hoped for."

So exciting, in fact, that three of the South's six teams could finish in a tie. If that happened - and we'll spare you the gory tiebreaking procedures - Texas Tech would represent the South vs. the North in the Big 12 championship game at the Trans World Dome on Dec. 7. Of course, the other part of the story is that the division winner probably will be unranked and could have as many as five losses. For the umpteenth time, though, conference coaches insisted during their weekly media teleconference Monday that doesn't mean the division has lost its currency or the alignment is in need of tinkering. "It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that there's not going to be a bunch of 8-0 teams in November if they're playing each other all the time," said Tech coach Spike Dykes, a proponent of reducing the amount of league games from eight to seven. While Kansas State coach Bill Snyder acknowledged an imbalance of divisions this season - three North teams are ranked, including Nebraska and Colorado in the top 10 - he added that he didn't "necessarily see great inequity" in the long scheme of things. It's hard to argue against him. Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech all figure to revive next season, and Oklahoma's vital signs are flashing again. But don't expect the South division winner to be able to topple Nebraska or Colorado in the conference finale before the turn of the century. Non-Denial Denial: Snyder's name has been associated with a number of job openings, including the one at Illinois. But he said he had not been approached directly by Illinois and offered this to fend off rumor-mongers: "Considering the outcome of Saturday's ballgame (a 12-0 loss at Colorado), I don't know if anybody would be interested in somebody who couldn't put any points on the board against Colorado. …

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