We must confess that we can't wait each year for the crunch of shoulder pads; for cleats churning up chunks of turf, and red-faced coaches screaming from the sidelines. But enough about lacrosse. College football season is upon us, and to celebrate, we're going to get back into tiny tidbit mode and present four things you didn't know about each major conference. If you have a little-known fact about your team or conference, get it in quick, because there's only two days left. Mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Today: The Big 12. A big tip of the helmet to Dylan Wilbanks for his help with today's selections.
• 1. The Top 12 Countdown. Colorado has not one, but three (and possibly more) fight songs. Oklahoma glued the refrain of North Carolina's Hark The Sound to Yale's Boolah Boolah to create Boomer Sooner. Nebraska's fight song says, "The boys are the squarest." And check out the Texas A&M Aggie War Hymn, in which over half the verses disparage the University of Texas.
• 2. It's Heismaniffic. When former Oklahoma football players aren't going into politics (e.g. J.C. Watts), they're touting BBQ sauce. Billy Simms now has his own sauce, trying to break into the market dominated by the Selmon Brothers.
• 3. Buffaloes Once Again On Endangered List. How sorry is the state of Colorado football? Their best player is their placekicker. But Mason Crosby is probably the best kicker in college football, going 5-for-7 from beyond 50 yards last season, including a 58-yard FG against Miami in the Orange Bowl at near sea level. Crosby may be the only thing preventing CU from being shut out in every game this season.
• 4. Still A Hot Topic. Before Adrian Peterson, there was Marcus Dupree, whose recruitment out of Philadelphia, Mississippi inspired Willie Morris' classic book The Courting of Marcus Dupree. At Oklahoma, though, he clashed with coach Barry Switzer so much that he walked out of Norman in 1983 after playing just one season. After trying to transfer to Southern Miss, he played for the New Orleans Breakers of the USFL and attempted a final comeback in 1990 with the LA Rams. Just mentioning Dupree's name at an OU cocktail party is a bigger conversation killer than mentioning Jack Abrahamoff's name at a Republican fundraiser.
Tuesday: The Mountain West.
Wednesday: The Sun Belt.