Big 12 notebook: Gundy says `Bedlam’s history’ when Oklahoma moves

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Oklahoma will still get to play its Red River rivalry game against Texas when the two teams go to the Southeastern Conference together, but there may be no more Bedlam for the Sooners against Oklahoma State.

“Bedlam’s history. Bedlam’s not going to be Bedlam after they leave the conference,” Cowboys coach Mike Gundy said at the Big 12’s football media days Wednesday. “I don’t make that decision. I’m just telling you in my opinion, I think it’s history.”

Gundy said the future of Bedlam is based on “somebody else’s decision,” a clear reference to the Sooners and their switch to the SEC no later than the 2025 season.

While Gundy knows most fans would love for the game to continue, he said doesn’t see that as feasible if the teams are in different conferences.

“When you look at, we’re scheduled out through 2032 or ’33, something like that. And most conferences, once all this settles down, you’re going to have a minimum of nine conference games in my opinion,” Gundy said. “You’re talking about contract buyouts and you’re talking about convincing head coaches to play another game, which would be like playing another conference game.”

The Sooners have a 90-19-7 series lead, but Oklahoma State won 37-33 at home last year in a game that sent the winner to the Big 12 championship game.


Adrian Martinez left Nebraska after 39 games at quarterback over four seasons and is set to replace Skylar Thompson as the starter at Kansas State.

The once-proud Cornhuskers were 14-29 in games Martinez played and haven’t had a winning season since 2016. He’s joining a team that has gone 8-5 in both full seasons under coach Chris Klieman (4-6 in pandemic-shortened 2020).

“I made a lot of experiences, a lot of moments at Nebraska, and stuff I’ll cherish for the rest of my life,” Martinez said. “I think it was time for me to move on from that, kind of put that in the rearview mirror and make the most out of this year. For me, it’s all about this year and what we can do with this squad.”

Martinez will be paired with dual-threat running back Deuce Vaughn, the 5-foot-6 speedster who averaged 108 yards rushing per game and added 468 yards receiving. Vaughn is going into his third season.

“That’s part of the reason why I came to K-State,” Martinez said. “He’s just been a tremendous help more learning the offense. I’m excited for something new, having him as an asset and just a different feel to the offense and maybe a little bit more balance I think will be mutually beneficial.”


Graham Harrell was a big-passing quarterback who set NCAA records in his playing days at Texas Tech. Now he’s back in the Big 12 as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at West Virginia.

“He’s brought a different energy about him. He’s confident without being arrogant. He’s extremely humble,” Mountaineers coach Neal Brown said. “`It helps that he was a great player in this league, and I think that gets the players’ attention on your current roster, but also in recruiting.”

Harrell threw for more than 400 yards in a game 11 times, and had two 5,000-yard passing seasons at Texas Tech from 2005-08. He was the OC and quarterbacks coach at Southern Cal the past three seasons, after having that same role at North Texas for three years.

West Virginia also has a new quarterback in transfer JT Daniels, who was the backup for national champion Georgia last season. Before joining the Bulldogs in 2020, Daniels started as a true freshman for Southern Cal in 2018 before he was hit by injuries, and played only one game in 2019 with the Trojans in Harrell’s first season there.


Kansas won only one Big 12 game in coach Lance Leipold‘s first season, and that 57-56 victory at Texas is still a proud topic for the Jayhawks.

“We’ve been starving for some wins, so any of them we’re going to talk about,” Leipold said. “When you beat a program with the tradition and past success of the University of Texas and resources, all in all it’s something that we’re going to be proud of. … We probably hit them at a time when they were in a struggle and were able to take advantage of it.”

The Jayhawks won in Austin last November on a scrambling pass for a 2-point conversion in overtime to snap a 56-game losing streak in conference road games that stretched back to 2008.

“Guys just found out that we could compete at the highest level and we can beat one of the teams that’s been like one of the bluebloods of the conference,” safety Kenny Logan said Wednesday. “That momentum booster going into the rest of the season was definitely key for us. … Even though we didn’t have the wins to show it, we definitely improved.”

Kansas had lost its previous eight games by an average margin of 34 points. The Jayhawks then finished the season with two more losses, but by only a combined nine points.

Lane Kiffin staying at Ole Miss with ‘a lot of work left to do’

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Mississippi coach Lane Kiffin says he has informed school officials he will be staying at Ole Miss, putting an end to speculation that he was the leading candidate to fill the head coaching vacancy at Auburn.

“Same as I said last week: I’m staying here and we have a lot of work left to do,” Kiffin told The Associated Press in a voice message.

Kiffin added he has not signed a contract extension with the school.

The 47-year-old Kiffin is 23-12 in three seasons as Rebels coach. No. 20 Mississippi finished its regular season 8-4, losing four of its last five, including a 24-22 loss to Mississippi State.

Auburn was playing at No. 8 Alabama in the Iron Bowl, and its coaching search figured to heat up soon after its season concluded.

Auburn fired coach Bryan Harsin earlier this month and has gone 2-1 since under interim coach Carnell Williams, the former star running back for the Tigers.

With Kiffin off the market, Auburn is eyeing a former Mississippi coach to be its next coach.

A person familiar with the search told the AP that Auburn is interested in Liberty coach Hugh Freeze. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because Auburn was not making details of its search public.

Freeze coached at Ole Miss for five seasons before leaving in disgrace in 2017 after the school discovered he used a university cellphone to call an escort service.

He landed at Liberty and has gone 34-14 in four seasons with the Flames.

Nebraska signs Matt Rhule to 8-year deal

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After six straight losing seasons and more than 20 years removed from its 1990s heyday, Nebraska is turning to Matt Rhule to rebuild its program and make it competitive in the Big Ten Conference.

Rhule signed an eight-year contract to be the Cornhuskers’ next coach and will be introduced at a news conference, the school announced.

The 47-year-old Rhule quickly turned around downtrodden programs at Temple and Baylor before leaving for the NFL to coach the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers fired him in October after he started his third season with four losses in five games.

“It is a tremendous honor to be chosen to lead the Nebraska football program,” Rhule said in a statement. “When you think of great, tradition-rich programs in college football, Nebraska is right at the top of the list. The fan base is second to none, and I consider it a privilege to have the opportunity to coach in Memorial Stadium on Tom Osborne Field. My family and I are so grateful to become a part of the Husker Family, and we can’t wait to get started.”

Rhule was 11-27 with Carolina and left with about $40 million remaining on the seven-year, guaranteed $62 million contract he signed in 2020. The contract made Rhule the sixth-highest paid coach in the NFL when he signed in 2020, according to Forbes.

Nebraska said it would release details of Rhule’s contract.

“It is a privilege to welcome Coach Matt Rhule, his wife, Julie, and their family to Nebraska,” athletic director Trev Alberts said. “Coach Rhule has created a winning culture throughout his coaching career, and he will provide great leadership for the young men in our football program.

“Matt is detail-oriented, his teams are disciplined and play a physical brand of football. Matt also has the personality and relationship-building skills to build a great staff and excel in recruiting.”

About an hour after Rhule’s hiring was announced, wide receiver Trey Palmer announced on Instagram that he would declare for the NFL draft. Palmer, who transferred from LSU after last season, had three 150-yard games this year and set the Huskers’ single-season record with 1,043 yards.

The Huskers are among eight Football Bowl Subdivision programs with at least 900 wins, and they have won or shared five national championships. The last one came in 1997 under Hall of Fame coach Tom Osborne.

Five coaches have come and gone since then, most recently the quarterback of that ’97 team, Scott Frost.

Alberts fired Frost on Sept. 11 after the Huskers opened 1-2, with losses to Northwestern in Ireland and to Georgia Southern at home. They were 3-6 under interim coach Mickey Joseph and finished the season 4-8 following a 24-17 win at Iowa.

Nebraska was 16-31 in four-plus seasons under Frost, never finishing higher than fifth in the Big Ten West or going to a bowl.

In four seasons at Temple, Rhule coached the Owls to 28 wins. That included 26 from 2014-16. Temple was 10-4 in 2015 and reached the American Athletic Conference’s inaugural championship game. In 2016, Rhule led the Owls to a 10-3 record and an AAC championship. The conference title was the first in 49 seasons for the Temple program, and the Owls reached bowl games in consecutive seasons for the first time in school history.

Rhule was named Baylor’s coach in December 2016 in the wake of an investigation that found the private Baptist university had not responded adequately to allegations of sexual assault by players, resulting in the firing of Art Briles.

Rhule’s trajectory was similar at Baylor, where he went from 1-11 in 2017 to 7-6 with a bowl game the next season. In his third and final season, Baylor was ranked in the top 10, played in the Big 12 championship game and finished 11-3 after a Sugar Bowl loss to Georgia.

Rhule’s collegiate success provided him the opportunity to take over as the Carolina Panthers’ head coach in 2020. He guided the Panthers to five wins in each of his first two seasons before this year’s 1-4 start got him fired.

Rhule has ties to the Big Ten. He moved from New York City to State College, Pennsylvania, as a teenager. He played linebacker at Penn State from 1994-97 and began his coaching there as a volunteer assistant.