Texas Longhorns fans won’t be sending holiday cards this year to Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe.
They are blaming him for the league’s tiebreaking system that puts Oklahoma in Saturday’s Big 12 championship football game instead of Texas, which tied Oklahoma and Texas Tech with 7-1 division records. The conference used the Bowl Championship Series standings to break the tie.
Oklahoma will play Missouri in, as McClatchy Newspapers columnist Jennifer Floyd Engel called the title game, “Team Texas Beat By 10 vs. Team Texas Beat By 25.”
The Longhorns beat the Sooners 45-35 on Oct. 11 and Missouri 56-31 a week later.
“You have one loss. You beat your bitter, hated rival head-to-head in an epic game,” she wrote. “And you have to watch them play for a chance to play for a national championship.”
• SOCCER MERGER — Two teams in Russia’s Premier League plan to unite to stay afloat as the country suffers through a financial crisis brought on by declining oil prices, Bloomberg reported.
The teams, Saturn and Khimki, both located near Moscow, agreed to merge. Saturn finished this season ranked 11th in the 16-team league, while Khimki was 14th.
The Russians might be on to something.
The winless Detroit Lions and 4-8 Cleveland Browns exist in America’s rust belt and could use the economy as a reason to merge into a mediocre team.
• CHARGED-UP COACH — The Virginia Tech and Boston College football teams must feel like they are playing in a remake of “Groundhog Day.”
The teams meet Saturday in the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship Game. It will be the second straight year they’ve met for the league title and the fourth time they’ve played each other in 14 months.
Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster might want to keep his emotions in check during the game. In last week’s 17-14 win over Virginia, the Hokies gained a sack with 52 seconds left to end the Cavaliers’ final series.
Foster then sprinted down the sideline for about 30 yards while pumping his fists in celebration.
“I wish they’d clocked me — somebody might want to sign me,” Foster joked after the game. “But I think I pulled everything from my low back down, so I might be in the training room tomorrow.”
• WASN’T JULY 4 AVAILABLE? — History buffs in London will have valid reasons next year to dislike one of the teams the NFL is sending to play an Oct. 25 game at Wembley Stadium.
Londoners might rail against the New England Patriots because the team is playing in “old” England and uses a nickname that rubs salt into festering wounds left over from the Revolutionary War.
The Brits could cheer for Tampa Bay because “buccaneers” were best known for plundering bountiful booty from Spanish and French ships.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft said “it is fitting that New England’s first game to be played outside of North America will be in England. I know that the U.K. is home to some of our most passionate Patriots fans and we look forward to the experience.”
Mr. Kraft, does Independence Day ring a bell?
COMPILED BY JEFF WOLF LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL