Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
During several conversations I had with Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads over the past few months, I've come away with a healthy respect for what a genuine person he is.
He reminds me of the guy who lives down the block from you, always ready to talk while your kids play together.
So it's not surprising that I've discovered another couple of elements of his character in a recent story by the Des Moines Register's Randy Peterson.
It seems that Rhoads has always wanted to learn how to fly a plane. And his biggest thrill came a few weeks ago after several lessons when the pilot let him take the controls as they flew over Jack Trice Stadium.
Rhoads also is a motorcycle enthusiast and has grown a beard during his summer sabaticcal.
I imagine I'll be running into a more groomed Rhoads in Arlington, Texas, later this month at the Big 12 media days. I'll be interested to hear of his travels this summer -- both on the ground on his motorcyle and through the air.
Until then, here are some lunchtime links from across the conference.
College football appears to be recession-proof -- at least in the state of Oklahoma, the Tulsa World's Mike Strain reports.
Baylor and Duke have scheduled a two-game series starting in 2017, the Waco Tribune-Herald reports. The 2017 game will be played in Waco and the 2018 game in Durham, N.C.
The Lawrence Journal-World's Jesse Newell and Eric Sorrentino pay tribute to Michael Jackson in their podcast by picking one of his songs to match each Big 12 team.
The Columbia Tribune's Dave Matter profiles Missouri walk-on linebacker Derrion Thomas, the son of soon-to-be NFL Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas.
The Oklahoman's Jenni Carlson catches up with Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder to talk about the program's growth and developments at Boone Pickens Stadium.
Former Texas Tech receiver Todd Walker has resurfaced at Division II University of the Incarnate Word, Todd Peters of the San Antonio Express-News reports. Walker had seven receptions last season for the Red Raiders.
Randy Riggs of the Austin American-Statesman ranks Texas Tech as the newspaper's No. 23 team nationally in its preseason countdown.
Charleston Gazette sports editor Mitch Vingle lists Missouri senior associate athletic director Whit Babcock as one of his prime candidates for the vacant AD position at Marshall.
The Daily Texan's Matthew Hohner analyzes why Texas is No. 1 nationally in athletic earnings.
The Topeka Capital-Journal's Austin Meek catches up with Kansas State's new transfer Chris Harper, who insists that he is a quarterback and plans to play the position when he's eligible next season.