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THE BIG XII GOES CHRISTMAS SHOPPING

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AND LEARNS THE TRUE MEANING OF CONFERENCE UNITY

International Supermarket News

GARY PATTERSON: Well, Bowlsby said we should take some of the conference's TV money and buy presents for disadvantaged children, so why don't we get on with it?

MIKE GUNDY: I don't know why they insist we do these things as a group. Some of these guys just piss me off.

KLIFF KINGSBURY, dreamily: Sometimes you gotta go back... to actually move forward.

CHARLIE STRONG: NONE OF US ARE HAPPY TO BE TOGETHER. LET'S PURCHASE MOTIVATIONAL TRINKETS FOR THE CHILDREN AND BE DONE WITH IT.

BOB STOOPS: Yeah, we gotta get going. Some of us have New Year's plans.

[Stoops and Gundy high-five]

PATTERSON, awkwardly reaching in for a fist-bump: Yes, uh, I'm also playing that weekend.

[Stoops and Gundy stare coldly, not reciprocating the fist-bump]

PATTERSON: I hate you guys.

ART BRILES: Fine let's just buy some dang gifts. What do kids like these days, anyways?

STRONG: Snow tires are very practical. Carbon monoxide detectors are prudent to have. And you can't underestimate the value of good household air filters.

STOOPS: Charlie, we've talked about this, those are bad gifts, kids don't want-

STRONG: Perseverance. Stick-to-it-iveness. Gumption.

GUNDY: Okay, now you're just listing personal qualities, Charlie. You can't buy those at the store.

STRONG: [just glaring at Kingsbury] I know.

KINGSBURY: I don't mean going back to reminisce or chase ghosts, I mean goin' back to see where you came from, where you been, how you got here, see where you're goin'.

DAVID BEATY, WHO'S BEEN STANDING HERE THE WHOLE TIME AND WE JUST HADN'T NOTICED: I think he's just reciting those Matthew McConaughey car commercials. Am I crazy? I think that's what that is.

KINGSBURY: I know there are those that say you can't go back. But yes you can. Just have to look in the right place.

BEATY: Yup, word for word, that's McConaughey's car ad. Alright, well, I have a feeling this is all the attention this premise is going to give me, so, uh, I'm gonna bail. Sign my name to the card, will ya?

STOOPS: Sure, yeah, good seein' you, Dale.

BILL SNYDER: Lookin' trim, Charlie!

STRONG: WE ARE WASTING VALUABLE PLAYER EVALUATION TIME. IF YOU DON'T THINK CHILDREN WANT A BURLAP STOCKING FULL OF WORK ETHIC, THEN WHAT DO THEY WANT?

MATT CAMPBELL, skateboarding into scene: Let's get them Fallout 4! And hoverboards! And Yeezys! [chugs Red Bull] [does rad skateboard thing]

SNYDER: Now who in blazes is this rowdy ragamuffin?

PATTERSON: Oh, uh, it's the new guy at Iowa State. Came over from Toledo.

SNYDER: Aw, they gave the ol' pink slip to Dusty Rhodes? Hope he catches on somewhere else. Good fella.

PATTERSON: There's several things wrong with that but we can address those later. Campbell, get ahold of yourself, I know all the writer knows about you is that you're young, but realistically, you're only three months younger than Kingsbury, and you don't see him-

CAMPBELL: [flips hair like cool teen, vapes and gestures with head]

KINGSBURY: [has walked away from the group and is flirting with the sunglass kiosk girl]

PATTERSON: Goshdarnit.

SNYDER: You know, fellas, I think we're focused too much on gadgets and gizmos and whoosiewhatsits, and we're missing the true joys of Christmas.

CAMPBELL: Yeah, like getting two weeks off from lame-butt school! [does sick guitar riff]

SNYDER [unperturbed but quietly removing belt]: Why, I remember one Christmas, I'd spent most of December hunkered down in the trenches on the Western Front. It was cold and miserable and a lot of good men had died, but when Christmas came, we held an impromptu truce with the Germans, and went out and sang carols and played football with them!

STOOPS: That's a famous story from World War I, Bill, and you were born 25 years after it happened.

SNYDER: Why, we even saw a poor horse had gotten tangled in the barbed wire in No Man's Land, and both sides held their fire and worked together to get him-

STOOPS: That's literally the plot of War Horse, which I should add is not based on a true story.

SNYDER: That horse walked on for me. He was raw, but with a little coaching, he led us to the Fiesta Bowl! That horse's name? Collin Klein.

STOOPS: Okay now, the timeline on that doesn't work at a-

SNYDER: And now you know... the rest of the story.

TOM HERMAN: What if we get the kids grills? Kids love flashy stuff! You've gotta have swagger if you want to reach the youth these days!

PATTERSON: Wait, you don't even coach in this conference.

HERMAN: No... I, uh, don't. [looks awkwardly at Strong] I haven't had any conversations about it either. I'm very happy in the American Athletic Conference. I chose to stay there another year for all of the previously publicly stated reasons. More than one year. No further questions.

CAMPBELL: This is boooooring can we go ride go-karts

HERMAN: You got it, champ!

CAMPBELL: Yay, new dad is awesome!

[Herman and Campbell skate off together]

BRILES: [pushing overloaded cart] Alright, while you dipshits were yappin' your traps I did all the shopping. Some footballs and video games and stuffed animals and crap, kids'll like it, they don't know squat.

KINGSBURY: [returning to group with slightly-imperfect hair] I, um, got a bunch of sunglasses, too.

PATTERSON: Thank goodness. Now, Bowlsby's texts said we were supposed to deliver the presents to a family at this address. Let's go!

[a little while later, outside a house on the edge of town]

PATTERSON: Okay, now, for some reason, Bob's instructions say we're supposed to just leave everything on the porch, ring the bell, and leave.

BRILES [rubbing temples]: Dangit, Gary, not this crap again. You said you learned your lesson last time.

PATTERSON: What are you talking about? Hmm, that's odd, I'm getting a Snapchat notification, I thought I deleted that app after the-OH GOSHDANGITALMIGHTY

SNYDER: Say what you fellas will, I like him. Reminds me of a young Teddy Roosevelt.