Media days are here, meaning the season is just around the corner. We, as fans, are so excited to realize football is slightly more than a month away that we get excited about things as trivial as – you guessed it – media days.
The Big 12 coaches and players take their turns Monday and Tuesday in Dallas.
Here are 10 stories that you will not read about this week:
Can Kliff Kingsbury continue the offensive momentum created during the Tommy Tuberville era at Texas Tech?
Though the Red Raiders were largely a formidable offensive team under Tuberville, they certainly didn’t remind anyone of the more celebrated Mike Leach days. Kingsbury, who was a record-breaking, all-conference quarterback for Leach, is a call back to a happier time in Lubbock. What Kingsbury lacks in experience, he makes up for in energy and enthusiasm. How will that translate to wins and losses?
DeLoss Dodds inks Mack Brown to a 10-year extension.
Considering that Texas returns starting QB David Ash, a talented stable of tailbacks and heavily recruited defensive players, it’s telling that the media picked the Longhorns fourth in the Big 12. The schedule seemingly sets up for the Longhorns to make a run at the conference championship. Brown likely needs a huge season to remain in his capacity as head coach. Consecutive disappointing years have Texas reeling and Brown on a rather hot seat. There’s still time for Brown to save himself, but don’t expect him to be rewarded with any votes of confidence that require actual action.
Bob Stoops: SEC is hands-down the best conference in America.
The Oklahoma coach, never afraid to play the political games, threw a few jabs at the SEC during the offseason. Stoops’ motivation seemingly stems from the coming selection process for the four-team College Football Playoff. Count Stoops as another of several non-SEC coaches who want to do everything they can to limit the number of SEC teams in the playoff. Stoops’ point centered on the idea that the middle and bottom of the SEC is worse than that of some other leagues – the Big 12, naturally, included. Feel free to argue the validity of Stoops’ comments, but don’t expect him to back away from them.
Baylor looks for a return back to the glory days
That statement can’t be utilized in Waco these days for one simple reason: These are the good ol’ days. Baylor has been to (count ’em) three consecutive bowl games and plays an exciting brand of football. In the last two seasons, the Bears have beaten Oklahoma, Texas, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, TCU and Texas Tech. They pulled off one of the season’s most staggering upsets by taking down No. 1 Kansas State in November. Baylor is – get this – cool in college football right now.
Humble, mild-mannered Charlie Weis wins over media.
No matter how many times Weis falls on his face, fails or otherwise does not live up to the lofty potential he appeared to have early in his tenure at Notre Dame, the man never changes. Whether you lean toward calling that being true to himself or being an unbelievably arrogant narcissist is more eye-of-the-beholder than fact. One thing that won’t happen, though, is Weis getting to the podium and start making friends. Last year Weis spent as many weeks bullying the school newspaper as he did celebrating victories. And that pretty well sums up Weis’ head-coaching career in one sentence.
Finally, Kansas State gets the benefit of the doubt it deserves under Bill Snyder.
Rather than this story, questions will swirl around about K-State’s ability to avoid a return to the middle of the pack. After all, the Wildcats lost several significant contributors, including LB Arthur Brown and QB Collin Klein. Snyder has answered these questions before, though preseason voters rarely seem to recall. Don’t look for Kansas State to plummet toward the bottom of the league. Don’t look for the Wildcats to get the respect they deserve, either.
For West Virginia, adjusting to the Big 12 proved easy
At this point, of course, it is evident that wasn’t the case. The Mountaineers seemingly had a reasonable chance to win the conference in Year 1 of a new era. They returned star QB Geno Smith and featured loads of talent at the skill positions in WR/RB Tavon Austin and WR Stedman Bailey. A porous, largely non-existent defense ultimately cost West Virginia any chance it had to win the Big 12. A 5-0 start gave way to five consecutive losses and coach Dana Holgorsen’s team fell from the penthouse to the Pinstripe Bowl – where former Big East conference mate Syracuse pasted the Mountaineers, 38-14.
TCU will contend for a Big 12 title only because of its soft schedule
Nobody questions the talent coach Gary Patterson has compiled at TCU. His team is projected third in the Big 12 preseason picks. That schedule, however, is brutal – starting with a season opener against LSU at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The Horned Frogs face challenging road tests at Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas State. They also play at Texas Tech in Lubbock on a Thursday night game that marks Kliff Kingsbury’s first career conference game as Red Raiders coach. Even the game at Iowa State is hardly a sure thing.
Iowa State can’t possibly find enough wins to go bowling this year
It seems media members say that every season about Paul Rhoads’ team. Yet three out of his four years have resulted in the Cyclones playing in the postseason. Will Iowa State win the Big 12? Almost certainly not. Is there any reason to write them off immediately from bowl game consideration? Definitely not. The Cyclones might get picked to finish eighth in the conference, but people are getting smarter about not counting them out altogether.
Oklahoma State is the surprise team of 2013
It’s hard to be a surprise team when said team is picked to win the conference. Amazing as that might seem – and it is somewhat unusual for the Cowboys to be projected ahead of Oklahoma and Texas – it makes sense in the wide-open Big 12. Oklahoma State arguably has the best quarterback play in the league and played the best teams close last year despite a rash of injuries. The Cowboys lost four league games last season – three by seven points or fewer. The schedule sets up well for Mike Gundy’s team, too. Kansas State, TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma all visit Stillwater.
Will a Big 12 team make it to the BCS Championship this year for the first time since 2009? If you’re confident your team can pull it off, you can buy tickets to the BCS National Championship game from PrimeSport.
Topics: Baylor Bears, Big 12, Big 12 Media Days 2013, Iowa State Cyclones, Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas State Wildcats, Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma State Cowboys, TCU Horned Frogs, Texas Longhorns, Texas Tech Red Raiders, West Virginia Mountaineers