1. How Pissy will Bob Stoops be?
It seems like each year Bob Stoops’ mood continues to sour more and more. I expect that to continue over the next couple of days. The Sooners had a horrible ending to the season including a crushing Bedlam defeat, followed by a disastrous Citrus Bowl loss to Clemson. Stoops knows he needs a bounce back season to appease the Sooner faithful in Norman, but still doesn’t know who his quarterback is going to be, and has to deal with TCU and Baylor dominating the conference. Expect a surly Stoops…. which makes for a more entertaining Stoops!
2. How will the coaches answer expansion questions?
This will undoubtedly come up in discussions with every coach on the podium over the next two days. Are they all united in their quest to add teams? Or united to stand pat at 10 teams? I expect a split group, which will only cause more discussion and stir more debate, as the conference enters a period of unrest over the next several months. If the Big 12 gets a team into the CFB Playoff and announces the addition of a Conference Title Game next season, there will be a calming of the storm. If not, it will get interesting.
3. How does Trevone Boykin handle Heisman hype?
The TCU star went from a question mark at quarterback to one of the favorites for the Heisman Trophy in 2015. Boykin appears to have it all together, comes from a good family, and has maturity. I expect him to answer all the questions in a respectable manner. Don’t anticipate any headline worthy quotes.
4. Which coach won’t be back for big 12 media days in 2016?
Paul Rhoads. That being said, I don’t agree with that. But, if they go 1-8 in Big 12 play with just a measly win over Kansas, that could be it for Rhoads. I trust Rhoads has the ability to get this team back to the 5-7, 6-6 range every season. But, I can understand why some in Ames might think it’s time for some new blood.
5. How tough is the press on Charlie Strong?
It’s Texas. The pressure is there each and every year to win, and win big. All things considered, a 6-7 season wasn’t too bad last year. Tyrone Swoopes was learning the quarterback position, Strong had kicked some of his most talented players off the team, and the defense proved to be very strong. Some may feel Texas now needs to jump back to the 9-10 win mark. I don’t think they need to, nor do I think they can. 8-5 would be solid improvement for Strong as the rebuild (a sin of a word in Austin) continues.
6. Is Art Briles still wiping away tears from CFB Playoff snub?
We all remember Art Briles throwing a hissy fit after his Bears were left out of last year’s inaugural College Football Playoff. Then his Bears went out there and blew the Cotton Bowl against Michigan State. How is Briles on the podium? Does he continue to take shots? Has he cooled off? Hearing from Briles is the most intriguing storyline this week.
7. What will Kliff Kingsbury wear?
Kingsbury always looks like he just walked off a GQ shoot. What style and outfit does he go for? Maybe you don’t care. But, as a man who admittedly needs to improve his fashion sense, I am interested to try and pick up some tips. As for his team, will the defense do enough to get speed up the rebuild and bring the team to the 7-9 win range? Not this year.
8. Which coach(es) mention(s) expanding the College Football Playoff?
Well, the obvious choice is TCU’s Gary Patterson, who already has done as much. I hope none of them do, as it makes the Big 12 look like sore losers. Also, it portrays the impression that the conference doesn’t believe they are capable of beating out a Big 10, Pac 12, SEC or ACC team, which is a sign of weakness. My attitude would be: “Four was a hit last year and worked out great for the sport and the fans. I’m confident the Big 12 will have, at least, one of the best 4 teams in the country at the end of the season.” That’s it. Speak from a stance of strength and confidence.
9. New Kid on the Block
How about new Kansas head coach David Beaty? He doesn’t strike me as Mr. Personality, but maybe I’m wrong. Granted, Beaty will likely remain conservative and humble as he tries to rebuild a program that was absolutely destroyed by the Turner Gil/Charlie Weis tenures. Beaty will toe the company line and play it close to the vest. If you’re looking for that big sound byte, save your recordings for the other nine coaches.
10. Which side of the bed did Mike Gundy wake up on?
Mike Gundy will either be on fire on Tuesday or be a complete and utter bore. Which one will he be? Your guess is as good as mine! Of course, what am I hoping for? The former. There are few things better and more enjoyable than Mike Gundy spitting his best game to the media.
11. Is a Big 12 Network coming?
Well … I sure hope so. Although the Longhorn Network may have something to say about that. But, the Pac-12, SEC, and Big 10 are all already there. Since the Big 12 is the most regional of all the Conferences, they have less notoriety than the other Power 5’s. A TV Network would be a big splash and a great way to grab the headlines and remind the country and the other conferences that the Big 12 is here to stay.
12. Who will get the most attention?
I’ll go with the combination of Gary Patterson and Art Briles. The two schools finished 1-2 in the conference last season, played an epic game, both were left out of the CFB Playoff, and both coaches proved they can talk a big game when needed. It’s become a nice rivalry between the two private schools in the Big 12. They received all the first-place votes in the preseason poll and their match up could very well decide the Big 12 Champion. I expect these two to give us some great material.
A reminder: We have five writers on the scene in Dallas to cover Big 12 Media Days. So keep it here with Heartland College Sports for all your lastest news and information.
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