What’s going on in the Big 12 and beyond? I expand and explain every Sunday in Postscripts at Heartland College Sports, your home for independent Big 12 coverage.
This week, the Big 12 has a BIG NFL Draft on Thursday, the Colorado chancellor has things to say and check out our latest Big 12 athlete Q&A.
The Big 12’s Big Thursday
You probably saw the NFL Draft on Thursday night and saw that the Big 12 cleaned up. Six players were selected from six different teams, which is pretty incredible. The Big 12 was the conference with the highest percentage of teams with first-round selections. From Texas Tech defensive end Tyree Wilson, the first Big 12 player off the board, to Kansas State defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah, who was the last, the Big 12 had a stellar evening. Our Derek Duke had thoughts on the big night.
After the evening, Chris Plank from Sooner Radio posted that the Big 12 had eight first-round selections in 2010, which was the last time the league had more than six selections.
So I dug in and, wow, what a draft that was in 2010.
First, Plank was actually off by a player. There were actually nine, and the Big 12 had the first four picks — Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, Nebraska defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh, Oklahoma defensive lineman Gerald McCoy and Oklahoma offensive lineman Trent Williams.
You see the trend? Yep, three Sooners in the Top 4. But that’s just four. There’s five more.
Oklahoma State offensive lineman Russell Okung went No. 6 overall. Texas safety Earl Thomas went No. 14. Missouri linebacker Sean Weatherspoon went No. 19. Oklahoma tight end Jermaine Gresham went No. 21. Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant went No. 24.
That’s just nuts. Nine players. What’s striking is just how GOOD these players ended up being in the NFL.
Seven of them earned at least one Pro Bowl nod. Five of them earned at least one All-Pro nod. Three have Super Bowl rings. Suh, Williams and Thomas can make cases for the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day.
Will Thursday’s first round be as good to the Big 12 as 2010 was? Only time will tell. But it clearly showed the Big 12 is producing quality players for the NFL — and it’s not just the two teams preparing to hit the door.
This Week in “As The Pac-12 Turns”
So nothing came out of the special meeting of the Colorado Board of Regents but that doesn’t mean that the folks in Colorado aren’t talking (and not just about that spinning transfer portal — Wow).
Earlier in the week USA Today had an interview with Colorado chancellor Phil DiStefano who said that “We’re committed to the Pac-12.”
Just about everyone else connected to a Pac-12 school has said it. That was the money quote, so to speak. But look at what he said after that:
“What I’ve said along with the other presidents and chancellors is we’re not going to even think about going anywhere, none of us, until we see what kind of offer we get, and that’s still being worked out. And I’m confident it’s going to be fine.”
This isn’t DiStefano talking out of both sides of his mouth. Both things can be true. You can be committed to a conference … until you see what the media rights offer looks like and then decide what to do. It’s smart, logical and reasonable.
Other than that, it was a pretty quiet week from a media rights perspective. Schools are gearing up for May commencement. Athletic programs are gearing up for the end of the athletic year. No one is in a hurry to make decisions.
Meanwhile, San Diego State athletic director JD Wicker told the Athletic on Saturday that his school is either headed for the Pac-12 or the Big 12. And they’re ready.
It’s your move, George and Brett.
Get to Know Blaine Traxel
Earlier this week our Pete Mundo was able to do a Q&A with West Virginia pitcher Blaine Traxel. If you haven’t kept up with Mountaineer baseball this season, you’re missing out. WVU is leading the Big 12 in one of the most parity-driven seasons we’ve seen in quite some time.
Traxel is one of the best pitchers in the league and he talked with Pete about why he’s throwing complete games when we’re in an era of load management for pitchers:
“Honestly, back to my freshman year of college, my first coach was Greg Moore. He told me that if you ever want the ball, you gotta want to fight for it and prove to the coaches why you need it. And then moving forward it was my other coaching staff with Dave Serrano, they just always wanted me to go as far as I could in games. And throwing complete games is part of that, but just trying to get quick outs and feeding the defense, letting the team work honestly is just how you could do that and going deep in the games.”
You can read the Q&A or listen to the podcast here. I’ll be covering the Big 12 Tournament in a few weeks and I’m looking forward to seeing the Mountaineers in person as they try to claim the Big 12 Tournament title.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard