Postscripts: Finebaum’s Latest Big 12 Dig, Big 12 Position Rankings, Pac-12 Ineptitude

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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, WVU basketball gets a boost, Fine-clown is back and, yes, we have to talk about Pac-12 media day.


The Eilert Equation

When West Virginia elevated Josh Eilert to men’s basketball coach at West Virginia, my immediate though was that it was Mark Adams 2.0. Stay with me …

Chris Beard leaves for Texas and athletic director Kirby Hocutt promises a nationwide search. A week later he elevates Adams to head coach in an effort, I think, to stop the bleeding in the transfer portal.

Two years later, Bob Huggins resigns at WVU (even if he doesn’t actually believe he did) and athletic director Wren Baker promises a national search. Seven days later Eilert was interim head coach.

I’ll give Baker credit for this — he made Eliert the interim as opposed to Hocutt giving Adams the full-time job. But, you can’t do a national search in seven days. Not possible.

Also give Baker credit for being up-front enough to say that he elevated Eliert to give the program “stability now.”


I don’t know if Eliert can be a head coach. I’m not sure anyone knows that. He gets 10 months to prove it. This is his shot. But elevating him did do one thing — stop the bleeding (somewhat).

Guard Kerr Kriisa decided to come back shortly after Eilert’s elevation. Eliert’s elevation couldn’t bring back forward Tre Mitchell, who went to Kentucky, and Joe Toussaint, who went to Texas Tech.

But, on Friday night, Eliert and the program got a massive gift — Jose Perez. After re-entering the portal after Huggins’ departure, he chose to come back. That’s 19 points coming back in the door.

That doesn’t solve all of West Virginia’s issues in this suddenly combustible offseason. But it helps.

Football Position Rankings

Our staff is ranking every Big 12 team at every position. Here’s our rankings for defensive backs. I’m sure everyone’s opinions will be level-headed and well-reasoned.

Watch out for more of them this week.


Finebaum’s ‘Kindergarten’ Comment

I’m sure we all saw Paul Finebaum’s comment at SEC Media Days: “I can give you 12 places in the SEC that make Iowa State look like a kindergarten class.”

And after two weeks of Paul speaking so nicely about the Big 12, too. Guess he was bored. I tweeted this later that day.

I was editor of the College Football America Yearbook for 12 years. I’ve been to gameday in every FBS conference. Iowa State can hang with just about any of them.  

Finebaum works for ESPN and because he’s covered Alabama and the SEC for decades, I see him as an SEC expert. But when it comes to any other conference or any other team, his opinion is nothing more than garbage.

He also said he doesn’t want to go to Ames, Iowa. Shame. Great people there and gameday is a blast.


This Week in ‘As The Pac-12 Turns

On Friday, Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff faced the media for the first time this year at the conference’s football media day.

Going in, we knew there would be no Pac-12 media deal to talk about, though the league’s leadership got another update on Thursday.

Kliavkoff’s opening remarks were standard, similar in scope to those of Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark last week. Lots of positivity (whether you think it’s warranted or not).  

He even acknowledged the media rights negotiation, saying that he felt they were “on track,” confirmed the grant of rights has already been agreed to and that “getting the right deal” has always been more important that an “expeditious” one.

Now, you may think that’s bunk. But, so far so good. Then he took questions.

The first several questions went fine. He deflected questions about expansion (we’ll dive into that in the next bit) and praised the league’s presidents for their solidarity.

Then, he was asked if he was frustrated that he was talking more about media rights than football. He said this:

“I don’t want the opportunity to be missed today to talk about football. We’re not announcing a deal on purpose today because I want the focus to be on football.”

I’m sorry what? In my world, that last sentence demands a follow-up because after spending nearly 10 minutes saying the league didn’t have a media deal yet, that one sentence made it sound like they were actually sitting on one.

Fortunately, someone did try to get him to clarify that. Here’s the back-and-forth:

Q. You just said you’re not announcing a deal today on purpose because you want the attention to be on football.

Kliavkoff: Yep.

Q. To be clear, that would imply that the deal is done and codified, and just you’re waiting until after today.

Kliavkoff: I think you’re reading too much into that. (Aside: the reporter wasn’t. It’s what you implied).

Q. So then what is the purpose behind not announcing something, which is what you just said?

Kliavkoff: We want to have the focus on football today. We have an incredibly good football story to tell, and we want that to be the focus today.

Guess what ended up not being the focus of the day? At least not on Twitter, anyway.

Kliavkoff would have had a hard time keeping everyone’s undivided attention on football. At 2022 Big 12 Media Days, we paid a lot of attention to trying to determine if Texas and Oklahoma might leave early. You follow the story. And, as good a football conference as the Pac-12 has the potential to be in 2023 — the quarterback play could be absolutely stellar — the Pac-12 has a scythe hanging over its head with the media deal it hasn’t gotten to the finish line … yet.

As much as Kliavkoff wants to project solidarity, there are cracks, mostly in Boulder. Colorado’s chancellor, Phil DiStefano, was hoping for hard numbers on Thursday. They reportedly didn’t come. Athletic director Rick George bolted after the media day was done to catch a plane.

There are reportedly new bidders for the TV package. But no one knows who they are. Kliavkoff reportedly keeps just one person in the room with him during TV negotiations.

This isn’t all on Kliavkoff, of course. But on Friday he became the image of the league’s inability to get anything done to secure its future. Again.

Did San Diego State Get Screwed Over?

For months there has been speculation that the Pac-12 is interested in expanding with San Diego State and SMU. Kliavkoff said the league’s timeline is the same — get the TV deal done, get the grant of rights signed and then expand (I think that’s the wrong order and you only need to look at how the Big 12 handled it to understand the benefit).

In advance of Pac-12 Media Day, the Mountain West had its Media Day. If you recall last month, SDSU tried to rope-a-dope the MWC into allowing it to leave after July 1 for another conference but do so without penalty. That didn’t work. But, the MWC still has the Aztecs as a member in good standing.

SDSU took tight end Mark Redman to Media Day and, as one might expect, he was asked about realignment and the whole Pac-12 thing. And, his answer was AWFULLY interesting, as relayed via Twitter by Sam Farnsworth of KSL TV in Salt Lake City.

San Diego State TE Mark Redman said the team was told a year ago that they should expect an announcement to the PAC-12 and then thought it would happen a couple months ago.

Oh, really? Well, that would definitely shed some light on SDSU’s actions last month. The Aztecs though something was coming and were trying to get the runway ready.

Well, Kliavkoff said ‘Not so fast my friend’ on Friday.

“I’m not going to disclose my conversations with any potential expansion candidates,” he said when asked directly about that. “I will tell you, generally speaking, we’ve never given anyone an indication that anything would be different than the sequence I just mentioned, which is get our media rights deal done, Grant of Rights signed, then we’ll consider expansion.”

Are you sure, George? Because, well, I’m more inclined to believe the kid from San Diego, if we’re being honest.

Stuff to read

By the way, I wrote that Jack Freeman story I wrote about last week, as the Houston center opened up about the quarterback change and getting to know new QB Donovan Smith.

I also wrote pieces on ‘The Godfather,” Cincinnati nose tackle Dontay Corleone, and TCU tight end Jared Wiley, both of whom I talked to at Big 12 Media Days.

And there’s plenty more on the way.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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