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 TCU-Colorado game may define what the Big 12 wants to be, Deion Sanders is building his new Big 12 football program much faster than expected and a new Big 12 basketball team gets a big recruiting boon for this season.
The Big 12’s Beautiful Day
Before Saturday’s Colorado-TCU game, Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark roamed through the press box and shook hands. Suit jacket on and no tie, if you’re keeping track of attire. It was a slight departure from the suit and tie he wore for the press conference with TCU athletic director Jeremiah Donati and Colorado athletic director Rick George on Friday.
As I drove home on Saturday, after Colorado’s incredible 45-42 win over TCU, I wondered where Yormark was and whether he was smiling. Because after that game, how could you not?
Yormark is attempting to build a national brand out of the Big 12. He wants student-athletes to “choose” to be a part of the Big 12. He wants it to be “younger and hipper.” Those things are difficult to quantify. I mean, a Nelly halftime show helps. But getting kids to choose a conference? Kids choose schools, not conferences, in my opinion.
But, you can build a brand student-athletes and fans alike recognize. Saturday’s game went a long way toward doing that.
In one corner was TCU, which went to the College Football Playoff championship game last season and is attempting to install itself as a perennial contender in the new Big 12. In the other is Colorado, with its new head coach, Deion Sanders, whose reputation walks into the room five minutes before he does.
It’s a happy accident the two teams are meeting less than a year before Colorado re-joins the Big 12, along with Arizona, Arizona State and Utah. With TCU’s incredible 2022 and Sanders’ ‘Prime Time’ reputation, Fox put the game in the 11 a.m. central window and brought its Big Noon Kickoff to the game.
And, boy, did the game deliver. Colorado, with 60-plus new players and a new coaching staff, blew the doors off the place. TCU, with plenty of holdover talent from a year ago, counter-punched. At one time the game was so good that I looked at my Twitter feed and people that I follow that I KNOW don’t follow either of these teams were tweeting about this game.
At one point there were lead changes on six-straight possessions. The game came down to the final minutes. It was a game where you were hoping TCU would get that last-second field goal to tie the game and send it to overtime. You didn’t want it to end.
If THIS is the kind of football the Big 12 plays from week to week once the new members join, then the league has something exciting to build around. There won’t be bluebloods in this league. It’ll be a league of relative equals. That could be great for competition, great for the league’s television partners and great for building a brand.
Yormark likely walked around Dallas (or Fort Worth) with a big smile on his face Saturday night. He said getting the Four Corners schools in expansion was the “best-case scenario” for the league.
Saturday had to be some level of validation of that notion.
I’ve lived in the Dallas area most of my life and I was around the area when the Cowboys were in their heyday and Deion Sanders was playing both ways. I remember watching him play at Florida State on TV. Oddly, the other day, I re-watched the “Deion’s Double Play” ESPN documentary, just for fun.
I’m no expert on Sanders. There are plenty of writers in the area that have covered him longer and know him much better than I.
But what I saw on Saturday can’t be ignored. Sanders went into a program that went 1-11 last season, completely flipped it, brought in players from his former job at Jackson State, snagged a solid recruiting class and built a team that had chemistry from the jump. That was honestly my biggest question going into the game. I didn’t doubt he could recruit or coach. He proved both at Jackson State. But could he and his staff build on-field chemistry with basically a brand-new team in eight months?
He could and he did. Colorado didn’t play perfect but they would have been just about any team’s equal on Saturday. Quarterback Shedeur Sanders threw for 510 yards and completed 81 percent of his passes. Travis Hunter played both ways nearly the entire game and ignited a potential Heisman candidacy.
But, the guy that really stood out to me was the player that could be Sanders’ version of former Kansas State star Deuce Vaughn — Dylan Edwards. The 5-foot-9 true freshman scored four touchdowns on Saturday, including the go-ahead score. He caught five passes for 135 yards and three scores and rushed for another 24 yards and a touchdown.
That’s a kid Colorado stole out of Kansas’ and Kansas State’s backyard — Derby.
That’s gotta hurt. That’s the kind of stuff Sanders can do as a recruiter. He just showed you what he can do as a coach.
What do you think is gonna happen when he has the whole program built?
The Marcus Adams Saga is Finally Over?
Adams was a four-star prospect and the No. 48 player in the 2023 recruiting class — after he decided to reclassify out of the 2024 class.
First, he signed with Kansas in April and enrolled in college in June. That lasted a month. Four days after he entered the transfer portal he committed to Gonzaga. Ok, so now he’s a Bulldog.
Nope, not anymore. Adams decommitted from Gonzaga and then committed to … BYU?
Yep, the 6-foot-8 forward announced on Saturday — in the middle of the TCU-Colorado game (and a bunch of others) — that he was committing to BYU.
One would assume he’s enrolling ASAP for the 2023-24 season.
This is a big deal for the Cougars. Adams could step on the floor and be a starter immediately. He’s an impact player.
It’s just incredible how these things work out sometimes. Two months ago BYU couldn’t have conceived this. Now, there’s a Top 50 player coming to Provo.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.