Big 12 Previews

Top Five Storylines to Watch at 2024 Big 12 Football Media Days

NCAA Football: Colorado at Utah

This week is the unofficial start of the college football season. Big 12 Media Days gets underway from Las Vegas, Nevada, as the 16 teams will come together for two days to preview the 2024 Big 12 football season. Of course, this year is the first in Big 12 history without Oklahoma and Texas, while four new schools enter the conference for a second-straight offseason.

So with that, here are the Top 5 storylines to watch at Big 12 football media days.


1. Deion Sanders

Texas and Oklahoma are gone, and now the biggest storyline and personality to follow in the Big 12 is Colorado head coach Deion Sanders. It doesn’t matter what you think of the program, how he’s building, or how well the team will do this year.

Coach Prime is the story. He will have the biggest media scrums around him (good luck to our guys Matthew Postins and Joe Tillery, who will be in Las Vegas this week), and it won’t be all that close. Maybe it’s all hype, maybe CU busts out like they did the second half of last year, but there will be no bigger story going into this season than Deion Sanders.

And Big 12 fans everywhere should embrace it. The league doesn’t have a blue blood, but it does have the biggest star in college football.


2. Utah’s Openness to the Big 12

There’s been much discussion in Big 12 circles as to whether or not Utah — along with many in its fan base — really wants to be part of the Big 12 or whether or not they’re coming just because it’s better than the alternative of hanging out with Washington State and Oregon State in a Pac-2.

This will be the biggest audience in which Kyle Whittingham, the face of the program, has discussed their new life in the Big 12 Conference. He has said things in the past that have made some wonder how excited he is about the Big 12, like implying their stay in this conference may be short-lived.

But as I have learned from many of the Utah fans I have met on the Heartland College Sports forums, most of them seem genuinely happy to be at the conference and glad to be here. I hope we hear a lot of that from Whittingham this week in Sin City. If not, they may take on that new Texas role, whether they want to or not.

3. Who’s More Comfortable From Last Year’s New 4?

Three of the four Big 12 teams who were newcomers last year are back, and ironically, the one who had prior experience in the Big 12, Dana Holgorsen, is the one who is gone, after getting fired following last season.


So, between UCF’s Gus Malzahn, Cincinnati’s Scott Satterfield, and BYU’s Kalani Sitake, who is the one who is most likely to feel more comfortable than last season? The easy choice here is Malzahn, given his history at Auburn and the fact that of these four teams, he clearly appears to have a leg up as the program most likely to make a significant leap in Year 2.

But with four new teams coming in, those four will feel like familiar faces. It’s all changing so fast, whether we like it or not.

4. Who Takes on the Godfather Role?

In my nearly 15 years covering the Big 12, that role has been held by the likes of Bill Snyder, Bob Stoops, and Gary Patterson throughout my years in the conference.

Who does it become now? Especially since, traditionally, the OU or Texas coach would get a little more juice due to the program’s stature in college football.

The best guess would be Mike Gundy, who is the longest-tenured coach in the Big 12 and the second-longest tenured coach in college football, at 19 years. Coincidentally, tied with Gundy at 19 years is Utah’s Kyle Whittingham. Now, Whittingham is brand new to the league, so that seems like an unlikely move to me. But I could see him filling that role once he gets comfortable in the conference.

If not Gundy, there’s not an obvious choice of the Hateful 8 teams. Chris Klieman comes to mind, but he’s never struck me as someone who wants to carry that mantle as a voice for the league. I may be wrong about that, but it’s not my perception. Same for Lance Leipold, although any coach of Kansas football needs to have more success before we hand them that role. That’s an indictment of the program’s history, not Leipold.

The guy who would be awesome at it? Joey McGuire. And boy would I love to see it. But the on-field success needs to be taken to new heights for that conversation to be had.


5. Las Vegas: Boom or Bust?

Big 12 Media Days will not be in the Dallas-Forth Worth Metroplex for the first time in years. Instead, it goes to Sin City. Yes, it’s more convenient for the four new schools, but it’s less convenient for the other 12. It’s also less convenient for the vast majority of Big 12 media members, ourselves included. We are sending a much smaller group this year than we have the last few years in Dallas. Time and costs were the biggest factor.

I hope the conference gets the showing it wants, but it remains to be seen as to whether or not this is a good idea. Especially when the SEC gets set to take over the Big 12’s back yard next week with its own media days happening in Dallas.

We’ll have full reporting all week long from Big 12 media days here at Heartland College Sports.

Most Popular

To Top