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Playing ‘Five Questions’ ahead of Big 12 Media Days

Bob Stoops AP

Following in the 2014 footsteps of its Power-Five brethren in the SEC and ACC, the Big 12 will take its conference show on the road for its annual soirée in front of various media entities that cover the league on a daily — or sometime — basis.

And, as was the case with the other two conferences that have already undergone the media car wash, questions abound as college football gets set to enter its first season with a playoff that will determine its champion.

Below are but five of the most pressing questions facing the conference and its members entering the annual Big 12 Media Days in Dallas, in no particular order.

CAN SOONERS CARRY BIG 12 BANNER INTO PLAYOFFS?
At least as far as the media is concerned, Oklahoma is the overwhelming favorite to stake its claim to the 2014 conference championship.  A sizable portion of that preseason confidence is based on the Sooners rolling the Tide following the 2013 regular season.  To close out last year, the Sooners dropped Kansas State by 10 on the road in Manhattan; scored 16 fourth-quarter points to rally past hated in-state rival Oklahoma State in Stillwater; and then stunned heavy-favorite Alabama by two touchdowns in the Sugar Bowl.  Conversely, OU lost to 2013 Big 12 champion Baylor by 29 points, and was dispatched by eight-win Texas to the tune of 36-20 earlier that season.  Which OU team shows up Sooner or later this coming season?  That remains to be seen, and could determine if the Big 12 has a seat at the four-team College Football Playoff table.

IF NOT OU, THEN WHO?
This one’s easy: Baylor.  Much like Duke in the ACC, and for whatever reason, the Bears are getting little to no respect after what was a historic campaign for its football program.  The media hasn’t exactly forgotten BU as nine media members picked them to repeat — a whopping 47 picked OU to dethrone them — but the fact that the defending champs are mere afterthoughts to a team that got waxed by 29 by those very champs is perplexing to say the least.  Sleep on Art Briles and his Bears at your own peril.  I can guarantee one thing: the coaches in the Big 12 won’t be.

HOW STRONG WILL CHARLIE BE?
There were quite a few individuals, myself included, who felt that Charlie Strong was a slam-dunk, home-run hire for Texas as Mack Brown‘s replacement.  There was also a sizable contingent, however, who felt that Strong would be in over his head as it pertains to the intense media microscope UT’s head football coach invariably finds himself under as well as dealing with the back-room politics of Longhorn football (guilty too).  While the latter will play out in one fashion or form over the coming months and years, Strong will get his second chance to address a media throng as the head coach at Texas — and do so with his eye-opening-but-honest comments regarding UT’s immediate title hopes fresh on some minds.  As long as he wins on the field, he doesn’t have to worry about winning press conferences.  Absent any type of UT track record, though, a “winning” press conference during media days could go a long way to softening his transition into what’s one of the most scrutinized and high-pressured jobs in college football.

A BRYCEMAN IN BAYLOR’S FUTURE?
Once the conference of quarterbacks as far as the eye can see, the Big 12 has seen the most important position on the football field hit a significant lull.  Baylor, though, is exempt from said lull.  After watching Robert Griffin III win the first Heisman Trophy in the football program’s history a couple of years ago, the Bears simply reloaded with RGIII’s second understudy.  Coming off a prolific 2013 season — 4,200 yards, 32 touchdowns, three interceptions — in his first season as the starter, and even with the loss of a couple of premium skill players, Bryce Petty is widely viewed as a preseason Heisman favorite.  At media days, Petty will have a chance to speak to many a media member, many of whom are Heisman voters.  It’ll be Petty’s opportunity to talk to a handful of national scribes, laying the groundwork for what is, for now, an unofficial Heisman campaign.  Look, though, for that “unofficial” to turn “official” within the first month or so of the start of the upcoming season.

LAST B12 MEDIA DAY RODEO FOR HOLGORSEN, WEIS?
Heading into the 2014 season, there’s little doubt that Florida’s Will Muschamp resides on the most scorching seat in America.  Not far behind, though, are a pair of Big 12 coaches whose coaching asses are firmly planted on the proverbial hot seat.  Were it not for a rather sizable buyout, there was a fairly good chance that Dana Holgorsen wouldn’t have seen a third season at West Virginia.  Armed with an unacceptable (a sanitized version of my God’s Country friends’ description of his time at WVU) 21-17 overall record and 11-14 mark in conference play, the onus is on Holgorsen to improve the Mountaineers immediately — at least nine wins, bowl win — or find himself on the first postseason train out of Morgantown.  Kansas’ Charlie Weis, on the other hand, could only pray for Holgorsen’s WVU level of “success.”  In his two seasons in Lawrence, Weis has posted a 4-20/1-17 record as the Jayhawks head coach.  If that abysmal trend continues, you can expect plenty of “Sorry, Charlie” headlines at or near the end of the upcoming season.

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7 Responses to “Playing ‘Five Questions’ ahead of Big 12 Media Days”
  1. 8to80texansblog says: Jul 20, 2014 10:38 PM

    I say OU wins the conference…. will it be good enough though to get into the top 4…. to be seen. I think Baylor might have the best team right now but beating history always proves to be a tough thing to do and the Bears have never won in Norman.

    Though the Horns played a defacto Big 12 title game last year, I think they are at least a year or two from Strong righting the ship, and seriously competing for a conference title.

    I think Bryce Petty will have the numbers, but will he have that signature win/moment… A win in Norman might just net the Bears back to back titles and the 2nd bronze trophy in 4 years.

    There will be real football in just over a month….

    I. Can’t. Wait!

  2. cranespy says: Jul 21, 2014 6:35 AM

    Holgorsen is a coordinator…….not a HC. WVU would be in fine shape with Bud Foster today had Pat White not insisted on the hiring of Coach Stew (rest his soul) that started the dominoes falling that put the Eeers where they are today. Hate to admit it but Terry Bowden would’ve been better than this train wreck.

  3. iwishwvuwouldbeatbama says: Jul 21, 2014 8:34 AM

    I don’t understand why my fellow eeers cant grasp the fact that no one could have taken our average big east team into the 12 and dominate! Not Saban, Miles, Not the old ball coach, ect… And Terry Bowden are you kidding, the only years he dominated were when he still had the tiger team full of players who were given improper benefits which is why they went undefeated in 93 and did well in 94 but could not compete in a bowl game. You ever herd of taking a knife to a gun fight? That is what we did when we went into the 12. And I know some of you guys hated the move to the 12. Do not blame luck we had to leave the east because we needed a better conference to stay relevant. Yes were taking a beating now but the money we will get from our conference will help us build our programs into contenders. Hopefully we still have Holgorsen then to carry us to a championship. Were having growing pains now they wont last forever!

  4. wvuandsteelers says: Jul 21, 2014 10:15 AM

    So, you’re saying an offense that just put 70 on Clemson wasn’t ready for the Big 12? Our problem was we lost Jeff Casteel and Holgorsen replaced him with his unqualified buddies.

    Personally, I am hoping for Chad Morris (OC at Clemson) as the next HC.

  5. dryzzt23 says: Jul 21, 2014 10:43 AM

    I hope the Big 12 comes back to the elite, and helps the Big 10 smash the SEC.

  6. stephenw304 says: Jul 30, 2014 4:20 PM

    The problem in WVU was not hiring Doc Holiday as HC after the Fiesta Bowl in 09. Doc Holiday is the reason Bill Stewart was winning 9 games in spite of Stewart being in over his head. Doc left for Marshall last year’s juniors and seniors were all Stewart’s recruits. Holgerson had to rely on transfers and young players to fill the talent void. Only 7 starters returned in 2013 … 2014 WVU has 13 starters returning and greater depth and will surprise some people. Holgerson has restocked the talent. He is the man but even if WVU is successful which I think they will be 7-5 & a bowl and improving from that in 15 & 16. Holgerson will be hired away or fired within the next 5 years.

  7. stephenw304 says: Jul 30, 2014 4:28 PM

    Terry Bowden was NOT A better choice than Holgerson. Bowden has done…. What since he got ran out of Auburn. WVU has passed on Bowden twice now. 1st was Rich Rod and now for Holgerson. Remember it took Rich Rod 2 years to stock the team going 4-8 & 6-7. Holgerson has wvu in the right trajectory

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