Previewing Big 12 media days: Last stand for Texas and Oklahoma, newcomers to watch and expansion talk

The Large 12 will kick off the beginning of media days on Wednesday, July 12, with no scarcity of intriguing storylines.

Oklahoma and Texasthe convention’s most high-profile groups, will say goodbye after the 2023 season and head to the SEC. Whether or not the Sooners and Longhorns would be the focus of media days this week is up for debate.

Elsewhere within the convention, commissioner Brett Yormark has expressed curiosity in enlargement and realignment, one thing that can doubtless be an enormous speaking level this week.

And, after all, 4 new groups enter the fray as BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF get set for all times in a brand new convention.

With loads to speak about, we dive into the 5 largest questions forward of Large 12 media days.

1. What can we count on from Large 12 commissioner Brett Yormark’s handle?

Dave Wilson: Yormark has been on the offensive since taking on because the Large 12 commissioner. He is definitely shaken issues up, whether or not it is saying a brand new league basketball presence at Rucker Park in Harlem or an enlargement into Mexico for a number of sports activities. Final yr, he mentioned the league can be “youthful, hipper, cooler,” so count on one thing alongside these strains, like when he introduced a collaboration with streetwear firm A Bathing Ape to promote $200 T-shirts with the Large 12 emblem in camouflage. That definitely was a departure from the Bob Bowlsby period.

Invoice Connelly: We’ve not seen a serious convention commissioner this assured since Larry Scott tried to steal half the Large 12, invested in tremendous costly workplace actual property and determined to not cease with only a single Pac-12 Community. I doubt Yormark will get significantly particular in his media days handle — simply maintain hitting these buzzwords — however I am fascinated with how the following few years may play out for this convention. Aggression did not repay for Scott and the Pac-12, however that does not imply it is assured to fail for Yormark.

2. How a lot will realignment dominate the dialog?

Wilson: The league has reportedly flirted with Colorado and UConnalong with discussing the thought of including Gonzaga for basketball solely. Yormark will doubtless do his finest impression of a politician, having to bop across the particular examples whereas additionally making it clear that the league continues to be “open for enterprise,” as he is mentioned up to now.

Connelly: I am certain he would love nothing greater than to announce the addition of Colorado, UConn, Gonzaga, Arizona and the Monterrey Institute of Expertise from the dais, however that is in all probability not taking place. Realignment will nearly definitely come up many instances, however these tales have a tendency to interrupt once we least count on it.

3. What’s going to the send-off be like for Texas and Oklahoma?

Wilson: Final yr, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy made essentially the most noise, saying the 2 colleges should not be concerned in league enterprise conferences. Gundy has by no means been one to mince phrases, so if he is not already tired of it, he may need a number of selection strains. However the two colleges additionally signify two of the most effective jobs in school soccer, and there aren’t too many coaches who need to burn these bridges.

Connelly: Gundy is rarely one to chunk his tongue, and he in all probability will not begin now. (Houston coach Dana Holgorsen might be nonetheless good for a zinger or two as effectively.) However I am guessing the league and its coaches will try to steer questions on Oklahoma and Texas extra towards remarks concerning the convention’s new colleges and the truth that TCU — a faculty that is staying — simply earned the convention its first School Soccer Playoff win.

4. Which of the brand new guys is finest positioned to make early noise?

Wilson: UCF has been ready for this second for years. Gus Malzahn has been on the high of the mountain earlier than at Auburn and has new offensive coordinator Darin Hinshaw to permit him to see the large image a little bit higher. He is obtained a returning starter at QB in John Rhys Plumleedepth at RB and a number of other big-program transfers to assist jump-start their huge leap. However my cash’s on Dana Holgorsen to have the most effective soundbites of any of the newcomers.

Connelly: Yeah, if we’re searching for literal noiseHolgorsen’s the reply. However by way of first-year success, Houston, Cincinnati and BYU all took steps backward final season and ranked eleventh by thirteenth within the preseason ballot. UCF ranked eighth, and by way of recruiting rankings and athleticism, they appear to have essentially the most Large 12-ready roster. That they had a case to begin out sixth or seventh.

5. What had been the most important surprises within the media ballot launched this week?

The preseason Large 12 media ballot high 5 (first-place votes):

1. Texas (41)
2. Kansas State (14)
3. Oklahoma (4)
4. Texas Tech (4)
5.TCU (3)

Wilson: To begin with, final yr’s Prime 2 had been Baylor and Oklahoma, with a mixed 29 first-place votes. They mixed to complete 12-14 and 7-11 within the convention. TCU, which completed seventh, performed within the nationwide championship recreation. So I am shocked to see that Oklahoma nonetheless will get the advantage of the doubt over a workforce like Texas Tech, which returns 9 offensive starters from a workforce that beat each Texas and Oklahoma and led TCU on the highway within the fourth quarter. And whereas Texas obtained 41 first-place votes, there have been 28 extra unfold throughout 5 different groups, together with one for Oklahoma State, who underwent an offseason of giant change, dropping 17 scholarship gamers within the switch portal.

Connelly: It is all about shut video games within the Large 12. Oklahoma, Baylor and OSU mixed to go 16-4 in one-score finishes in 2021, then went 4-11 in 2022. Texas Tech and TCU went a mixed 10-1 in such video games final yr, and that is going to be tough to match. TCU is predicted to fall a number of spots from final yr’s standings, however Tech is predicted to rise additional (and even obtained 4 first-place votes), and that feels like a pink flag, regardless of how a lot I really like what Joey McGuire is doing in Lubbock.

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Printed : 2023-07-11 12:43:53

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