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Big 12 football: Answering the 10 questions

by Berry Tramel Modified: July 26, 2013 at 11:20 am •  Published: July 25, 2013

For the Monday Oklahoman, I asked 10 answerable questions about Big 12 football, heading into Big 12 Media Days. You can read that column here. Time to see if we got any answers.

1. Will Mack Brown be goofy?

No. Mack wasn’t very goofy. A wayward Texas cheerleader wandered near the podium when Mack was talking, but it didn’t appear to be orchestrated. It appeared she was angling for a photo op or something. Mack didn’t even talk nonsense, didn’t seem to me.

2. Will Bob Stoops be mad?

No. Stoops was in a decent mood. Stayed at his appointed post for almost two hours, re-answering questions over and over with little disdain. Even did a little joking around. But when Fox analyst Brian Baldinger insinuated that Blake Bell would be the starter, Stoops took a little umbrage.

Stoops: “You’re kind of making assumptions if you think he’s the guy right now.”

Baldinger: “I didn’t make an assumption.  I just haven’t seen him throw.”

Stoops: “You started your question by saying ‘I guess he’s the next guy up.’ We’ve got a number of guys in there in competition with him that are doing really well, Kendal Thompson and Trevor Knight to go along with Blake Bell.  We’ve never been real excited about naming a guy too early.  So they’re working hard as well.”

One thing about Stoops. He listens to questions. He takes them literally.

3. Will anyone talk trash about the SEC?

Alas, no. Not really. Some people defended the Big 12 — Art Briles even engaged me in some major denial.

Me: “Art, in this off‑season, there’s been a lot of talk about the SEC‑Big 12 dichotomy and the differences in the league and whatnot.  How do you view all that in terms of how the Big 12 ‑‑ whatever behind the Big 12 is, whatever the problems are, what can you do to make it up?”

Briles: “I mean, are there problems in the Big 12?  I didn’t know.  I thought we had nine teams in bowl games last year.”

Me: “Well, your defenses have not been great.”

Briles: “The offenses are really great in the Big 12.”

Me: “When they’re matched up with the SEC, the SEC generally had the upper hand.  There’s really not any doubt about that.”

Briles: “Yeah, I mean, I’m sure there’s always doubt because we could both probably throw facts out there that accentuate both of our outlooks.  I’m a Big 12 guy.  I think it’s the best league in America without question. The facts don’t back that up when you look at national championships, but there’s some qualities that are involved there with the round‑robin Big 12 play scale.  Two years ago, Oklahoma State is in the national championship game if Iowa State doesn’t beat them in overtime.  Kansas State most likely would have been in the national championship game last year if Baylor doesn’t beat them their 11th game of the year. I mean, it’s just a tough league to go unscathed in.  I think defenses are very talented, very good in our league.  I think offenses are very talented, very good.  I think the style of play dictates a lot of times how one side of the ball is predicted. In the Big 12, there’s guys on offense trying to score every snap.  Maybe it’s not the same way it is in the old Lone Star Conference or Missouri Valley Conference, but I know it’s that way in the Big 12.”

All I know is this. In the last 10 years, the Big 12 is 0-3 vs. the SEC in national title games and 1-9 vs. the SEC in Cotton Bowls.

4. Will Big 12 players look around the room and do what Texas Tech publicist Blayne Beal said they would do, which is “look around room realizing they can beat/lose to any team in league. Not case in SEC.”

OK. I said this was unanswerable. And I can’t answer it.

5. Will Mike Gundy drop any clues for what we already know, that Clint Chelf is OSU’s starting quarterback?

No. Gundy was a great witness. He stuck to the script.

6. Will the ladies swoon over Kliff Kingsbury?

Yes. There seems to be little doubt that. On my row, there was plenty of discussion about Kingsbury’s voice. I didn’t even know what he talked like when I asked the question.

7. Will a mascot steal the show again?

Yes, unless you think Charlie Weis did. West Virginia’s Mountaineer was the star again, posing for pictures and conducting interviews and handing our deer jerkey. America’s greatest mascot and it might not even be close.

8. Will Art Briles keep turning on the charm?

The testimony already submitted makes me think no. But Briles otherwise was his usual folksy self.

9. Who takes Tommy Tuberville’s place as the league’s most honest coach?

Uh, Weis called his team a “load of crap.” We might should retire the trophy.

10. Can we get Bill Snyder to talk a little trash?

Not under threat of bayonet. I asked Snyder if he was ready to crow a little. “No is the simple answer, Berry,” Snyder said. “I think I said last year that, if I were given the opportunity, I would have picked us 99th. As I look at it this year, right now where we stand, I’d probably echo the same thought.”

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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