IRVING, Texas — The last Big 12 Football Media Days (at least these 12) commences today, so let's commemorate by listing the 12 most compelling questions that could, but probably won't, be answered this week.
1. Does the Big 12 have a hankering for expansion, or is the league really set on continuing with 10 schools?
Are there quality candidates and if so, is there consensus among the 10 on those candidates?
2. Is the Big 12 prepared for life without a championship game, just as the Big Ten and Pac-10 has come aboard?
Mack Brown and Bob Stoops we know will be happy to see the thing go, but what about the North schools and the bean-counters?
3. How much resentment lingers against Texas?
UT took the bull by the Longhorns in the conference realignment shuffle. Texas effectively sped up Nebraska's departure to the Big Ten, scared half the league into thinking the Big 12 was doomed and thrilled the other half into thinking it was headed to the Pac-16.
Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne, whose disgust with everything Texan trumps anything Oklahomans ever thought about, apparently won't be at the Westin Hotel this week, though he'll appear at Big Ten Media Days next week. Drats. Dr. Tom is leaving us just as he's getting interesting in his old age.
4. Has Stoops' national stock fallen below Brown's?
The Big 12 championship count is Stoops 6, Mack 2. The BCS title game count is Stoops 4, Mack 2. The national title count stands 1-1. But nationally, it seems as if Mack now is the favored son of the Southwest.
5. Will Tommy Tuberville make Texas Tech fans forget Mike Leach?
Tuberville already has become the most interesting Big 12 coach of this summer, with his declaration that the league doesn't seem destined to last. Now it's time to find out if Tuberville can make SEC-style defense co-exist with the remnants of Leach's offense.
6. Will new OSU offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen make the whole Big 12 forget Leach?
Holgorsen is a Leach apprentice. Is it possible that the most-feared Big 12 team by defensive coordinators now resides in Stillwater?
7. What's the personality of Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert?
Just being around Colt McCoy, you knew the 'Horns had a winner in the huddle. Is it the same with Gilbert?
Quick refresher. Gilbert completed just 1-of-10 passes for minus-four yards in the first half of the Big Bowl after 'Bama knocked out McCoy. But Gilbert was 14-of-30 for 190 yards and two touchdowns in the second half, rallying UT before he committed three desperation turnovers in the final three minutes.
8. Is Baylor's Robert Griffin fully recovered from knee surgery?
Remember 2008, when Griffin appeared as a Baptist messiah, a quarterback capable of taking the Bears to their first bowl game of the Big 12 era? All that hope crashed last September, when Griffin went down on the first possession of the game against Northwestern Louisiana. Can he revive Baylor hopes?
9. Is Kansas State coached by the old Bill Snyder or the older Bill Snyder?
Before Snyder's self-imposed three-year exile, he was the nation's best coach. Snyder looked like that again last November, when he had the Wildcats 4-2 in the Big 12 and poised to win the North Division.
Then in a microcosm of Snyder's KSU career, the Wildcats withered at the end, losing 38-12 at home to Missouri and 17-3 at Nebraska. Does Snyder have any juice left?
10. Why does no else think Missouri's Blaine Gabbert is the league's best quarterback?
Gabbert was one of the league's best QBs last season. Gabbert ranked second (behind McCoy) in pass efficiency. Second (behind Kansas' Todd Reesing) in passing yards. Second (behind A&M's Jerrod Johnson) in touchdown-interception ratio.
If Gabbert hadn't bummed his ankle against Nebraska, Mizzou would have won the North and all that Nebraska title-game controversy never exists.
11. Who will quarterback Texas Tech?
Tuberville, again showing himself to be slyer than your average Big 12 coach, is bringing both Taylor Potts and Steven Sheffield this week. The fans clamor for Sheffield. What does Tuberville say?
12. Is Nebraska prepared for its farewell tour?
Can you imagine if Texas was leaving the league, the venom that would spew from the stands during Longhorn road games?
It's hard to muster much anger for Corn King Bo Pelini. Truth is, the Huskers might find more bitterness from their North Division trips (Kansas State and Iowa State) than their South sojourns (A&M and OSU).
The Aggies and Huskers are united in their hatred of the Longhorns, and OSU has turned Nebraska into a virtual whipping boy, going 3-1 against the Huskers in the 2000s.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at email@example.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.