Big 12 football notebook: And still there were 10

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby joked that he had been in the Omni hotel “about 30 minutes, and I haven't had a realignment question yet, which is the first time that's happened in the entire time I've been here.”
by Berry Tramel and Jenni Carlson and Ryan Aber and Jason Kersey Published: July 22, 2013

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby joked that he had been in the Omni hotel “about 30 minutes, and I haven't had a realignment question yet, which is the first time that's happened in the entire time I've been here.”

Bowlsby reiterated that the Big 12 has no designs on moving from 10 members.

“We're intentionally at 10 members,” Bowlsby said. “We think there are advantages at 10. Among those advantages are the strength of playing three nonconference games instead of four and having a full conference roundrobin. I think it keeps rivalries strong. I think it keeps our multimedia packages strong to have good competition every day, every Saturday.”

WEIS PULLS NO PUNCHES

Kansas coach Charlie Weis is plain-spoken. Says it's something he decided to be about 10 years ago. Just tell the truth. And he pulled no punches Monday.

* “We're 1-11 and picked by everybody to finish last in the league, and that's justifiable. If I were you, I'd pick us in the same spot. We've given you no evidence or no reason to be picked anywhere other than that.”

* “Everyone wants to play. There's no one that wants to not play. I said, have you looked at that pile of crap out there (on the practice field)? Have you taken a look at that? So if you don't think you can play here, where do you think you can play? It's a pretty simple approach. And that's not a sales pitch. That's practical.”

* Jake Heaps, a quarterback transfer from Brigham Young, “I had recruited him out of Skyline High School out in Seattle, where he was the top-ranked player in the country, and he really wanted to come to that school I was at (Notre Dame), but he thought I might get fired, and he forgot to tell me that he was going to be right. He had better foresight than I did.”

PATTERSON DEFENDS PACHALL DECISION

TCU coach Gary Patterson didn't bring Casey Pachall to Media Days, even though Pachall is the preseason all-Big 12 quarterback. Patterson said he told Pachall that he needs to address his troubled past, which included admitted drug use, a DWI, suspension from school and rehab.

“I've left him alone,” Patterson said. “I asked him, do you want to go? And his whole thing is: ‘I just want to be a student. I want to be a football player.' So I'm letting him do his thing, keep the pressure off of him.”

Pachall is the nation's active leader in pass efficiency.

“Casey is a very talented young man,” Patterson said. “How he handles everything and does will be an indication of how well we do in the Big 12 Conference. If you want to play well in the Big 12, you've got to play well at quarterback.”

Patterson said he has no assurances that Pachall will stay out of trouble. But Patterson said he's betting on it.

“When he came back in the spring, to see the color back in his face, the conversations we had that we weren't having when he left, to me, told me right away that we'd done the right thing,” Patterson said.

“The easiest two answers for me to have answered and done was, No. 1, just to suspend him for a couple of games and then let him come back and play, but that wouldn't have fixed the problem. Two, to have just gotten rid of him.

“It was a hard decision, of understanding I knew it was going to affect our wins and losses. But as far as what we're doing for a young man's life, I think it was an easy decision of understanding that we needed to get him in a place where not only for this year but for the rest of his life. We knew we gave him a chance to be different. We needed to give him hope.”

KINGSBURY'S TECH ROOTS DEEP

The reception from Texas Tech fans over their new coach, Kliff Kingsbury, has been clear. Tech fans are thrilled.

“It's been incredible,” Kingsbury said. “The reception has been really overwhelming from players and fans. It's good to have all those guys back.

“I played for Spike Dykes and played for Mike Leach. I mean, I don't know how many years it covers, 25 years of Tech football that I can relate to. So to have all those guys back in the program, all pushing the same direction has been great.”

Kingsbury, who is just 33 and quarterbacked Tech as recently as 2002, said he can feel intimidated at times, “but you try not to let it overwhelm you. You just attack each and every day, how can I make this program better today? That's all I've done since I've been there.

“The first couple days you get the job, you sit in your office, what do I do next? It's been amazing. The reception we've had for Texas Tech and watching all the fans get back on board and pushing this program in the right direction has been incredible.”

HELPING THE PAYING CUSTOMER

Bowlsby said the Big 12 planned to be innovative in a variety ways and offered an example — in-game highlights on a taped and live basis into stadiums this year. Bowlsby said that while Big 12 attendance is at 85 percent capacity, college football nationally has declined in paying customers.

“Nationwide we're seeing student numbers declining,” Bowlsby said. “We're seeing season ticket numbers declining. I think bringing highlights in will take into account and help one of the things that really is getting to be a challenge for us.”

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
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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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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by Ryan Aber
Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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