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.”
OU has dabbled in other-game highlights; OSU has not. But Bowlsby is talking about much heavier commitment to entertaining fans in the stands.
“We see people that have a 60inch television,” Bowlsby said, “and they can have their mobile device with full Wi-Fi on their lap, no lines at the restroom, no charge for concessions, they can have a cold beer when they want to, and they don't have to spend six to eight hours traveling to and from the stadium. So it's something that we're very excited about, and we think that it will greatly enhance the instadium environment.”
LOCKETT: EITHER KSU QB WILL DO
Lockett not too concerned about QB race
Former Tulsa Washington standout Tyler Lockett, now one of Kansas State's top players, isn't too concerned about which quarterback will be throwing him the ball this season.
The Wildcats have Daniel Sams and Jake Waters competing to replace Collin Klein.
Sams was Klein's backup a year ago and Waters transferred in after earning national junior college offensive player of the year honors at Iowa Western.
When Lockett was in high school, the Hornets used both Jordy Albert and Dominique Sells at the position.
“My preference is it really doesn't matter,” Lockett said. “I was in high school my senior year and we played with two quarterbacks the whole year, they just switched off every two possessions, and we ended up winning state.
“It really doesn't matter as long as you have a relationship with them. As long as both of you all are on the same page, that's all that matters. As long as you're on the same page, everything's going to continue to go smoothly.”
KINGSBURY A LADIES' MAN
Kingsbury has created excitement around Lubbock for more than just football.
“The women love him,” Red Raider wide receiver Eric Ward said. “Just making that known.”
He shook his head.
“I'm married,” Ward said, “and my wife is like, ‘Can I have a Kliff T-shirt?' I'm like, ‘Wait a minute.'”
HEAPS, McCAY BOOST KU
Kansas quarterback Jake Heaps and receiver Justin McCay became friends as teammates in the 2010 U.S. Army All-American Bowl but never thought they'd play together in college.
Heaps, from Sammamish, Wash., was Rivals' No. 1-ranked quarterback nationally in the recruiting class of 2010 and signed with BYU. McCay was a four-star prospect from Shawnee, Kan., who signed with OU.
Both chose to transfer to Kansas and had to sit out last season, per NCAA rules. Both Heaps and McCay hope to make an impact on the Jayhawks' offense, which was very one-dimensional during KU's 1-11 campaign in 2012.
“Obviously we never imagined we'd be in this situation at Kansas together, but we are and we're grateful for it,” Heaps said. “Everything happens for a reason. We've enjoyed the time that we've been here.”
Running back James Sims was the lone bright spot for Kansas a year ago, rushing for 1,013 yards and nine touchdowns.
“They'll help out big time in the passing game,” Sims said. “McCay is a big, physical receiver. He's not afraid of contact.
“It was pretty hard on them week in and week out. Not seeing your team be successful, obviously, and knowing that you can play a role to help the team win. It was tough for them, but they handled it well and it's great to have them on the team playing this year.”
MIZZOU IMPACTED KSU?
Kansas State coach Bill Snyder admitted that Missouri's departure to the SEC has impacted the Wildcats' recruiting a little.
“I think it's had an impact throughout the Midwest,” Snyder said, also referencing Nebraska's move to the Big Ten. “Not just our recruiting, but everybody's recruiting.
“It's just been different. I can't tell you that it's better or it's worse. If I had to say maybe there's some young guys … the University of Missouri would be attractive to because they're in the Southeastern Conference, where maybe it would have been a little bit more competitive had that not been the case. But every young person makes a decision because of different reasons. Some of them perhaps because of the conference that you play in.
“I'm not sure that I can really answer the question is it better or worse for us.”
TECH'S WARD: ‘POLLS AIN'T VALID'
Tech's Ward made himself perfectly clear: He doesn't care that Texas Tech was picked to finish seventh in the Big 12 football preseason media poll.
“I've still gotta show up and play,” Ward said. “That poll don't mean anything to me. That poll ain't based off what we done on the field; that poll's based off what people think of us. That's opinion to me. The fact is, we've gotta go out there when the lights come on and prove to these people that we can play.
“Did they have us picked to beat West Virginia last year? No. Did they have us picked to beat OU — No. 3 in the nation — two years ago? No. But the polls said we were gonna lose. What does that tell you about the polls? The polls ain't valid.”
The Red Raiders stunned then-No. 5 West Virginia 49-14 last season. In 2011, Ward and Texas Tech upset Oklahoma in Norman 41-38.
Ward caught 82 passes last season for 1,053 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was named preseason all-Big 12.
“I don't read about myself,” Ward said. “I don't need to know what people think about me because I know what I can do and I know what I'm capable of doing. If you get involved in what people think about you, what does that say about you? You're not really well aware of what your capabilities are.
“If you let people dictate who you are, you're not a very strong person.”
COMPILED BY JENNI CARLSON, RYAN ABER, JASON KERSEY & BERRY TRAMEL