Iowa State's double-overtime upset of Oklahoma State hurt the Big 12 — it kept the Cowboys out of the national title game — but did wonders for the Cyclones. Gave Iowa State a bowl berth and a night to remember for the greatest win program history.
“I think the most significant component of that victory for our football program has been national attention,” said Cyclone coach Paul Rhoads. “And you play that game on a Friday night at a point late in the season that affected the BCS race, and you got the whole nation talking it all weekend long.
“Now, that spills over, most importantly for us, into recruiting. And you go into living rooms and you go into schools and on the practice fields this spring and the Iowa State brand is recognized on a national level probably more so than it's ever been.”
K-STATE THE UNDERDOG — AGAIN
Kansas State was picked eighth in Big 12 football last season. The Wildcats finished second. Now KSU is picked sixth. Is that a good thing for the ‘Cats? Does K-State embrace the underdog role?
“I'm not altogether certain,” said KSU coach Bill Snyder. “I just hope that we can do something similar to that. Do we perform better as quote/unquote underdogs? That I don't know. I haven't seen any statistics in that regard. Last year, we played reasonably well in those circumstances.”
BIG 12 SETS SIGHTS ON HOSTING TITLE GAME
Looking ahead to the dawning of the playoff era, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said the conference is positioned to be a major player in the process of hosting the national championship game, with premium stadiums within its boundaries.
“Yeah, I like our chances,” Bowlsby said. “I think we don't aspire to be competitive. We aspire to be the best in everything we do.
“And that brings with it a measure of aggressiveness that we will bring to everything we're doing, from where we go for our bowl games to how we position ourselves to compete for the national championship, to hosting and helping to host things within our region.
“So I like our position very much. And I like it in the short term and I like it in the long term.”
ISU DEFENSE A DIVERSION?
Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said he probably will wait until after the last scrimmage of training camp in August before deciding between Jared Barnett and Steele Jantz.
“We most definitely need better play from the quarterback position if we're going to become a better football team,” Rhoads said, “and namely in the area of accuracy. Our quarterbacks completed, I think, 51 percent of their passes is all last year. We threw too many to the wrong-colored jersey.”
Jantz started seven games and played in nine. He completed 53.3 percent of his passes with 10 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. His quarterback rating was 106.8, which did not rank among the top 10 in the Big 12, which has only 10 teams.
In the meantime, the Cyclones defense would like to divert attention its way.
“Looking outside in at our program, they see instability at the quarterback spot,” said linebacker A.J. Klein, an All-Big 12 pick. “For us as a defense, to be settled and to be strong, helps the whole program image, I think, with the question marks.
“Hopefully we draw some of the attention away form the quarterback position, having it be such a vital spot. And draw some of the attention to the defense and kind of let this whole competition go under the radar a little bit.”
TCU'S RECRUITING GROUND MAKES BIG 12 TERRITORY FAMILIAR
TCU coach Gary Patterson has every Big 12 game on his laptop. But as the Horned Frogs prepare for their first Big 12 season, they know the opposition anyway.
“We've been recruiting against the Big 12 the last seven, eight years,” Patterson said. “We've won more of those battles the last four or five years. That's the great thing, when you do step on the field, you're stepping on the field against kids you played against in high school.”
Patterson said the Big 12 will help TCU's recruiting, but Patterson said he wants to be careful. He said the adage is largely true that it's not the guys you lose that get you beat, it's the guys you take and can't play.
TEXAS TECH'S NEW DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR CAN ‘ADAPT TO DIFFERENT OFFENSES,' TUBERVILLE SAYS
Injuries and a porous defense dismantled Texas Tech's 2011 season, after a 5-2 start. The Red Raiders lost five straight games.
Injuries are a condition of luck. But Tech coach Tommy Tuberville addressed the defensive problems by hiring a new coordinator, Art Kaufman. Kaufman has served as coordinator at Louisiana Tech, East Carolina, Mississippi and North Carolina.
“You've got to have somebody that understands how to adapt to different offenses, how to make changes in terms of your personnel on defense, and that only comes from experience. And Art's been there.
“We went through a lot of the same scenarios while we were at Ole Miss together. He did the same thing in the ACC the last few years of seeing different teams in that league each week.”