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Friday, July 31, 2009
My Big 12 media day musings

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

The Big 12 media days are always one of my favorite events to cover every year. It's a great way to get excited about the upcoming season, and I can guarantee I came out of the festivities with that feeling after talking to all of the players and coaches.

It's always fun to see everybody. After having a day or so to decompress, I came away from it with a few observations I'd like to share with you.

As I walked past him, I could have sworn that Bradford was bigger, stronger and better cut muscularly than many of the linebackers I saw during the week.

But Jermaine Gresham and Gerald McCoy weren't far behind. It looks like Sooners strength and conditioning coach Jerry Schmidt's work has paid off over the past few months.

The only team that came dressed in their coats and ties were the Kansas State Wildcats. They might reconsider in the future -- or at least let the players show a little originality and not come dressed in the same suits with the Powercat logo on the chest.

And if McCoy graduates and Bradford leaves for the NFL after his junior season, Griffin could have these proceedings to himself next year.

Take his explanation for why the Tigers were blown out last season at Texas.

"I was so geeked-up when we played Texas that I didn't catch my breath until the second half," Weatherspoon said. "When I play against guys that I grew up [with], it puts more emphases on that game."

Also, give Weatherspoon credit for his candor when asked about the Tigers' roster last season.

"We had six guys get drafted last year and we could have had more than six," Weatherspoon said. "I'll put my teammates up against anybody."

That being said, I loved hearing him talk about his summer work on his grandfather's farm near Brownwood. Several media members -- obviously those who had done it -- were nodding approvingly when he talks about demands of bailing hay and how sore it made his fingers after a long day in the fields.

I've never bailed hay, but I've helped in gathering tobacco on my late grandfather's farm in the past. I remember how hard that was. And it gave me a new appreciation for McCoy's work ethic if he did that kind of intense manual labor this summer.

But my favorite indicator of the greed that Jerry Jones has carried into his new facility is this one. When you start tours, groups are forced to wait for several minutes in the Cowboys' mammoth gift shop. It's the same theory I've seen at places like Disney World and Sea World of Texas. And I guess fortunately for me, I was by myself when I visited and didn't have my 4-year-old in tow. Or else, my credit card still might be smoking.

Texas Tech has erected a large billboard, complete with the distinctive double-T logo, spotlighting its medical school and the school in general. And after last season's tough loss in Lubbock, it's got to be a grim reminder for the Bears every time they pass it.

Like I've always said, there aren't many like "The Pirate" in college football.

There was a bounce in his step I didn't see very often during his final two seasons coaching when the Wildcats failed to make a bowl trip.

Who knows, there might have been something therapeutic in all of those kid baseball games he watched involving his grandchildren over the past few years.

Rhoads knows the culture around Iowa State football better than most and understands how tough his job will be turning the program around. But he's not backing away at it.

Which reminds me: Exactly why did the Iowa State athletic brain trust decide to get rid of McCarney in the first place?

Remember when this conference had backs like Ricky Williams, Ahman Green, Cedric Benson, Troy Davis, Byron Hanspard and Adrian Peterson? Those days have never seemed so far away.

I think there might be more anticipation for that game than any I can remember.

We're at 78 days and counting until that game.