Big 12 media days preview


Big 12 media days is almost upon us, the first event signaling that football season is near.

Here are the compelling storylines to follow at media days, which will begin Monday and end Tuesday in Dallas.

Baylor Bears

Attending: Coach Art Briles, DT Andrew Billings, WR Corey Coleman, OT Spencer Drango, DE Shawn Oakman

Media day storyline: The Bears will be bringing the most star-studded group, with Billings, Coleman, Drango and Oakman all having the talent to be All-Americans. It's no wonder that Baylor will have a chance to become just the second team to win three straight Big 12 championships.

Iowa State Cyclones

Attending: Coach Paul Rhoads, QB Sam B. Richardson, WR Quenton Bundrage, CB Sam Richardson

Media day storyline: Rhoads is under pressure to get the Cyclones back to a bowl after going two consecutive seasons without one. Defeating Northern Iowa in the opener will be the first step. The Cyclones have fallen to FCS opponents, including Northern Iowa in 2013, in their past two openers.

Kansas Jayhawks

Attending: Coach David Beaty, DE Ben Goodman, TE Ben Johnson, OT Jordan Shelley-Smith

Media day storyline: Beaty will be starting from the bottom in his debut season, as the Jayhawks return the fewest returning starters in the Big 12 off a team that won only three games last year. Beaty won't be judged off victories in Year 1, but whether his squad shows improvement.

Kansas State Wildcats

Attending: Coach Bill Snyder, S Dante Barnett, CB Morgan Burns, OT Cody Whitehair

Media day storyline: Snyder faces one of the biggest retooling jobs of his career, with the Wildcats having graduated a good chunk of production off last year's squad. His first order of business will be settling on a QB to replace Jake Waters. Joe Hubener, Jesse Ertz, true freshman Alex Delton and summer juco signee Jonathan Banks all remain in play for the job.

Oklahoma Sooners

Attending: Coach Bob Stoops, C Ty Darlington, QB Trevor Knight, WR Sterling Shepard, LB Eric Striker

Media day storyline: Coming off the most disappointing season of his tenure, Stoops shook up the program in the offseason. The Sooners have a new offensive coordinator in Lincoln Riley, a new DB coach in Kerry Cooks and, even with Knight representing the Sooners at media days, possibly a new QB in Baker Mayfield. It will be interesting to see if such changes will vault Oklahoma back to the top of the Big 12. Or whether the Sooners continue on their recent downward trend.

Oklahoma State Cowboys

Attending: Coach Mike Gundy, DE Emmanuel Ogbah, CB Kevin Peterson, WR David Glidden, LB Seth Jacobs

Media day storyline: Even though he won't be at media days, sophomore quarterback Mason Rudolph will be the dominant talking point. Given the schedule -- TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma all have to go to Stillwater -- and the surrounding pieces, the Cowboys could challenge for the Big 12 crown. But that will require Rudolph building off the fabulous finish to his true freshman season.

TCU Horned Frogs

Attending: Coach Gary Patterson, QB Trevone Boykin, C Joey Hunt, S Derrick Kindred, DE James McFarland

Media day storyline: Coming off its 12-1 season, TCU will be the hunted for the first time since joining the Big 12. The Horned Frogs have the talent and the QB in Boykin to make the playoff. But how they handle the pressure of their massive preseason expectations will go a long way in determining whether they get there.

Texas Longhorns

Attending: Coach Charlie Strong, C Taylor Doyle, RB Johnathan Gray, CB Duke Thomas

Media day storyline: After posting a losing record in his first season, Strong will need on-field results to show he has Texas back on the right track. QB play has been Texas' biggest issue, and once again, the Longhorns don't have a QB accomplished enough bring to media days.

Texas Tech Red Raiders

Attending: Coach Kliff Kingsbury, DE Branden Jackson, C Jared Kaster, RB DeAndre Washington

Media day storyline: Turnovers and penalties plagued the Red Raiders in their 4-8 finish last year. In addition to shoring up a porous run defense, Tech must show more discipline to have a chance of having a bounce-back campaign. Kingsbury has recruited well in Lubbock. But if the Red Raiders don't minimize the mistakes, Tech fans won't care whether their coach has the coolness factor.

West Virginia Mountaineers

Attending: Coach Dana Holgorsen, S Karl Joseph, LB Nick Kwiatkoski, C Tyler Orlosky, RB Wendell Smallwood

Media day storyline: For the first time since Holgorsen arrived in Morgantown, West Virginia could be leaning on its defense to win games. Led by the hardest-hitting DB in the league in Joseph and a tackling machine in Kwiatkoski, the Mountaineers have the pieces to form one of the top defenses in the league. To have a chance of being a surprise contender in the Big 12 again, they'll need it to be. It could take a little time for West Virginia to adjust to life offensively without All-American receivers Kevin White and Mario Alford.