Colleges: TCU Horned Frogs
Wesley Hitt/Getty ImagesTexas' Mack Brown and Oklahoma's Bob Stoops have each brought national titles to the Big 12 in the BCS era.
2. Don't hate 'em because they're beautiful. How about Kansas State? The Wildcats were so unlucky, they had a rule named after them back in 1998 when they were No. 3 in the BCS but snubbed by the rest of the BCS bowls. That's the greatest BCS injustice ever, but Kansas State made two later trips to the BCS with a pair of Big 12 titles in 2003 and 2012.
3. If you can't beat 'em, invite 'em. TCU was a huge overachiever, joining Boise State as the most accomplished programs outside the major conferences. The Frogs crashed the Rose Bowl with a huge win to cap an undefeated 2010 season, and West Virginia is the only team in the nation to go undefeated in the BCS with more than two trips. One of those wins was a blowout over Oklahoma. The Big 12's response in 2012? WVU was deemed worthy and given an invite to the league, moving up from the crumbling Big East.
4. The greatest ever? Vince disagrees. USC was riding high on a 34-game winning streak and with Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart leading the way, was being touted as one of the greatest teams ever. Texas' Vince Young brought a 19-game winning streak of his own into the game and the Longhorns knocked off the Trojans for the Big 12's second national title in one of the greatest games ever and one of the greatest individual performances ever by Young.
5. Want a QB? Texas is where it's at. A few have left the state lines (Howdy, Andrew Luck and Matt Stafford!), but Texas has earned a status as a quarterback hotbed, and the Big 12 has done a stellar job of mining much of the league's success on the backs of those quarterbacks. Who knew one state could be so dominant at one position? Some of the best Big 12 QBs ever have hailed from Texas: Vince Young, Robert Griffin III, Michael Bishop, Chase Daniel, Graham Harrell and Kliff Kingsbury all call the Lone Star State home.
1. Oh, Oklahoma. Oklahoma's made eight visits to the BCS, more than any team but Ohio State. However, one of the biggest (and only, really) knocks on Bob Stoops was his team's record in those games. He started out 2-0 with a national title, but hit a five-game skid between 2004 and 2009. The only reason it broke was because the Sooners got lucky and drew an overmatched, eight-win UConn team in the 2011 Fiesta Bowl.
2. Oh, so close. The Big 12 is stuck in the longest drought in school history. No team has played for the title in the past three seasons, but that's thanks to two monumental upsets. Both Kansas State and Oklahoma State went on the road in mid-November as heavy favorites and suffered losses to keep that rough streak going for the Big 12.
3. Yeah, about that title game record. The Big 12 has made seven trips to the BCS National Championship, but is just 2-5 in those games. Two of those losses were certifiable embarrassments: Miami rolled over Nebraska at the end of the 2001 season and USC routed Oklahoma at the end of the 2004 season. When the benchmark is set by the SEC (9-1 in BCS title games, with the only loss coming to an SEC team), it's hard to call a 2-5 mark anything but underachieving.
4. Making history isn't so much fun sometimes. Nobody gave Boise State a chance back in 2006 against Oklahoma and it was only the second team outside of an automatic qualifying conference to make a BCS appearance. The Big 12 champions, led by Adrian Peterson, got ambushed by a barrage of trick plays in the fourth quarter and in overtime and one of the greatest games in college football history featured the Sooners on the losing end. Fun, memorable game, but an embarrassing loss in a no-win situation for Oklahoma.
5. They should be better than this. Texas and Oklahoma were finally seeing their programs return to national power status when the BCS was born, but the Longhorns' recent slide has to be one of the biggest stories in the Big 12's history. Just when the money flowing into the program was growing exponentially, the Longhorns' on-field struggles began. The streak of nine consecutive 10-win seasons was amazing, but it's hard to remember those days in the shadow of just 22 wins in the three seasons since 2009. The five-win nightmare back in 2010 was the Longhorns' worst season since back in 1997 under John Mackovic.
Four Big 12 quarterbacks threw for at least 3,000 yards last season -- but all four threw for more than 4,000 yards. Two more quarterbacks hit 2,500 yards.
Who will crack the mark in 2013? With so many jobs up in the air, it's going to be tough to predict, but here's who I'm buying as a 3,000-yard passer in 2013, in order of the likelihood they'll do it.
1. Bryce Petty, Baylor: Of all the new quarterbacks in the Big 12, Petty has the most experience in his current system and has the deepest receiving corps. BU's got solid running backs, but this is still a pass-first offense and Petty's got an arm capable of making any play necessary. This is a no-brainer.
2. Michael Brewer, Texas Tech: Call me a believer in coach Kliff Kingsbury as an offensive mind. We'll see about Texas Tech as a whole, but Brewer's got a diverse skill set and his ability to run will make it easier for him to throw. Defenses will have to watch for both. Add to that a high tempo and a very, very good and deep receiving corps, and Brewer should be able to crack 3,000 yards sometime in early November.
3. Clint Chelf, Oklahoma State: Oklahoma State didn't have a 1,600-yard passer last year, but that's what happens when the injury bug bites. OSU has had a 3,000-yard passer in three of the past four seasons before that, though, and cleared the mark easily in team passing yards in all three seasons under the Air Raid. Chelf's likely to hit 4,000 if he wins the job officially.
4. David Ash, Texas: Ash has never hit the 3,000-yard mark, but he's getting better and his receivers are, too. Texas wants to play faster, too, which means more snaps and more pass attempts for Ash, even with a great running back corps with a ton of depth. He was at 2,699 yards last year, but he's got a great shot to get over the top this year.
5. Casey Pachall, TCU: Back in 2011, Pachall was 79 yards short of his first 3,000-yard season. He was well on his way last year with almost 1,000 yards in his first four games (including a win over SMU in a downpour). This one may be close, but if Pachall recaptures the job and only looks like a shell of himself, the odds are still in his favor to crack 3K.
6. Blake Bell, Oklahoma: This one may be close. I'm giving Bell the benefit of the doubt here. Bell's not as refined a passer as Landry Jones, but he's better than he's looked thus far in his career. He'll be running more than Jones, but I'm betting Bell clears the 3,000-yard mark safely.
7. Clint Trickett, West Virginia: West Virginia's going to run the ball a lot more this season with a lot of depth and talent at the position, but it's hard to see whoever wins the QB job not hitting at least 3,000 yards. They won't be reaching Geno Smith's 4,200 yards, but if Trickett beats out Ford Childress and Paul Millard in the Big 12's most unpredictable QB competition, he's hitting 3,000 yards.
Colleague Mark Schlabach also has a fun column about the inevitable, brutal, annual summer of anticipation for every college football fan. Let's take a close look at the numbers.
13. (OU streak free): Oklahoma has gone 13 seasons without losing consecutive regular-season games. That's right, the last time the Sooners lost back-to-back regular-season games was in Bob Stoops' first season in Norman in 1999 (to Notre Dame and Texas).
What's more impressive? That stat, or the fact Stoops has never gone consecutive seasons without a Big 12 title while at Oklahoma? Crazy.
16. (Conference realignment): There will be 16 teams with new conference / independent homes entering the 2013 season.
And for the first time since 2010, none of them have any Big 12 ties? Throw a party, Big 12 fans. Stability!
25. (Barry Sanders' Heisman Trophy season): Twenty-five years ago, Barry Sanders of Oklahoma State claimed the Heisman Trophy. In his Heisman-winning campaign of 1988, Sanders rushed for an FBS record 2,628 yards.
Still 25 years later, that rushing number is unfathomable. The Big 12's leading rusher last year, Joseph Randle, had just over 1,400 yards. I really don't think we'll ever see anyone break Barry's record.
31. (New coaches): There will be 31 FBS coaches entering their first seasons at new schools.
Just one in the Big 12, but he's been a high-profile addition. The King, Kliff Kingsbury, returns to his roots in Lubbock as Texas Tech's head coach.
47. (Oklahoma's win streak): Oklahoma's NCAA-record 47-game win streak spanned 1953-57, including back-to-back national titles in 1955-56. The streak ended with a 7-0 loss to Notre Dame on Nov. 16, 1957. Those two programs will meet this season on Sept. 28 in South Bend.
Another record that's not going to be touched ... ever.
73. (Bill Snyder still going): Age of Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder, who is the oldest active FBS coach. His Wildcats are 21-5 over the past two seasons and appeared in a BCS bowl for the first time since 2003 when they fell to Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl last season.
K-State seems due for a step back this season, but are you willing to guarantee it?
Which number piques your anticipation the most?
There are already two games on the schedule this season -- between TCU and LSU, and Oklahoma State and Mississippi State. What else would I like to see?
Let me start by saying that renewing the Texas-Texas A&M and Missouri-Kansas rivalries are a given. I'm omitting those matchups, but I'd love to see them.
Let's get started:
Oklahoma State vs. Alabama: OSU narrowly missed out on playing for the national title back in 2011, and both are among their conference favorites again in 2013. When the BCS "snubbed" the Pokes after the 2011 regular season, OSU coach Mike Gundy half-jokingly suggested these two play for the right to play LSU in the title game. It would be fun to see this one finally played out on the field.
Baylor vs. LSU: Straight up offense vs. defense. That's the Big 12 vs. SEC debate at its heart. Baylor just might be the Big 12's best offense, and LSU will put together another strong defense. These are the matchups we want to see. The Big 12 has faltered on the big stage, helping the SEC stretch its run of national titles, but seeing Bryce Petty sling it around against an athletic defense would be a lot of fun.
Texas vs. Arkansas: Arkansas' exit from the Southwest Conference helped usher in the birth of the Big 12 after the SWC crumbled. Texas has bigger rivals like Oklahoma and Texas A&M, but these two played some of the greatest games in college football history, and as an Arkansas native, I've seen up close how much Razorbacks fans detest the Longhorns to this day. The result would be a great game and a hyped atmosphere.
TCU vs. Texas A&M: Texas A&M fans take exception to the idea that TCU was an on-field "upgrade" over the Aggies in the Big 12. The Aggies largely struggled in the Big 12 after some early success and a Big 12 title under R.C. Slocum. Since leaving for the SEC, the Aggies have gone nowhere but up, and ended 2012 as the hottest team in college football. Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel has a Heisman Trophy. Could he shred the Frogs? Want to prove TCU is not an upgrade? Beat TCU on the field.
Kansas State vs. Florida: Kansas State is perpetually underrated and wins with a bunch of junior college guys, and high school players overlooked by major programs. Florida won big under Urban Meyer, but has been largely overrated since Meyer left and was whacked by Louisville to end 2012. The Gators would be suiting up an army of recruiting stars, but could Bill Snyder, the Manhattan Magician, grab a win for the Big 12?
A reminder: The goal isn't to see every team or see X team Y number of times. The goal is to see as many games as possible that are relevant to the Big 12 title race.
- Week 1: TCU vs. LSU at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas
- Week 2: West Virginia at Oklahoma
- Week 3: TCU at Texas Tech
- Week 4: Kansas State at Texas
- Week 5: Oklahoma at Notre Dame
- Week 6: TCU at Oklahoma
- Week 7: Texas vs. Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas
- Week 8: TCU at Oklahoma State
- Week 9: Texas at TCU
- Week 10:Oklahoma State at Texas Tech
- Week 11: Texas at West Virginia
- Week 12: Oklahoma State at Texas
- Week 13: Oklahoma at Kansas State
- Week 14: Texas Tech at Texas
- Week 15: Oklahoma at Oklahoma State
Wow, what a year. The first thing that jumps out at me is I wish I'd have a chance to see Baylor. I take a simple approach here: I pick the best game every week. The Bears had a handful of games on my "honorable mention" list, and I'm sure recording wins throughout the season will ensure a visit.
After all, three of the last four times I've attended a game at Floyd Casey Stadium, the fans have stormed the field. I was at Baylor's wins over TCU, Oklahoma and Kansas State, and wrote about a snoozer against SMU to open the 2012 season, too. I've spent plenty of time around the Bears, but I was surprised they didn't show up here at the end of the year.
Let's rack up the teams who did:
Oklahoma (6) -- three road games, two home games, one neutral site game
Texas (5) -- two road games, two home games, one neutral site game
TCU (5) -- three road games, one neutral site game, one home game
Oklahoma State (4) -- two home games, two road games
Texas Tech (3) -- two home games, one road game
Kansas State (2) -- one road game, one home game
West Virginia (2) -- one road game, one home game
Interesting numbers. That's a heck of a trip through Big 12 country over the course of one season.
The Big 12 opens 2013 with a pair of neutral-site games against the SEC. Two of the league's title contenders -- TCU and Oklahoma State -- happen to be playing in them, but the Big 12's best returning defender will be on the sidelines.
From our news story:
Devonte Fields, the Big 12's Defensive Player of the Year in 2012, will miss TCU's season opener against LSU at Cowboys Stadium, and the Frogs' game against SE Louisiana "due to a violation of university and team policy." Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson announced the suspension in a news release.
Fields won the award as a true freshman after making 18.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks. He also forced two fumbles and recovered one, as well as logging an interception.
The debate and comparisons between the SEC and Big 12 have raged all year long, but ultimately, you're only as good as your teams prove they are on the field. The two conferences played just twice last season, but the debate was sure to rage in advance of a hyped opening weekend with TCU facing LSU and Oklahoma State meeting Mississippi State in Houston.
LSU is likely to be a top 15-20 team and a tough matchup for the Frogs that gets a lot tougher without Fields. TCU's Big 12 title aspirations won't be affected very much considering Fields will return for the league opener in Lubbock on Thursday, Sept. 12, but losing him against LSU is huge for more than just Frogs fans. It's handicapped the Big 12's ability to earn a big win over one of the SEC's best teams and biggest brands. TCU, a top 15-20 team in its own right, can definitely still win, but it just became more difficult with Fields' suspension.
Junior Matt Anderson is behind Fields on the depth chart and may earn the start, but Patterson wasn't super happy with Fields when I visited with him earlier this spring. It's safe to say Fields' suspension isn't helping him get back in Patterson's good graces.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops has been out of the SEC since his days as Florida's defensive coordinator from 1996-98, but made headlines with some sharp critiques of that conference's current status as college football's kingpin.
"You’re listening to a lot of propaganda that gets fed out to you. You’re more than smart enough to figure it out," Stoops told the Tulsa World. "Again, you can look at the top two, three, four, five, six teams, and you can look at the bottom six, seven, eight, whatever they are. How well are they all doing?"
Stoops' comments have ignited something of a debate in the past week, but Weis, who hadn't heard anything of Stoops' comments until I informed him of them Thursday, says the Sooners coach is speaking the truth.
"Do you know the stats? In the SEC, the record of the good guys and the bad guys?" Weis asked ESPN.com in a recent interview.
"The stats" to which Weis is referring have appeared a few times on this blog, and paint the SEC as a league devoid of parity, at least last season. The conference's bottom eight teams went 0-30 against the top six teams in 2012.
"I’m just sayin’, you look at the bottom of our league and the bottom of their league, just going based off the numbers, there’s validity in what he said," Weis said. "I’m just going based off the numbers, I mean, I’m a numbers guy. Just based off the numbers, you’d have to say he’s got a point."
The Big 12 and SEC both sent nine teams to bowl games, but that number meant 90 percent of the Big 12 participated in the postseason, the highest number of any conference in college football history.
"We were the only team in the whole league that didn’t play in a bowl game. It was us. We were the sole member," Weis said. "You talk about bottom-feeders, you think Iowa State was a bottom-feeder?"
Certainly not. The Cyclones have reached bowl games in three of the past four seasons, never finishing the regular season with a record better than more than three Big 12 teams. Iowa State reached a bowl in spectacular fashion in 2011, upsetting BCS No. 2 Oklahoma State and derailing the Cowboys' national title hopes.
The Big 12 hasn't been able to beat the top of the SEC on the field in quite awhile, but Stoops, Weis and I are in agreement on at least one front: The bottom of the Big 12 is anything but a sure victory for any team in the league.
What they’re selling: The new 45,000-seat, $250-million on-campus stadium that will open in 2014. Recruiting is an arms race, and players like fancy stadiums and locker rooms, and Baylor’s upgrade puts them finally on the same level playing field as everybody else in the Big 12.
What they're missing: Help on defense -- specifically at defensive line and defensive back.
What they’re selling: Oklahoma is proud of its football tradition, and few schools can match the Sooners’ track record for success, facilities and ability to prepare you for the next level.
What they're missing: A renewed focus on evaluating players. It’s what differentiated Bob Stoops’ staff when they started, and it’s how they found players like Sam Bradford, Josh Heupel, Juaquin Iglesias and Donald Stephenson. All at the time were considered to be three-star recruits but wound up being impact players for the Sooners.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
What they’re selling: Their ability to evaluate and develop offensive talent.
What they're missing: Elite players in the Lone Star State. With the best facilities in the conference, it might be just enough to get kids to visit.
What they’re selling: Few in the nation can offer up the type of atmosphere, fan base, tradition and total student-athlete package like Texas can.
What they're missing: A true a difference-maker at quarterback. The last two Heisman Trophy winners have come from Texas high schools, and the Longhorns didn’t recruit one heavily and recruited the other as an athlete.
TCU Horned Frogs
What they’re selling: The Horned Frogs recruit to their style of smash-mouth play on both sides of the ball and don’t care how many stars a recruit has. It hurts them some in the recruiting rankings, but it helps them win a lot of ball games.
What they're missing: BCS conference depth. Heading into their second season in the Big 12 after a 7-6 season, the biggest thing the Horned Frogs need to do is to build the roster to be able to compete year in and year out in the BCS conference.
Texas Tech Red Raiders
What they’re selling: The Red Raiders went through a transition that brought Kliff Kingsbury to Lubbock, and the early reception has been nothing short of positive.
What they're missing: The Red Raiders have never had issues putting up points on people, but under Tommy Tuberville and Mike Leach there was little defense being played.
Texas A&M Aggies
What they are selling: There is a lot to sell a recruit on at Texas A&M right now. An explosive offense which led the SEC in total offense by more than 100 yards a game, Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel and a team that went into Tuscaloosa and handed Alabama its only loss last season.
What they are missing: There are still some holes to fill on defense. The Aggies finished with the No. 8-ranked defense in the SEC and the No. 10-ranked pass defense in the league. They also need to replace talented defensive end Damontre Moore, who is now in the NFL.
Mulley in Cleveland, OH writes: For the Playoff Committee, not that anyone would go for this, but wouldn't a Committee consisting of smaller schools (ie, AD's from old Non-BCS schools) work nice? That way the Big Boys would have to play nice with the little guys, as not to make them angry and give them a reason to not vote them into a playoff.
David Ubben: That's definitely an interesting idea, Mulley. Hadn't heard that one before. That said, I think you might run into some snags if some of those guys are angling for jobs at the bigger schools. A lot of major school ADs come from those smaller schools, so it's not a bad idea at all, but you're not going to find any suggestion for selection committee members that don't have some appearance of bias.
Interesting suggestion, though. I could be on board.
Bobby in Portland, Ore. writes: At Kansas State, this coming year reminds me A LOT of the 2001 season. Bill Snyder was deciding between a potentially dynamic running quarterback (Ell Roberson/Daniel Sams) and a highly touted juco transfer (Marc Dunn/Jake Waters). He was also trying to replace several defensive stars (Beisel, Fatefehi, Cooper and Butler were all drafted). That year resulted in a see-saw battle between the quarterbacks that lasted all year, and a 6-6 record (3-5 Big 12) with a loss to Syracuse in the insight.com bowl. I fear that the 2013 Wildcats can expect a similar result this year.
DU: Decent comparison, Bobby. That 2001 team, though, was sandwiched between a pair of 11-win seasons. If that means enduring a six-win season this year, I'm betting K-State folk would take that one.
Ryan in Austin writes: I have this scary feeling Baylor is going to be really good and people are sleeping on them. I flipped on that K-State game last year and didn't recognize Baylor. So I decided to watch the Bowl game. Again, that team looked incredible. And I can't believe Wright, Williams, Gordon and RG III were all on the same team at one time. I feel weird about this Art Briles guy. He knows something.
DU: His eye for offensive talent is just absurd. I agree with you on the Bears, but I would say this: The Bears have never had a better chance to win the Big 12 title than they do this season. That's the case for a couple reasons. For as much attention as offenses get, everybody in the Big 12 knows you can't win league titles without a good defense. Time will tell how good Baylor's truly is, but that spurt last year was good enough to win Baylor a Big 12 title in a number of seasons. They completely shut down UCLA and K-State. We'll see if it carries over, but I know this: They aren't short on athletes. Guys like Javonte Magee and Ahmad Dixon and Bryce Hager along with K.J. Morton and Demetri Goodson give Baylor a great shot athletically to have a fantastic defense. That hasn't been the case in the past. RG III was a transcendent player, but Baylor has a better shot to win a title this year than in any year Griffin was on campus. This is simply a more complete team. Briles has that crazy eye for offensive talent, but his development on the team defensively is what has Baylor in position to do some special things this year.
Nathan Nely in Kansas City, Kan. writes: I get the sense from the blogs that it kind of bothers you that Bill Snyder is not more forthcoming when dealing with the media. I'm always wondering, would you feel more at ease if he gave up all his secrets about where his team is at and what direction the Wildcat's are moving in for their upcoming season? I know from being a K-State fan for many years now, it takes time but you get used to not knowing what kind of football team is going to show up on opening day. I guess for most of us, it's part of the magic!
DU: No, not really. Coaches are CEOs, and they've got a right to handle programs however they see fit. Is it easier and more fun for me to do my job if they open up practice and answer questions directly? Definitely. But I'm not going to blame a coach if he doesn't want to do things that way.
It's not really about me feeling at ease, though. I'm not nervous. I just like to be more informed, and that's hard to do when programs lock it up so tight. If I was a coach, I'd probably handle it more like Snyder than I would coaches who operate programs with a lot of openness.
Bill in Orange County, Calif. writes: Geno Smith and Justin Blackmon could wind up teammates in the Arena League before you know it. When you're their age, you don't always see clearly how tenuous that link to your brilliant future can be. Here's hoping they both get a clue before it's too late.
DU: This is so, so misguided. Terrible comparison that's not even close to the same thing. Blackmon has gotten into trouble twice on alcohol-related offenses and now violated the NFL's substance-abuse policy. Geno Smith is battling anonymous reports with vague critiques that don't really fall in line with what his college coaches say and the reputation he had in college.
Both should be great players, though the deck is stacked against both with no offensive weapons in New York for Geno, and no quarterback in Jacksonville for Blackmon.
Blackmon's choices have gotten him suspended four games in the NFL and one game in college. They've put charges on his record.
The stories about Smith are reports people think will affect his ability to succeed at the next level. They might. They might not. If he plays well, they largely go away. He can also defeat them by being a good teammate and going about his business with the Jets whether he plays or not.
Neither of these guys will be in the Arena league anytime soon, but they're not even close to the same level of issues. That's silly.
janorman74 in Fort Worth, Texas writes: In your recent post on the 2014 draft you mentioned that you were surprised not to see Jeffcoat as the biggest surprise -- what about Casey Pachall? No one is talking about this guy in terms of the 2014 draft despite his prototypical height and arm -- is his past really weighing him down so much? If he has a solid season and stays clean don't you think he'll run up the draft board?
DU: He has to prove he can play. He's got NFL-type size, and if he has a huge season, he'll definitely get a lot of NFL attention. His past is obviously a red flag, and those kinds of struggles are never 100 percent behind you. It's a daily battle. It sounds harsh, but it's the truth. For now, though, Pachall is a player whose troubles with alcohol and the law are more recent than his success on the field. He's got to change that this season.
If he does, you can bet he'll show up on NFL teams' draft boards.
|Kirk Herbstreit joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Bob Stoops' recent comments about the SEC and the pending college football playoff, what appears to be an unpredictable Big 12 in 2013, how the Aggies will handle expectations and more. |
Stoops, who recruits players to Oklahoma and as such, the Big 12, has a responsibility to defend the league he coaches in, but he may have gone a little too far.
"So you're listening to a lot of propaganda that gets fed out to you," he said. "You're more than smart enough to figure it out. Again, you can look at the top two, three, four, five, six teams, and you can look at the bottom six, seven, eight, whatever they are. How well are they all doing?"
What I don't understand about the ensuing uproar is this: People don't want to buy three statements I believe are true and far from being mutually exclusive:
- The Big 12 has the strongest bottom half of any conference in football.
- The SEC is the nation's best conference on the football field.
- Considering its reputation and the way people refer to it, the SEC is far overrated.
I agree with Stoops that the gap isn't as wide as people think, but fresh off a 28-point beatdown to an SEC team in the Cotton Bowl, now is probably not the time to be making that argument.
Fortunately, our colleagues at SportsNation have stepped in and taken Stoops' points to the people. How would you rank a Big 12/SEC 24-team superconference? You can fill out your own ranking here, but here's how I'd slot it:
- Texas A&M
- South Carolina
- Oklahoma State
- Kansas State
- Texas Tech
- Ole Miss
- Mississippi State
- West Virginia
- Iowa State
Thoughts on my ranking?
Most complete roster: Oklahoma State
Texas has a good case here, but I buy Oklahoma State big time. The Cowboys have three quarterbacks on the roster who could win a Big 12 title, solid running backs and a really good group of receivers. That group includes Josh Stewart and Blake Jackson, and OSU has recruited the position well. OSU has been solid on the offensive line for a long time, and I don't expect that to change under Joe Wickline. The safeties are some of the best in the Big 12, and the cornerbacks should bounce back. Justin Gilbert is gifted, and the linebackers are some of the Big 12's best. The only weakness is along the defensive line. I could see that catching up to the Cowboys, but there is a reason the Big 12 won't have a top 10 team to begin the season.
Biggest upside: Texas.
Texas still has a lot to prove and needs some big-time wins this season, but is the Big 12's only team with the upside necessary to make a run for the national title. The defense fell apart last year, but has the personnel to be the Big 12's best again this season. The running game will continue to be solid, but the Longhorns will go as far as quarterback David Ash takes them. If he is consistent and doesn't have a game like he did against Kansas, Oklahoma or TCU, the Longhorns might finish the season in the top five.
Most likely to disappoint: TCU
The Frogs return tons of talent and showed a lot of promise last season, but this is still a seven-win team from 2012 and a team that has yet to prove it can win big in a major conference. Its biggest question is at quarterback, too. If Casey Pachall isn't close to his old self, the Frogs won't get very close to a Big 12 title. A possibly elite defense will keep TCU in most games, and an eight-win season is definitely in play for the Frogs.
Most likely to finish higher than I picked: Texas Tech
My gut tells me Tech should be better than the Big 12's No. 7 team, but I couldn't justify putting them above teams like Baylor and Kansas State. This definitely is not a top-four team in the Big 12 to start the season, but there is no reason Tech can't move into the top half of the league by the end of the season. The Red Raiders are good enough, and might even be in the Big 12 title hunt late in the season. They are experienced and talented. Can the coaching staff take them there?
Most likely to change your mind about them: Baylor
For all of Baylor's recent successes, its past failures still prevent it from getting major respect from Big 12 fans. Might that change this season? The defense has struggled for much of the past three years, but I buy this defense, which finally turned a corner late last season. Robert Griffin III is long gone, but Baylor is continuing to prove it is more than just a one-player program. Quarterback Bryce Petty will be better than last season's starter Nick Florence, and running back Lache Seastrunk might be in the Heisman hunt. A top-three finish in the Big 12 might lie ahead, and if doing that without the program's greatest player ever doesn't turn heads in the Big 12, those not paying attention are choosing not to do so.
Most likely to make me look dumb: Kansas State
Let me remind you that while "the media" picked Kansas State sixth in the Big 12 last season, I had the Wildcats finishing in a tie for second. That said, I picked Kansas State to finish eighth back in 2011, and the Wildcats won 10 games, reached the Cotton Bowl and were No. 8 in the final BCS poll of the regular season. I've got the Wildcats sixth in 2013. The Wildcats return just eight starters and will fill out the depth chart with a lot of guys you have never heard of, but it seems like coach Bill Snyder does some of his best work in situations like these.
Asked if media should serve on the selection committee for the college football playoff, Stoops was short, succinct and headline-making.
"Oh, hell no," he told reporters.
The Oklahoma coach has never been the biggest fan of the folks who cover his team, but his quote was juicy and the "made for Twitter" fodder spread quickly.
"Regardless of what you want to say about your journalistic integrity, you have agendas. You in your local area, you have a team that's undefeated and you vote a one-loss team ahead of them and you're going to pay the price for it and you're gonna think about it," Stoops told reporters.
"Who doesn't have an agenda? You tell me."
Stoops is firmly anti-media on the panel, but he was on the money when he addressed the biggest problem the playoff faces for now: Filling the 15-20-person committee. Former Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer told The Oklahoman last year that he would love to do it, but anyone is kidding themselves if they think former coaches or administrators have lesser agendas than local media.
Stoops, though, isn't among those.
"(Athletic directors) have too much of a stake in it," Stoops said. "Coaches have too much of a stake in it. We all have agendas, and/or (want to) protect our conference. It doesn't work."
There's no good answer, and I can guarantee that whoever lands on the committee will cause a storm with somebody. It's inevitable and unavoidable. Whoever's on that committee will be braver than I, too.
"I don't know what's a good answer to that to be quite honest with you," Stoops said.
I'm not sure anybody does. There's no easy solution. Personally, I think national media makes the most sense for college football's purposes. Point to agendas if you'd like, but a media member's reputation would be staked on how it participated in that committee, and you'd be hard pressed to find anyone anywhere who tracks the game closer and would be better informed on teams across conferences.
However, it also presents a lot of ethical issues for media folks who sign up to do it.
The argument that media should "report the news, not make it" holds up a ton of weight here, and I won't stand in the way of any media members who don't wish to vote for the Heisman or any other awards.
There's no easy solution here. The only sure thing is a whole bunch of people will be mad about the committee, no matter who is on it.
The Frogs announced plans to play a home-and-home against Minnesota, coached by Gary Patterson's close friend and the best man at his wedding, Jerry Kill. The Frogs will host the Golden Gophers next season before traveling to Minneapolis in 2015.
Minnesota's not LSU, but the Frogs already have an annual series against SMU that will continue and they played Virginia last year. This game is a replacement for LSU, which TCU agreed to play just once on a neutral field this season after originally signing up for a home-and-home in 2013 and 2014.
Good move for the Frogs. Those are both likely games they should win, but the Gophers are far from a cupcake. TCU also has a home-and-home against Arkansas scheduled for 2015 and 2016.
He recently released his list of Heisman finalists, but one guy you might recognize tops his list of "dark horses" in the race.
"If you are looking for a Heisman dark horse for 2013, Oklahoma quarterback Blake Bell might be your best bet," Huston writes.
Huston crunched the numbers, and one big figure could help Bell's Heisman chances: his touchdowns. We'll see how much Oklahoma uses him in the Belldozer formation in the fall, but if he's still used as a runner in short-yardage situations, he could definitely throw for 3,000 yards and account for 40 touchdowns.
That's going to turn some heads, and doing it at Oklahoma ensures it won't go unnoticed. After all, playing for a national power shows up on Huston's Heismandments, a pretty foolproof set of rules that help predict a player's Heisman odds in the current climate.
Johnny Manziel winning the trophy last season pretty much assured that in the preseason, no candidate sounds too crazy. Blake Bell certainly is within reason.
Who else from the Big 12 could get in the mix?
Huston tabbed Texas quarterback David Ash and Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk on his list, and I'd agree. Seastrunk turned heads when earlier this offseason he made public his plans to win the trophy, which drew little more than a shrug from his head coach.
Those are the obvious Heisman candidates to begin the season, and the only guys who'll get major looks in the preseason from the Big 12.
Don't be surprised if one of the league's new starters besides Bell earns a little Heisman hype at some point during the season. Remember, Texas Tech's hot start last season had Seth Doege not far from the race before a disastrous second half in a loss to Kansas State.
Recent trends in the Heisman race have been guys coming from nowhere to win the trophy. The last three winners were relatively overlooked on a national scale in the preseason. Might we see a fourth?
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Kirk Herbstreit joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Bob Stoops' recent comments about the SEC and the pending college football playoff, what appears to be an unpredictable Big 12 in 2013, how the Aggies will handle expectations and more.
Play Podcast Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin talks about the improvements being made to Kyle Field, what those improvements will to for the program, the success of last year, Johnny Manziel's offseason and the expectations for the Aggies in 2013.
Play Podcast Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo talk about Texas A&M's decision to expand its stadium and say although the Aggies had a fantastic year, the school must also be careful not to overextend its resources based on a single hot stretch.
Play Podcast Baylor head coach Art Briles joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss what kind of player the Cowboys are getting in Terrance Williams.
Play Podcast Arlington and Texas A&M product Luke Joeckel, the potential No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft, joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Richard Durrett to discuss the draft, coaches and advice from his dad.
Play Podcast Florida Gulf Coast athletic director Ken Kavanagh joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss his school's Cinderella story and playing in the Sweet 16 at Cowboys Stadium.
Play Podcast Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby joins Fizsimmons & Durrett to discuss Cowboys Stadium as a venue, the state of Big 12 basketball, the new 2014 college football format, why there's no hurry to have a Big 12 football championship and much more.
Play Podcast Jay Bilas joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the remaining 16 teams in the NCAA tournament, the intrigue surrounding the Northwest Region and the excitement over FGCU, even though a similar story happens every year.