Thursday, June 14, 2012
Ranking the Big 12 facilities by team
By David Ubben
Today, we're ranking college football's facilities across each conference, and that means it's time to take stock of the Big 12.
Here's how I'd rank the Big 12's facilities, which include a whole lot more than the stadium. Stadium size is a factor, but it goes much, much deeper. What is your locker room, weight room and practice facility like?
Let me also begin with this: No Big 12 team is painfully lacking behind the others. Every school in the league has what's needed, and nobody in the league has any truly pressing needs, save a practice facility or two. There's no huge shame in being in the league's bottom half. The difference from teams 4-10 isn't all that great. You may infer that it is, but that's not my intention. Finally, this is football facilities only.
1. Texas: The Longhorns are the Joneses. Not just in the Big 12, but in all of college football. That's life when your budget dwarfs all others across the college football landscape. New Big 12 commish Bob Bowlsby called UT the "800-pound gorilla" in college athletics, but gorillas don't reach 800 pounds without state-of-the-art facilities at every corner.
2. Oklahoma State: The difference between Nos. 2 and 3 on this list is miniscule, but I see it this way: Just about everything Oklahoma has is bigger, but everything OSU has is newer and nicer. Advantage Cowboys, who are in the process of building an indoor practice facility, leaving Texas Tech as the only Big 12 team without one.
3. Oklahoma: Oklahoma doesn't have a sugar daddy like T. Boone Pickens, but when you've won as much through history as the Sooners have, you don't need one. The Sooners are in the top tier of Big 12 facilities, and like I said, you could make a case for Oklahoma at No. 2 on this list, if only for its stadium.
4. Texas Tech: Don't focus so much on the lack of an indoor practice facility. What Texas Tech does have is extremely modern but also purposely fits the rustic feel of Lubbock on the outside. Tommy Tuberville is campaigning a bit to have that indoor facility eventually built.
5. West Virginia: West Virginia's facilities for football aren't flashy, but they're solid, even if they're due for an upgrade once the Big 12 checks start rolling in. Coach Dana Holgorsen knows what Texas Tech and Oklahoma State look like, and wants WVU on that level.
6. TCU: TCU will shoot up this list by this time next year for sure. The Horned Frogs are unveiling a new $164 million upgrade to Amon G. Carter Stadium, along with a brand-new locker room that will both be ready by season's end. For now, though, the Frogs' facilities are in the middle of the Big 12 road.
7. Kansas State: Kansas State is upgrading the concourse and press box of Bill Snyder Family Stadium, but its biggest need is a place to hold visiting media postgame conferences.
8. Baylor: The biggest thing holding Baylor back is its stadium, which is old and off campus with an outdated concourse. The Bears' on-campus practice facilities, weight rooms and offices are nice, but the new on-campus, riverside stadium that's scheduled to open before the 2014 or 2015 season is a palace and would shoot Baylor up this list.
9. Iowa State: Iowa State just debuted a new JumboTron before last season, which was a great upgrade. The team is getting a new football facility as well, replacing the Jacobson Building.
10. Kansas: Want a good way to say -- intended or not -- that "We don't care enough about football?" Put a track around your football field. Kansas' facilities are nice, and like I said above, it's not all that far behind No. 4 Texas Tech, but the stadium is holding KU back.