Category Archives: Big 12

Kansas State hardly alone in waiting to announce a starting quarterback


Whenever Kansas State has a preseason quarterback competition, Bill Snyder prefers to wait until the opening game is a few days away to announce a starter.

That is once again the plan leading up to this season. Snyder will likely announce a winner between Jake Waters and Daniel Sams at the beginning of next week. Traditionally, he waits until Tuesday.

The routine isn’t new. How it compares to other quarterback announcements across the Big 12 is. This year, Snyder may reveal his starting quarterback before a handful of his fellow Big 12 coaches.

As of Wednesday morning, only four Big 12 teams (Texas, Baylor, Kansas and Iowa State) know who their starting quarterback will be for Week 1. Six quarterback battles remain ongoing. Most of them will likely end in the next few days, but at least two will continue up until opening kickoff. Both TCU’s Gary Patterson and Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy have said they won’t announce a starter before gameday.

The way Patterson talks, he might not release an official depth chart until his team takes the field for warm-ups against LSU.
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The Royal sampler: Snyder-McCarney, Jeff Carroll update, Predictions, Links

1983 Iowa coaching staff: -Back row: Bill Snyder, Del Miller, Kirk Ferentz, Hayden Fry, Carl Jackson, Don Patterson, Bell Dervrich Front row: Bernie Wyatt, Barry Alvarez, Bill Brashier, Dan McCarney, Bob Stoops

 

Here’s my story that’s at Kansas.com and in Friday’s Eagle on the 30-plus year relationship between Kansas State coach Bill Snyder and North Texas coach Dan McCarney, who first met as Iowa assistants in 1979. McCarney, in his second season with the Mean Green, brings his team to Manhattan on Saturday for a 6 p.m. kickoff – the game will be televised on FSN. The story link also has a full scouting report for the game.

There’s a lot of mutual respect there between Snyder and McCarney – fostered in the ultra-competitive environment that Hayden Fry established when he came from North Texas State.

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‘Belldozer’ origins trace back to Collin Klein

Some of the most interesting moments of Monday’s Big 12 Media Days session came near the end when Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops bumped into Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein in between interviews.

The two talked for a few minutes about all sorts of different topics. Football, marriage, honeymoons, country music, Blake Bell … They all came up.

For this blog post, we will focus on that last topic. Klein said Bell was in attendance for his wedding over the weekend, and then Stoops said something revealing. He told Klein that he got the idea to sub Bell (Oklahoma’s sophomore backup quarterback who once starred at Bishop Carroll) for Landry Jones as a short-yard specialist last year after watching Klein dive into the end zone week after week.

“I saw you running all these great plays,” Stoops said, “and I said, ‘Hey, I’ve got a guy with the same body over here. I need to borrow that.’ That’s where it all started.”

So the “Belldozer” origins trace back to Klein. Who knew?

A quick Google search reveals that Stoops has hinted at the connection before. And Bell’s breakthrough success as a power-running, touchdown-scoring quarterback certainly correlate with Klein. The 6-foot-6, 250-pounder scored his first collegiate touchdown against the Wildcats. Stoops must have watched lots of Klein film that week.

Bell impressed Stoops so much that he played in the remainder of Oklahoma’s games and finished the season with 171 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. Following a big spring game, Sooners fans have already begun clamoring for him to see more playing time.

Stoops said that is unlikely to happen yesterday. He doesn’t want to alternate quarterbacks, and likes the big-play capabilities Jones brings to the field with his arm. But Bell will definitely continue to be a threat near the goal line.

If not for Klein first rushing for 1,141 yards and 27 touchdowns as a junior, that might not be the case.

John Currie talks Big 12/SEC bowl game, bowls vs. playoff and what’s next for Big 12

While catching up with Kansas State athletic director John Currie over the weekend, I asked him about a ton of different topics. Much of what we talked about was for upcoming stories that will run in the newspaper throughout May and June, but he also shared his thoughts on several pressing matters, such as the new Big 12/SEC champions bowl game, how future bowl games may or may not exist alongside a playoff and the upcoming spring Big 12 meetings.

Here are the highlights:

The Big 12/SEC bowl game, along with the four-team playoff being proposed, could dramatically alter the postseason in college football. How do you see that mixing in with current bowl games?

I have always been a proponent of the bowl system and the bowl experience. It will always be my hope that we can continue to preserve that bowl experience and provide the opportunity for student-athletes to have that opportunity along with alumni, fans, marching band and cheerleaders. We’ll see, I’m encouraged by some of the models that are out there on the playoff. We have had some healthy debate about it, but it is yet to be determined. We still don’t know what it will look like. But back to your question, although I have always been a bowl proponent, I believe that if we end up with a plus-one or a three-game playoff it will be a very positive thing for college football.

Do you want bowl games to be part of the playoff? Or do you want those to remain separate?

There are pros and cons both ways. I would love us to find a way to enhance and protect the bowl system and the bowl experience. There are a lot of opinions on how you do that. At the same time, the opportunity to make things more transparent and understandable for the general public, for our fans and student-athletes would be fine.
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A little more on K-State’s bowl possibilities

With two games remaining in the regular season, the Kansas State football team appears destined for a quality bowl game. As pointed out in today’s print story, the Big 12′s top three bowls are all interested in the Wildcats.

Here is a deeper look at the bowl scenarios currently facing K-State:

Fiesta Bowl
Current Odds: Long shot.
The Wildcats will need Oklahoma State to finish the regular season undefeated and play in the BCS title game in order to get an invitation to the Fiesta Bowl. Only two Big 12 teams can play in BCS bowls, and as long as Oklahoma ranks ahead of K-State in the BCS standings with just one loss it will have the inside track here. But if both Oklahoma and K-State finish 10-2, the Wildcats could slip past the Sooners despite a head-to-head loss.

Cotton Bowl
Current Odds: Best bet.
If Oklahoma and Oklahoma State both play in BCS bowls, this becomes the most likely landing spot for K-State as long as it splits its final two games. Beating Texas this week will be important for the Wildcats’ Cotton Bowl hopes, but they can still head to Arlington with nine wins. Texas and Baylor need to win out to get to 9-3. A victory in Austin, though, would give K-State a significant bowl advantage. Oklahoma could become the biggest competition for the Cotton Bowl if it is left out of the BCS.
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Kirk Schulz excited about West Virginia

For the second time in a few weeks, Kansas State president Kirk Schulz proudly welcomed a new member to the Big 12 today.

This time, he welcomes West Virginia, a university out of the Big East that has won two BCS bowl games and recently went to the Final Four.

“They immediately bring very competitive athletic programs to the conference,” said Schulz, who serves as the chair of the Big 12′s expansion committee. “They are consistently the top football program in the Big East. Under coach Bob Huggins they have been outstanding in men’s basketball, as well. They have been successful in other sports. They bring a lot to the table, immediately.”

Schulz also said West Virginia will be a nice academic fit with the Big 12.

The Mountaineers won’t, however, be an easy geographical fit for the Big 12. When the conference added TCU, it added a school from within its footprint. No matter where you are, it’s easy to get to Fort Worth for a game. But Morgantown, W. Va.? That’s a different story.

“It clearly is a concern,” Schulz said. “Part of the conversation we had was really focused around the additional travel time we would face with them in the conference, but at the same time we felt that the other positive attributes about West Virginia were more important than the travel considerations.

“… As a conference, we’re competing against the Pac-12 and the SEC. The only way to do that is to bring in the strongest programs that we can. That’s what we’ve done.”
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How West Virginia/Louisville joining Big 12 will impact K-State and Frank Martin, plus an update on stadium expansion

If Missouri leaves the Big 12 in the next few days and is replaced by West Virginia or Louisville, as most are expecting, every program in the conference will have to add the cost of a few more flights to their travel budgets.

Both West Virginia and Louisville sit outside the current Big 12 footprint, and would require plane rides to get to. Long plane rides in the case of West Virgina.

What does that mean for an athletic department like Kansas State? It means more money will be spent transporting its teams to away games. But not as much as you might think.

“It’s all relative,” said K-State athletic director John Currie. “Colorado was a flight for all of our teams. Texas A&M is a flight for just about all of our teams. Every once in a while we’ll bus a big group down there. Most trips from the schools we potentially lose are flights anyways.”

TCU is set to join the Big 12 next year to replace Texas A&M. With daily flights from Manhattan to Dallas, K-State’s teams can easily fly commercially to games against the Horned Frogs in Fort Worth, Texas.

K-State traditionally charters a round-trip flight to Missouri for weekday games, and flies one way for weekend games and buses the other.
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K-State president Kirk Schulz talks Big 12 stability, TCU, future league expansion

For Kansas State president Kirk Schulz, inviting TCU to join the Big 12 represented a major step for the conference.

After dealing with all the negative publicity that has surrounded the Big 12 in the ongoing conference realignment shuffle, he thinks the Horned Frogs will bring both a sense of stability and confidence to the league as it moves forward.

“We feel so great about the addition of TCU to the Big 12 Conference,” Schulz said. “I think it’s a great change to be on the offensive and be out there talking in a positive way about the future of the conference instead of worrying about whether it’s going to break up in a number of years.”

Schulz, who serves as the chair of the Big 12’s expansion committee, played a key role in that process. Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas said the expansion committee had been re-actived only earlier this week. It didn’t take long for it to take action.

Combined with the conference’s announcement that its members have agreed to equally share their first and second tier TV revenue, pledged a formal grant of television rights for a minimum of six years and decided not to show high school games or highlights in any form on Tier 3 networks, and it’s been a productive day for the Big 12.

“This puts us in a great position for the future,” Schulz said.
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Where K-State stands with realignment

While Kansas State athletic officials remain committed in their efforts to save the Big 12, at least one possible contingency plan seems to be developing should the Wildcats’ current conference crumble: The Big East.

A source told me today that the Wildcats currently view a move to that conference, especially if rival Kansas is involved, as an acceptable backup option should its current league crumble.

The source stressed the meaning of the word “backup,” though. A move to the Big East would put considerable travel demands on K-State’s athletic teams, and mean less television money than they are set to receive in the Big 12.

While making multiple trips to the East coast would be doable two or three times a year for football, it would be a headache for every other sport. Having in-state rival Kansas to play, and possibly Missouri would help ease those travel concerns.

But all sorts of different scenarios could play out in this current round of conference realignment (everything from Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to the Pac-12 and Texas to the ACC has been reported) and they would need to play out in a very specific way for K-State to seriously ponder membership in a new conference.

The top priority remains helping the Big 12 expand after the expected loss of Texas A&M. Should any combination of the Oklahoma schools, Texas or Texas Tech jump to the Pac-12 shortly after, there are differing opinions on whether the Big 12 could be rebuilt. But I’m told K-State also considers that a possible backup option.

The main thing K-State administrators seem to be in agreement on is that no matter what conferences look like when the smoke clears, the Wildcats will be a member of a BCS conference. Everyone I’ve talked to insists that.
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A few conference realignment thoughts

Made a few calls Friday about the topic of conference realignment, and wanted to pass along two tidbits.

1. A Kansas State source told me he was in favor of BYU joining the Big 12. The source’s reasoning was that the Cougars, currently a football independent and member of the West Coast Conference in all other sports, would be a solid addition for a conference in need of a new member with a strong football tradition. Beyond that, the source said BYU joining the Big 12 would bring the conference some much needed positive publicity at the national level. That would increase the Big 12′s chances of attracting two more new members and returning to a 12-team league.

There are other obvious reasons for the Big 12 to covet BYU, which the Salt Lake Tribune reports is in talks with the Big 12. The Cougars have a strong national following, and could enhance the league’s TV appeal.

Other possible Big 12 expansion candidates are Air Force, Louisville, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Arkansas, Houston and SMU.

2. The possibility of Kansas and K-State splitting up and joining different conferences in the event that the Big 12 crumbles is a very complicated matter. Though KU chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little told the University Daily Kansan the two could separate, the Kansas Board of Regents would need to approve such a move for it to actually happen.

Though Topeka regent Dan Lykins told me yesterday he’s not sure how the board would vote in such a situation, it’s hard to imagine the regents supporting a move that isn’t beneficial for both schools.