The Big 12 Conference will host its annual Football Media Days Wednesday and Thursday, July 13-14, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
Therefore, the reporters and fans have speculated on what conference officials will address and who will be doing the talking.
Expected talks about conference expansion are at the top of the list with the recent announcement that UCLA and USC are headed to the Big 10 about a year after news broke that Texas and Oklahoma, the founding members of the Big 12, were seeking membership into the Southeastern Conference,
So what other topics can they discuss? Let’s take a look.
- Television contracts and the possibility of a conference network. Since the creation of the Longhorn Network, Big 12 members have said that broadcasting companies were uninterested in creating a Big 12 network without Texas. Now that Texas is leaving the conference and LHN behind, does that clear a path for a new conference network? My gut tells me conference leaders’ priority is getting maximum dollars for its football games first first. But I don’t believe they’ll do that before every possibility of expansion has been exhausted and there are firm answers from other universities on whether they want to join the Big 12 or not. Attorneys should put clauses in contracts that allow conferences to adjust deals if expansion happens after contracts are signed. Few broadcast companies will agree to do that. So I’m interested to see how this plays out.
- New commissioner Brett Yormark. The former CEO of Roc Nation is expected to give the State of the Conference address Wednesday at 8:30 a.m., a task that Bob Bowlsby performed since he had the same job. Yormark should give his vision of the future of the conference and outline future conference schedules and divisions because BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston, the new additions to the conference, are expected to begin play in 2023. The belief is Texas and Oklahoma will be gone by the end of the 2023-24 school year for the SEC. So I’m looking forward to hearing from the new commissioner.
- Texas Tech’s $200 million commitment to football facilities. The Red Raiders formally announced this project a day before the start of Big 12 Media Days that illustrates the belief in new head coach Joey McGuire. I met McGuire weeks earlier and wrote two pieces on him. He was everything told to me weeks earlier by high school coaches, who believe he will succeed in Lubbock. The upgrade to the facilities says plenty about what TTU officials think of their new head coach, too.
- Is there really that much parity in the conference? We’ll see. Depending on which reports you read and believe, it doesn’t sound like there’s a true clear-cut favorite to win the conference. Baylor head coach Dave Aranda doesn’t get outcoached. But which roster is the most talented? The answer to that used to give the answer to the favorite to win the championship. Texas seems to have the most talent but least amount of experience. Oklahoma has a new head coach though he’s familiar to that fan base, and Matt Campbell is a favorite when it comes to getting his Iowa State team prepared to play. One could argue Texas Tech and Oklahoma State players are the most confident after earning big bowl wins to end their seasons: Tech beating Mississippi State in the Liberty Bowl and the Cowboys defeating Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. If you want entertainment, the Big 12 is the place to watch.
- Three head coaches will make their Big 12 Media Days debut. We’ve already talked about McGuire, who was an assistant coach at Baylor. But he’s not the only new head coach at the event. Others include Sonny Dykes, son of Horseshoe Bay resident Spike Dykes, and Brent Venables of Oklahoma. As previously stated, Venables isn’t new to the Big 12 or the Sooners as he previously served as Bob Stoops’ defensive coordinator. Wednesday’s lineup of coaches addressing the media in one press conference begins at 10:35 a.m. with Aranda followed by Kansas’ Lance Leipold at 11:05 a.m., West Virginia’s Neal Brown at 11:35 a.m., Kansas State’s Chris Klieman at 12:05 p.m. and Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy at 12:35 p.m. Venables kicks off Thursday’s press conferences at 10:35 a.m. followed by McGuire at 11:05 a.m., Campbell at 11:35 a.m., Dykes at 12:05 p.m. and Texas’ Steve Sarkisian at 12:35 p.m.
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