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July 29, 2010

12 things we learned at Big 12 Media Days

IRVING, Texas - The 2010 Big 12 Media Days are officially in the books and there are several things we learned as Nebraska heads into their final year of league play.

Here are 12 thoughts I took out of the three days from Dallas. NU will open up fall camp on Saturday Aug. 7.

1. This league should be just fine with 10 teams...for now

Nebraska and Colorado will no doubt be missed in the Big 12, but with Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M all staying put, this league will be just fine assuming everyone stays for the conceivable future. I don't see the Big 12 ever expanding from 10 to 12. I think teams like OU and Texas like the fact they don't have to play in the conference championship game anymore. It will make it easier for them to play in a BCS bowl game and for the national title.

2. Defense's have caught up with the spread offense.

Texas head coach Mack Brown said on Wednesday that teams defended the spread offense better than ever in 2009. With that said, college football has started to come full circle again on offense. Three or four years ago it was spread, spread, spread. Now everybody wants to get physical. Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne sure was right when he said that this spread offense craze was just a trend. There's a reason why it doesn't work in the NFL and college defensive coordinators have recruited differently over the last few years to match-up with it better.


3. Bob Stoops has plenty of confidence in his team heading into 2010.

You could just feel the confidence oozing off of Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops yesterday in Dallas. Stoops likes his team heading in 2010. He returns an experienced quarterback in Landry Jones, one of the league's top running backs in Demarco Murray and the league's top wide receiver in Ryan Broyles. We should find out quite a bit about the Sooners early on with nonconference match-ups against Florida State and Cincinnati before the Red River Rivalry game with Texas.

4. Don't look for any Big 12 teams to schedule nonconference games with Nebraska anytime soon.

In a perfect world teams like Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Kansas State and Colorado would schedule some nonconference home-at-home series with Nebraska in the near future. However, with most teams schedules set over 10 years in advance, I don't see this happening anytime soon. Husker fans better savor these match-ups in 2010, because you may never see some of them ever again.

5. Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert appears to be a rising star.

Texas sophomore quarterback Garrett Gilbert looks the part of the big time player and Brown expects nothing but that from him in 2010. Brown has so much confidence in Gilbert that he brought him to Dallas this week to represent the Longhorns despite the fact he's never started a collegiate game. Look for big things from this former five-star quarterback recruit in 2010.

6. Texas Tech may finally start playing some good defense.

Texas Tech has always been known for their offense, but before too long it may be the other way around. First-year head coach Tommy Tuberville is one of the best defensive minds in college football and he has brought a coaching staff to Lubbock that should have the Red Raiders playing championship level defense very soon.

7. Missouri wants revenge after their loss to Nebraska in 2009.

One game changed the tone of Missouri's entire 2010 season. If the Tigers would've beat Nebraska in Columbia and quarterback Blaine Gabbert wouldn't have gotten hurt that night, who knows what this Tiger team could've done. Mizzou wants revenge from their fourth quarter blow-up. Expect them to come into Lincoln on Oct. 30 swinging.

8. Turner Gill has a tough road in front of him at Kansas.

I'm a big Turner Gill fan, but it won't be easy for him in year one at KU to get things going. The Jayhawks lost a lot from their 2009 team and it's always tough for a new coaching staff to work together in their first season. If Gill can get Kansas to a bowl game in year one, that would be a major accomplishment.

9. Iowa State's scheduler needs to be fired.

Here's Iowa State's four week schedule in the month of October - Texas Tech, Utah, at Oklahoma and at Texas. The Cyclones also play at Iowa on Sept. 11 and play Kansas State in Arrowhead Stadium on Sept. 18. This honestly might be one of the tougher stretches I've ever seen on paper. If Paul Rhoads can somehow get six wins with this schedule, he'll get consideration for Big 12 coach of the year. Three or four wins is probably the most likely scenario right now with that schedule.

10. Beebe won't mess with moving the Red River Rivalry game anytime soon.

I applaud Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe for his decision not to want to mess with the Red River Rivalry game in Dallas. The Texas vs. Oklahoma game has always been played around the Texas State Fair. There's no reason to move this game to the first weekend in December to replace the Big 12 championship game. The Red River Rivalry is one of the last great traditions the Big 12 has left.

11. Bill Snyder is still Bill Snyder despite his age.

I asked a couple of Kansas State players on Tuesday what surprised them the most about working with Bill Snyder in his first season back at KSU. To a man, they all said it was his work ethic and toughness. Despite his age, Snyder still puts in the same hours and work he did that helped turn around the Wildcat program when they were once considered the doormat of college football.

12. Don't expect Nebraska to get very many favors in their final year of Big 12 play.

Nebraska is the clear favorite to win the North in 2010, but don't expect the Huskers to get too many favors thrown their way in their final year of Big 12 play. For them to take home the conference crown, they are going to have to earn it every step of the way.



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