FRISCO, Texas (AP) The Latest on Big 12 media days (all times local):
Lincoln Riley says this Oklahoma team is the most talented in his four years at the school, including his debut as a head coach last season when the Sooners lost to Georgia in double overtime in the College Football Playoff semifinals.
Riley was asked if that meant he thought the Sooners were capable of a return to college football’s final four. The 34-year-old didn’t back down but offered a couple of qualifiers.
The successor to Bob Stoops says ”having the capability and getting there are two different things.” While Riley says the talent is there, he says leadership is a question.
The Sooners are trying to replace Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield, the top overall pick in the NFL draft by Cleveland. Kyler Murray, taken ninth overall in the June baseball draft by Oakland, is Mayfield’s likely successor.
Oklahoma has made the playoff two of the past three seasons. Riley says if the Sooners reach their potential, ”then we can play with and we can beat anybody.”
Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury isn’t ready to name a starting quarterback, and he says he’s not keeping the decision to himself either.
Kingsbury, himself a former Red Raiders quarterback, says he doesn’t have a starter in mind before McLane Carter, Jett Duffey and Alan Bowman report for fall workouts next month.
Carter made his first career start in a win at Texas to finish the regular season last year. But Nic Shimonek was responsible for the rally that beat the Longhorns.
Duffey, who has been in and out of trouble in two years at Texas Tech, got into a game for the first time last season. Bowman is a freshman.
Kingsbury was Johnny Manziel’s position coach at Texas A&M when Manziel won the Heisman Trophy in 2012. Patrick Mahomes was the 10th overall pick by Kansas City coming out of Texas Tech in 2017 and is expected to start for the Chiefs.
Before picking his next guy, Kingsbury wants to see how the contenders perform in the weeks before the opener against Mississippi on Sept. 1 in Houston. Kingsbury says he’s ”tried not to pick a guy in my mind.”
Ask Gary Patterson about the instability that once threatened the future of the Big 12 and the TCU coach will bring up his own experience with conference shuffling.
Patterson has been in four conferences since joining the Horned Frogs as defensive coordinator in 1998. And that’s not counting the Big East, which TCU was preparing to join before the Big 12 came calling seven years ago after losing Texas A&M, Missouri, Colorado and Nebraska.
The Western Athletic was the first league after TCU wasn’t invited to join the Big 12 when the Southwest Conference disbanded. After four years in Conference USA, the Horned Frogs moved to the Mountain West.
Patterson says he doesn’t know ”why anybody thought the Big 12 had instability” because ”you should have been in all the conferences I’ve been in.”
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby would prefer to have every conference playing nine league games, but he says even that wouldn’t be enough to make all things equal.
The number of conference games is one of the points of discussion related to the Power Five leagues qualifying for the four-team College Football Playoff. The Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast have eight-game conference schedules, while the Big 12, the Pac-12 and Big Ten play nine.
But the 10-team Big 12 is the only conference with a round-robin league schedule.
Bowlsby said as media days opened Monday in the Dallas area that a ”level playing field” isn’t possible ”because in a league with 14 or 15 members, even if you’re going to nine you’re going to have a bunch you don’t play.”
The Big 12 boss also said he doesn’t think it’s realistic to dictate to conferences how many league games each should play.
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