ARLINGTON– The Big 12 conference held its first day of Media Day at AT&T Stadium on Monday.
Can Texas or any of the other eight schools end Oklahoma’s four-year championship streak, Will Les Miles turn Kansas around, and Will the conference champion be able to win in the college football playoff? Those are just a few of the questions surrounding the conference heading into 2019 season.
The two-day event kicked off with commissioner Bob Bowlsby giving his “State of the Big 12” speech. He talked about conference expansion, the league’s round-robin schedule, and the new Big 12 Now network coming to ESPN + in the fall. He also addressed the expectations for the Red River Rivalry, considering Oklahoma and Texas were ranked number one and two respectably in the media preseason poll released last week.
Bowlsby said, “You know it can’t do anything to enhance the rivalry. Although it’s fair to argue that rivalry couldn’t be enhanced than it already is. It’s pretty highly anticipated. I think this year’s game with OU and Texas picked one and two in the league probably has a little more anticipation to it than what we may have had before. That is multiplied by the fact that they played in the championship game last year.”
The first round of coaches to speak was a mix of newcomers and seasoned veterans. Les Miles, the former LSU coach, was the first coach to take the podium.
New Texas Tech head coach Matt Wells has been “inspired” by the winning the athletics department has done since he stepped foot on campus back in November. He is trying to get the Red Raiders back into a bowl game after they missed out on one last season.
Wells finished with a 10-2 record at Utah State last season and won the New Mexico Bowl. Wells said, “None of these guys chose Texas Tech, because of Matt Wells or because of our staff. And I recognize that and I understand that. I chose Texas Tech, because of them, but I respect our players. The work that they’ve put in and I can see a hunger and a passion, and especially for the seniors. I think I owe that as a first-year head coach to these seniors, to win and win right now.”
Familiar faces to the conference, Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy and TCU’s Gary Patterson also spoke along with Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley.
The Sooners have another new quarterback heading into the season, after having back to back Heisman winners at the position. Alabama’s Jalen Hurts made the move to Norman in the offseason to lead Riley’s high powered offense.
Riley said, “He brings a lot of game experience that Baker and Kyler did not have when they got here, but also doesn’t have as much experience in this system. It has been a little quicker, but its been a lot of fun. He’s been eager. There were things that we do that he’s been able to trace back kind of to the roots of what he’s done at Alabama and even in high school. So, its not like your starting from scratch, but it’s been a fun process. He’s a smart kid, he’s eager, works very hard at it, and we’ve meshed together well.”