Big 12 media days: Day 1 notebook
DALLAS — Big 12 media days kicked off Monday in Dallas with five of the conference's 10 teams available to the media.
The Horned Frogs say they're taking a perceived lack of confidence in their ability to compete in the Big 12 to heart this season.
"People (on campus) ask you, 'How many games are you going to win?' That's an awful question." — TCU senior OG Blaize Foltz
"I would say only 10 percent of humans enjoy working out. But we get pumped these days to work out and get better because we know what's ahead of us and we know what we're capable of." — TCU junior QB Casey Pachall
"Even if (the Big 12 Conference) wasn't considered wide open, we're going to come in with the mindset that if we take care of our business, we can win it. As good as the media or anybody says one team is, they're human — they can be beat." — Pachall
"You've got to look at the other side — none of these teams have seen have seen much of us, either." — TCU coach Gary Patterson
OU had a disappointing season last year, losing three conference games and placing third in the conference. Despite that, the Sooners enter the season as the preseason favorite to win the Big 12 — but coach Bob Stoops put exactly no stock in the preseason ranking.
"That kind of stuff (preseason rankings) sells magazines and newspapers but it doesn't mean anything," Stoops said. "It's all about the work, what kind of shape we come back in, how we work through two-a-days and how we build as a team."
“Kenny (Stills) is a different kind of character. He’s got a California aroma around him. But on the field, he’s a hard worker and he’s goal oriented. He’s all about Oklahoma football.” — OU senior C Ben Habern on junior receiver Kenny Stills
"It's a big advantage for us, Landry has been one of the best quarterbacks in the nation and just him directing the whole offense and the receivers really helps our whole defense." — OU senior CB Demontre Hurst on the advantage of going against Landry Jones in practice
"A lot of prayer." — OU senior QB Landry Jones on how he deals with pressure of being the quarterback of such a high profile team
Iowa State has been a bottom dweller in the Big 12, but after making it to a bowl game two of the last three seasons, the Cyclones are looking to build on that success.
Coach Paul Rhoads said this is the most talented team he has ever had, and with two of the best linebackers in the league in Jake Knott and A.J. Klein, Iowa State could creep into the top half of the Big 12 in 2012.
"I think the most significant component of that victory for our football program has been national attention. And you play that game on a Friday night at a point late in the season that affected the BCS race, and you got the whole nation talking about it all weekend long. Now, that spills over, most importantly for us, into recruiting." — ISU coach Paul Rhoads on last year's victory over Oklahoma State
"We most definitely need better play from the quarterback position if we're going to become a better football team, and namely in the area of accuracy. We threw too many to the wrong-colored jersey." — Rhoads on his team's quarterback situation
"I finally believe just about every location we've got a two-deep; that if one guy, his shoelace broke or he broke his collarbone, we could put a guy in and we'd be OK." — Rhoads on his team's depth
Kansas State was a surprise last year, going 10-3 and taking second in the conference. This year the Wildcats won't surprise anyone, but they are still picked to finish sixth in the Big 12. To that, coach Bill Snyder responded bluntly.
"For us, that's — I don't think — not really significant," Snyder said.
"Do we perform better as, 'underdogs?' That I don't know. I haven't seen any statistics in that regard. Last year, obviously we played reasonably well in those circumstances." — KSU coach Bill Snyder on being picked to finish sixth
"I think it's quite obvious that the universities that make up the Big 12 Conference today are heavily committed to the conference. I think we lost two very fine universities and programs, but we gained two extremely talented football programs and quality universities as well." — Snyder on the new look Big 12
Texas Tech was not good last season, but the Red Raiders did beat OU at home — the first team to do so since 2005 — so you can chalk that up as some sort of win for the season.
Tech also lost its No. 1 and No. 2 running backs to injury last season and a lot of its potential success this season will hinge on how those players return from injury.
"Every year you put pressure on yourself. We're starting to now get more depth, play with our recruits. Seemed like I just got here yesterday. But this is a fun sport." — Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville on the pressure he feels to win games
"The thing that we had to do and knew we had to do when we got here is build our depth up, build our talent level up, get three deep at almost every position, because you win with depth in college football." — Tuberville on how he is improving the defense
"I'd like to coach a few of these guys I recruited. So hopefully we can get this thing going a little bit better each year." — Tuberville on being on the hot seat
The conference is behind on new TV contracts, causing a delay on kickoff times being announced.
Commissioner Bob Bowlsby expects the Champions Bowl between the Big 12 and SEC to become one of the premiere bowls in the nation with an estimated TV slot of primetime on New Year's Day, following the Rose Bowl.
Bowlsby also said he expects the Champions Bowl to become part of the national championship rotation.
The conference coach of the year award was renamed in honor of former-interim commissioner Chuck Neinas. The new award will be the Chuck Neinas Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year Award.
"You son of a gun." — Former interim commissioner Chick Neinas to commissioner Bob Bowlsby after being surprised by the change of the award's name
"Well, it's certainly the most competitive league. I don't know if they're everybody's favorite league." — Bowlsby on the SEC
"We don't aspire to be competitive; we aspire to be the best at everything we do." — Bowlsby on the Big 12 Conference