Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops quickly said he didn’t have a stance on the Big 12’s discussions about the possibility of league expansion and a conference championship game. TCU’s Gary Patterson said those were decisions that would be made at levels above him.
Both then offered some opinions Tuesday.
With spring football practice winding down in the Big 12, there are still those potentially league-altering issues that are far from settled. The Big 12’s annual spring meeting is at the end of May.
“I don’t know how a championship game with 10 teams when you’re playing everybody already would really be that positive,” Stoops said during a spring football teleconference for the league coaches. “With 12 teams of course it would be, but now you have to expand, and we’ll see where that goes.”
The Sooners were the Big 12 champions last season and made it into the four-team College Football Playoff. Had the Big 12 had a championship game last year after its round-robin regular season schedule, Oklahoma would have faced Oklahoma State after beating the Cowboys by 35 points in the regular-season finale.
“It’s tough to have a round robin. Everybody wants to say you have to have expansion so you have a better chance of playing for a national title. They should try to play everybody every year,” said Patterson, whose Horned Frogs were snubbed for the first CFP two seasons ago. “I like the model that we have now, even though it’s tougher.”
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said everyone seems comfortable with 10 teams, but if anything is going to happen it should be adding teams and a league championship game at the same time.
“I think the Big 12 got it right last year,” Holgorsen said. “Based on the results of what happened, I think we’re in pretty good shape moving forward.”
Some other news and notes from the coaches teleconference Tuesday:
— When asked about several sexual assault accusations involving former Baylor football players, Bears coach Art Briles said he is “always concerned any time that something of that nature transpires.”
Defensive end Shawn Oakman, who finished his Baylor career last season, was arrested earlier this month on a sexual assault charge in Waco. Two former players were convicted of sexual assault in 2014 and 2015, and the school faces a federal lawsuit from one of the victims claiming the school didn’t protect her.
“It’s been a process to where we’re really doing all we can do to make sure our guys are at the awareness level that they need to be at, give them all the proper training with professionals in those fields to help them know how to handle themselves at all times,” Briles said. “It’s a situation where it’s a concern, and it’s something that we’re dealing with on a daily basis.”
— Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph played the second half of a game last season with a broken foot and had to play in the Sugar Bowl at much less than 100 percent. This spring, he is clearly the Cowboys’ No. 1 quarterback going into his junior season.
“He’s always been a good leader. He’s tough, the players respect him,” coach Mike Gundy said. “He’s really like going into kind of veteran mode.”
— Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said every position except for quarterback was up for grabs in spring practice. He said players responded with lots of energy and competitiveness, and that having junior quarterback Patrick Mahomes back is huge for the program.
“He knows the system inside and out now. He can go out there and run it at a high level, sees what I want,” said Kingsbury, a former Red Raiders quarterback. “That makes all the difference in the world in our system and what we do.”
— Second-year Kansas coach David Beatty is encouraged by the improvement of strength in his program. He said 51 players on the team now bench press more than 300 pounds, up from 20 players a year ago. The number of players who can squat 450 pounds has improved from 16 to 38, and there are 29 players with a vertical jump of at least 32 inches after only 13 could last year.
“That’s the type of production you want to see when you’re trying to get development out of these guys,” Beatty said.