Picking the Big 12
My mind really hasn't changed as I still believe that Oklahoma State (media poll favorite) along with Oklahoma, TCU and Baylor are the four teams capable of contending for the Big 12 championship.
After the last several days I feel even stronger about TCU and Baylor. Both coaches, Gary Patterson at TCU and Art Briles at Baylor, exude confidence in their teams. Anyone that doubts that Baylor's Bryce Petty will be good at quarterback hasn't observed how Briles has developed quarterbacks and how Petty is a big, strong and athletic individual.
As for Oklahoma State, Mike Gundy and his players handled being the favorites the way you would want your players to, with confidence and eagerness to earn it this season. Think of OSU and Baylor too and neither team had much, if any, summer drama off the field.
I still like Texas Tech to be the developing surprise team in the league. Kliff Kingsbury is a player's coach and in Lubbock, he is the fan's coach. It may take a month or two to smooth out the new edges, but OSU plays Tech in Lubbock on Nov. 2 and the Cowboys had better come in with eyes wide open.
Mack Brown clarified that Texas is not changing offenses, but only changing tempo and will use the same offense. That's good for Malcolm Brown, Joe Bergeron and Jonathan Gray as they were not recruited to the 40 Acres to pass block or play in the shield on the punt team. Brown said Texas will run the ball but they want to run 85 plays instead of 65 plays a game on offense.
Best Line Award
Kansas head coach Charlie Weis when he referred to his team from last season as a "pile of crap." Weiss isn't saying that his team this season is crappy, but is throwing the 1-11 team from last year under the pile.
Most Intelligent Interview
Iowa State fullback Jeff Woody says he still remembers the touchdown in the Cyclones upset win over OSU fondly. But this guy is extremely well spoken and knows a lot about a lot. Woody is a very smart guy.
Best Player Interview
Baylor running back Lache Seatrunk is still talking winning a Heisman, and he is very entertaining ranging from cocky to comedic with his answers.
Best Coach Interview
It's a tie between Paul Rhoads of Iowa State and Art Briles of Baylor. Both are personable and you feel like you are getting the straight scoop and in a homespun fashion. They also both act like they are enjoying themselves, even if they aren't.
Extra Effort Award
Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy may be really excited about getting back to football or he was having more fun talking to the media than usual as he stayed until 3:40 p.m. Monday, 40 minutes after he was required. He was doing interviews right up until the end as he walked out to the airport.
Best Dressed Coach
Another tie as Kliff Kingsbury of Texas Tech is going to be a challenge for Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy, who has been a reigning champ for several years. This is a three-way tie as West Virginia head coach and former Cowboys OC Dana Holgorsen was really sharp on Tuesday.
Best Team Polos
Kansas State players wear blazers and some teams come with players in coat and tie, but most players are in team Polos and TCU with somewhat of a powder purple look was good.
Full of It Award
This is good natured and Dana Holgorsen seemed really upbeat and that with his staff it is business as usual. But he has six of nine new assistants and only Shannon Dawson is coaching the same responsibilities as last season, as Joe DeForest has gone from defensive coordinator to special teams and Keith Patterson is now defensive coordinator. That's a lot of upheaval that Holgorsen described as a necessary evil.
Best Media Member
Rising stars Erin Hartigan and Annabel Stephan of Scout are impressive but George Schroeder of USA Today is my pick. Schroeder is becoming a lot like Dennis Dodd and some other top college football aficionados and is also crossing over well into radio. Charles Davis of Fox is also a standout and I recommend getting a subscription to Sirrius XM because the Big 12 has the best radio play-by-play voices in America. I had dinner with five of them on Monday night.