Big XII Media Day: Day One News and Notes

Colorado head coach Gary Barnett, center, is surrounded by reporters as he answers questions during Big 12 Media Day Tuesday in Houston, Texas. See inside for OUInsider.com's news and notes on Barnett's 'Buffs, Iowa State, Kansas and Texas A&M from Day One. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

The Big 12 media circus convened today as Hurricane 'whoever' Emily sits off-shore waiting to inundate South Texas, but what's a hurricane when football season looms on the horizon 45 days away?

Today we were served appetizers as Kansas, Colorado, Iowa State and Texas A&M took the podium and interview rooms. First the obvious, and then the surprises.

KU head man Mark Mangino got it rolling by promising his best Jayhawk squad ever.

"We'll be bigger, faster and more athletic than at any time I've been here. This will certainly be my best team."

To win the North?

"We've got to figure a way to perform better in the fourth quarter and in pressure situations."

Almost every North coach was asked about the disparity between the weak North and the strong South. Mangino, along with ISU's Dan McCarney, said that in their opinion the North will be better this year as they return more experience than the South teams as a whole.

"I believe that every team in the North will be improved. I don't think you can say that about all the South teams. They're good, but should not be better."

Mangino's best line concerned the fact that OU's Bob Stoops changed the landscape for college football forever by winning the NC in year two.

"We all used to say it'd take three to five years to turn it around. No one wants to wait that long anymore."

Mangino was not as candid about the charges of academic fraud that floated to the surface in Lawrence this week. Instead, he directed questions on that subject to the folks back home.

Colorado's Gary Barnett and company were next, and Barnett was the most impressive coach by far of the day. He seemed to be light years ahead of last year's tar baby scandal and full of confidence. I was so impressed by GB that I actually found myself thinking that 'here's one guy that I could stomach if BS ever decides that he needs a tax break and quits coaching.'

I know that's heresay, but Barnett was olished, genuine, and I think he impressed everyone there.

The Buffs seemed to be pointing to the A&M game as their payback game of the season.

Quarterback Joel Klatt took top honors as the QB most likely to lead, ahead of more talented Reggie McNeal of A&M and sophomore phenom Bret Meyer of Iowa State.

Klatt is a coach on the field and his return, along with Barnett's coaching, gives the Buffs a very slight edge over a much improved ISU team that tied the Buffs for first in the north last year.

That honor gave the school it's first football ‘trophy' since 1918 and is the emotional catalyst for ISU players and fans hungry for success. As mentioned, ISU's sophomore QB caught fire last year a put the Cyclones on an amazing run that gave them a co-division title.

Easily the team with the most talent, but one that also was the most disappointing, were the boys from College Station. What a waste of uniforms these guys are. The team and super star, Reggie McNeal, showed about as much emotion as a dead skunk.

Dennis Franchione had better crank it up if he's to survive another two years as head of the Maroon cadet cult. To be honest, Fran talked a big game while his players seemed disinterested and bored. He was polished, but shallow.

One subject that gets these guys off the rug is any mention of Texas Tech. Forget the 'Horns, right now it's the guys from Lubbock that soil the britches of this team. Still, McNeal is good enough to beat any team, as long as the game is at Kyle.

If today's group were a four-team conference, the projected finish would be:

1. Colorado – Klatt & Barnett make the difference.
2. Iowa State – Most underrated, QB Bret Meyer is a rising star.
3. Texas A&M – Most overrated team. Reggie McNeal – a great talent but inconsistent.
4. Kansas – Scary, but probably not good enough to challenge.

Tomorrow we'll add Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri and Texas Tech to the four above.

See the links below for more quotes from Tuesday's press conferences.

Kansas Quotes (PDF): Big12Sports.com

Colorado Quotes (PDF): Big12Sports.com

Iowa State Quotes (PDF): Big12Sports.com

Texas A&M Quotes (PDF): Big12Sports.com


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