Wednesday's Big 12 Media Day Notebook

The third and final day of the 2006 Big 12 Media Day session featured Oklahoma, Iowa State, Texas A&M and Missouri, and was there. See inside for Wednesday's news and notes, including our ranking of the Big 12.

Biggest News: Was Adrian Peterson, but every OU fan has already read every word about him and knows more than 99 percent of the media. Still, we may not yet realize, and fully appreciate the fact, that No. 28 may be one of the best to ever play the game. Sooner fans are lucky that he's wearing crimson & cream.

Biggest News other than AD: Bob Stoops on his OL: "We have a chance to be really good up front."

Strongest statements: Iowa State's Dan McCarney, who said that senior center Scott Stephenson was the best offensive lineman in America.

OU's Bob Stoops on the No. 1 preseason ranking: "No, I don't get excited about it, or worry about it. I have no control over it. But right now I told the team we're an 8-4 team. Anything better than that we have to go out every week and prove it."

Stoops II: "In 2000, we had a bunch of kids that had been told they weren't any good, and they went out and proved to people that it wasn't true. Now we have a team loaded with talent and players that people have said are very good. But this group needs to go out and make that statement a true one, just like the 2000 bunch needed to go out and disprove the talk."

A&M's Franchione threw a noose around Sophomore QB Stephen McGee, saying he was clocked at 4.3 in the 40 a few weeks ago. Those Aggie stopwatches have always been fast, but 4.3 for a 6-4 throwing QB is a little hard to believe. If times like that keep coming out of College Station, particularly for tall, rangy QBs who ran a 4.7 in high school, the BALCO investigation might expand to include the Aggies.

Missouri's Gary Pinkel on the come-from-behind miracle win, 38-31, over Steve Spurrier's favored South Carolina team in the Independence Bowl: "Sure, we'll draw from it, but let's don't blow it out of proportion."

Most Impressive Coach (Day 3): Bob Stoops, who was much more relaxed and better with the media than in previous years. He even admitted when asked, "Coach, what have you learned in your seven years on the job?"

"Oh, probably how to better handle you guys," Stoops relayed with a slight smile.

Equally impressive was coach Dan McCarney, who you have to believe would be at the top of every 'best coaches' list had he landed at a tradition-rich power school instead of Ames.

Least Impressive Coach (Day 3): That Dennis Franchione. Like a frog who's been placed in slowly warming water, Franchione is oblivious to the fact that the lynching crew has been unleashed in College Station.

I mean, if they fired R.C. Slocum because he was about as exciting as a west Texas sunset, surely these folks who goose step around campus with boots and swords can't be too enamored with Fran's dismal 16-19 record and embarrassing losses.

"I'm only focused on this year," Denny said, when asked why his "plan" had not been working at A&M.

OK, so what are your expectations for this season, Fran?

"I won't set any limitations," he replied. Uhh, OK. But we ask for expectations, Fran.

Aggie QB Stephen McGee, who came in for a sometimes-superhero, sometimes-slug Reggie McNeal, doesn't blame Fran.

"Last year he put us in a position to win (presumably that means on the bus) and we didn't do it."

Note to Fran: That water is coming to a boil. Ribbitt.

Best Interview: Missouri's Gary Pinkel, who calmly answered every question without any clichés.

Coach, are there too many Bowls?

"No. Why would anyone criticize the number of bowls? Sure, teams know that some bowls have great reputations and others don't. But a bowl is simply a reward for success. The greater the success the bigger the bowl — coaches and players all understand that. But why be critical of rewarding success, even if it is a small-time venue?"

Where do you think you'll be going into conference play?

"We should be 4-0. We expect to be. We should beat all of those non-conference teams (Murray State, Ole Miss, New Mexico and Ohio), but in the past two years we've stubbed our toe and lost to people that we shouldn't have lost to. We'll see if this team can meet those expectations."

Worst Display of Reality: See Least Impressive Coach above.

Today's Team to Watch: Missouri. Now that Brad Smith, the only QB to throw for over 8,000 yards and rush for 4,000, has left the building, the Tigers can look to the 21 other players on the field to make something happen. Historically, Mizzou always does better when the spotlight is focused elsewhere.

Thought of the day: Texas A&M has loaded the non-conference schedule mimicking Oklahoma State's pastry shop roll call of patsies (Citadel, UL Lafayette, Army and La. Tech).

This pathetic lineup, from a team claiming to be a national power wannabe, allows the Ags to cast a fearful eye toward November when OU, Nebraska and Texas appear outta nowhere. If A&M gets sucked into a fixation on November, October could become their early downfall.

If Iowa State can field a defense, the Cyclones may be trouble for the mediocre North, but it's doubtful that a handful of good players can make a difference. Even if a respectable defense does emerge, don't look for the 'Clones to win the North under any circumstances, as Baylor, A&M and OSU have departed the schedule in favor of OU, Texas and Texas Tech.

Most Sobering Thought: Bob Stoops: "We're still a very young team. We only have nine scholarship seniors."

Dumbest Question of the Week Award: Goes to AP's Soraya McDonald, who was seen trying to follow Baylor's Coach Guy Morriss explanation of spread offense football strategy. McDonald broke into the chalk talk with this pertinent question:

"Coach, after the media session, are you and the players going to get to see some of Kansas City?"

The entire group of media members stopped dead cold, as a somewhat stunned Morriss replied, "Hell, no. We're getting our butts back on the plane and going home. We sure as hell didn't come up here to sightsee."

It was unknown if McDonald was able to use the quote in her human-interest story.

Ranking the schools after all have appeared — based on strength, NOT projected record due to unequal scheduling.

1) Oklahoma, Texas (tie)
3) Nebraska
4) Kansas
5) A&M
6) Texas Tech
7) Missouri
8) ISU
9) Colorado
10) Baylor
11-12) Okie State, K-State (tie)

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