Colleges


Tom Herman,right, head football coach at Texas, talks to the media  during the Breakout Session at Big 12 Football Media Days held at The Star in Frisco, Texas Tuesday July 18, 2017. (Ron Baselice/ The Dallas Morning News)


Ron Baselice/Staff Photographer

Tom Herman,right, head football coach at Texas, talks to the media during the Breakout Session at Big 12 Football Media Days held at The Star in Frisco, Texas Tuesday July 18, 2017. (Ron Baselice/ The Dallas Morning News)


The Big 12 has been defined throughout nearly its entire history by quarterback play.

It may be again this season but the list of players attending Big 12 media indicates the lack of proven star quality at the most important position. Just four schools are bringing QBs to Big 12 media days Monday and Tuesday at The Star in Frisco. Among that group, only West Virginia’s Will Grier is viewed as a national name.

Will others emerge? Probably, given the Big 12’s history on both sides of the football. For now, the lack of proven quarterbacks brings more uncertainty than usual to what may happen this season.
Here’s a look at each school and questions surrounding it.

BAYLOR

Baylor quarterback Zach Smith (8) is pictured during the Baylor University Bears vs. the TCU Horned Frogs NCAA college football game at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas on Friday, November 24, 2017. (Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News)


Louis DeLuca/Staff Photographer

Baylor quarterback Zach Smith (8) is pictured during the Baylor University Bears vs. the TCU Horned Frogs NCAA college football game at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas on Friday, November 24, 2017. (Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News)

Coach: Matt Rhule (second season)

Last season: 1-11 (1-8 Big 12)

Players who will be attending Big 12 media days Monday and Tuesday at The Star in Frisco: WR Chris Platt, DE Greg Roberts, DT Ira Lewis, S Verkedric Vaughns

Three questions 

1. After just one win – against, ahem, Kansas – how much improvement can Baylor show in Year 2 under Rhule? And can a favorable early schedule lead to six wins and a bowl bid for a team that has lost 17 of its last 19 games?

2. Will key transfers (Tennessee WR Jalen Hurd, Clemson OT Jake Fruhmorgen, Texas A&M DE James Lockhart) boost the talent level and give Baylor more playmakers?

3. After going through three different starting quarterbacks last season, is the offensive line sold enough to keep sophomore Charlie Brewer upright this season?

IOWA STATE

Iowa State head football coach Matt Campbell speaks during a press conference at the Big 12 Football Media Days in the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas on Monday, July 17, 2017. (Rose Baca/The Dallas Morning News)


Rose Baca/Staff Photographer

Iowa State head football coach Matt Campbell speaks during a press conference at the Big 12 Football Media Days in the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas on Monday, July 17, 2017. (Rose Baca/The Dallas Morning News)

Coach: Matt Campbell (third season)
Last season: 8-5 (5-4 Big 12)
Players who will be attending Big 12 media days Monday and Tuesday at The Star in Frisco: CB Brian Peavy, DL Ray Lima, QB Kyle Kempt, RB David Montgomery

Three questions

1. Going back even beyond the start of the Big 12, Iowa State has been a tough place to win consistently. Is it possible Campbell keep the momentum going after a breakthrough season, including wins over Oklahoma and TCU?

2. How do the Cyclones replace five defensive starters from a solid unit, including inspirational leader and Cowboys free agent signee Joel Lanning?

3. Will sixth-year quarterback Kyle Kempt and hard-running David Montgomery stay healthy and repeat their 2017 season?

KANSAS

TCU Horned Frogs wide receiver John Diarse (9) is tackled by Kansas Jayhawks cornerback Shakial Taylor (8) after securing a long pass reception during the first half at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas, Saturday, October 21, 2017. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)


Tom Fox/Staff Photographer

TCU Horned Frogs wide receiver John Diarse (9) is tackled by Kansas Jayhawks cornerback Shakial Taylor (8) after securing a long pass reception during the first half at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas, Saturday, October 21, 2017. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)

Coach: David Beaty (fourth season)
Last season: 1-11 (0-9 Big 12)
Players who will be attending Big 12 media days Monday and Tuesday at The Star in Frisco: DB Joe Dineen Jr., RB Khalil Herbert, WR Steven Sims, DT Daniel Wise

Three questions

1. With a new athletic director in Jeff Long and exactly one FBS win (Texas in the game that doomed Charlie Strong) in three seasons, what kind of challenge is Beaty to have the same mailing address next season?

2. With more than 70 players under scholarship for the first time since Beaty was hired – but with one betting site listing their Big 12 title odds at 800/1 — do the Jayhawks have enough depth to at least be competitive in the Big 12?

3. Even with the departure of Dorance Armstrong, Kansas has 10 starters back on defense. But can the offense that averaged 14.3 points in conference games, not nearly good enough in the Big 12?

KANSAS STATE

Kansas State quarterback Alex Delton (5) and offensive lineman Scott Frantz (74) celebrate a touchdown by fullback Winston Dimel, middle, during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Missouri State in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner) ORG XMIT: KSOW112


Orlin Wagner/AP

Kansas State quarterback Alex Delton (5) and offensive lineman Scott Frantz (74) celebrate a touchdown by fullback Winston Dimel, middle, during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Missouri State in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner) ORG XMIT: KSOW112

Coach: Bill Snyder (since sometime in the Eisenhower administration)
Last season: 8-5 (5-4 Big 12)
Players who will be attending Big 12 media days Monday and Tuesday at The Star in Frisco: OL Dalton Risner, QB Alex Delton, DB Duke Shelley, QB Skylar Thompson

Three questions 

1. At some point, Bill Snyder will take his windbreaker and arcane magic and depart sidelines. Until he does, Kansas State will pretty much always exceed media predictions. So how much will it be this year and will it be enough to contend? 

2. Just four teams will be bringing quarterbacks to media days. K-State is bringing two in Alex Delton and Skylar Thompson. Can Snyder make a two QB system work? 

3. After losing defensive back D.J. Reed and allowing 362.4 yards a game in the air during conference play, can the Wildcats shut down top passing offenses?

OKLAHOMA 

Oklahoma Sooners offensive lineman Bobby Evans (71) gestures to the sideline after the Sooners opened up a big lead against the TCU Horned Frogs in the Big XII Championship at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Saturday, December 2, 2017. The Sooners defeated the Horned Frogs, 41-17. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)


Tom Fox/Staff Photographer

Oklahoma Sooners offensive lineman Bobby Evans (71) gestures to the sideline after the Sooners opened up a big lead against the TCU Horned Frogs in the Big XII Championship at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Saturday, December 2, 2017. The Sooners defeated the Horned Frogs, 41-17. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)

Coach: Lincoln Riley (second season)
Last season: 12-2 (8-1 Big 12)
Players who will be attending Big 12 media days Monday and Tuesday at The Star in Frisco: RB Rodney Anderson, DE Amani Bledsoe, LB Kenneth Murray, OL Ben Powers

Three questions  

1. Everyone loved Lincoln Riley in his first season — at least until the second half of the Rose Bowl. But will Riley be able to put together a four-peat without Baker Mayfield?

2. OK, Kyler Murray hasn’t technically won the quarterback position. And he won’t be in Frisco. But the former Allen standout and first-round Oakland A’s pick is guaranteed to be one of the most talked about players. In his final college season, is he ready to be a worthy successor to Mayfield or is he still the guy who struggled as a freshman at Texas A&M.

3. Technically, OU wasn’t bad defensively, finishing in the upper half of the Big 12 in yards allowed and points allowed. But the defense still got leaky against good offenses. The talent is there but can coordinator Mike Stoops build an elite unit?

OKLAHOMA STATE

Oklahoma State Cowboys quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) and teammate Zach Sinor (29) celebrate follwing Rudolph's fourth quarter touchdown at Amon Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Saturday, November 19, 2016. TCU lost, 31-6. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)


Tom Fox/Staff Photographer

Oklahoma State Cowboys quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) and teammate Zach Sinor (29) celebrate follwing Rudolph’s fourth quarter touchdown at Amon Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Saturday, November 19, 2016. TCU lost, 31-6. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)

Coach: Mike Gundy (14th season)
Last season: 10-3 (6-3 Big 12)
Players who will be attending Big 12 media days Monday and Tuesday at The Star in Frisco: RB Justice Hill, WR Jalen McCleskey, DT Darrion Daniels, LB Justin Phillips

Three questions 

1. Despite a 114-53 record at his alma mater, Gundy has heard his recruiting criticized on a podcast by athletic director Mike Holder. So is Gundy an underachiever or underappreciated?

2. The Mason Rudolph era has ended with the quarterback departing after throwing for 13,267 yards. Oklahoma State faces a four-way competition between senior Taylor Cornelius, sophomore Keondre Wudtee, Hawaii grad transfer Dru Brown and incoming freshman Spencer Sanders. Who will get the call? 

3. Is new defensive coordinator Jim Knowles and his 4-2-5 defensive scheme, imported from Duke, the cure to the Cowboys’ defensive stumbles the past few years?

TEXAS

Texas head coach Tom Herman watches from the sideline during the second half of an NCAA football game at Amon G. Carter Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, in Fort Worth, Texas. TCU won the game 24-7. (Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News)


Smiley N. Pool/Staff Photographer

Texas head coach Tom Herman watches from the sideline during the second half of an NCAA football game at Amon G. Carter Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, in Fort Worth, Texas. TCU won the game 24-7. (Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News)

Coach: Tom Herman (second season) 
Last season: 7-6 (5-4 Big 12)
Players who will be attending Big 12 media days Monday and Tuesday at The Star in Frisco: TE Andrew Beck, DE Breckyn Hager, DL Chris Nelson, OL Patrick Vahe

Three questions 

1. OK, let’s get this out of the way: Is Texas back? Or at least a Top 25 team? 

2. For the fifth straight media days, Texas will be leaving its quarterbacks back in Austin. Sam Ehlinger has the mobility and leadership and charisma that Herman seems to prize in a quarterback. Is he ready to cement his spot as the starting quarterback ahead of Shane Buechele? 

3. Neither the offensive line nor the running game was anywhere close to vintage Texas standards. Will grad transfers like offensive tackle Calvin Anderson (Rice) and running back Tre Watson (Cal) give things a boost?

TCU

TCU Horned Frogs celebrate a 39-37 win over the Stanford Cardinals after the Valero Alamo Bowl on Thursday, December 28, 2017 at the Alamodome in San Antonio. (Ashley Landis/The Dallas Morning News)


Ashley Landis/Staff Photographer

TCU Horned Frogs celebrate a 39-37 win over the Stanford Cardinals after the Valero Alamo Bowl on Thursday, December 28, 2017 at the Alamodome in San Antonio. (Ashley Landis/The Dallas Morning News)

Coach: Gary Patterson (18th season)
Last season: 11-3 (7-2 Big 12)
Players who will be attending Big 12 media days Monday and Tuesday at The Star in Frisco: DE Ben Banogu, LB Ty Summers, WR Jaelan Austin, RB Sewo Olonilua, QB Shawn Robinson

Three questions 

1. Even though he’s not officially the starter, sophomore quarterback Shawn Robinson will be representing TCU at media days. After one start as a freshman, is the former DeSoto standout ready? 

2. How much of a challenge/opportunity does that game against Ohio State on Sept. 15 at AT&T Stadium represent for the Horned Frogs and the Big 12? 

3. Can Northern Illinois grad transfer linebacker Juwaun Johnson (98 tackles, five interceptions) provide the instant impact to lessen the loss of Travin Howard?

TEXAS TECH

Texas Tech quarterback Jett Duffey throws a pass  during the Red Raiders' spring scrimmage at the Star on Saturday, April 7, 2018, in Frisco. (Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News)


Smiley N. Pool/Staff Photographer

Texas Tech quarterback Jett Duffey throws a pass during the Red Raiders’ spring scrimmage at the Star on Saturday, April 7, 2018, in Frisco. (Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News)

Coach: Kliff Kingsbury (sixth season)
Last season: 6-7 (3-6 Big 12)
Players who will be attending Big 12 media days Monday and Tuesday at The Star in Frisco: LB Dakota Allen, DB Jah’Shawn Johnson, OL Travis Bruffy, WR Ja’Deion High

Three questions 

1. After beating Texas last season to get to bowl eligibility, Tech brought Kingsbury back for another season, although athletic director Kirby Hocutt said he hoped to see improvement in 2018. With that in mind, what’s Kingsbury’s magic number to return for 2019? 

2. With three players on the Big 12 preseason team – linebacker Dakota Allen and defensive backs Jah’Shawn Johnson and Justus Parker – defense is on the rise in Lubbock. Can the unit carry the Red Raiders be this season? 

3. After several off-the-field incidents, does Jett Duffey have the maturity to be Tech’s starting quarterback?

WEST VIRGINIA

West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver Marcus Simms (8) is tackled by Utah Utes defensive back Javelin Guidry (28) during the first half of Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl at Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas on Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017. (Rose Baca/The Dallas Morning News)


Rose Baca/Staff Photographer

West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver Marcus Simms (8) is tackled by Utah Utes defensive back Javelin Guidry (28) during the first half of Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl at Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas on Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017. (Rose Baca/The Dallas Morning News)

Coach: Dana Holgorsen (eighth season) 
Last season: 7-6 (5-4 Big 12)
Players who will be attending Big 12 media days Monday and Tuesday at The Star in Frisco: QB Will Grier, LB David Long Jr., WR David Sills V, S Dravon Askew-Henry, OL Yodny Cajuste

Three questions 

1. With the best quarterback in the Big 12 and plenty of other offensive weapons, is this finally West Virginia’s time to contend in the Big 12 after going .500 in its first six conference seasons? 

2. Will Grier has the arm strength, the upside and even a Heisman Trophy website as of early this month. But does he have a chance at giving the Big 12 its second consecutive winner? 

3. Will non-conference games against Tennessee and North Carolina State cement West Virginia’s contender status or put Holgorsen on thin ice early?

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