It’s Day Two at Big 12 media days. One day of football talk in the books. One more to go. On Monday, we heard K-State’s Bill Snyder discuss Collin Klein’s leadership skills; we heard from TCU’s Gary Patterson on the Horned Frogs’ move to the Big 12; and we heard Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops, Texas Tech’s Tommy Tuberville, and Iowa State’s Paul Rhoads talk about all the matters that seem important in late July.
Now it’s a new day. And Kansas coach Charlie Weis will take the stage to address the writers at close to 11:30 a.m.
In honor of Weis’ first trip to Big 12 media day, here are three questions to ponder as Weis and KU prepare for their day in Dallas. (And honestly, you can probably ponder these for a while after, as well. This is media day, after all, and some of these questions won’t have definitive answers for months.)1 Will Weis make relevant — at least, for a day?
This is, perhaps, the most intriguing question on Tuesday. It’s one thing to be bad. It’s another to be awful — and totally uninteresting.
Weis will give KU a new voice — and it will be interesting to see if his message can carry beyond the state of Kansas. Weis has struck nearly all the right notes during his first spring and summer on the job. (He doesn’t want to lob bombs at the previous regime, he says, but he’s not shy in being bluntly honest when assessing his team’s talent level.)
Of course, Weis has also had one major advantage. KU hasn’t played a game yet. That will still be the case on Tuesday. But the clock is beginning to tick.
During his first six months on the job, Weis has generally been on point in getting out in front of the message. (Example: When he tossed a group of kids off the team earlier this year, he told reporters exactly why.)
In the Big 12 landscape, KU certainly could use a jolt of something. Remember this: The last time KU beat a current member of the Big 12 conference? Oct. 10, 2009, against Iowa State.
So will there be a message on Tuesday?2 Where does Dayne Crist rank among Big 12 signal-callers?
The last time Crist played close to a full season — in 2010 at Notre Dame — he threw for 2,033 yards and 15 touchdowns while completing 59.2 percent of his passes in eight-plus games. (He missed the final four-plus games with injury.)
Crist, of course, was playing under first-year coach Brian Kelly in 2010 — and not under Weis, the coach who recruited him to South Bend.
But for comparison’s sake, here’s the five Big 12 signal-callers that appeared on the preseason Davey O’Brien Watch List, the award given annually to the best quarterback in college football.
Seth Doege, Texas Landry Jones, Oklahoma Collin Klein, Kansas State Casey Pachall, TCU Geno Smith, West Virginia
Smith is the preseason Big 12 offensive player of the year, while Jones is a possible early-round pick in the NFL Draft. Doege put up ridiculous numbers in the Red Raiders’ offense, Pachall had a 158.0 passer rating while leading TCU to a Mountain West title, and Klein’s numbers (13 passing TDs, 27 rushing TDs) are head-turning as well.
At this moment, based on numbers and history, it’s hard to rank Crist ahead of anybody in that group. But you can craft an argument that Crist is a solid sixth — with the potential to improve. And that’s more than you could say about the quarterback position at this time last season.3 What’s the over-under on victories for Kansas this season?
Let’s make this simple: In the past two seasons, the Jayhawks have finished a combined 5-19 and 1-16 in the Big 12. That’s an average of 2.5 victories per season. Would three wins be an improvement? Well, statistically, yes.
Is four or five victories achievable. Sure.
But that would also probably mean an undefeated non-conference season, which includes a game at a solid Northern Illinois program on Sept. 22, and at least one victory in the Big 12. As Weis put it earlier this summer, which Big 12 game should KU be favored in?
It’s too early to know for sure what KU can be. But four wins — with a handful of other competitive conference games — seems like a step up from last season.