Campus Corner

Ask Kellis: football, basketball, jet lag and Big 12 expansion

K-State basketball coach Bruce Weber.
K-State basketball coach Bruce Weber. The Wichita Eagle

I can’t stop thinking about the challenge that awaits Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby.

At some point in the coming weeks, according to ESPN, he will watch expansion presentations from 17 different schools via Skype, Facetime, Power Point or some other online service. The Dallas Morning News reports each presentation will last “a couple hours.”

As the poor guy in that old Snickers commercial that accidentally painted Chefs in the Kansas City end zone once said ... “Great googly moogly.”

I mean, seriously. Do you understand how big and unnecessary an undertaking Bowlsby faces here? That’s 34 hours (minimum) of proposals from schools that, for the most part, have no prayer of joining the Big 12. There are very few things I can binge watch for even a few hours, let alone 34. Netflix could release new seasons of House of Cards, Bloodline and BoJack Horseman at the exact same time, and the thought of spending 34 hours in front of a screen would still send chills down my spine.

And Bowlsby isn’t getting anything nearly that entertaining.

Sure, he will be attentive when Houston, Cincinnati and BYU tell him all about their fine institutions. But that stretch between SMU, East Carolina and New Mexico is going to be brutal, worse than a timeshare presentation because there is no TV or meal voucher at the end. I imagine it will be like turning on your TV and realizing you can only get PBS, or worse, HSN.

Here’s guessing Bowlsby invests in some glasses that make him appear awake when his eyes are actually closed, like Homer Simpson on jury duty. Hopefully, Apu isn’t nearby to rat on him.

Now, onto your questions. Thanks, as always, for asking them.

I don’t have much inside information to offer that isn’t already out there.

In the past week, we’ve had K-State offensive coordinator Dana Dimel lobby against Houston, we’ve had LGBT groups lobby against BYU, and we’ve had Memphis try to boost its candidacy by sending ribs to Texas Tech.

But I can tell you momentum is building in some circles to expand by two schools instead of four. Though 14 would bring in more money and possibly add increased security to the conference, many I’ve talked to think a 14-team conference is too big and not worth the scheduling headaches. Twelve also seems like a good middle ground with the TV networks. The addition of two teams would add value to the conference. Fourteen may dilute it.

Right now, I would label the favorites Houston and Cincinnati. BYU is the wild card. If the Big 12 decides it wants all three, one other school (maybe Memphis) will get a golden ticket.

That’s an interesting question that I have asked to a few K-State coaches and players.

The Wildcats have won at least nine games the last six times they returned their leading passer from the previous season. And in five of those instances they won 11 games. Ertz returns after opening last season as the starter, but Joe Hubener was the team’s top passer. So which QB should we expect more from?

My money remains on Ertz to win the starting job and I think he will ultimately play well this season. But he has never thrown a pass in a live game. He will face some kind of learning curve early. I think it’s fair to expect good things from Ertz (he was an active leader and observer last season) but unfair to expect great things. This K-State team isn’t winning 11 games.

K-State will win a lot more games than many of us project if it ends up with a bad ass QB. And Ertz still has three years in front of him assuming the NCAA gives him an extra season of eligibility following his injury. Also, K-State’s offense will return all but a few starters next season. So the future would be very bright.

We should see Dalvin Warmack get regular work at running back this season. Probably not as the starter, but he will be in the mix.

He has quality speed and is probably the best pass-catcher coming out of the backfield. The way K-State worked him into the Liberty Bowl showed how much coaches think he has improved.

Most definitely.

Bruce Weber said this trip would prove the toughness of K-State’s basketball team, and it didn’t show much of it in its first exhibition game, losing to a team Missouri beat by double digits. So it was a little strange to see Weber credit his team for playing through jet lag in the defeat when he had previously said that couldn’t be an excuse on this trip.

Maybe he changed his mind after seeing how little sleep the team got? Not sure.

Delta cancellations stranded the Wildcats in Atlanta for a night and the team was a day late arriving in Rome. Then players spent the entire day touring the city before taking the basketball court. Not the most ideal leadup to a game, but Weber set the schedule to test his players and they didn’t respond well in that instance.

They seemed to respond better yesterday, winning 97-80.

The goal of a trip like this is to get to the point where you can play through jet lag the way Oklahoma’s football team did last year. Maybe you don’t remember, but the Sooners were stranded at the Oklahoma City airport for hours trying to get Manhattan. They arrived after midnight for a morning kickoff and had to cancel their walk through. Then they took the field and won 55-0.

I do think K-State will return to the NCAA Tournament this season.

The Wildcats weren’t that far away from an invitation last season, and they appear improved and they will be playing in a weakened Big 12. I don’t think 20 victories and a postseason trip are too much to ask.

Xavier Sneed looks like the best new contributor of the bunch. Following an exhibition victory in Europe yesterday he said “it feels like I have been playing with these guys forever.”

And though he’s not new, I also expect more contributions from Carlbe Ervin. He didn’t play all that well as a junior, but K-State coaches say he has improved and he has played well in both of the team’s exhibition games.

Bill Snyder has 193 career victories to his name, so this question comes down to whether I think the Wildcats will win seven games this season.

I think it happens, with victory No. 7 coming on Nov. 26 against Kansas.

K-State basketball reaches the NCAA Tournament, followed by BYU in the Big 12, followed by Snyder retiring this season followed by Boscoe.

K-State quarterbacks are due for some good look this year, at least on the health front. I think Ertz could start all 12 games and potentially a bowl, which would top most optimistic projections for the basketball team.

Road basketball wins.

Coach Mike Dibbini will need four conference titles to hit the over. The gauntlet has been tossed.

Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett

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