One of the most interesting questions Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops will have to answer this season is how to use quarterback Blake Bell.
The former Bishop Carroll standout is a sophomore and appears ready for extra playing time after bursting onto the scene last year by rushing for 171 yards and 13 touchdowns in seven games. But the Sooners also return Landry Jones, who some view as the top quarterback in the Big 12.
Is there any chance the two quarterbacks split time?
"Blake’s an excellent athlete and he continues to do well," Stoops said. "He throws the ball well, but we’re not going to alternate quarterbacks. So it is pretty much the same. Red zone and short yardage, those situations. You get the extra hat."
On the hot seat — Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville may need a good season more than any other coach in the Big 12. On Monday, the former Auburn coach said his job could come into question if his team fails to reach a bowl game for the second straight season.
"Just being here a couple of years everybody said, ’You’re on the hot seat,’ " Tuberville said. "I’d like to coach a few of these guys I recruited. So hopefully we can get this thing going."
ESPN deal not done yet —
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby says the conference’s new television contract with ESPN will be a great deal. But it’s not a done deal.
In May, the league and ESPN reached a verbal agreement, according to media reports, for the league’s first-tier rights. That 13-year deal, along with a signed contract with Fox for the Big 12’s second-tier rights, were to provide the conference with about $2.6 billion in revenue through 2025, or about $20 million annually per school. But the details are still being hammered out.
“I would suggest to you that having two media companies (ESPN, Fox), 10 presidents, 10 general counsels and 10 athletic directors, who generally speaking have editorial veto authority over the preparation of the documents, as a complex environment is the understatement of the year,” Bowlsby said.
Don’t expect expansion — Bowlsby said that if the Big 12 had to vote today, it wouldn’t take any new members in.
“Having said that, expansion is on every conference’s list of discussion items,” he said. “I don’t think we can ever afford not to think about it.
“We believe it should be very difficult to get into this group of institutions.”