Bob Bowlsby is committed to the Big 12, and the Big 12 is committed to him.
After five years as the conference’s commissioner, Bowlsby said Monday that he plans to sign a contract extension that will run through 2025.
The Big 12 hired Bowlsby in 2012 to lead the conference during an unstable time after the departures of Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Texas A&M. Now the league is giving him the opportunity to lead during stable times and build toward the future.
“I am a pretty young 65,” Bowlsby said. “I will stay at it for a while. I like what I am doing. I like the schools. The (Big 12) board has been very good to me. Our board has been as unified as it as has been at any time during my five years. They really feel good about where we are and that makes me feel good. I plan to be here for a while.”
Bowlsby’s biggest short-term challenge will be helping Big 12 teams reach pinnacles such as the college football playoff. He thinks he has done that by restoring the conference’s championship game and boosting league-wide revenue to $34 million per team, not including each school’s third-tier television earnings.
His biggest long-term challenge will be ensuring the conference stays together after its grant of rights, an agreement to share top-tier TV earnings, expires in 2025. Some have predicted another round of conference realignment around that time.
College football fans can expect shorter halftimes this season.
Bowlsby said halftime will be strictly limited to 20 minutes in an attempt to shorten games. In the past, halftime periods have been kept to a loose 20 minutes. Some schools wait to start the countdown clock or allow extra time for marching bands to perform.
Bowlsby said home teams could be penalized for exceeding halftime limits.
No offense, but why no defense?
Reporters didn’t take it easy on Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury on Monday. Under his guidance, the Red Raiders have been offensive juggernauts and defensive wimps. Last season, they lost games by scores of 68-55 and 66-59.
So, as one reporter put it, why can’t Texas Tech recruit good enough defensive players to hold opponents to 30 points?
“That’s a great question,” Kingsbury said. “I wish I had the answer. Like I said, that’s something we work on. We haven’t been good enough defensively, and we’ll continue to try and recruit the right players and develop them and get better.”
The best college football team in the state of Texas last season was Kansas State.
At least that’s what K-State fans will tell you after the Wildcats went undefeated against Baylor, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas and Texas Tech on their way to a 9-4 record last year. That’s a sign of the times after all six Lone Star State teams were left out of the final top 25 polls.
“We should be embarrassed we don’t have a team in the top 25,” Patterson said. “There’s a lot of good football players, even that come to our schools, that can play and play at a high level, and we need to play better. It’s simple as that.”
Many theories have been tossed around about the recent decline of college football in the state of Texas. The Longhorns dipped under former coach Charlie Strong, the Bears are recovering from scandal and the Red Raiders are trying to learn how to play defense.
But in-state recruits are also leaving for SEC country now that Texas A&M has switched conferences after previously staying loyal to Big 12 teams.
“We’ve got to do a better job of keeping them in the state,” Patterson said. “If you want to have great teams, you have to have great players. No doubt about it, that’s what we have to be able to do.”
From QB to LB
A year after throwing for 1,290 yards and nine touchdowns, Joel Lanning is poised to start at linebacker for Iowa State.
You don’t often see college football players make the transition from throwing passes to tackling running backs, but Lanning has truly embraced the change. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound senior feels at home on defense and isn’t looking back, other than the possibility of leading a special wildcat package.
“I have had a lot of fun doing it,” Lanning said. “This is the most fun I have ever had playing football. I’m running around free. Hitting people is fun, too. All around, it’s great.”
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett