DALLAS - West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen and his players were nowhere to be found Monday morning at the Big 12 media gathering here.That's because the event is so large that five schools appear on Monday and the other five will face the media today.Holgorsen will be here today along with quarterback Geno Smith, wide receiver Tavon Austin, center Joe Madsen and defensive end Will Clarke.But the Mountaineers weren't completely off the radar Monday. In addition to the inevitable questions asked of coaches and players regarding newcomers WVU and TCU to the league, the conference's mascots and a few cheerleaders were there roaming the floors of the Westin Galleria, including WVU's.While nearly all the other mascots are fuzzy-headed figures apparently forbidden to speak, new Mountaineer Jonathan Kimble held court for reaching reporters much of the day.New Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby talked several times about expansion, but for now he doesn't see it happening.
"If we were to press for raised hands in a meeting room around the issue of expansion, I don't know that we'd get two votes for moving to a larger number,'' Bowlsby said, citing specifically the convenience of being able to play round-robin schedules in football and basketball and select a true champion. "Now, having said that, expansion is on every conference's list of discussion items. I don't think we can ever afford not to think about it.''Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones on being passed over as the preseason all-league QB in favor of WVU's Smith, who has never played a down in the league: "It is what it is. We were ranked No. 1 last year [in the preseason] and didn't win the national title. So it is what it is.''
Kansas State's well-spoken QB Collin Klein on why people don't seem to buy that the Wildcats can keep it going after winning 10 games a year ago despite sub-par offensive and defensive numbers: "I have no idea. That's probably above my pay grade.''Bowlsby said the league's TV deals with ESPN and Fox are still in the negotiation stage because "it is long, it is dense and it has lots of details.''The Big 12 and the SEC will solicit proposals from prospective hosts in the coming weeks for the in-the-works Champions Bowl between the two leagues. Don't be surprised if it goes to an existing bowl, however. After all, the Cotton Bowl is already essentially that, pitting teams from those two leagues that aren't invited to the soon-to-be defunct BCS. And they have the infrastructure in place.Has any league ever begun a season with three defending conference champions? The Big 12 will in 2012: Oklahoma State (Big 12), West Virginia (Big East) and TCU (Mountain West).The league announced Monday that it will name its coach of the year award after affable former interim commissioner Chuck Neinas, who joked that "I always thought I was the best coach, so I probably deserve this.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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