Someone Needs to Fall in Line: Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville's comments regarding the fact that the Big 12-2 is not long for this world and the leadership at the top of the Big 12-2 is weak in comparison to other conferences are still being discussed this morning and there are a couple of items that I thought could warrant some discussion. ESPN's Bruce Feldman was on the Scott Van Pelt Show and he thinks that Tuberville won't be around in a year because he's not happy with the conference (i.e., no conference championship and he has one foot out the door). That's absolutely a possibility and was discussed at length on DTN. My personal feeling was that Tuberville was expressing his displeasure over the fact that the conference lost two universities and doesn't have a conference championship. I'm not real happy with the way that things have played out either, but I just didn't take those comments in the same context as Feldman did, i.e. that Tuberville won't be at Texas Tech for more than a year.
This is an odd stance, especially to me when I see Tuberville working so hard on improving the facilities. I suppose if Feldman just heard those quotes, but didn't read about the rest of the stuff that Tuberville is improving, then I can see where he has a point. For example, Tuberville thinks the stadium improvements are "unbelievable", that he's having drawings done for an indoor workout facility and immediately revamped the weight-room, and that he thinks that the new football facility helps display Texas Tech's football tradition, which Tuberville thinks is important. Not only that, Tuberville raised the money, on his own, for the new fieldturf installation on the practice field. Again, I get that one could think that Tuberville isn't happy with the conference, but I don't know that this means that Tuberville isn't invested at Texas Tech.
Tulsa World's Dave Sittler writes this morning that Tuberville should be fighting for the Big 12, you know, because the Big 12 has fought so hard for Texas Tech. Again, I have no false pretenses when it comes to Texas Tech and I think that a majority of Texas Tech fans can concede that Texas Tech was directly tied to Texas, but I'd also say that it appears that the rest of the conference was tied to UT as well. Sittler has this to say:
But there are a whole bunch of schools that desperately need it to survive. And Texas Tech could be one of them.
Yes, Tech was a candidate when the Pac-10 wanted to add six Big 12 teams. But now that Utah has accepted an invitation along with Colorado, the Pac-10 only has four spots left to reach its goal of a 16-team conference.
Iowa State, Missouri, Kansas, Kansas State and Baylor already know their chances of hooking on with another BCS conference could be slim should the Big 12 fold. Texas Tech could join them if the Pac-10 takes Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas A&M.
So the prudent approach for Tuberville right now would seem to be to enlist in the fight to save the Big 12 instead of surrendering. At the very least, his negative comments to Rivals radio host Bill King had to leave many of his fellow Big 12 members extremely disappointed.
I'm trying to count the number of Big 12 universities that would not be pleased with Tuberville's comments, and right now, I can only think of one school. Sure, I'd guess that ISU, MU, KU, KSU and BU don't want to see the Big 12 ripped apart and Sittler is right to an extent. There's a very real chance that when the conference realignment dominoes fall again, and they will fall again, that Texas Tech could be left out in the cold, but I would find it baffling if Tuberville's unhappiness with the way that things have transpired would leave Texas Tech without options. Tuberville's comments won't preclude or include Texas Tech. There are a ton of factors that will play into the decision, but none of those factors will include Tuberville's comments.
And Sittler's request for Tuberville to join the fight to keep the Big 12-2 together seems misguided as well. Tuberville's thoughts about the Big 12-2 (the Big 12-2 won't last long, there is too much disparity of revenue sharing and the Big 12-2 commissioner isn't very good) don't seem to be so out of line with what a lot of people are saying. I don't necessarily credit Tuberville because he has the "guts" to give his opinion, but I do think that they were intentional.
This isn't about taking a stand, it's about getting the message out in the public.
Chancellor Kent Hance said the same thing two weeks ago, but no one is talking about his comments and all we hear are crickets. Tuberville goes on Rivals Radio with Bill King and it was THE college football story for the past two days.
Overrated and Underrated Players: NE State Paper's Samuel McKewon has his 10 overrated and 10 underrated players in the Big 12. QB Taylor Potts makes the overrated list because McKewon thinks that Potts may not win the starting job, which seems odd considering that as of the spring, Tuberville hasn't named a starter and both he and QB Steven Sheffield are neck-and-neck (if I'm wrong about this let me know, but I don't recall anything from Tuberville after the spring where he committed to one player over the other). Sheffield makes the underrated list, as does RB Baron Batch:
Baron Batch, Texas Tech running back
Why he’s on the list: He compiled 1,279 total yards and 15 touchdowns rushing and receiving, yet is considered more of a "product" of the Red Raiders’ offense than an effective weapon. Batch, however, is the real deal - a dependable, quicker-than-you-think scatback who could enjoy a nice future in the NFL.
There are some pretty surprising names on McKewon's overrated list. Check it out.
Fresh Faces: ESPN's David Ubben is looking at the fresh faces on each team and first up was your Red Raiders. Ubben picked RB Harrison Jeffers, RB Eric Stephens, C Justin Keown and LB Sam Fehoko. Anyone that you would add to that list? Who hasn't been on the field much that you'd expect to make a fairly significant impact this year? Here's the post-spring depth chart (PDF) if you need a cheat-sheet.