July 14, 2024

Big 12 Notebook: Kansas State defending champ while West Virginia picked at bottom

Kansas State head football coach Chris Klieman answers questions at the NCAA college football Big 12 media days in Arlington, Texas, Thursday, July 13, 2023.(AP Photo/Emil T. Lippe)

By STEPHEN HAWKINS AP Sports Writer
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — While TCU went to the national championship game last season, Kansas State is the defending Big 12 champion.
“A big win that probably gave us a little bit of cache as far as what we’re doing is the right way, and our kids believe that what we are doing is the right way,” coach Chris Klieman said Thursday during Big 12 media days at AT&T Stadium, where seven months earlier the Wildcats beat TCU in the Big 12 title game.
TCU had the Big 12’s first undefeated regular season since 2009 before that overtime loss to the Wildcats. The Horned Frogs still got in the four-time College Football Playoff, beating Michigan in the semifinal game before losing to Georgia.
Kansas State is going into its fifth season under Klieman after his championship-filled time at FCS power North Dakota State.
“It’s a new year, and we’ve been talking about that since we got back in mid-January, that you need to stay humble. You need to eat crumbs. You need to stay hungry,” Klieman said. “What you did yesterday is great, but it pales in comparison to what you can do today.”
VACATION OVER
West Virginia coach Neal Brown was sitting on a beach last week when he got a text message that the Mountaineers were picked to finish last in the 14-team Big 12.
“I made the mistake of looking at it. From that point on, my vacation was over,” Brown said. “I went into football mode.”
The Mountaineers are 22-25 under Brown, their worst four-year stretch since winning only 17 games from 1976-79, but new athletic director Wren Baker opted against making a coaching change. They were 5-7 last season after winning two of their last three games.
Brown said he was upset about the media poll, something he said he shared with his team in “more colorful terms” earlier this week.
“Looking forward to proving everybody wrong on that front,” he said. “We won’t finish there.”
ONGOING INVESTIGATION
Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said the school is still waiting for the results of an investigation into some athletes being suspected of wagering on sports in violation of NCAA rules.
“Right now for us, that investigation is ongoing,” Campbell said. “Just continues to not really have a lot of clarity to it, but I think we’re getting closer to getting clarity.”
The University of Iowa announced in May that 26 athletes across five sports were suspected of wagering on sports in violation of NCAA rules, and more than 100 people have been linked to an investigation.
Iowa State also acknowledged that 15 of its athletes across three sports, including football, were suspected of violating gambling rules.
“What I would just say for any of our young men that either are or aren’t involved in this is it’s a great learning lesson,” said Campbell, who said he’s not part of the investigative process. “Part of what I love about teaching is you’re teaching 18- to 22-year-old young men. There’s rules and regulations.”
ALWAYS EVOLVING
Oklahoma coach Brent Venables was asked how he has evolved after going 6-7 in his debut as the coach of the Sooners, who had their first losing season since 1998.
“You used the word evolve; that’s what you always do,” Venables responded. “Even when you go 14-1 or 15-0 or 13-0. … Even through success, you’re always looking at ways to improve and get better. Having a never-satisfied attitude is never going to change for me.”
Venables was part of two national championships as Clemson’s defensive coordinator before returning to Norman as head coach. He was on Bob Stoops staff at Oklahoma from 1999-2011 that included a national title in 2000.
“I’ve got good revisionist memory,” Venables said of Stoops’ undefeated championship in his second season. “I remember what that year was like.”