DALLAS -- Cleaning out a crowded notebook and a cluttered mind between Bob Bowlsby's scathing critique of the NCAA on Monday to start and West Virginia's appearance today to end what is almost certainly the most lavish and well-organized media day event this side of a Super Bowl:
When West Virginia showed up for its first Big 12 football media day event a year ago, it was striking how self-confident the school's representatives seemed. Instead of being nervous in their new surroundings, Geno Smith and Co. wowed 'em with confidence that stopped just perfectly short of bravado.
Well, we don't know yet how WVU's representatives this year will act (Will Clarke, Karl Joseph and Quinton Spain arrive today), but there was plenty of confidence on display Monday.
Take Oklahoma State receiver Josh Stewart, for example.
"It's ridiculous how much talent we have, not just at wide receiver, but at running back, everywhere,'' said Stewart, one of five straight opponents who won offensive player of the week honors playing against WVU's defense when he had 13 catches for 172 yards and scored three times. "We've got the talent, we've got the coaching, we've got everything laid out for us. All we have to do is go out and do it.''
Or how about TCU running back Wayne James, who didn't even play most of last year because he was hurt?
"Scary,'' he said of the Horned Frogs. "We can do anything we want to do.''
Of course, then there's the flip side from Charlie Weis, whose team was a near-unanimous choice in the media poll to finish last.
"We were 1-11 and picked by everybody to finish last in the league. And that's justifiable,'' Weis said. "If I were you, I'd pick us in the same spot. We've given you no evidence or no reason to be picked anywhere other than that.''
Later, though, Weis was a bit miffed by some in the instant media who had already tweeted or blogged or written or otherwise inferred that Weis was saying to give up on his team. That's not what he was saying.
"I'm talking about what they saw last year,'' he said.
There are some really wide swings in the caliber of competition Big 12 teams are playing in the non-conference part of the schedule this season.
For instance, Baylor opens with Wofford and Buffalo; Kansas State with North Dakota State, Louisiana-Lafayette and UMass; West Virginia has William & Mary and Georgia State.
TCU opens with LSU.
"Football isn't like baseball or basketball. There you can set your schedule,'' TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "In basketball, you can look at your roster and what you have, how young or how veteran you are, and schedule most [of your non-conference] games accordingly. In football, you can't do that [because schedules are made so far in advance]. Maybe you can do it with one game, but otherwise you have no choice.''
Then there's Oklahoma State, the preseason pick to win the league. The Cowboys play Mississippi State in Houston to open, then go to Texas-San Antonio.