By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Editor
Wall Street just may be the place to go to figure out real value among the Big 12 football teams. After six football players Thursday became the first current athletes to join a lawsuit against the NCAA pertaining to the use of college athletes' names and likeness, the NCAA is threatened with some pretty wild times in the world of big money. Players want their share and a labor dispute looms.
There’s also this potential class action suit from concussed players, arising from claims that the organization is not doing enough to prevent young men from head trauma. If the NFL is seriously concerned about this at the professional level, the NCAA better be.
Some say the first suit would drive the dollars out of many non-revenue sport scholarships. Instead, I’m inclined to bet the first action in the event of such a lawsuit being won is another spike in ticket prices, but that’s just me.
And liability insurance alone, if not the potentially devastating hit of a class action suit, well, those costs will have to be recovered too.
Bottom line, have those checkbooks in hand. Those trips to Norman, Stillwater or for that matter, Tulsa, won’t get any cheaper, and it might cost you some investments to keep those season tickets. And for the couch potatoes, how about the double jeopardy of pay-per-view cable? Don’t laugh. You’ve gotten in on the yawners already.
OK, enough of that. Back to a more soothing notion.
Football’s almost here. Worry about how you’ll pay for it later.
Big 12 media days begin today in Dallas. Mike Gundy’s Cowboys lead things off. Bob Stoops and Mack Brown are among those who follow on Tuesday, 81 days from that group session at the Cotton Bowl which, according to StubHub, will cost you $241 to $1,399 per ticket. OU-Texas has been higher.
The media released preseason predictions last week and Gundy’s guys are atop the stack for the first time ever. Today, they’ll get their first close look of the 2013 season at those assessments.
So on the subject of money and investments, let’s play around with these assessed values.
Oklahoma State. Current value, tops in the Big 12 preseason. (Trending up).
For now, the smart money is going in the Cowboys’ direction. An explosive offense will again put the points on the board with Josh Stewart, Charlie Moore and Tracy Moore catching what’s thrown their way (tip: Buy some shares on the latter to have a big season).
While the Cowboys showed last year that all three (now two) quarterbacks could perform in a pinch, a steady season from Clint Chelf, free of injury, insures this investment. OK, maybe J.W. Walsh. But not in tandem. Investors tend to run from quarterback controversies and in this case, will maintain a bull market.
Defensively, Calvin Burnett may be the best defensive lineman in the Big 12. Justin Gilbert and an on-his-way Kevin Peterson should keep enough Big 12 receivers in check. But watch that return trip to Stillwater TCU has to make for the price of admission to the league. That was one of the Frogs’ worse games a year ago and Gary Patterson’s bunch is more than capable of nursing long memories.
• Oklahoma: Current value, second place (trending down)
Blake Bell looks the part. Sheer numbers aside, he has to have that extra something at quarterback that Landry Jones didn’t, which was avoid mistakes at inopportune times which no matter the other numbers one puts up, proves costly in BCS circles. The good thing is, there’s no overwhelming quarterback in the Big 12 right now in terms of Heisman market potential. But there’s something intriguing here that with a good start, could put Bell on that list.
But he’ll need a lot of help from the other side of the ball. And the returns on Mike Stoops’ defense weren’t great in 2012. That must get better, or the Sooners could easily slip into a middle-tier bowl.
• TCU: Current value. third place (trending up).
For all the overvaluing of their Mountain West past, the Frogs proved themselves Big 12 worthy last year, battling OU close and knocking off West Virginia and Texas on the road. The Frogs return a slew of talent (seven offensive and 10 defensive starters). One of those, Trevon Boykin, might end up as a running back if Casey Pachall has put his substance abuse issues behind him, leaving the good substance he showed stepping in for Andy Dalton two seasons ago at quarterback. A debut win at the Jerrydome against LSU will rocket-launch this team in the national picture, a blowout could send this team toward the middle of the league.
• Texas: Current value, fourth place (trending up)
Bottom line is, Mack Brown may be under more pressure than anyone to get this team out of the also-ran doldrums of the last several years. But if you’re not sold on Texas, at least peddle “The Empire Strikes Back” as an inspirational tune for Austin tailgaters. Trader’s hunch says Johnathan Gray becomes Adrian Peterson in orange this year. That will make David Ash look like Colt McCoy, which is better than being Case McCoy, who fell behind Ash in the QB battle after Ash’s Alamo Bowl win.
• Baylor: Current value, fifth place (steady but shaky).
Lache Seastrunk is a big-play running back who announced his own Heisman campaign and compared incoming Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty to Tim Tebow. Maybe so, but there’s that defensive issue.
• Kansas State: Current value, sixth place (trending up).
Collin Klein has left the house and so have a lot of other Wildcats. But discounting the Wildcats is dangerous when Bill Snyder is on the sideline.
• Texas Tech: Current value, seventh place (holding steady).
Maybe the best value in Lubbock? An investment in those women’s T-shirts that say “Our Coach is Hotter Than Your Coach.” Welcome back to campus, Kliff Kingsbury. The gals are still interested.
• West Virginia: Current value: eighth (stagnant).
Um, the Mountaineers’ transition from the Big East turned quite bearish after that win against Mack’s guys. It may not get much better in year two.
• Iowa State. Current value: ninth (steady).
Can the Cyclones become the new Missouri for KU? Otherwise, buy into no other option than an Cyclone upset at some point.
• Kansas: Current value: last (holding steady).
T-shirts about coaches was once a booming business in Lawrence when you could find those “Our coach can eat your coach” T-shirt from the Mark Mangino era. Mangino’s body image was seen as a negative by some influential boosters. How’s the image on the field these days, people?
Big 12 football media days
• Today: OSU, Kansas St., TCU, Kansas and Texas Tech.
• Tuesday: OU, Texas, Baylor, W. Virginia and Iowa St.
• Where: Downtown Dallas (TV: FSO, 9 a.m.)