Quotes from the Commissioner. BOB BOWLSBY:
We have had a tremendous year competitively. We
have had a very good year financially. I think our ADs
and our Board are the most aligned that they have
been in the seven years that I’ve been with the
conference. I’m very excited about what we are doing
in this building. We like having this event here, but we
also enjoy the 83,000 people that we had here last
year in December for the championship game. So
starting and ending the season in AT&T Stadium,
which I consider the grandest sports venue in the
world, is a great thing for us. We’re glad to be here.
In addition to setting the record for attendance at a
conference championship game, our basketball
tournament was the best attended in our history and
also among all of the major conferences last year. We
captured four national championships, Baylor women’s
basketball, of course, Oklahoma women’s gymnastics,
UT men’s tennis program and Texas Tech men’s
outdoor track program. We had a great year. We had
four other schools that competed in the finals of their
sport and were runners-up.
Literally hundreds of individual coaching and student-
athlete awards over the course of the year, including
our second Heisman trophy in a row with Kyler Murray.
Then more recently just to single out one, how about
Matthew Wolfe graduating from Oklahoma State being
the National Player of the Year and already getting a
first tour victory on the PGA Tour after less than a
month. That’s great. You like to see young people
succeed like that.
This is the year that we will celebrate college football’s
150th anniversary. The first game was in 1869
between Princeton and Rutgers, November 6th, 1869.
You will hear from Kevin Weiberg and I think you will
have an opportunity to learn a little bit about the
celebration and how we are going to memorialize what
has been a real American phenomenon. As I said
earlier, college football is a great thing. It’s the best
regular season in all of sports, especially the month is
of October and November.
The new digital network that the Big 12 will have will be
called Big 12 Now on ESPN+. I know that Nick
Dawson from ESPN is here. I don’t know exactly
where he is, but Nick is on site and he deserves a lot of
credit for the new venture that we have. Big 12 Now
will be combined with our first tier inventory which is on
Fox and ESPN. ESPN will, the ESPN+ app and Big 12
Now will be available on Apple TV, on Android devices,
on Roku, ChromeCast, FireTV, it’s available on Xbox
One, PlayStation 4, Oculus Go and all new Samsung
TVs among a wide array of other places you can get it.
So whether it’s your mobile device, your iPad, your
Android or some manner of consumption you have with
your home 80-inch TV, this is going to be omnipresent.
It’s available 24/7, 365 worldwide. It doesn’t diminish
our reliance on ESPN and Fox as our partners with our
tier 1 consumption, but all of our sports will be available
on ESPN+, on Big 12 Now at one time or another.
There is a Big 12 landing page that is menu-driven,
very easy to use and when it’s fully functional and
operational, ESPN+ and Big 12 Now on ESPN+ will be
carrying over 800 Big 12 events. Fox will continue to
have some selection opportunities on some of our
Olympic sports and some of our women’s basketball
sports, but as I say, 24/7, 365 worldwide.
Relative to football, I would just reiterate that we’re still
the only one playing a full Round Robin. We play nine
conference games and one required autonomy FBS
opponent. Last year we were 4-3 in the postseason.
We have been 13-8 over the last three seasons and
have a winning record against every one of the
autonomy conferences that we have played.
One particular statistic I would like you all to make note
of, I want to see pencils moving and fingers tapping on
this. Last year of our seven bowl games, six of the
seven were held below their season averages
offensively by Big 12 defenses. Six of seven offenses
were held below their season average by Big 12
defenses. Contrary to popular belief there are kids that
tackle in the Big 12. Thank you for noting that. Half of
our games last year were decided by 8 or fewer points.
That’s a great thing. I think it’s part of the reason why
the attendance trend has largely avoided us. I think
playing everybody every year allows for good traditions,
and I think having teams that are very competitive
makes for people that wanting to go the stadium. If
you’re coming into this league as four new people are
this year, it’s a daunting task to try and find wins.
These four new coaches are all excellent veteran,
seasoned coaches, but not surprisingly their teams are
picked 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th in our league this year.
Les Miles and Chris Klieman have both won national
championships. Both are extraordinarily talented
veteran head coaches. Matt Wells at Texas Tech has
honed his craft and has great teams at Utah State and
is a great asset to Texas Tech. Neal Brown is one of
the coaches that I’ve been keeping an eye on. He is
an outstanding young coach. I don’t envy the task they
have. They all have to come in and build programs.
They all have lots of work to do and they all have the
vision right in front of their consciousness that there
aren’t a lot of days off in the Big 12.