Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Big 12 notebook: Is the league hurt if Texas is winning in everything but football?

ARLINGTON — Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby first tried to sidestep a question on Wednesday about whether it was good for the league to have one dominant team. “You talking about in the sport of football?” he asked.

Texas fans certainly can’t be happy that Oklahoma has won six straight league titles. And now with Iowa State on the upswing, UT is knocked down another peg, at least as far as the preseason poll is concerned.

Does it hurt the league that Texas, a signature team, hasn’t played championship-level football?

“Texas just won the Directors’ Cup, so that’s emblematic of the best (athletic) program in the country,” Bowlsby said. “They won three national championships this year, and now they have a brand new football coach. I think Steve Sarkisian is an outstanding football coach. But the expectation at Texas is high. It always is.

Our 13th annual preseason Top 25:No. 18 Texas turns keys over to a new coach, quarterback

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby smiles as he listens to a question Wednesday morning during the start of Big 12 media days in Arlington. He said, "... the expectation at Texas is high," addressing the top teams in the conference. "It always is."

“When you ask the question about Oklahoma being designated in the preseason poll, that doesn’t sit well in Austin,” he added. “They’re going to do everything they can to make sure that it’s the Longhorns that get designated as soon as possible.”

Horns add recruit: For Texas fans, the biggest news to come out of the Dallas-Fort Worth area on Wednesday has nothing to do with the Big 12 media days.

The Longhorns added on to their 2022 recruiting class when Austin Jordan announced his commitment. A defensive back, Jordan attends Denton Ryan.

According to the 247Sports composite rankings, the 6-foot, 190-pound Jordan is a four-star prospect. He took official visits this summer to Texas, Oklahoma and Ohio State.

Texas' 2022 class now has 15 names attached to it. Port Arthur Memorial's Jaylon Guilbeau, who is the only remaining recruit who committed to former UT coach Tom Herman, and Aledo's Bryan Allen Jr., are the class' other two defensive backs.

Stewart on AD radar: Bowlsby took special mention to praise the league’s executive associate commissioner, Ed Stewart. As the league’s primary point person for football, Stewart ran the Big 12’s medical committee and works directly with game officials.

Bowlsby had the perfect setup for Stewart, who was thought to be a finalist for the Nebraska athletic director position. Stewart was a captain on the Huskers’ 1994 national championship team and now a well-established college sports executive.

However, literally at the same time Bowlsby was talking on stage at AT&T Stadium, Nebraska officials announced on social media that they had hired Trev Alberts, another former player, for the position. “The future of Big Red is bright,” Alberts said in a statement.

TCU’s Hill promoted: TCU coach Gary Patterson loves his coaching staff and especially raves about his new quarterbacks coach. Who just happens to be an old quarterback of his.

Patterson promoted former quarterback Kenny Hill from offensive analyst to quarterbacks coach.

“Kenny has the 'it' factor as far as his personality,” Patterson said. “And along with that goes recruiting. His relationship with kids on campus are great, how they relate to him. Kids just gravitate to him.”

Hill, who once played at Texas A&M, transferred to TCU and led the Frogs to an 11-3 record and a spot in the Big 12 championship as well as a final No. 9 ranking.

“It became very clear he’d be the right answer for us,” Patterson said, “especially with his relationships with Max (Duggan) and the other quarterbacks. He has such a high-end personality, and he loves football.”

WVU improving: West Virginia was picked to finish sixth in the Big 12 preseason poll after finishing in the same spot last season.

Coach Neal Brown enters his third season in Morgantown with an 11-11 mark. The Mountaineers were 6-4 overall in 2020 and 4-4 in conference play last year.

Brown isn’t sweating the projections. He had had a quiet confidence about him in Wednesday's interview session when asked if the pollsters are sleeping on the Mountaineers.

“You can’t control where you’re at in the preseason,” Brown said. “I tell my players all the time: Either prove them right or prove them wrong. To play better, you have to practice better. Our theme for this year is to be better. That’s our objective. In every phase, be better.”

Running back Leddie Brown brings star power after rushing for 1,110 yards and nine touchdowns, but defensive lineman Dante Stills and the nation’s fourth-ranked defense will ultimately determine if the Mountaineers make serious inroads to conference title contention.

Pumping up Vaughn: Iowa State's Breece Hall and West Virginia's Brown met with the media on Wednesday and Texas star Bijan Robinson will hold court on Thursday. Other running backs are being talked about in Arlington, though.

Kansas State coach Chris Klieman referred to his talented running back as “underrated.” A second-year sophomore from Round Rock, Deuce Vaughn broke out during his freshman year with the Wildcats.

In 2020, he rushed for 642 yards and scored nine times. He averaged 5.2 yards per rush. He also averaged 17.4 yards over his 25 receptions.

“What I mean by (underrated) is everybody knows his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and make people miss and get matchup problems there,” Klieman said. “Just in our two-back offense, behind a fullback or one-back set, he’s such a terrific running back with great vision and great balance and sees things so well, but I know he needs to improve on his pass protection and I know he wants to improve on more adjustments and checks and more defensive identity things that he wants to master, so to speak.”

Kirk Bohls, Danny Davis and Cedric Golden contributed to this report.

Contact Brian Davis by phone or text at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com or @BDavisAAS.