Three days. Twelve coaches. Thirty-five players. Some 60 million questions with the words "confidence," "momentum," "outlook" or "Kerry Meier" somewhere in it.
This was one hectic week at Big 12 Conference media days, held Monday through Wednesday at the Marriott Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Mo. Being closer to the rest of civilization, the Kansas City crowd was much thicker than last year's Houston bunch, and with it came zaniness that only a couple hundred workers who make a living around sports can create.
l Missouri, with new media guide restrictions forcing the books down to 208 pages, still managed to mismanage its precious space. Before the restriction, Mizzou had guides the size of Jupiter. Now, it just sliced out statistics, historical records and anything else the media might need in a media guide.
In its place, among other weird things, is 10 pages of pictures of all the equipment Tiger football players are issued. That includes four chinstraps, two shoulder pads, 35 pairs of shoes, 31 T-shirts, 12 different hats and 20 variations of face masks. Remember, every variation of every piece of equipment is represented by a photo. Eleven different pairs of gloves have page 67 all to themselves, but don't you dare ask the career win-loss total for Bob Stull. It ain't in here.
l Texas Tech coach Mike Leach, while butting heads with reporters from time to time, has the weirdest sense of humor among the Big 12 coaches by far. When asked if there's a dream job for him outside of Texas Tech, Leach talked about his love of Lubbock's heat without the humidity. He then invited the reporter to come visit.
"I'll show you a great steak place, and pretty soon you'll move to Lubbock," he said. "You'll have to keep that to yourself, otherwise everybody will be there, and you and I will both want to move."
Guess that answers that. Or not.
l Most coaches and players are asked to go on one of dozens of radio stations with remotes set up in the main hallway. Coaches usually hit a bunch of them in a row, and I wondered if some of the subjects did an interview having no clue where the airwaves were heading.
Well, Colorado coach Dan Hawkins confirmed it. On Kansas City radio, Hawkins started the interview over the air by asking "Now what city is this?"
l Seems every year the national media remember one Kansas University game and asks endless questions about it nine months after it's played. Last year, the 27-23 loss to Texas in '04 - and Nick Reid's missed tackle of Vince Young - was beaten to death. This year, KU's 40-15 victory over Nebraska won the prize.
Coach Mark Mangino called it "marquee" because, among other things, "we finally ended the streak that was really getting on my nerves."
Nebraska cornerback Zackary Bowman predictably wasn't as thrilled, saying, "I thought the world was going to end. That had to be the longest bus ride ever back to Lincoln."
Little did he know, the reporters had a salt shaker ready, almost one year later, to sprinkle on the wound. Gotta love us.