Mack Brown Media Days
Big 12 Media Days started yesterday afternoon. But if you tuned in to ESPN yesterday expecting to hear anything about the Big 12, that was a waste of time. The four-letter sports leader didn't much discuss the Big 12. They were a bit too occupied talking with Texas Head Coach Mack Brown. It was a very shrewd media move by the Longhorn leadership.
On a day with Nebraska, Texas A&M, Baylor and Iowa State were at the podium for the assembled Big 12 media, ESPN had UT's Mack Brown booked wall-to-wall. So, the #1 source for sports was all Longhorns all the time.
There was little or no room for conference discussion while ESPN producers and hosts were busy giving Brown the full Jake Locker treatment. He made the round throughout the afternoon - Sportscenter at 1:00 (as Pelini is speaking), Sports Nation, College Football Live, and so on.
I am not going to sit here and spout conspiracy rumors or get too weird about it. Was Texas' shrewd media move designed to shut two of UT's biggest competitors (A&M and NU) out of the ESPN mix? No, I wouldn't go that far. Besides there are several other media outlets for getting Big 12 news. But, I have been around the block enough times to know there are certainly no accidents with this stuff. This was well planned and well executed on Texas' part.
Of course, Brown delivered the goods, too. That guy is the opposite of Coach Pelini in terms of his ability to engage - even enjoy - an interview. While Pelini looks like he is at the dentist, provides his business as usual comments and tries to convince reporters not to ask about the Big Ten move, Brown is smiles, affably answers questions about this year's and previous years' Longhorn squads, and hands out gifts to ESPN personalities on air (I used to have respect for you, Michelle Beadle).
The end result is that as the football world tuned in for anything Big 12, they got all things Texas. Remember, UT gets another bite at the media apple when their turn at the podium happens later this week. And, oh yeah, Nebraska and A&M - with their preseason Player of the Year candidates - got shut out on ESPN television.
Well played, Texas. Very well played.