With conference realignment happenings ongoing and the season less than two weeks out, the Pistols Firing staff got together Wednesday morning to discuss a few things.
Kyle Boone: OK, so big picture: What do we make of this whole Alliance thing between the Pac-12, Big Ten and ACC?
I’ve waffled on this a lot the last few days but I …. kind of think it’s just a PR move orchestrated by a bunch of new-on-the-job commissioners feeling some pressure to do something in response to the SEC.
Marshall Scott: I think it was sort of pointless. Maybe I’ll see its value after the first voting power move on some topic, but the fact that it isn’t tied together with anything contractually and the fact that there wasn’t a ton of concrete “this is what we’re going to do” stuff in the release makes the whole thing seem flimsy. I feel like the SEC will have no issues toppling this house of cards.”
Kyle Cox: I don’t know how much actual impact it will have on the future of the Big 12 or its teams, but it can’t be any good. It’s just another thing to point to the irrelevance of the league, at least as far as the national perspective goes.
Or more of an indicator. Like, if the Big 12 wasn’t in trouble, it would have been asked by someone to join.
Boone: Yeah, to me it’s mostly meaningless for the leagues in the alliance but also meaningful for the one major conference — the Big 12 — that was left out. Says a lot. The only real benefit for the three leagues is separating from the Big 12 and establishing what looks like a Power Four structure, and also creating a voting bloc that can work in unison to combat any sticks the big, bad SEC wants to swing with its new super-conference.
Scott: It was also pointless that they said they want the Big 12 to do well. Like, no … you don’t. If the alliance wanted the Big 12 to do well, the alliance would’ve included the Big 12.
Boone: Yeah it felt like a breakup letter of sorts. Weird vibes all the way around!
Cox: It’s not you, it’s us.
Boone: Speaking of conference realignment: The Pac-12’s commissioner said this week that the league will decide by the end of the week whether it will expand or not. How we feeling? Sick to our stomachs?
Scott: Kind of just meh on it, honestly. Signs have pointed to the Pac-12 not expanding, but who is to say the league won’t reconsider in a few months or something like that. It determined its own deadline, so I’m not certain that whatever comes out at the end of this week must remain concrete in this everchanging situation.
Cox: It doesn’t sound like it is going to happen based on the noise coming from the West Coast, but I’m still hopeful. If the Pac-12 officially chooses to not expand — and to Marshall’s point — sticks to that, that feels like the next shoe to drop. OSU doesn’t have a ton of options at that point.
Boone: Yeah, just reading what George Kliavkoff (the commish) has said about it, the timing of the expansion decision is anything but coincidental. He more or less said the league accomplished what it wanted to accomplish in forming The Alliance. To me, just reading the tea leaves — and it pains me to say this — but I think they ultimately decide to stand pat at 12 teams and move forward.
Scott: Which, I think will end up being to the Pac-12’s detriment if that’s the case. The Pac hasn’t had a CFP team since 2016 and hasn’t had a Heisman winner since 2014. The excitement just isn’t there for that league. Staying pat would mean delaying the inevitable, in my opinion.
Cox: Unless the Big 12 is relegated to last place P5 team (which it will be), in which case the Pac-12’s status is somewhat solidified.
Replace all of those OU berths with the top Pac team??
Boone: Given how the landscape has changed, I actually think standing pat winds up being a net win. The Big 12 is basically crumbling, and it looks like there will only be four power conferences. If the Pac-12 can figure out its distribution problem — a big problem, to be sure! — then I think because of everything that’s happened this summer it’ll still turn out in an OK place. But, and I say this with as little bias included as possible, I really firmly believe that adding schools — like Oklahoma State and maybe a few others — would be the fastest way to gain relevance and interest beyond just going about business as usual in some flimsy alliance agreement.
Scott: Yeah, I’m over Pac-12 Twitter acting too good for OSU. It’s preposterous.
Cox: Unfortunately, the perception is only gonna drop after the name brands leave and are off the schedule, fair or not.
Boone: West Coast Best Coast is a guiding principle of life for some folks. Not to name names. (Looking at you, all of the West Coast.)
Cox: Have you been there? The weather is gorgeous.
Boone: The furthest west I’ve been is Tempe for the Cactus Bowl in 2015. That drive soured my entire vibe about basically anything west of Oklahoma City.
OK, last section. Let’s do a few rapid fire questions with some fill in the blanks. The offensive MVP of the 2021 football season for OSU will be ________.
Scott: Spencer Sanders
Boone: I’ll go Tay Martin. (Though if Tay is awesome, Spencer by default might be the pick.)
Cox: Jaylen Warren
Scott: Oooo, spicy.
Boone: The defensive MVP of the 2021 football season for OSU will be ___________.
Scott: Devin Harper
Scott: It’s a position where a lot of tackles are to be had, and he has made a ton of plays when healthy and on the field.
Boone: Kolby Harvell-Peel for me.
Cox: Trace Ford, comeback campaign.
Boone: Gosh, if Trace is healthy he’s going to absolutely feast.
You would personally set the over/under for total number of wins this season for OSU at ________. (And tell me which side of that you’re taking.)
Scott: 8.5 and I think I’d take the over right now, but I have the right to change my mind after the K-State game.
Cox: 9.5 — I’m going with the over since I think the offensive line improvement is going to make that much difference and the defense will be pretty good again.
Free Kool-Aid at the Cox house. Come by, it’s hot out there.
Boone: I’d set it at 8.5 and take the over. Some tricky games on the schedule (at Texas and at ISU) but OSU will win a game or two in which it is an underdog because OSU seemingly always wins a game or two in which it is an underdog.
OK, last one: Pick one under-the-radar player who could be a breakout star in 2021. You cannot pick Brennan Presley, Marsh.
Scott: Brennan Pres … Oh, ummm. Is Braydon Johnson considered under the radar at this point? Gundy and Dunn have seemed excited about his rebirth in the slot.
Boone: Ohhhhh interesting. Yeah that qualifies. I feel like he’s got a little lost in the sauce with all the Tay Martin and Brennan Presley hype.
I think I’ll go off the board and pick an offensive lineman in Danny Godlevske. OSU needs a replacement at center and he’s that dude. Seems like a plug-and-play addition from Miami (Oh.) and by all accounts he’s locked down that spot and shored up the center of a unit that really struggled last season because of injuries.
Cox (at the same time): I will go with Danny Godlevske. I don’t think people are talking about how much impact an experienced center will have on this offense.
Cox: Ah man.
Scott: Fight, fight, fight
How would you two both pick a center?
Cox: We’re both insightful football minds.
Boone: Fine. I’ll go with one of the Green twins at receiver. I honestly don’t know which one pops the most — so maybe I’ll pick both! — but I feel like they’re too talented to keep off the field and will be contributors this season as true freshmen.
Cox: Does Langston Anderson still play at OSU? I thought that would be Marsh’s pick
Scott: I will conduct the Langston Anderson hype train until it runs out of track.
Boone: We expect nothing less.
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