K-State Q&A: Big 12 naming rights, football predictions for the Wildcats and more

It sounds like the Big 12 is about to be known as the Allstate Conference, the Allstate 12 or the Big Allstate.

A new corporate name would be a lot cooler if it came from a regional sponsor like Whataburger or Phillips 66 or Buc-ees or Dr Pepper. And it would be even better if the title sponsor was yours truly. The Kellis Conference has a nice ring to it, no?

Unfortunately, I don’t think I have enough coins in my piggy bank to convince Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark to sell me the naming rights to his conference. If the league has already held conversations with Allstate and the insurance company is willing to pay between $30 and $50 million a year, as Brett McMurphy reported, then this is probably already a done deal.

Hopefully we can get actor Dennis Haysbert (aka Pedro Cerrano from “Major League”) to become the Big 12’s unofficial mascot.

In any case, I’m not sure how I feel about this.

On one hand, it is a creative way for the Big 12 to bring in extra revenue. Boosting the conference’s bottom line by $50 million each year would mean an extra $3.1 million per member. That could certainly come in handy as schools begin to share profits with players. It could also help the Big 12 close the gap on richer conferences like the Big Ten and the SEC.

It’s also not like the Big 12 currently has an irreplaceable name. There are currently 14 members in the league, not 12. And that number is about to go up to 16. There is already a Big Ten. Few would scoff at the idea of a name change if it wasn’t tied to a corporation.

On the other hand, the Big 12 isn’t an arena or a stadium. This is a conference with great schools and a proud history. Will the extra money be worth it when football teams have to start holding up trophies that say Allstate instead of Big 12? In other words, is it really a good idea for the Big 12 to make like Reel Big Fish and sellout?

It probably depends on how desperate the 16 members are for extra cash. If their main focus right now is to raise extra money no matter what it looks like, then this is probably a smart move. If they think they can compete as is and this money would just be a luxury, then it might make more sense to stand pat.

Mostly, this news just makes me long for the good old days.

The Big 12 used to have 12 pretty darn good members located in contiguous states. But poor leadership and greed led Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M to other conferences.

Colorado is back now. TCU and West Virginia have been solid replacements. Life with BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF was fine this past year. I’m looking forward to making trips out West to Arizona and Utah now that those states are represented. A 16-team conference should be fun in both basketball and football. This promises to be one of the most competitive leagues around.

Still, it is not what it once was. Selling the Big 12’s naming rights to a corporate partner would simply reinforce how much things have changed.

That’s more than enough of a lead-in for this week’s K-State Q&A. Unless someone is interested in buying the naming rights to this mailbag. Shoot me an e-mail if you’re interested!

Let’s dive into your questions. Thanks, as always, for providing them.

Would a private equity group only have football ownership or all sports? -@RobHud3 via X.

The other Big 12 news that came out this week is that the conference is considering private equity investments up to $1 billion in exchange for 20% of the league.

I assume any investment firm that is willing to loan the Big 12 that much cash is going to want to own 20% of the entire conference, not just one sport.

Football is the biggest money maker for every conference, but Big 12 basketball is also a star attraction.

If Yormark and the Big 12 decide to enter the field of private equity, they will sign over a portion of their bottom line for a long, long time.

Personally, I don’t think that is a very good idea. No one will be happy when it comes time to start paying back that loan.

But I also majored in journalism when I was in college. Not business. Maybe it is worth it to close the gap on the Big Ten and the SEC in the near term. For now, I am willing to let someone smarter than me in these matters opine about whether or not this could be good for the conference.

Hypothetical button time: 10-2 (7-2) record for K-State football but unknown outcome with possible tiebreakers to get to Arlington or let it play out? -@scottwildcat via X.

This is a tough one.

I’ve got a feeling that most K-State fans will say “let it play out.” Why? Because even though the Wildcats have a few tricky games on their schedule, it’s nothing like we have seen in previous years. There is no game at Texas or Oklahoma. Arizona, Oklahoma State and Kansas are all coming to Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

The Wildcats could be favored in all 12 of their games and probably will end up being favored in at least 10. At Iowa State and at West Virginia are the two times I could see them being underdogs.

With that in mind, why not shoot for an undefeated season?

I get that.

But I think I would take the 10-2 record with a 7-2 mark in the Big 12 and take my chances.

There is no guarantee that this team will be a juggernaut. It will be breaking in a quarterback who has only made one start and an offensive coordinator who has only called one game. Plenty of new faces will be starting on the offensive line and on defense.

Also: Being favored in a game doesn’t mean that you are assured of winning that game. The Wildcats lost three times as favorites just last year. Klieman does not have a good record when K-State is coming off a bye, and the Wildcats tend to lose at least one game you don’t see coming each season.

Locking in a 10-2 record now takes a lot of those potential losses off the table. It would mean that K-State wins tricky nonconference games against Tulane and Arizona. It would also mean that K-State would beat it’s over/under win total of 9.5. Cash those bets! It also probably means K-State makes the Big 12 championship game. There is too much parity in this league to expect three or more teams to finish 7-2 or better.

You no longer need to go undefeated to make the College Football Playoff. A Big 12 championship will accomplish that. Taking 10-2 now most likely means that the Wildcats have made it to Arlington. I say it’s a safer play for K-State to hit the advance button and play that game than shoot for a perfect season.

Have you heard about anyone else on K-State’s 2024-25 non-conference schedule for men’s basketball? -@CatAttackPod via X.

Here are the big games that Jerome Tang has lined up for the Wildcats next season:

  • LSU

  • California

  • at Wichita State

  • at St. John’s

K-State will also play in the Paradise Jam, a tournament that will include UAB, George Washington, Illinois State, Liberty, McNeese State and two other teams to be announced in the near future.

There is seven games right there. I think a home game against Chicago State has also been confirmed. The other games should come against low-major or mid-major opponents.

Let’s keep with the summer BBQ theme. What’s the best side and dessert that comes with a great BBQ? Mac and cheese, coleslaw, something else? For dessert, just straight up ice cream, a Popsicle or a hot fudge brownie sundae??? Share your thoughts. -@ChadFullington via X.

There isn’t one side item that stands head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to barbecue.

You really need a bunch of good sides to complete the meal. This is one thing that BBQ joints in Kansas City do exceptionally well. Every place you go has fries, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, beans, onion rings, potato salad and more. Some places in Texas will cook you the most delicious slice of brisket possible, but the sides are hardly worth looking at.

When I pull out all the stops for a BBQ I make sure to have fries, mac and cheese, coleslaw and beans ready to go.

If I had to pick just one, I guess I would go with mac and cheese. If you end up with leftovers you can sprinkle pulled pork on it and eat it the next day as a delicious lunch.

As far as dessert goes, if you have room for ice cream or any other sweet treat at the end of your meal, that is not a good sign. You want to fill up on meat and sides, not dessert.

US Open golf is this week! For your ultimate golf round, who would be your other three players to play a round of golf with? Does not need to be a professional golfer. -@bfullingt1 via X.

Give me Steph Curry, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Phil Mickelson.