Two weeks into the Big 12 football season, it’s time to tweak the portfolio. Here’s a rundown of stocks I am dumping, buying or holding for potential payoffs based on September feedback:
Mack Brown futures: Dumping as fast as possible, even faster than the Texas coach rearranged staff members after getting embarrassed by Brigham Young. Although Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds defended Brown on Wednesday, telling the Austin American-Statesman that “Mack’s fine” despite last week’s 40-21 pasting by BYU, it’s hard to believe that status is not subject to weekly updates the rest of the season. The next comes Saturday against No. 25 Ole Miss (2-0), with the Longhorns (1-1) playing their first game after Sunday’s dismissal of defensive coordinator Manny Diaz.
Key number to know: Brown’s contract can be bought out for $2.75 million, a much lower figure than this year’s annual salary ($5.3 million).
Key fact to know: Brown skyrocketed to No. 2 on this week’s list of embattled coaches on the website CoachesHotSeat.com, typically an accurate industry gauge. Brown trails only Southern California’s Lane Kiffin.
For what it’s worth, Brown downplayed any concerns about his job status during a Wednesday news conference in Austin. He said he is “not backing off” his August assessment about having “fixed” the Longhorns’ issues during the off-season. He also reiterated that he has the support of school administrators.
“I don’t have knee-jerk bosses,” Brown said. “They get it.”
Baylor bonds: Buying in bunches. It’s true that the Bears (2-0) have yet to play a quality opponent. But it’s even more clear that this team, averaging 69.5 points per game, should have been ranked in the preseason and probably is underrated at No. 22 in this week’s AP poll. Expect the Bears to be a major factor in the Big 12 title race during the November stretch run.
Oklahoma State distractions: Dumping this idea, at least for the 2013 season, despite this week’s five-part series of investigative reports from SI.com about alleged improprieties in the program. These allegations will impact OSU next season, once the NCAA has time to investigate and possibly penalize the program. But No. 12 OSU (2-0) should be able to use this as us-against-the-world mental fuel this season, with a Big 12 title and BCS bowl bid looking very possible for these Cowboys.
Oklahoma’s defense is dominant again: Holding this idea, pending further evidence. The Sooners’ defense, an admitted question mark to coaches during fall drills, has allowed just seven points in two games (3.5 per contest). No. 14 Oklahoma (2-0) seems to be trending upward defensively but stronger tests await in matchups against No. 21 Notre Dame (Sept. 28) and No. 24 TCU (Oct. 5).
Walk-on wins Newcomer of Year Award: Holding this one, too, until Texas Tech quarterback Baker Mayfield faces some of the league’s better defenses. He’ll get his first shot Thursday against No. 24 TCU. But there’s no question that Mayfield, an incoming freshman walk-on from Austin Lake Travis, has been the league’s most impressive newcomer during the first two weeks of the season. In victories over SMU and Stephen F. Austin, Mayfield completed 71.1 percent of his passes for 780 yards and seven touchdowns, with no interceptions. He leads the league in total offense (431 average). That’s incredible stuff for a guy who pays his own tuition and is not allowed to eat at the team training table, per NCAA rules, until he is placed on scholarship.
TCU’s league title hopes end with Casey Pachall’s injury: Dump this idea. Quarterback Trevone Boykin, who will start Thursday against Texas Tech, was more effective than Pachall in the Horned Frogs’ first two contests and is capable of winning big games.
Balance remains the buzzword for Big 12 race: Still buying this idea, even more than in July, when six of 10 league teams received first-place votes in the preseason media poll. Thus far, no contender has been impressive enough against a quality opponent to suggest it will separate from the pack and run away with this year’s title.