Renck: Sphere’s the deal. Coach Prime is already neon orb in Big 12 universe as “positive” disruptor

LAS VEGAS – As a coach, Deion Sanders is the Sphere. He is a fully immersive reality show, a bright bulb, an interactive atrium with a series on Amazon.

The Big 12 Media Days opened Tuesday at Allegiant Stadium without Coach Prime. The CU Buffs meet the press on Wednesday, their time slot falling into the second half of the eight schools in the 16-team conference.

Standing below a classic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign, showgirls greeted reporters as they walked onto the field. Is there any doubt that Coach Prime will top this entrance? He figures to be heard before seen because of his recognizable voice and camera shutter clicks.

So, I wondered, what do the president, coaches and players think Sanders brings to the Extra Large 12 Conference. Are they jealous? Thrilled? Ambivalent? Over it?

Truth is, this conference sees itself as a threat to the SEC and Big 10, believing it is more relevant and deeper than ever. At least president Brett Yormark does.

In his news conference/TED Talk, he rattled off bullet points including supporting athletes’ brands, creating commercial value for its members, elevating the league on ESPN and Fox, and eschewing the old for the bold.

Did he steal Coach Prime’s playbook? Yormak doesn’t like having Sanders in the Big 12. He loves it.

“Listen, I would look at him kind of like me. We are both a little disruptive in a positive way. And we like to break boundaries. We like to stir the pot a little bit,” Yorkmak told The Post. “And I think that is very healthy and I think college athletics needs it.”

Nobody was ever more sure of where he is going and what he is doing than Sanders. He has changed the recruiting model, getting old and staying old through the transfer portal. He stands on the sideline and looks like a mannequin from the book store with his latest slogan plastered across his chest. No four-win team has ever received more attention from TV networks.

And that’s the thing. Eyeballs are just as important as footballs these days for a conference to survive, if not thrive. No wonder Yormark gave CU a $2.5 million signing bonus to return to the Big 12.

“I am not going to discuss my negotiating tactics. But listen, we were thrilled that Colorado was the first mover. And ultimately one got us four when you think about it (in Utah, Arizona and Arizona State),” Yormark said. “So whatever we did in those negotiations seemed to work out pretty well for us.”

Sanders’ first CU team, like its coach, was hard to take eyes off. With Shedeur Sanders at quarterback, they could score from anywhere. They also could get scored on from anywhere. Most people at media day believed the Buffs will improve, offering a varying predictions of five to nine wins.

Where everyone agreed is that Sanders’ arrival is a victory for the Big 12. With Texas and Oklahoma gone to the SEC, the face of the conference is now Oklahoma State coach Mike …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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