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Preseason around the conference

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All the talk is around Baylor and TCU, but what is everyone else up to?

Richard Rowe-USA TODAY Sports

We are at T-minus-less-than-30! To prepare for launch, BracketCat continues the 2015 roster countdown. Up today is #31 defensive tackle Craig Settles Jr., a possible replacement for the now-departed Terrell Clinkscales.

Jon Morse prepares for the football season with another round of preseason conditioning. This time, he tackles the issue of purple wizardry as code for a lack of talent, and takes a closer look at Division III Ohio Athletic and Northwest Athletic conferences.

Finally, Tyler Lockett shows off his moves at the next level.

The August 10 issue of Sports Illustrated will be the official college football preview issue. What does this mean for you? Not much, except that SI's preseason Top 25 rankings are out. The list offers few surprises, but the tenor of the debate appears to have changed from "the SEC is the best" to "who is better: the Big Ten or the SEC." The problem with this line of inquiry is that, once again, a section of the media is creating a self-serving narrative that effectively ignores more than half of the college football world.

Like Kansas State, a number of teams in the Big 12 began official practices this week. What sort of progress are these teams making? Baylor is maintaining a laser focus on the national championship. Just making the playoffs (already a bit of a hurdle) is no longer the goal, winning is (Jake Trotter, ESPN).

Meanwhile, in Fort Worth, the Horned Frogs' two-headed offensive coordinator beast showed a refreshing lack of ego. Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie just want to win (Max Olson, ESPN).

At the other end of the Big 12 spectrum, Kansas is facing more pain. This time, it is the departure of two offensive lineman (Junior Visinia and Joey Bloomfield) from an already-depleted unit. Bloomfield appears to have given up football for good, having never played since his arrival in Lawrence, and Visinia is no longer with the team, though the reasons for his departure are unclear (Rustin Dodd, Kansas City Star).

At Iowa State, the Cyclones may be on a slightly better trajectory. The recent addition of Jhaustin Thomas and Marley Allison, two defensive linemen from the junior college ranks, gives the defense--one of the worst in the conference last year--a much-needed boost (Cyclones.com).

Texas might be getting a bit of its swagger back, thanks in part to redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard, who has made his presence known and may end up starting at quarterback (Chris Low, ESPN).

Speaking of swagger, Texas Tech would like to find some on the defensive side of the ball, and to that end, the Red Raiders and Kliff Kingsbury are very high on new coordinator David Gibbs. At Houston in 2014, Gibbs' aggressive, swarming defense forced 43 turnovers, and he brings a wealth of NFL experience to the table as well (Brandon Chatmon, ESPN).

Closer to home, the Football Friday feature focuses on Cody Whitehair and the quiet leadership he brings to the team. (Also, congratulations to writer Kelly McHugh, who is now Kelly McHugh-Stewart!)

The basketball team will take on Missouri in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City on November 23 (Topeka Capital-Journal). The two teams, longstanding rivals, have met 235 times with the Wildcats leading the Tigers 119-116. Both programs are excited about the opportunity, although one wonders if the real excitement is because arch rival Kansas is being left out. More information, including on ticket sales, is available from KStateSports.

Three Kansas State track athletes will participate in the NACAC (North American-Central-American-Caribbean) Championships starting today in San Jose, Costa Rica. Barbadians Sonia Gaskin (800m; 4x4 relay) and Akela Jones (100H; 4x4 relay) and Ifeanyichukwu Otuonye (Turks & Caicos; long jump) will be competing. In addition, assistant coach Greg Watson has been tabbed to work with Team USA for the meet.