Thanks to Kansas State blog Bring On The Cats for this week's questions for the Big 12 Round Table. Let's go.
Some teams are coming off a big win or wins (Oklahoma, Colorado, KU, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Missouri), while others are dealing with the sting of a tough loss or losses (K-State, Texas, Nebraska, Baylor, Iowa State, Oklahoma State). Tell us where your team is headed in the wake of the first two weeks of conference play.
The first week of conference play was devastating for this program, but may have saved it in the long run. After the loss to Oklahoma State, the defensive coordinator resigned and now it was up to Ruffin McNeill to change the attitude of this defense in 2 weeks. So far, so good. Against Iowa State the defense outplayed the offense. No questions asked, and that hasn't happened in quite some time. This defense is now a swarming defense, yet still playing the same scheme. If an opponent gives the Red Raiders' offense any breathing room and the defense starts playing to their potential, there's no reason why Texas Tech can't finish atop the Big 12 South.
Colorado and Texas A&M have emerged as unlikely conference leaders at 2-0 (give yourself a cookie if you predicted that), while preseason darlings Texas (0-2) and Nebraska (1-1 and not playing well) are floundering. Do the current leaders have the wherewithal to make it to San Antonio, or will somebody from elsewhere in the pack overtake them?
I think Colorado has made huge strides from where the Buffaloes once were. I don't think they are the best team in the Big 12 North, but they are certainly improving and will be a team to reckon with in the very near future.
There's no way in hell that the Aggies can hold onto the Big 12 South throughout this season. I know, they managed to beat the same OSU team that Texas Tech lost to, but Stephen McGee is not a good quarterback and I'm still shocked that the coaching staff cannot get the ball into the hands of Michael Goodson more. Am I the only one who thinks he's the best offensive player the Aggies have?
A few weeks ago we did a ranking of the six BCS conferences, with most bloggers picking the Big 12 in the middle of the pack, which would be a big improvement over the last couple years. Have the middle and bottom teams of the conference improved significantly, or have the teams at the top declined significantly? Or is it something else?
The lower-tiered teams are improving which makes each week incredibly interesting. Other than Iowa State, who is in the first year with Chizik, and Baylor, who I contend is improving slightly with Morris, five through six in the North Division and the South Division are pretty salty.
Getting waaaaay ahead of ourselves: What if Missouri or KU goes undefeated and wins the Big 12 Championship Game? Would they get a shot at the national championship game?
I think Missouri possibly has the resume, while Kansas' non-conference schedule and relatively low preseason ranking doesn't bode well for the Jayhawks to be included in the national championship conversation. The more Illinois wins then the better their non-conference schedule looks. The only problem of course is that the rest of the non-conference schedule isn't that strong. Ole Miss, Western Michigan and Illinois State are a combined 6-12 for the season. Not exactly lighting it up. Despite the weak non-conference schedule, I think Mizzou has a better chance to get into a national championship game because the voters a more cognizant of their success. Much of this will be figured out this weekend as Missouri battles OU in Norman.
Rank the conference teams. (I've tried to base this on on-field performance, but everything after the top 3 teams is a crap-shoot.)
- Kansas State
- Texas A&M
- Texas Tech
- Oklahoma State
- Iowa State