This is the fifth installment of the 2009 edition of the SB Nation Big 12 Roundtable. Rock M Nation is once again serving as hosts, and as such, we will have a recap post of the different responses around SBN later in the week.
On to the questions!
1. Is it time for the Big 12 to collectively pour one out for the departure of Baylor quarterback Robert "Hot Tub" Griffin? Even if your team benefits from his injury, are you sad to see one of the conference's premier playmakers done for the season?
I hate that this happened to Griffin. Perhaps it's just me, but I absolutely love playing other teams best players and I take no solace when a player is injured. Add on top of that the fact that Griffin was an unbelievable player who is simply dynamic and you've got me a little sad by the fact that I won't get to see Griffin play in November in Cowboys Stadium against Texas Tech.
2. Play the role of Mythbusters for us. If you could dispel one national perception of your team, what would it be?
Defense? Sure, why not. The Texas Tech defense has been beleagured for years and the truth of the matter is that it's been much deserved for the most part. Even last year when Texas Tech made a big jump in national recognition, the defense still ranked 79th in total defense. We're not talking about a huge improvement, but in this very young season, Texas Tech is ranked 61st in total defense while playing Texas, the #5 ranked team in total offense in the NCAA, and Houston, the #2 ranked team in total offense. Perhaps the best news is that the rush defense, which can sometimes be a indicator of a good defense overall, is ranked 29th in the nation, however, that number is probably skewed because of the 4 teams the Red Raiders have played, none of them are truly strong rushing teams.
The defense isn't quite there yet, but I think there's improvement.
3. Give us the name of one player on each side of the ball on your team that everyone else in the conference may not know about or fully appreciate.
Starting with the offense, how about WR Lyle Leong, who barely weighs 165 (that's his listed weight, but c'mon) and thus far he's only caught 21 passes for 263 yards and 5 touchdowns. Not bad for 4 games. Leong is one of those guys that looks like he belongs in the rec league because of his size, but in 2008 in the outdoor competiton he high jumped 6'11". Leong will get up and get the ball and he's the type of guy that you probably think you can dominate defensively because of his size, but he catches just about everything thrown his way.
On the defense, how about DE Daniel Howard. I've had an obvious man-crush on Howard for the better part of the summer and part of that is because you can tell the guy is a hard worker, and although he's not as gifted as the more well-known defensive ends who left early for a various of reasons (Brandon Williams, McKinner Dixon and Brandon Sesay) he is by far one of the hardest workers you'll see at defensive end. And that's not one of those back-handed compliments (i.e., he's scrappy therefore he's a good player), but Howard is a legitimate threat and an offensive tackle cannot afford to take a play off against Howard. Thus far in this young season, Howard has been the steadying force at defensive end as Texas Tech has battled injuries, pulling in 19 tackles and 3 sacks.
4. OU vs. Da U: Who ya' got?
Damn. I was convinced that Miami was for real . . . before last week. Now they've come back to earth a bit and although I seem like I'm a bit behind on news, it doesn't look like Sam Bradford will play. I'll take Miami and the points this week, but only because Miami's at home.
5. Give us your Offensive Player of the Week, Defensive Player of the Week, and Storyline of the Week for last week.
OPOTW: This is a little unconventional, but I'd have to go with Kansas St.'s Brandon Banks, who not only had 3 catches for 90 yards, but also had two kickoff returns for touchdowns. I know that's more special teams play, but that's a hell of a day and K-State could also use some love.
DPOTW: Emmanuel Acho, who had 3 TFL and one sack, while helping hold UTEP to 9 yards rushing.
6. Power Poll! Rank the teams 1-12 based on who would win on a neutral field.
1. Texas Longhorns
2. Oklahoma Sooners
3. Missouri Tigers
4. Oklahoma St. Cowboys
5. Nebraska Cornhuskers
6. Texas Tech Red Raiders
7. Kansas Jayhawks
8. Texas A&M Aggies
9. Baylor Bears
10. Kansas St. Wildcats
11. Colorado Buffaloes
12. Iowa St. Cyclones