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Double T Nation Big 12 Roundtable


Once more into the breech with the Big 12 Roundtable. Again I am indebted to Rock M Nation for the questions, and my colleagues here at Double T Nation for providing additional answers. I hope you enjoy.

Rock M Nation: A solid 10-2 showing for the Big 12 this weekend. Which of these wins was biggest for the Big 12 and why?

Skin Patrol: Has to be Oklahoma State. After last season's humbling bowl experience, questions remained as to whether or not the Big 12 was an offensive sideshow or a conference legitimately challenging for the title to best in the land. Oklahoma State's victory over Georgia certainly doesn't answer that question by itself, but the game does represent a compelling data point towards the conclusion that we -- the Big 12 -- are the real deal. Given Oklahoma State's subsequent jump in the polls, I think it is safe to say that many voters and coaches concluded the same regarding the import of victory for the Cowboys.

Kayakyakr: Baylor made a huge jump, looking sharp early and holding off the Wake rally in ACC country. Sure, the ACC showed that they weren't all that, but it's still Baylor and still a long way from their home stadium. Most of the other wins had issues, and I'll never be one to give props to Oklahoma State.

More after the break...

RMN: Conversely, the Mountain West did its damage against Colorado and Oklahoma. What's more disconcerting -- a sleeper in Colorado coming unglued, or a power in Oklahoma getting knocked off?

SP: I'm not sure disconcerting is the right word. Colorado was questionable heading into the season, if no longer. Their loss merely confirmed what many had feared: Colorado is not a good football team (and may have a bad football coach). Oklahoma is the more meaningful game because it fundamentally alters the CFB landscape, in the Big 12 and beyond. Forgetting for a moment what it says for Texas (and others) this year and the battle for Big 12 South hegemony, a Mountain West team strolled into hostile(ish) territory and beat up on the #2 team in the country. That same mid-major has a favorable schedule that has a good chance at yielding an undefeated season. As is typically the case, it would not surprise this author if there remains no undefeated teams from a BCS conference (a misnomer, actually, since all conferences are now BCS conferences -- the better language would be non-autobid conference) by season's end. That being the case, who would argue against BYU in the MNC? Particularly if OU has a successful season if/when Bradford returns? Speaking of Bradford, I can recall no game this early in the season that so dramatically altered the Heisman race. And then there were two?

RMN: Right now, the college football world is rotating around a shoulder that can't rotate itself. What does the Sam Bradford injury mean for the conference right now?

SP: For the conference I actually think it opens more doors than it closes. On any given year contenders for the greedily held South championship need normally compete with OU and Texas simultaneously. This is a daunting task for any team (in the nation) particularly those that do not enjoy the recruiting advantages imbedded at those two programs. Oklahoma State appears to be in the best position to take advantage of a downed Oklahoma, as they will have Texas in Stillwater and will thus be in a good position to take the South with one loss. Depending on when Bradford gets back, how he plays when he does return, and whether his offensive line improves substantially throughout the season, OU has at least as much chance to lose two conference games as it has since... 2005? (Did they even lose 2 that year?) David would've fared worse against two Goliaths.

Kayakyakr: There were a lot of people in this conference looking at OU's makeshift offensive line and already predicting that they would struggle early. I don't really think that it's going to change the conference landscape much than if Bradford was healthy, especially considering that he'll likely be back before conference play starts. Their line was going to be torn apart by UT, they're still going to struggle (hopefully) in the Jones. The biggest thing that it effects is his possible non-return in time for the Baylor game. That now becomes a scary game for OU. Personally, the Gresham injury hurts more. It hurt on Saturday during the first half of BYU. He was instantly a mismatch and a safety valve for whichever QB is under center.

RMN: How, if at all, did your perception of your team change after week one, both for better and for worse?

SP: Only for the worse. Taylor Potts demonstrated that he can turn the ball over three times in one game (to one player) against an opponent almost certainly less capable on that side of the ball than nearly all of our remaining foes. The defense played fine, I suppose, but that was to be expected. Our running game, a presumed strength heading into the season, looked absolutely flat; the burden of proof shifted to that unit to prove up its own efficacy. Our RB stable will enjoy no more assumptions in their favor from me.
Having said all that, one week is one week. I was fatalistic after our game against Nevada last year and we turned out to be just fine. I acknowledge that Taylor Potts at the helm, as a first year starter, has me worried additionally due to remaining questions as to whether he is the next BJ Symons. But if the worst thing that happens to Texas Tech is that we beat an opponent by 25 someodd points that we should've beaten by 35 someodd points, life will go on.


RMN: Give us your offensive player of the week, defensive player of the week, and coaching move of the week, including justifications for your selection. You ARE eligible to vote for your own program.

SP: Do I have to vote for Big 12? Because defensively I want to say that Joel Schwenzfeier's three interceptions in North Dakota's loss against Texas Tech is one of the more impressive single game feats I can remember in recent history. If I must pick Big 12, I suppose Von Miller's 3 sacks will do. If defense incorporates special teams, as it does in Fantasy Football, I might pick Texas' DJ Monroe for an impressive 89 yard kickoff return.

Offensively there were a number of players deserving of high praise, though I suppose Jerrod Johnson (two Aggies? Christ) or Jordan Shipley would work. I do not mean to mail this answer in, but when I can't think of a single player for Texas Tech justifiably deserving of honorable mention for either offensive player of the week, I lose interest in the question.

RMN: Big 12 Power Poll! Rank the teams from 1-12. (Again, the simple criteria for this is power, i.e. who would beat who on a neutral field?)

SP: Were this a merit based poll I would rank according to how each team has played thus far. As it is not, I'm using last week's results only as a single, but persuasive, data point. Consequential events, like Bradford's injury, have certainly influenced me.

1. Texas
2. Oklahoma State
3. Oklahoma
4. Missouri
5. Texas Tech
6. Nebraska
7. Baylor
8. Texas A&M
9. Kansas
10. Iowa State
11. Kansas State
12. Colorado

Big move is for Oklahoma State ahead of Oklahoma, which I justify on the former's impressive victory over a very well coached Georgia team and the latter's loss of the best player on the team. I also credit the BYU game for somewhat exposing the weakness of OU's offensive line. Oklahoma remains at three because it is still one of the scariest teams on our schedule. Missouri moves up mostly because I feel I underestimated them in last week's poll. I don't want to give too much credence to one week. However, given that offseason assumptions about teams are likely wildly inaccurate and premature, evidence that Missouri is better than I gave them credit for outweighs whatever insistence I had that they were a middling team entering the season. They look like the cream of the North so far, and I had no real reason to pick them, or Nebraska, or Kansas, as the front runner beforehand. Now I do. I still maintain that Texas Tech is a strong team given our performance last season, although you can see I moved us down a spot. Nebraska, Baylor, Texas A&M, and Kansas are all clumped together because I cannot figure out where any should go relative to the others. I still think that Iowa State is one of the worst teams in the league, and Kansas State and Colorado are in the rear due to dreadful opening week performances, confirming the worst fears about both's ability to compete in the Big 12 this season.

Readers, let me know what I got right/wrong. Post your own answers in the comments section.