Big 12 Roundtable - Week 2

This week's roundtable is being hosted by Nebraska bloggers Big Red Network. Bloggers frequently participate in roundtables - where the hosting blog asks a series of questions and those questions are answered by other participating blogs. The hosting site typically compiles the answers to see if there is consensus on questions, or to find out if we're dealing with nutballs, and if so, who they are.

What has been the biggest surprise of the Big 12 season so far? The home loss to Arkansas State by Texas A&M, impressive scores by Kansas State and Iowa State, or something else?

Husker Mike: Texas Tech. They've looked rather ordinary against 1-AA Eastern Washington and Nevada.  Some felt early on that Tech might be a surprise team to contend in the Big XII, but if the first two weeks are any indication, that's not looking likely.  Graham Harrell is still putting up big numbers, but the defense has been looking somewhere south of mediocre.

Blankman: I'd have to say I'm most surprised with the close games that Colorado has been playing lately. Yes, yes, parity, blah, blah, but still I expected a lot from Hawkins' group and I'm not really seeing it.

I expected KSU's numbers so far, ISU's have been a pleasant surprise, but Texas A&M losing to Arkansas State?  It's pretty far up there since ESPN told me McGee was one of the country's best quarterbacks.  You'd figure one of the top guys could rustle up a win over ASU II.

Corn Blight: Horrid defense pretty much across the board. It’s like it’s optional.

Should the ankle injury to Jeremy Maclin concern Missouri fans and does it alter the Tigers chances at a division or conference title? Or do his 65 all-purpose yards and a touchdown (on just 6 touches) tell us that he’s fine?

Husker Mike: We're not doctors here...and Gary Pinkel's brain occasionally disengages, but even he isn't stupid enough to play Jeremy Maclin against Directional State U when he isn't healthy.

Blankman: I think it's something at least worth trying to exploit. An injured Maclin is good for anyone playing him. If I were an opposing defensive/special teams coordinator, I'd hone in on him as much as I normally would as I think that would cause an unlucky breakdown on Maclin's part. That said, Daniel, Coffman, etc. don't need Jeremy Maclin to win the North or possibly the conference. He just helps.

Corn Blight: I agree with Blankman’s assessment that Mizzou doesn’t absolutely need Maclin to win the North. The conference, maybe, but not the North.

Many people thought this could be the year that Texas Tech finally breaks through and wins the Big 12 South or at least finishes in the Top 10. Do their performances after two games change your perception of them at all or does this look like a team that can get to a BCS bowl game?

Husker Mike: See #1.  Tech's defense has to step up at some point, and if they can't put the brakes on the teams they've faced so far, they're going to have to outscore teams when they face Big XII offenses.  We may see basketball scores  in Lubbock this season.  I don't see a BCS team in Lubbock, but these games are going to be entertaining, no doubt.

Blankman: This is a team that I thought could (and still think that they will) beat Nebraska. I think they have time to get their act together, but can they get to a BCS bowl? No way. Tech's staring a middle of the road Big XII Bowl in the face again at this point.

Corn Blight: BFD, Texas Tech doesn’t have much of a defense, who does? Defenses don’t exist anymore, you guys bagging on Tech, but has anyone mentioned the nearly 390 yards Okie State gave up to a quarterback last week, or that Texas gave up over 400 yards at UTEP?

At this point in the season, Tech is just as capable of winning the South as they were at the start. Mike Leach isn’t going to lose one of these games, and more than most of the Big 12 coaches he’s willing to move his depth chart to get the right guys in place this year, don’tcha think?

Oklahoma has put together some strong performances so far and should be favored in every game they play. But Bob Stoops’ teams have shown themselves to be vulnerable to an upset from time to time. Is this team going to go 13-0 (regular season plus BCS championship game) or will they get knocked off (and if they get upset, who gets ‘em)?

Husker Mike: If any team in the Big XII is going to go 13-0, it's likely to be the Sooners. But going 13-0 in the Big XII is going to be quite the feat with the quality of teams in the conference. Somebody will probably upset them, and based on past history, it'll be outside of the state of Oklahoma.

Blankman: Oklahoma will be beaten by either Kansas State (yes, I said it) or Texas.  Why KSU?  Ron Prince has been acting nuttier than a PayDay bar and I think his team is bi-polar enough to absolutely stink up the field one day and look unbeatable the next. I think the Sooners could cause the Purple Pride to soar in Manhattan and Freeman may smash.

Corn Blight: Oklahoma is the only cohesive team in the Big 12, but like everyone else they haven’t played anyone yet. Sam Bradford will make mistakes this year, the question being whether or not the rest of the team is strong enough to overcome them. I’d say no, not over the conference season.

After two games, what can you say with confidence that you really know about your team?

Husker Mike: The defense is playing much better than in 2007...but that was easy to say since last year's defense was one of the worst in college football.  Going into the season, I thought the offense would be stronger than it has been so far.  The Husker offense went into neutral at halftime against Western Michigan, and pretty much stayed there until the 4th quarter of the San Jose State game.

Blankman: Cody Glenn should've been a linebacker from day one, our wide receivers aren't as bad as I (and several) thought, we have a lot of very athletic, young talent, the offensive line is horrifically unorganized, Larry Asante should not start at safety, Armando Murillo is the best cornerback on Nebraska's roster, Ndamukong Suh was slacking last year and Mike Huff still sucks.

Corn Blight: The mentality that is required for Nebraska to do well in conference play isn’t there yet. The offensive line isn’t physical enough to win many conference games. I know one thing for sure - if things don’t get more consistent in the next two games, the depth chart will dramatically change for Mizzou. We’ll have younger guys playing up and the older guys will have to fight to get their positions back.

With two games down, how would you re-rank the divisions?

Husker Mike: [Editor's note: Mike does a weekly power poll at his blog. You're welcome to argue with him there, here, in a bar somewhere, whatever makes you happy.]

North:
1. Missouri
2. Kansas
3. Kansas State
4. Nebraska
5. Iowa State
6. Colorado

South:
1. Oklahoma
2. Texas
3. Oklahoma State
4. Texas Tech
5. Baylor
6. Texas A&M

Blankman:

North:
1. Missouri

2. Kansas
3. Nebraska
4. Colorado

5. Kansas State

6. Iowa State

South:
1. Oklahoma
2. Texas

3. Oklahoma State
4. Texas Tech
5. Baylor
6. Texas A&M

Corn Blight: Right now, I’d echo Blankman, although I’d put Tech above Okie State. Texas can stay at #2. The difference is the play of Colt McCoy. He’s back.….

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