This is the latest installment of the 2009 edition of the SB Nation Big 12 Roundtable. Our hosts this week are the fine bloggers down in SoonerLand at the Crimson & Cream Machine.
I'll bypass the homer pick and choose Oklahoma State and Missouri. I'm curious as to how Missouri's offense looks against decent competition without Noah docking the ark in the end zone. It's easy to dismiss last week's performance on Blaine Gabbert's injury and the rain, but my take is that the wet ball prevented two or three more interceptions of Gabbert last week. Both the OSU/MU and Nebraska/Texas Tech games give us a bead on whether the North Division is catching up with the bottom. It's clear that the bottom of the North is the bottom of the conference, but where do the upper three teams (Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska) fit into the overall conference rankings.
I really, really, REALLY wanted to answer this in the affirmative, but I started to scan our fellow blogs, and found only Rock M Nation willing to even mention the Big Guy...and even then, it came with the caveat that it's unlikely because of the unwritten rule that it must go to the best quarterback in the nation, unless a running back or wide receiver has put up unbelievable numbers. Nevermind the award is SUPPOSED to go to the "most outstanding college football player"; it's become a quarterback award...and that's the mindset of many.
So it doesn't matter what Husker fans think; we can stuff the ballot box to our hearts content, because Tebow, McCoy, and Bradford mania is going to be tough to break when we can't even get much love regionally. It's going to take more games like last Thursday's for Suh to catch the interest of Heisman voters nationwide, and MUCH more coverage of Ndamukong Suh by the national media over the next month to put Suh on the radar. One way that Nebraska could get Suh back into the limelight is to put Suh back into the offensive gameplan ala William "the Refrigerator" Perry. Suh catching touchdown passes and punching the ball into the end zone could give him the offensive cred to get people to consider a defensive player. Even Charles Woodson won it in large part based on his punt returning.
3. Its pretty much a consensus of opinions that Dan Hawkins is already standing with one foot out the door at Colorado. Who has the better chance of getting off the hot seat this season, him or Bobby Bowden?
That's a toughie. Bowden's a legend, but he's getting up there in age and members of the FSU Board of Trustees are already angling for him. On the other hand, the Hawkins Train Wreck in Boulder can have one logical conclusion. This week's Cody is benched/Cody will play waffling only heightens the fact that Hawkins is in way over his head in the Big XII. So it's not a matter of if...but when. And there's the rub. Two years ago, Nebraska could not afford to NOT terminate Bill Callahan...so the $3 million was found. Colorado, however, can't afford to terminate Dan Hawkins; they still haven't paid off the money they borrowed to fire Gary Barnett in order to hire Hawkins. The difference is simple: Nebraska sells 85,000 tickets at $54 and up to games against Sun Belt foes; Colorado has to discount tickets to $10 to fill a 50,000 seat stadium.
So I'm actually wondering that Bowden might not be the shakier guy. From a football perspective, Hawkins has to go, but unless some visionary arrives in Boulder and can raise the funds to make Colorado competitive in the Big XII again, I think Hawkins might just survive this season.
4. We've got one full weekend of conference play under our belts. Who can you say, with confidence, that is out of the North and South division races already?
Colorado and Kansas State in the North. I'm still waffling on Iowa State; they're just a few extra points away from leading the North. In the South, I think Texas A&M is out. It seems that even the Ags best effort of the season against Okie State wasn't enough last week. Baylor showed some signs they aren't going to be pushovers in Norman last week; I'm not quite ready to write them off just yet.
5. Which race is going to be better in the North, the race to win the division or the race to stay out of the cellar?
Well, you know that with Nebraska at 1-0, we're all hoping the train wrecks at the bottom of the standings are going to be more compelling. Never dismiss Kansas, though their struggles against Southern Miss and Iowa State raise huge questions about their defense.
6. OU/Texas - Who ya got?
Never overlook the Sooners with Bob Stoops. At this point, I think Oklahoma has played potentially FOUR teams better than anybody Texas has played thus far. So I'm going to go with Sooners 38, Bovines 31.
7. Big 12 Power Rankings - Let's see 'em!
- Oklahoma State
- Texas Tech
- Texas A&M
- Iowa State
- Kansas State
I'm still not ready to make the claim that Nebraska is better than Oklahoma. The NU/TT and Mizzou/OSU games could really shake things up in the middle.
Your thoughts? Be sure to check back with Crimson & Cream Machine for their wrapup later this week!