This is the latest installment of the 2009 edition of the SB Nation Big 12 Roundtable. Our host this week is Coach Beergut at Texas A&M's I am the 12th Man.
1. We are three-fourths of the way through the season now, with either 2 or 3 games remaining for your respective teams. What players have surprised you, what players have disappointed you this year?
Surprises? The biggest surprises are Alfonzo Dennard, who's become a solid cornerback, and Dejon Gomes, who's been a playmaker ever since inserted into dime coverage a month ago. Disappointments would be Niles Paul and Menelik Holt. Paul is capable of big plays, but had two inexplicable fumbles in the red zone against Texas Tech and Iowa State that cost the Huskers dearly. Both Paul and Holt have had the dropsies as well. Paul managed to keep his roster spot by making a few plays against Missouri, but Holt just returned from a two week stint on the scout team. Nebraska's offense could sure use some production from their receivers to help stretch defenses vertically and take pressure off of Roy Helu and either Cody Green or Zac Lee.
2. Name a player on another Big 12 team who you think has underachieved or been a disappointment this season (I don't consider someone getting knocked out by injury a disappointment, so no references to Robert Griffin, please).
The first names I can come up with are all guys affected by injuries: either their own or someone else's. That would include Sam Bradford, Todd Reesing, and Zac Robinson. My vote would go to Texas Tech quarterback Taylor Potts. Until Potts, it seemed like Mike Leach's offense was simply plug-and-play. A record-setting quarterback would leave, and the next guy would continue putting up pinball-like numbers...until Taylor Potts took over, and the Raiders struggled. Potts was relieved by Steven Sheffield, who got the Tech offense rolling until the Blackshirts knocked him out of the lineup. Potts came back, proved ineffective again, and was replaced by redshirt freshman Seth Doege.
3. What player on another Big 12 team has surprised you or surprassed your expectations this season?
A month ago, I would have said Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert. But after getting eaten alive by Ndamukong Suh in a monsoon, Gabbert hasn't been the same. Now, I'd cast my vote for Kansas State tailback/quarterback Daniel Thomas. Thomas is one of the reasons why Bill Snyder is working on "Miracle 2.0"
4. Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh is the most dominant defensive tackle I have seen in years. Who do you think is the last dominant defensive tackle you can compare him to at the college level? Is there one to compare him to for the last 10 years?
I have to go back to Warren Sapp to find another tackle who's done what Suh has done. Of course, I'm biased too. I still think he's the most dominant player in college football, and should be getting more Heisman pub than he is. Unless you subscribe to the rule that the Heisman has to go to a quarterback.
5. Right now, who is your pick for Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Newcomer of the Year, and Offensive and Defensive Freshman of the Year?
Right now, I'd go with Kansas State's Daniel Thomas for offensive player of the year and newcomer of the year. Defensive player of the year is obviously Ndamukong Suh. Offensive freshman of the year is Baylor quarterback Nick Florence, who stunned Missouri last week, and didn't look too bad against Nebraska and Oklahoma. Landry Jones would also have rated a vote before last week. Defensive freshman of the year is really tough; I'm really drawing a blank here other than Texas' Alex Okafor.
6. Power rank the teams, 1-12.
- Texas Tech
- Oklahoma State
- Kansas State
- Texas A&M
- Iowa State
After #6, it's almost a pot shot. I think Missouri and Kansas should be better than the rest, and I think that Colorado has earned the last spot, though they keep surprising me by pulling off upsets. I'm not a big believer in Oklahoma State either.