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SB Nation Big 12 Roundtable - Week 3


Another week, another Big 12 Roundtable by the Big XII bloggers in the SB Nation blog network.  Our host this week is Mark Kiefer from Clone Chronicles.

1.  The Big 12 has looked more unimpressive than impressive thus far.  Do you attribute this to early season struggles, or does the conference look to have regressed from '08? Please explain.

Definitely regressed, which shouldn't be completely a surprise.  Certainly Texas Tech should have been expected to step back a bit after losing Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree to graduation.  Oklahoma's upset by BYU can be blamed in large part on the graduation losses on the Sooners offensive line.  Oklahoma State's loss to Houston can probably blame on grandiose visions that were inflated after handling Georgia easily the week before.  Any goodwill that Missouri earned by dispatching Illinois in week one was lost by laying an egg against Bowling Green.

But what really made the Big XII look bad is Colorado's meltdown on back-to-back national broadcasts. Some people inexplicably thought Colorado could be a sleeper pick in the Big XII North, but it's been a complete nightmare.  Bad offense, bad defense, and even worse coaching.

2. When looking at our team's schedule, sometimes it's hard to get excited about non-conference portion of the schedule, except for maybe 1 game. In general, are you content with your team's non-conference scheduling? Is there an opponent you'd like to see on a regular basis, that you currently do not?

Absolutely not.  Virginia Tech is a great opponent, but the three Sun Belt opponents are laughable.  Playing only one competitive matchup is bad for fans and bad for college football.  Without intersectional matchups, it's impossible to gauge the relative strength of each conference.  If anything, Oklahoma should get more credit for scheduling BYU (even though they lost) than Texas received for defeating Louisiana-Monroe.

As for an opponent I'd like to see on a regular basis, I'd suggest someone from the Big Ten, such as Iowa, Minnesota, or Wisconsin.  It's a regional matchup that is convenient and interesting for fans, but doesn't excessively increase the strength of schedule (no matter what Big Ten fans insist).  It's a game that gets the interest of the television networks, which not only helps fans, but also gets the program on television.

3. Over the years we've seen a fair share of teams lose the week they appear on the SI cover. Does the "SI Curse" exist, is it a coincidence, or is it something that we only take notice of when it rings true (but forget when it does not)? Explain.

It happens too often to not be related, but I think it's more of an effect than a cause.  SI covers usually are related to some sort of significant game, either upcoming or the week before.  When it's the week before, the letdown is almost expected.  (See Oklahoma State this past weekend.)  When it's the week before a big game, somebody is bound to lose.  Take 2007 when undefeated Kansas took on Missouri at Arrowhead, and got the SI Cover.  Missouri won, and promptly got the cover the next week, only to get blasted by Oklahoma in the Big XII Championship.

4. What is the biggest question your team has to answer heading into Week 3?

Biggest question?  I'd say it's solidifying the defense, which may sound strange since Nebraska has only given up 12 points this season.  But in both games, Nebraska's given up too many yards based in part on large part on missed tackles and being out of position.  If Sun Belt teams can exploit those problems, just imagine what Virginia Tech will do.

Next question is the offensive line.  Running room wasn't in abundance against Arkansas State, and Nebraska can't afford to be one-dimensional in a hostile environment like at Virginia Tech. 

5. Choose an Offensive Player of the Week (non-QB to make it a little more interesting) and Defensive Player of the Week from Week 2.  Provide solid arguments for each.

Oooh.  No fair.  Offensively, I would have voted for Zac Lee who was certainly impressive last weekend.  But with that restriction, I'll go with Missouri running back Derrick Washington, who did his best to keep the Tigers in the game until Blaine Gabberts got untracked, then scored the winning touchdown.

Defensive player of the week?  Colorado' s Cody Hawkins and Iowa State's Austen Arnaud, who combined for eight interceptions this past weekend.  Oh, ok.  I'll go with the Tigers once again, and linebacker Sean Weatherspoon , who contributed 14 tackles (10 solo) against Bowling Green.  Without the efforts of either of these Tigers, Bowling Green blows out Missouri.

6.  Big 12 Power Rankings! Rank the teams 1-12 (remember, this is based on power i.e., who would win on a neutral field)

  1. Texas
  2. Oklahoma
  3. Nebraska
  4. Kansas
  5. Oklahoma State
  6. Missouri
  7. Baylor
  8. Texas A&M
  9. Texas Tech
  10. Texas Scout Team
  11. Oklahoma Scout Team
  12. Nebraska Scout Team
  13. Kansas Scout Team
  14. Oklahoma State Scout Team
  15. Missouri Scout Team
  16. Iowa State
  17. Kansas State
  18. Colorado

Iowa State get the nod at #16 on the basis of "best opponent".  Kansas State had a shot to win at the end against Louisiana-Lafayette, so they get #17.  Colorado's game against Toledo wasn't as close as the score and stats indicated.