Heading down the stretch it now appears that it is a good possibility that the Big XII will have a representative in the BCS National Championship game. Is the conference really deserving of that? Are they deserving of three teams in the Top 5 in the country? Unless we're talking about a different Big XII than the one I know, they aren't. None the less, the Big XII has taken the nation by storm the past few weeks, and it is all because of one thing, outside the top four this conference is pretty bad.
#4 Oklahoma (9-1) (5-1) - W - 52-21 vs. Baylor
- The Sooners finally have to take it out of cruise control as they go to face the crazy lawyer himself, Mike Leach and Texas Tech. While it is always a tough match up they should be able to win if they run the ball up the middle. And you know, have one of the officials reside in Norman. Get by the Red Raiders and they have the Bedlam Series against Oklahoma State. While Mike Gundy manliness (I'M 40, I'M A MAN!!!) could provide a challenge for the Sooners, once again the total lack of defense should be what allows Oklahoma to get away unscathed (Does anyone play defense in this conference anymore?). Then it is time to wait and see who comes out of the Missouri/Kansas battle for a shot at the Big XII Title.
#6 Missouri (9-1) (5-1) - W - 40-26 vs. Texas A&M
- This is a tough call to keep Missouri here, but they have a win at Illinois (granted it was at the beginning of the year, and we thought the Fighting Zooks weren't good) and a close loss on the road at Oklahoma. Those two games give them two more good games than Kansas. Still not sold on the defense being able to stop anyone, but hey it's the Big XII! Defense optional! At Kansas State this weekend and a neutral site game against Kansas for all the marbles (or the Big XII North) in two weeks. If recent trends continue, they should watch out for the Wildcats, because history has shown that teams that give up 70 points one week, will score 70 points the next week.
#4 Kansas (10-0) (6-0) - W - 43-28 at Oklahoma State
- I find the Kansas Jayhawks an intriguing team for 3 reasons:
#1 - Everyone has jumped on their bandwagon and is trying to ride the Cinderella story all the while ignoring the fact that they have played a ridiculously easy schedule. Out of conference they played Central Michigan (#69 Sagarin Rankings), but the rest have been ranked 112, 173, and 201. Then in conference they have managed to avoid Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas Tech due to scheduling, and the best of the rest is Oklahoma State (#39 Sagarin Rankings). No one on their schedule has more than 6 wins this season.
#2 - All that being said, I watched them for the first time against Oklahoma State, and they are really really good. Top tier in the nation, I don't know, but next tier, definitely. They are a talented team that doesn't turn over the ball and plays hard all the time. They are balanced on offense and have a very stout defense that has fared well against the passing attacks in the Big XII. They are fun to watch.
#3 - Mark Mangino is enormous. Most coaches that have a weight problem do something about it, Charlie Weis (gastric by-pass), Ralph Fridgen (Exercise, Dieting), Rick Majerus (retired for health reasons). But only Mangino keeps getting bigger. He just keeps growing. He keeps getting bigger. He's going to eat someone at some point in time. For Kansas' title hopes, it better not be the quarterback.
#12 Texas (9-2) (5-2) - W - 59-43 vs. Texas Tech
- Overshadowed by the fact that Mike Leach is insane, is the fact that this was the best game that Texas has played all season. If only the best game that we played all season didn't involve us giving up 466 yards and 5 TDs passing. But hey, the offense sure was clicking! Texas I don't think deserves to be mentioned with the top 3, and I can't say we deserve to backdoor our way to a BCS bowl. But hey, if we get chosen over a more deserving Missouri or Kansas, I'm not one to complain, only Mike Leach does that. We still look like a team that should be 8-4 and playing in the Alamo Bowl, so I for one am enjoying the overachieving season.
The Bottom Tier
Yes, I just did it. There's no middle tier. There's the top, and then there's the rest. There, I said it.
Oklahoma State (5-5) (3-3) - L - 43-28 vs. #5 Kansas
- They just looked overwhelmed by Kansas. Their defense isn't very good, and Kansas caused their offense to be out of sync. I was honestly surprised to see this game was that close. There was no point where I thought Kansas was going to lose. Oklahoma State is just a team that you have to show up for, but if you do you can win. The Texas and Kansas games speak volumes on how poorly coached this team is. Or I guess you could have watched the Mike Gundy You Tube Clip to figure it out.
Texas Tech (7-4) (3-4) - L - 59-43 vs. #14 Texas
- I think Pat Forde said it best when he said that Texas Tech will never be a contender as long as they can't run the ball and stop the run. While I think their passing offense is a pretty close equivalent to running the ball, they sure can't stop the run. Firing their defensive coordinator after the Oklahoma State game sure did the trick. I see a parallel between Texas Tech football and basketball. A second tier team that you don't want to play, but can't get the talent that they need to make the leap. And that reason is the wonderful metropolis called Lubbock.
Kansas State (5-5) (3-4) - L - 73-31 at Nebraska
- Obviously we learned a valuable lesson from this game. There are multiple levels of quitting for the season. The first level is what we saw the Bucks, Celtics, and Grizzlies do last season. The second level is what Nebraska has done this season. The third is giving up 70 points to a team that has quit on their season. Way to go Kansas State, you have officially reached the level three. Lose to Missouri and Fresno State and you won't have to worry about that bowl game.
Texas A&M (6-5) (3-4) - L - 40-26 at #7 Missouri
- Not a terrible showing for the Aggies. I mean, I wasn't expecting much better. In two weeks, they will get to send of Coach Fran in fine fashion in a showdown against rival Texas. I hate this game. Texas should win. Texas should win big. But this game is always close. It's a lose lose for the Horns. Either way, A&M will get to start from scratch after the season. Somewhere RC Slocum is laughing.
Colorado (5-6) (3-4) - L - 31-28 at Iowa State
- Seriously, you are the surprise story of the year in the Big XII (Still more than Kansas, look at reason #1) and then you go and lose to Iowa State. You were looking at a 5-3 finish in the Big XII, now I'm not even sure you're going to beat Nebraska at the end of the year. Either way it will be a successful year for the Buffaloes that they can build on, but 7-5 and the Alamo Bowl was so much more fun than 5-7 or 6-6 and the Insight Bowl.
Nebraska (5-6) (2-5) - W - 73-31 vs. Kansas State
- This whole thing has just become awkward. It's like a girlfriend that has decided to break up with her boyfriend. She knows it, he knows it. But instead of just accepting it and moving on, he buys her flowers and tries to win her heart back. Callahan you're going to get fired and no amount of 70 point outbursts is going to change that.
Iowa State (3-8) (2-5) - W - 31-28 vs. Colorado
- Back to back victories over Kansas State and Colorado have given first year head coach Gene Chizik something to build on for next year. Maybe it was mentioning them with the Baylor Bears that inspired the troops. Wouldn't it be funny if they pulled off the unthinkable and upset #3 Kansas this weekend? Though I don't know if you want to risk upsetting Mt. Mangino.
Baylor (3-8) (0-7) - L - 52-21 at #4 Oklahoma
- Going 0-8 in conference is embarrassing. Not holding a conference opponent under 30 points is embarrassing. Not coming within 20 points of a conference opponent since October 2006 is embarrassing. But hey, start looking at the surprise 6-5 teams this year and maybe you can find the new man to come in and be your coach for 3 years before going 0-8 in conference and firing him.