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Midseason Report: Big 12

Posted on: October 18, 2010 7:07 pm
 
Posted by Tom Fornelli

Now that we've reached the halfway point of the season, we have a lot better idea of which teams to take seriously, and which ones we can forget about.  Of course, there's still a lot of football to be played this season, so in the Midseason Report we'll be taking a look at what each team has remaining in front of them, and what they'll have to do to call themselves conference champions.  In this post, we'll take a look at the Big 12.

North


1. Missouri (6-0, 2-0) - Raise your hand if you thought that come the midpoint of the season Missouri would be 6-0, ranked 11th in the BCS and alone atop the Big 12 North.  Now put your hand down and hang your head in shame, you liar.  Looking at this Missouri team through six games it's hard to see a weakness.  They have an offense putting up 34.5 points a game, and a defense that's only allowed 10.8 -- which is the second best mark in the country.  The problem is that the Tigers are just now reaching the part of their schedule that will truly put them to the test.  Over the next four weeks the Tigers will host Oklahoma, travel to Nebraska and Texas Tech, then return home to play Kansas State.   If Mizzou comes out of that stretch unscathed it finishes up with Iowa State and Kansas.   In other words, they wouldn't just be playing for a Big 12 title, but for a shot at a national title as well.  Can they get there?  My gut says no, but this weekend's game against Oklahoma will tell us all a lot more about how good this team is and can be.

2. Nebraska (5-1, 1-1) -
If there was ever going to be a season in which Nebraska finally got the monkey that is Texas of its back, this was supposed to be it.  It wasn't, though, and now there are questions in Lincoln about how good Taylor Martinez actually is.  Personally, I'm not sure.  One week he looks amazing, and then the next he looks anything but, and the fact of the matter is that how Martinez goes, so go the Cornhuskers.  Nebraska's next two weeks will be tough as they head to Stillwater on Saturday before returning home to host Missouri.  Unless they win both of those games Nebraska's swan song in the Big 12 will not end with a conference title.  The good news is that even if Martinez does struggle, Nebraska has a defense strong enough to keep it in any game, but the defense can't win games on its own.  Martinez simply needs to play well from here on out.

3. Kansas State (5-1, 2-1) - To me, Kansas State is one of those teams that is more a byproduct of their schedule than a real contender.  It's 5-1 through six games, but those five wins have come against teams like UCLA (college football's answer to schizophrenia), Missouri State, Iowa State, UCF and Kansas.  The one test the Wildcats had this season came two weeks ago when they hosted Nebraska.  They lost that game 48-13.  I just have a hard time believing that the team that got killed by Nebraska and struggled with Iowa State and UCF is going to beat Oklahoma State, Texas and Missouri in consecutive weeks.  Maybe the Wildcats will prove me wrong, but I doubt it.

South


1. Oklahoma (6-0, 2-0) - If you're ranked first in the BCS rankings, then I guess you have to be the favorite to win your conference by default.  Not that the Sooners don't deserve to be, as they've had a few impressive wins over Florida State and Texas already this season.  Still, the Sooners don't exactly have an easy path to the finish line.  Four of the Sooners first six games this season have been played in Norman, with another on a neutral site against Texas.  Of its final six games, four will be on the road, including games against Missouri, Texas A&M, Baylor and Oklahoma State.  The one time the Sooners hit the road this season they had trouble fending off a Cincinnati team that had no business hanging with them.  Also, the Sooners went 1-3 on the road last season.  There are no easy road games in college football these days, so Oklahoma's trip to the Big 12 title game is anything but a guarantee at this point.

2. Oklahoma State (6-0, 2-0) - There isn't much question that the Cowboys can put points on the board, as Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon have led Oklahoma State to the third-best passing attack in football, and the second-highest scoring offense in the nation as well.  The concern with Oklahoma State is it's defense.  A unit that is giving up 27.2 points a game is likely to cost the Cowboys a game at some point.  Looking at the Cowboys remaining schedule, plenty of tests remain.  The Cowboys host Nebraska this week and then have Kansas State, Baylor, Texas, Kansas and finish with Oklahoma.  Aside from Kansas, there isn't a guarantee in the bunch.  You have to think that either the Texas defense or Oklahoma's will figure out how to slow down Weeden and company, and if they do, do you trust the Cowboys defense to stop either?  I certainly wouldn't write off Oklahoma State's chances to reach the title game, but its schedule and defense certainly doesn't do it any favors.

3. Baylor (5-2, 2-1) -
Baylor is off to a nice start, being led by Robert Griffin III, but it has a lot of landmines to avoid if it wants to play for the Big 12 title.  First of all, the Bears already have one more conference loss than either Oklahoma or Oklahoma State.  The good news about that is that Baylor still has a chance to hand either of those teams its first loss.  The bad news is that Baylor still has to play Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Kansas State.  Yep, four of Baylor's last five opponents this season are in the BCS top 25.  That seems like a lot more work than I think Baylor can handle.

4. Texas (4-2, 2-1) - Texas is the wild card in all things Big 12 right now.  Following back-to-back losses to UCLA and Oklahoma there was plenty of doom and gloom in Austin, but following Saturday's win against Nebraska, the Longhorns aren't in as bad a shape as you'd think.  Texas is still only one loss behind Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, and still gets to play the Cowboys at home.  What could end up killing their chances, though, is that loss to Oklahoma as the Sooners would have the tiebreaker should the finish with an equal mark.  So Texas needs to win out and hope that the Sooners lose twice, which isn't likely, but not all that crazy either.  They have the defense to do it, but unless an offense that has been everything but impressive this season improves, I wouldn't expect it to happen.

Prediction: So who is going to be playing for the Big 12 title when all the dust has settled?  It's a good question, and one that isn't all that easy to answer.  Every team that remains in contention has question marks and some tough games remaining on its schedule.

Still, when it's all said and done I think Oklahoma and Missouri will meet at Jerryworld in December, though I don't think either team will get there without a blemish on its record.  As for who wins, I'll go with Oklahoma as I believe they have more weapons on offense with Landry Jones, Ryan Broyles and Demarco Murray.
Comments

Since: Mar 27, 2009
Posted on: October 21, 2010 11:19 am
 

Midseason Report: Big 12

Wow!  I'm amazed that a Nebraska fan would write that Missouri's ranking is a joke.  Now, I'm not claiming that Mizzou belongs in the top ten, we'll find out about that on Saturday.  But, who have the Huskers beaten?  A bunch of nobodies.  They were a 10-4 team last year, with a home loss to Iowa State.  How on earth have they been ranked so high?  They have been the beneficiaries of hype and tradition.  Their ranking, up until last week was totally unearned.



Since: Oct 31, 2007
Posted on: October 21, 2010 9:30 am
 

Midseason Report: Big 12

Funny...NU receivers grease up thier mits before the Texas game and all of a sudden they're the second best team in the north?  Wow...  

Texas had one (1) sustained TD drive and if NU cathces half of the dropped passes they outgain Texas and win the game.  When it's all said and done, NU-OU in the championship and OU wins.  Mark it...end of discussion.



Since: Jan 17, 2007
Posted on: October 20, 2010 6:39 pm
 

Midseason Report: Big 12

The question should have been...Who would have predicted that Oklahoma State would be 6-0 at midseason??  Mizzou was not a stretch at all, but OSU??  Absolutely NO ONE saw that coming!  And no one know how good they are, yet.  That should come into much clearer focus after their game against Nebraska this Saturday.



Since: Jan 17, 2007
Posted on: October 20, 2010 6:35 pm
 

Midseason Report: Big 12

Technically, OU's game against Cincy was ALSO played at a "neutral" site, so this week's game at Mizzou is their first "true" road game...at the opponents home stadium. 



Since: Aug 30, 2006
Posted on: October 20, 2010 9:51 am
 

Midseason Report: Big 12

Very well thought out and put down. 
OU and Nebraska are the only two opponents left on MU's schedule that concern me, a dedicated MIZZOU fan. I think IF we can manage to finally top the Sooners, then not too many things will stand in our way this season...until we have to face them again in the Big 12 championship game. That game is so scary to MU fans, especially since it was OU who doused our natl. championship hopes in that very game a couple years ago.
I really feel better about facing OU at this point in the season, mainly because it seems like the coaching staff has recruited to win games against the south teams. Instead of leading the country in offense, we now are 2nd in the nation on Defense, while still putting up 35 points a game.
As to early in the season and missing MU games...well your not alone. Most were pay per view (biggest load of crap the NCAA has instituted) and the two games I did watch MU was amazing...against Colorado and Texas A&M...but San Diego State had us on the ropes and it took a miracle :28 seconds left touchdown pass from Gabbert to Moe to keep our season undefeated. It could definitely go either way.
This is the last season of Big 12 football where it really counts as North vs South. With Colorado and Nebraska leaving the conference, and the new round robin schedule that will be instituted, this season really means more to me than any previous. Without the Big 12 in the Natl. Championship game, recruiting will be alot tougher due to pre-season rankings being SO important past this year. Our opponents in our division will not count as much without Nebraska on our respective schedules each season, and we will rely more on non-con's for national attention. 
Good luck to the Sooner's this Saturday, and I hope MIZZOU can send you back with your first loss! Either way it should be an epic battle.



Since: Jun 13, 2010
Posted on: October 20, 2010 1:57 am
 

Midseason Report: Big 12

I think the Big XII is still up for grabs, honestly.  I'm a diehard Sooner fan but with so many other Big XII teams that matchup pretty evenly with OU, its hard to say.  Missouri and Oklahoma State are the games that scare me as an OU fan.  I haven't had a chance to actually watch any Mizzou games this season so its even harder for me to gauge their team with any degree of accuracy.  But I have watched several OSU games and they do look pretty tough.  Right now, I think OSU is suffering from the same problem that some SEC teams (and even OU early in this season) are going through; Lack of consistent defense.  Oklahoma racked-up 673(ish) yards against Iowa State last weekend and rolled over FSU 47-14.  The rest of their games were decided by 8pts or less which makes me wonder if OU really IS struggling or if its all an elaborate setup.  That's how it seemed when they played against FSU and ISU.  Basically, Stoops Inc. may be pulling an Admiral Ackbar "It's a TRAP!" Only play at 50% strength until they face the big teams.  This is all conjecture at this point, of course and I say it almost in jest.  
Mizzou has always been my 3rd favorite team in NCAA football only behind the Sooners and the Cowboys.  I really enjoy watching them play but the only game they've played that was aired here in Tulsa, OK I was unable to watch it.  But from what clips I've seen and what I've read, they look like a legit team this season and it should be a tough battle this week.  I don't think that the loser of this week's game should or will be considered a "fraud" because both teams are both very-well equipped, very-well coached and are very-worthy opponents.  I do think Oklahoma does have the advantage on the talent-side and Mizzou has the advantage of playing at home.  (Mizzou is always a tough place to play and has a very good and loyal fan-base, just like they do in Norman and Lincoln.)  I feel like my Sooners can and should win this game against Mizzou but I think they're going to have to play like they did against FSU, Texas and ISU to pull it off.
Early-on in the season, the TAMU game was one that worried me, too... but lately after seeing them play a few games, I'm now pretty confident in that game.  The same thing goes for the TT game.  They haven't lived-up to the early-season 'hype' (not that Tech was getting a lot of 'hype' but Tech always has at least one or two major supporters in the media that tell tales of how they can score 127 points in 5 minutes with that super-spread offense.)  But through the first half of the season, that doesn't seem to be the case.
Oklahoma State is the biggest worry for me this season....especially since its the last regular-season game that OU plays and they play in Stilly.  Anyone who's ever been to T. Boone Pickens Stadium knows that besides Austin, Lincoln and Norman, is one if the toughest places to play. Those fans are RAUCOUS.  Especially given that they would love nothing more to be in a game that could determine the winner of the South division.  I'm only hoping that OSU has one or two losses by then which woud pad Oklahoma's lead in the South a little bit.  
I predict that Oklahoma (if they play their A-game) can win-out and end up playing Missouri or Nebraska for the Big XII championship game.  And if they succeed in winning that, go on to the National Championship Title Game.  But there are still way too many games and way too many variables right now.  I REALISTICALLY see OU ending up with one loss (either to Mizzou or OSU during regular season-play or in the Big XII CCG.)
I think that the Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri and Oklahoma State are really the only teams that still have the best chances to win the Big XII championship but so many things can happen and although I'm confident in my Sooners team, I wouldn't bet any money on some of their upcoming games.



Since: Sep 10, 2007
Posted on: October 19, 2010 8:51 pm
 

Midseason Report: Big 12

Ok OK I have been reluctant to post anything on the web about my beloved Tigers, but i have to say YES I have thought from the beginning that we would be 6-0 at this point. With the mighty falling every weak and only 10 undefeateds left, the chips have fallen in  the Tigers favor. Defense is strong, offense can score, playing at home.....dont get me wrong OU scares the hell out of me, but the time is ripe for a huge MU win!!!



Since: Feb 26, 2009
Posted on: October 19, 2010 1:12 pm
 

Midseason Report: Big 12

Cut through the media hype with A&M maybe, but Nebraska is a much tougher team than you are giving them credit for, and although they have a young QB and played very poorly against Texas last week, they could have won the game if the WRs didn't drop 4 TD passes where all went right through their hands. Granted it was a tough loss and they may be "wounded" but I would take NU over Mizzou in Lincoln 9 times out of 10 this year. If you think KState and ISU will be hard fought games, than the Nebraska game is a guaranteed loss. It is a joke they are ranked that high without a single quality win. Kudos for getting to 6-0 but I would be very surprised if Mizzou is anything but 6-2 after the next couple.




Since: Dec 3, 2007
Posted on: October 19, 2010 12:42 pm
 

Midseason Report: Big 12

I absolutely thought Mizzou would be 6-0.  Looking at the schedule in preseason, 5-0 looked very feasible.  In regards to A&M, much like Nebraska, once you cut through the media hype you see a team with lots of problems.  The offensive line was young, the qb had a lot of upside but was erratic, and the coach has been under fire for years.  I expected it to be a tougher game than it was, but that may be because I underestimated the development of Mizzou's defense.  Anyway, 6-0 was certainly feasible.  Beyond that?  Who knows.  Oklahoma is always tough but the matchup should be more favorable than it was in 2007.  Nebraska is wounded but still a threat in Lincoln.  Tech shouldn't be as difficult as originally believed since they are underperforming this year and Mizzou has traditionally had success against them.  K-State and Iowa State will be hard fought games (Iowa State always plays us hard), and you can throw out the record book when it comes to Border War.  In short, Mizzou has no easy games left.



Since: Jun 22, 2007
Posted on: October 18, 2010 7:34 pm
 

Midseason Report: Big 12

Thought Missouri would be 6-0? Yes.
Thought Missouri would be 11th in the BCS? Probably not that high, but it's not ridiculous.
Thought Missouri would be alone atop the North? Well, whose fault is that?


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