Big 12 Roundtable--The No-Name Edition

This week's Roundtable is hosted by MidWest Coast Bias, a blog that will probably be looking for a new name at the end of the season.  Good luck with that creative pursuit, sprite.

1.  If you could steal another coach at any level (head, assistant, etc.) from another school, who would it be and why?

After Bill Snyder retired, my first choice as a replacement was Jim Leavitt.  Turns out he really likes what he built at South Florida, and with good reason, so he wasn’t interested.  But his Bulls play tough defense and he has a dynamic quarterback in Matt Grothe.  I’m pretty happy with Ron Prince at this point, though, so I’m content with the status quo.

2. What two teams will play for the Big XII Championship and why?

Oklahoma will come out of the South.  Texas is too far behind and OU has the tiebreaker on them.  Tech will test the Sooners, but Bob Stoops and Brent Venables will make Tech one-dimensional and win that game.  Texas A&M’s early success was built on beating Baylor and an inconsistent Oklahoma State team.  As mentioned, Oklahoma State is too inconsistent to make a run at the South.  It’s the Sooners’ to lose.

The North is much more difficult to figure.  It’s extremely crowded at the top (the South is, too), with KU, K-State, Colorado and Mizzou.  I still think Mizzou will come out of the mix, but with Nebraska’s plummet I’m wondering about the quality of the Tigers’ win over the Huskers.  Given the weak schedule (no game against Texas or Oklahoma), the unthinkable could happen, and KU could represent the North in San Antonio.  I still haven’t ruled out K-State, but we have to play consistently and get some help in the form of a couple somebodies beating KU somewhere.

3. What is the best bowl game your team has a realistic shot at and, if your team has a shot, who would you like to play in said bowl?

I would say the Cotton Bowl is probably realistic, although unlikely.  An appearance in Dallas would probably require making it to the Big 12 championship game, which is not out of the question at this point.  After that, a Holiday Bowl appearance would be nice.  Given the history of K-State fans traveling well to bowl games, I think we have an X-factor in our favor for getting a good bowl invitation.

If we were to make the Cotton Bow, that would be a matchup with an SEC team.  My pick would be Alabama, because I hate Nick Saban and would love to have a chance to beat his team.  If it were the Holiday Bowl, I would like to see USC lose another game or two and get a shot at them in San Diego.

4. If given the opportunity, would you keep the Big XII status quo or kick out a team and go to a Big 10-style conference play?

I would like to have a 10-team conference and play a nine-game conference slate, more like the Pac-10 than the Big Teneleven.  Of course, that would require cutting two teams, which would be difficult.  Obviously, Baylor is always going to jump out because it’s the only private school and isn’t good in the most visible sports—football and men’s basketball—but they do bring a lot to the conference in other sports (and BearMeat).  Iowa State seems like another school that would be at the top of the list because of its recent struggles, plus the fact that they don’t have a real rivalry within the conference.

On the other hand, I am loathe to speculate too much on this because K-State once faced the very real prospect of being booted from the Big 8, and such a prospect can spell ruin for an athletic department (just ask my current school, the University of Houston).  I really don’t know where Iowa State would go, and I don’t have any real objection to having them in the conference.  Same with Baylor, except I’m pretty sure they would be easily picked up by Conference USA or the Mountain West.

5. Rank the Big XII teams

 The Sooners took Missouri's best shot and ended up delivering the knockout blow.  Now OU gets a bit of a breather, with a trip to Iowa State and home tilts with Texas A&M and Baylor upcoming.  Suddenly, the November 17th trip to Lubbock looks like it might have a lot riding on it.
 Although they didn't win, the Tigers played awfully well in Norman.  Even without Tony Temple running the ball, Mizzou outyarded the Sooners, and who knows what would have happened had MU had a credible rushing threat.  This team is still my pick to represent the North in San Antonio, but it's gut-check time for Mizzou this week as Texas Tech brings its aerial circus to Columbia.
 Once things finally got going--there was a long lightning delay--the 'beaks got rolling and trounced Baylor.  Granted, the Bears aren't any better than the pitiful teams KU played in the non-conference schedule, but they again annihilated inferior competition.  This week will be very interesting, as KU travels into the thin mountain air to take on a Colorado team that suddenly has its back to the wall when it comes to the North race.
 Very impressive effort out of the Cats late Saturday night.  The offense finally ran the ball and threw downfield a little bit, and once the defense adjusted to the huge holes up the middle for Hugh Charles, this one was in the books.  Now the Cats travel to Stillwater for a winnable game against a South team that is on a roll after beating up on Lincoln Southeast last weekend.  A win againt the Pokes could propel the Cats to a big run with games against Baylor and Iowa State on the horizon.  One week at a time...
 Ho-hum, a beatdown of hapless Iowa State.  This team has plenty of potential if the coaches figure out how to use it.  The Horns should move above .500 in conference play the next two weeks with games against Baylor and Nebraska, before finishing the season with a march to the sea through South opponents.
 This team is starting to look like a South contender after beating the Aggies senseless in Lubbock.  Michael Crabtree is an absolute freak and Graham Harrell is directing the Red Raider offense to perfection.  On tap?  A trip to Missouri, where a win would really cement Tech as OU's leading challenger in the South.
 Tough and really unimpressive loss this weekend, and things don't get any easier in the next few weeks for CU.  North leader KU arrives in Boulder this weekend.  After that, it's Texas Tech and Mizzou.  The next three weeks are make-or-break time for the early North leader.
 Yikes.  After the first few series, the Aggies were no match for Texas Tech, losing by four touchdowns out on the South Plains.  Next week's matchup with Nebraska, which looked like a marquee matchup in the preseason, has suddenly become a pillowfight between two proud programs in embroiled in turmoil.  The Aggies need the win, because after that they face a murderer's row of opponents in KU, Oklahoma, Mizzou and Texas.  Good luck, Fran.
 If there's a conference team that has been more up-and-down than my beloved K-State, it's Okie State.  An uncompetitive loss to Georgia.  An ugly loss at Troy.  A shootout at the OK Corral with Texas Tech.  A coach's meltdown.  A one-point loss in Aggieland.  And finally a blowout of Nebraska...in Lincoln.  Wildcat fans better hope it's the Pokes week for a bad performance.
 Steve Pederson is gone, but that's not going to improve Bo Ruud's tackling ability.  Everything that possibly can go wrong has, and Husker fans are right to wonder who else on the schedule they can beat if the team continues its putrid play.  I would think this team can turn things around, if only a little bit, but there may be something deeper wrong here because it looks like the players have quit.
 What can you say?  If not for BearMeat, BU football would be unbearable (I really didn't intend that as a pun).  Seriously, check out the latest BearMeat post if you really want to laugh.  Their picture captions are hilarious.  Oh, and the Bears' reward for last week's stomping in Lawrence?  A visit from the Longhorns.
 I still think Iowa State is going to wake up some weekend and knock off someone it 'shouldn't', I just hope that doesn't occur against K-State.

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