SB Nation Big 12 Roundtable -- Week 2

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via assets.sbnation.com

The Big 12 Roundtable is back, again hosted by Rock M Nation.  Once again, BOTC brings you a three-part response to each question, so I'll stop wasting your time now.

A solid 10-2 showing for the Big 12 this weekend. Which of these wins was biggest for the Big 12 and why?

BracketCat: It has to be Oklahoma State beating Georgia. Even up until kickoff, people were still doubting OSU's capability to win that game. Even better, they did it with defense, as the offense had a subpar game across the board. In other words, we beat the SEC at its own game. That ought to shut the east coast media up for a while. Coupled with Oklahoma's loss (and accompanying lack of mental fortitude), it also elevates OSU up to the coveted No. 2 spot in the pecking order... for now.

Panjandrum: I've gotta go with Oklahoma State over Georgia.  Yeah, the Bulldogs are down this year, but it's always good to get a win over the SEC on national television.

TB: Nationally, the biggest win was Oklahoma State over Georgia.  It was a victory that at least quelled the tide of SEC superiority after last season's frustrations against the southerners.  Oklahoma State looks like a legitimate contender for the Big 12 South right now with an improved defense.
 
In a more conference-specific manner, however, Missouri's win over Illinois was the biggest of the day.  Most of the preseason discussion focused on whether Nebraska or KU would win the North, with Missouri an afterthought despite the facts that the Tigers have been better than either NU or KU over the last few years and that Nebraska lost just as much on offense as Mizzou did.  While NU and KU looked solid against overmatched opponents, Mizzou looked solid against a team that was supposed to be knocking on the door of the top 25.

Click the jump for the rest...

Conversely, the Mountain West did its damage against Colorado and Oklahoma. What's more disconcerting -- a sleeper in Colorado coming unglued, or a power in Oklahoma getting knocked off?

BracketCat: Oklahoma losing, without a doubt. Colorado never was a sleeper, as anyone with half a brain who has bothered to watch Hawk's terrible coaching over the years could have told you. But even without Bradford and Gresham, OU should have had enough to win that game - no disrespect to BYU. They just collapsed emotionally, though, and it's been a familiar refrain for Big Game Bob of late: Kansas State, LSU, USC, TCU, Oregon, Boise State, West Virginia, Florida, BYU and the list goes on. One wonders at what point the Oklahoma fans, desperate for an eighth national title, start to get a little myopically impatient with the way his talented teams underachieve whenever they encounter a little adversity.

Panjandrum: I don't think Colorado losing is really a 'sleeper'.  I haven't been high on CU at all, and I thought any and all hype they received was completely unjustified.  It doesn't surprise me at all that a fundamentally sound team went into Boulder and won.  I mean, for Christ's sakes, Ron Prince was 2-1 against Hawkins, and he should have been undefeated.  If that doesn't speak volumes about how awful your program is, I don't know what does.

Oklahoma losing to BYU was kind of surprising, but again, it's time we start talking about the Mountain West as a BCS quality conference and its members as quality teams.  BYU is legit, and this was a statement game for them.  Oklahoma, as usual, came out flat in a big, non-conference game.  At some point, folks are going to realize that anyone can get beat on any given day, and the hyperbole that surrounds programs like Oklahoma, Texas, Florida, etc. will hopefully dissolve over time.  It's not like they lost to an FCS team, so I don't think it's disheartening to the conference at all.

TB: Definitely seeing a powerhouse like Oklahoma get knocked off.  I'll admit to being in the group of airheads who thought that surely Colorado would get it turned around at some point, but you hate to lose a contender at the top of your conference a lot more than you hate to lose a possible sleeper.

Right now, the college football world is rotating around a shoulder that can't rotate itself. What does the Sam Bradford injury mean for the conference right now?

BracketCat: Nothing much. I had OU pegged for 2-4 losses anyway. You don't lose 4 of 5 veteran offensive linemen and just reload like nothing happened. This is Texas' year, as long as they can survive in Stillwater. McCoy's boys are the best chance for this conference to stop the Tim Tebow hype machine. That would have been the case anyway, but now with any little luck, the road got a little easier for the Longhorns. And I'm selfishly rooting for them in some ways, because Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are raiding Kansas for the best recruits right now. Anything that is bad for them is good for K-State. But when was the last time we lost a recruit to Texas? Vince Young, maybe? Exactly. Hook 'em!

Panjandrum: It means the Heisman race is now down to McCoy and Tebow.  If anything, it could give a team like Oklahoma State some momentum going into the conference season that it could ride into the Big 12 title game, but it's not like the Big 12 is hurting for quality teams right now.  I think OU was overrated as a Top 5 team, and without Bradford, they could come back to Earth a bit.  It may be the opening that OSU has been looking for to help turn that corner.

TB: Seems to me that it means we're down one national title contender.  I don't know if that leaves one or two, because I don't know if Oklahoma State is a national title contender or not yet.  It may make it more difficult for the conference to have two BCS bowl game participants if Texas wins the conference and goes to the MNCG.  Two BCS teams means a lot of money for the conference, and I trust OU's reputation to get them to a BCS bowl a lot more than OSU's reputation.

How, if at all, did your perception of your team change after week one, both for better and for worse?

BracketCat: It was pretty much what I expected to see. The defense's effort has improved, if not its talent level. Fundamentals are better than they ever were last season. We're going to miss Josh Freeman a LOT, and anyone who thought otherwise is an idiot. Probably the only major surprise was the two HORRIBLE special teams errors. That's atypical of a Snyder team; hell, it's atypical of a PRINCE team. Gotta get that crap fixed quickly or we will lose even more games than I already resigned myself to witnessing.

Panjandrum: Kansas State is better than we thought on the defensive side of the football, but they're much worse on the offensive side than we had hoped (or feared).  It may be a one game aberration, but unless they come out strong against Louisiana next week, KSU could go from a 5-6 win team to a 3-4 win team.

TB: It didn't change much.  That's probably what a 6-6 team looks like.  I have faith that a Bill Snyder-coached team will improve throughout the year, and as I've noted, the performance wasn't as lackluster as it may appear to someone who only sees the final score.  Still, we aren't a very good team this year.

Give us your offensive player of the week, defensive player of the week, and coaching move of the week, including justifications for your selection. You ARE eligible to vote for your own program.

BracketCat: Offensive Player of the Week: Blaine Gabbert
Holy crap, what a debut. Missouri is here to stay, folks.

Defensive Player of the Week: Tysyn Hartman
Maybe a biased pick, but who else had two interceptions last week? Hell, the entire starting defenses of Kansas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech couldn't even do that in laughers. And he should have had three...

Coaching Move of the Week: Mike Gundy's decision to lean on his defense
Gundy said after the game that he put less pressure on his offense to rack up its usual numbers because the defense was holding its own. Brilliant move. Now they know what they can do, and their confidence is higher than it already was. Plus, Young reintroduced himself to the conference as the evil wizard he is. OSU has a bright season ahead of it if it keeps doing the little things right.

Panjandrum: Offensive POW: Gabbert - How can he not be?

Defensive POW: Hartman - He should have had three picks and a TD.  However, his two INT's were HUGE in KSU's win, so he gets it on the importance of his play.

Coaching move of the week: Dan Hawkins providing a blueprint on how to beat CU - This is kind of a joke, but the conference will benefit from all of the wins teams will rack up against CU this year after Hawkins clearly displayed complete ineptitude in practically all facets of the game.

TB: Offensive Player of the Week: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri.  It's probably the obvious pick, but it's warranted in my estimation.  Missouri was predicted by many, including me, to take a big step back this year because they were breaking in a new QB.  While I still imagine Gabbert will undergo some growing pains at some point this year, he and the Tigers served notice that they will be in the running for their third straight North title.
 
Defensive Player of the Week: Joe Pawelek, LB, Baylor: I really wanted to follow BracketCat's and Panjandrum's lead and pick K-State safety Tysyn Hartman here, but I can't vote against Pawelek.  Baylor's senior linebacker had seven tackles, an interception, and a sack in Baylor's road win against Wake Forest.  Hartman had two interceptions and six tackles against a less impressive opponent.  I also considered Mizzou DB Carl Gettis (eight tackles, one forced fumble, one pass broken up).
 
Coaching Move of the Week: I noticed RPT called it the coaching "move" of the week, rather than the coaching job of the week.  Because I didn't catch a lot of film of the Big 12 games, I'll have to defer to ESPN's Tim Griffin and nominate either Art Briles and Baylor for throwing the circus at Wake Forest, or Missouri defensive coordinator Dave Steckel's "scorpion" defense against Illinois.  Unless, of course, you believe that new Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Bill Young intentionally permitted Georgia to march 80 yards for a touchdown on its first drive, only to stifle the Bulldogs the rest of the day.  That would be a coaching move befitting an evil defensive genius.

Big 12 Power Poll! Rank the teams from 1-12. (Again, the simple criteria for this is power, i.e. who would beat who on a neutral field?)

BracketCat:

1. Texas - as solid as expected
2. Oklahoma State - impressive start to the season; now survive Houston
3. Missouri - could be BETTER than last year; has to be the favorite for the North now, hosting Nebraska and getting Kansas on a neutral field
4. Nebraska - good dismantling of a bowl-winning team; now do it against someone with a pulse
5. Kansas - showed us nothing against a nobody, but maintains the benefit of the doubt for now
6. Oklahoma - BYU is good, but not that good; without Bradford, this is a 7-5 team, and the defense still has MAJOR issues despite its talent level
7. Baylor - GREAT road win, considering Griffin did not have a great game; Baylor will be in a bowl, and if OU keeps sliding, the unthinkable could happen - the Bears could pass the Sooners in this power poll
8. Texas A&M - pretty impressive start, but New Mexico had a new coach and new systems; Aggies still have a lot to prove
9. Texas Tech - that was not a good performance, people; 40 rushing yards? seriously? against NORTH DAKOTA?
10. Kansas State - pretty much what I expected; just not enough pieces this year
11. Iowa State - meh
12. Colorado - holy God, Hawk is a terrible coach; still starting his son with the rag-noodle arm? making him throw 40 times a game? running the ball with FOUR different RBs so none of them gets in a rhythm? this guy ASTOUNDS me with his awful coaching...

Panjandrum:

1. Texas
2. Oklahoma State
3. Missouri
4. Nebraska
5. Oklahoma
6. Baylor
7. Kansas
8. Texas Tech
9. Texas A&M
10. Kansas State
11. Iowa State
12. Colorado

TB:

1.  Texas -- Hold on to the top spot because they looked really good against an overmatched opponent.  Had they been merely ordinary against ULM, we may have had a new top dog.
2.  Oklahoma State -- Lived up to the preseason hype against Georgia, but Mike Gundy had better get them grounded quickly.  The Houston Cougars have enough offense to beat the Cowboys if they aren't taken seriously.
3.  Oklahoma -- Probably bucking conventional wisdom here, but I'm not going to overreact to a neutral-site loss to a ranked MWC team when the Sooners' Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback was injured in the first half.
4.  Missouri -- An impressive win over a far superior opponent to the ones Nebraska and KU played vaults the Tigers to the top of the North.
5.  Nebraska -- A slow start against FAU gave way to a big third quarter and an easy win for the Huskers.  Zac Lee was solid in his first start at QB.
6.  KU -- Played without star receiver Dez Briscoe, but rode a strong ground game to a ho-hum win over a putrid FCS opponent.  They have an interesting game this week, traveling to El Paso to match up with a UTEP team that lost to Buffalo in its opener.
7.  Baylor -- The Bears picked up a good road win against Wake Forest, despite Robert Griffin having a sub-par game.
8.  Texas A&M -- Maybe giving the Aggies too much credit for an easy win over a team with entirely new coaches that wasn't all that great last year.  Still, A&M has clearly improved from a year ago, when it couldn't even beat an FCS school at home.
9.  Texas Tech -- Yeah, Taylor Potts passed for 400+ yards, but the Red Raiders had no running game to speak of against a Division II team.
10.  K-State -- Possibly a bit of a homer pick, but the Cats hang on to the No. 10 position in my power poll by a thread.  It's a combination of what I saw in person at the UMass game and not being overly impressed by Iowa State's performance against NDSU.
11.  Iowa State -- Offense looked pretty good against NDSU, although it didn't result in a ton of points.  Defense is going to need to improve after allowing more than five yards per rush to an FCS school.
12.  Colorado -- When you lose at home, to a team that was picked to finish in the middle of the MWC pack, and you got pretty much dominated in every phase of the game, you end up here.  Still, I make those comments advisedly, knowing full well that K-State could just as well be placed right here.

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