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Big 12 Roundtable

CCMachine over at the Oklahoma Sooners blog, Crimson and Cream Machine, has decided to sponsor a Big 12 Roundtable.  Basically, he posed a few questions and posted his answers here.  I'll give it a shot, and feel free to post your answers in the comments or a diary.

1.  Pick a team (other than the one you blog about) from the north and south divisions and explain why they may be the best team in the division.

I've picked Missouri to win the North and Texas to win the South, so I guess it would be appropriate to talk about them.  But that's no fun.

In the South, I'll go with Oklahoma State as a team that MAY be the strongest team in the division.  They have an exciting offense with playmakers galore in Bobby Reid, Adarius Bowman, Dantrelle Savage, and Keith Toston.  The defense may not be spectacular, but it should be adequate with returnees such as Marque Fountain, Nathan Peterson and Andre Sexton.  This team is my darkhorse to win the South, although a road schedule that includes Georgia, Texas A&M, Nebraska and Oklahoma may doom this pick.

In the North, I'll take Nebraska as a team that MAY be the strongest in the division.  Sam Keller has proven that he can be a playmaker at QB when he's a) healthy and b) isn't throwing interceptions.  The Huskers have a good offensive line (except Matt Slauson may miss time with an injury) and Maurice Purify will return at wide receiver after the Nevada game.  On defense, the Huskers have to replace their entire defensive line, and their best player in the secondary (Zack Bowman) is coming off his second ACL surgery.  But the linebackers should be pretty good with Bo Ruud, Corey McKeon and Steve Octavien.

2.  If the Big 12 Conference had a Heisman trophy candidate who would it be and why?

I think the leading candidate going into this year would be Texas' Colt McCoy.  I don't see any other returnees around the league that have national name recognition at this point.  Prior to his injury against K-State, McCoy was beginning to get some Heisman hype, and he leads the offense of one of the most visible teams nationwide.

Other candidates could include A&M's Mike Goodson (will be hurt by sharing time with Jorvorskie Lane), Oklahoma State's Bobby Reid and perhaps Adarius Bowman (will be hurt by Okie State's lack of prominence on the national radar), and Mizzou's Chase Daniel (will need to overcome Gary Pinkel's coaching and will probably need to lead his team to the North crown, at least, to get any real credit).

My prediction:  A Big 12 player will not win the Heisman Trophy this year.  I'm sure you're shocked.

3.  If you had to place a $100.00 bet on a current Big 12 head coach being fired at the end of the season who would you pick and why?

I'm glad I don't have to actually bet this, because I literally don't have $100 to my name right now after buying my textbooks.

BearMeat reports that Baylor head coach Guy Morriss has sold his house near Waco.  That's all I need, plus the fact that Morriss set the bar too high for himself last year by winning two conference games and doesn't have a returning quarterback.

4.  The one non-conference game, not involving your school, you would pay money to see would be?

That's kind of a tough one.  There are quite a few good games involving conference teams this year.

I'll bypass Nebraska-USC to choose Texas-TCU in Austin.  There are a couple reasons for this.  First, Austin is a helluva lot more fun than Lincoln.  Second, TCU is pretty darn good this year and just might give UT a game, even in Austin.  Third, it's an old $WC rivalry, and you know the Horned Frogs will be on fire to beat the 'Horns and prove to the world they are this year's Boise State.

5.  Which of the four Big 12 schools currently ranked in the AP Top 25 doesn’t belong there?

For everyone's help, including mine, here are the four Big 12 teams in the AP Poll...

  1.  Texas
  1.  Oklahoma
  1.  Nebraska
  1.  Texas A&M

Hmm, that's a pretty hard group to argue with.  However, I picked A&M to go 4-4 in conference and finish 5th in the South (which I've admitted was probably a bad pick), so it'd be kind of hypocritical of me not to choose them.  However, early in the season it may be Nebraska, because I see them struggling with (if not losing to) Wake Forest, and then losing the next week at home to USC.  Two losses or a tough game against an unranked team and a loss to USC would probably drop them out of the top 25.

6.  Make a case for one of the 8 Big 12 schools not ranked as to why they should be.

It has to be Missouri.  They're the media pick to win the North over Nebraska and are the top vote-getter among non-ranked teams in the AP Poll.  A strong second would be Oklahoma State, considering the firepower they bring to the field this year.

7.  Prediction Time:  Tell us the offensive and defensive players who are going to make the biggest impact on the conference this season.

Offensive:  Bobby Reid, Oklahoma State.  He passed for 2,266 yards last year and netted 500 yards running.  I could see him as a 2,000/1,000 guy this year.  His success is key to the Pokes' success, and thus I see him having a huge impact on how the South is decided.
Defensive:  Reggie Smith, Oklahoma.  The kid's fast and he gets to the ball.  I picked K-State's Ian Campbell as my conference defensive player of the year, but OU's defense will be the difference between whether they win the South or not, so Smith's performance as a part of that defense will have a bigger effect on how the conference standings shake out.

Thus concludes my first Big 12 Roundtable.  I'll be back later tonight (I hope) with an update on the Rashaad Norwood situation.  For now, just know he was arrested twice (yes, twice) yesterday for a variety of behavior that was really dumb.  More later.