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Big 12 Roundtable--Now That We Know Edition

This week's Roundtable is again being hosted by Crimson and Cream Machine.  Check Matt's post for links to the other responses from around the conference.

1.  Based on what you now know to be your team’s strengths and weaknesses if the game was on the line do you want your offense or defense on the field?

That’s a difficult call.  After the Auburn game, I would have said the defense in a heartbeat.  However, now we know that AU’s offense borders on pathetic, and the defensive effort was lacking a little against San Jose State.  The offense is still unproven, but I like the progress I’m seeing with the running game and the offensive line.  On top of that, last year Josh Freeman led a beautiful late-game drive against Oklahoma State.  With players like Jordy Nelson and Deon Murphy running around in the defensive secondary and Josh Freeman completing 61 percent of his passes, I have to pick the offense right now.

2.  If you had to pick a team from the AP Top 10 for your team to play this weekend who would you pick and why (OU & Texas are not options).

I would pick No. 10, Ohio State.  They seem to me like a young team that doesn’t have much offense, and we have seen we have a chance in a low-scoring slugfest (see the Auburn game).  On the other hand, the Buckeye defense could give our offensive line a tough game, but I’d rather play a low-scoring game.  That’s why I chose Ohio State over teams like Cal and Louisville, because I’m not sure the Cats can win a shootout.

3.  You can take one player off your team and trade him for any player in the conference who plays the same position who are you taking?

Hmm, are we talking fair value?  I can’t tell from OU’s Web site which position Duke Robinson plays, but he’s good enough I’d take him at any position.  I don’t mean this as a slight to Brock Unruh, but Robinson is an all-conference performer and would be a great anchor for any line.  A close second would probably be Jeron Mastrud for Martin Rucker/Carson Coffman.

4.  Conference Power Rankings! Rank the teams in the conference from first to worst.

  1.    Clearly the most impressive team thus far.  Have put up massive yards and points, answered the QB question, and played solid defense.
  1.    Unimpressive in week one and in the first half against TCU, but may have woken up in second half with 34 points.  
  1.    It was really hard to decide who to put here.  Mizzou has defeated two BCS conference teams, and Chase Daniel has put up impressive numbers.  The defense looks very suspect, giving up a ton of yards and points, but for now Mizzou is the most impressive team in the North.
  1.    Did not play well in win at Wake Forest, and big win over Nevada lost some luster when Wolfpack fell to Northwestern this weekend.  This week will tell a lot.  If the Huskers put a scare into USC or, wonder of wonders, wins, they could jump Mizzou.  If they lay down like they did last year or get blown away, the doubts will be confirmed.
  1.    I had the musical Jekyll and Hyde in mind watching A&M this weekend.  The Aggies pretty much dominated the first half, and were pretty much dominated in the second half.  Defense does not look very good, and offense is a mystery.  This ranking is hanging by a thread right now.
  1.    Another team that was unimpressive Saturday, but the game was never in doubt.  Biggest worry is whether the team can bring it every weekend and avoid losses to teams that are beatable with effort like we saw at Auburn.  "Near win" at Auburn lost some shine, but damn is Auburn’s defense good.
  1.  I had a hard time believing I ranked the Red Raiders this low, but they got manhandled by UTEP in the first half Saturday.  Win over SMU first week was impressively done, but SMU got into a shootout with OU-whipping-boy North Texas last week.  May put up 700 passing yards on hapless Rice this week.
  1.    Another team that seems rated too low, but I’m still skeptical given the competition level.  Can’t argue with what they’re doing to the competition they have faced, but I’ve seen bad teams beat up on really bad teams and go on to a crappy season (see K-State, 2004).  This ranking is out of skepticism only, and a big win over Toledo would move the ‘beaks up.
  1.    I hear Bobby Reid got hurt in this game, and the backup QB played well.  Other than that, it was the average rollover of an overmatched team.  The Pokes couldn’t have been happy to see Georgia get beat, either.  Next weekend could be interesting as the Cowboys travel to Troy, Ala., and we’ve seen how Big 12 teams have fared in trips to play Troy (see Missouri, 2004).
  1.    Actually put up a fight early in the desert before Arizona State ran off 33 straight points.  First week victim Colorado State also took Cal deep before losing by six, which makes the first-week victory a little more impressive.  I think CU is going to be quite a bit improved this year, but I just can’t move them in front of any other teams until I see the results.  A win over Florida State this week would make me a believer.
  1.  Bears cooked Rice to slightly make up for the first week’s debacle at TCU.  Pretty good chance for the Bears to get to 3-1 with upcoming games against Texas State and Buffalo.
  1.    Not much to say here.  Losses to a MAC team and a FCS (I-AA) team pretty much say it all.

5.  Big 12 Players of the Week – Make your selections for offensive and defensive players of the week for week two.

Sam Bradford looked really good against better competition, but I’m giving the nod to Baylor’s Blake Szymanski.  Szymanski was terrible in the opening game against TCU, but bounced back for a huge game against the Owls, connecting on 29 of 46 attempts for 412 yards and six (!) touchdowns.  Plus, he's obviously got some game...

HT: BearMeat

On defense I’ll go with Brandon Foster from Texas.  His fumble return for a touchdown was much shorter than OU’s Reggie Smith (69 yards vs. 20 yards), but it sealed the victory for Texas and you’re not going to convince me that Miami is a better team than TCU.  Foster also recorded seven tackles to Smith’s two.

(All team logos courtesy College Football Schedule Creator)