This week we concentrate hard on getting ready for North Texas. Unfortunately, ksubailey was unable to participate this week, but Panjandrum stepped in ably. Be sure to check out Panjandrum's blog, Chronicles of a K-State Fan. Particularly, read this post where he talks about "the love" associated with being a K-State fan. It's not perverted. I promise.
Also, I should note that my ability to access the life-sustaining Internet has been limited this week because the house that I've moved into is still without working Internet (but we got cable just in time for football last night!). Thus, my participation in the Focus Group was a little stunted.
Shut up, TB. On to the questions. Feel free to provide your responses in the comments, and email me at bringonthecats @ gmail.com if you want to participate.
1. You've read the Q&A with North Texas' beat writer. On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being as uncomfortable as a Houston summer, 10 being as comfortable as sleeping on a bed of feathers), what's your level of comfort with playing North Texas on Saturday?
2. Lots of good games on the tube this weekend. Which one game are you looking forward to watching?
3. After the disaster at the end of last season, K-State has question marks all over the field. Which unit/position will you be watching, err, listening to most closely for improvement?
4. The Big 12 schedule for this weekend is here. Other than Mizzou, who plays a legit opponent, Baylor, who is not favored, which Big 12 team could be in for a surprise this weekend?
5. We're not going to do predictions, but what are you looking for out of the team in this game? You can answer in terms of points, yards, or any other measurement, tangible or intangible, that you like.
1. It's a 10. I don't know how you could even feel remotely concerned. We haven't been decimated by injury (yet), and considering how immensely awful our defense was at the end of last season, North Texas still gave up two more touchdowns a game on average. That's bad. Plan Nine From Outer Space bad.
2. Missouri vs. Illinois. I want to see if MU is for real.
If they are, watching the KU fans quake in their boots will be sublime for this Kansas City resident.
3. I have to go with the offensive line. I love Keithen Valentine, but with so many unproven guys in that backfield, we're going to need some holes for them to run through. Also, after watching bad play by the offensive line for the last five years, every bit of improvement is pleasing to me.
4. I think it has to be Colorado. The CU/CSU rivalry is always a good game, and I'm not buying into the hype that CU will be a much improved team this year. Dan Hawkins can have all of the water balloon fights he wants, but I don't think it's enough to make them a better team.
One of these days, mark my words, Dan Hawkins will quit mid-season to take up a new career in nude finger-painting. It may or may not be this year, but I fully expect him to finally lose his mind one of these days and go completely off of the reservation.
5. Todd Dodge's team has a pretty shifty spread offense, so if we can contain them to less than two touchdowns, I'll move from slight pessimism to guarded optimism for the defense this season.
1. I have to give it at least a 9 – not a 10 because of UNT's "spread offense." Even back in the horrible year of 2005, we were still able to put a stomping on them 54-7. This year's team is better and I expect the same results.
2. This weekend kicks off the college football year. I'm watching every game that I can. Eh, and probably the MU-UofI game and whatever game they show on FSN Southwest.
3. Umm….the Defense. I want to know if we're going to improve continue to give up 510 passing yards by Mr. Backup himself, Joe Ganz.
4. I'm curious to see if OSU can "man up" and soundly beat Washington State. Remember that they do have to travel to Seattle for this one.
5. I would like to see man-child Josh Freeman put up some mad numbers early and often. This will definitely help out the run game once conference games start. He's not going to continue to break records if he sits half the game.
Sorry for the short answers, have been working late this week.
1. After looking more at UNT's passing statistics from last season, I have to admit I felt a little concern about this game. Not an all-out dread, but it made me a little uncomfortable. Not Houston-in-the-summer uncomfortable, not even Kansas City-in-the-summer uncomfortable, but at least a muggy day in southern Canada uncomfortable. We have a solid group in the defensive backfield, and UNT's offensive line may not be able to hold off our pass rush. I still think UNT will put up a big play or two, but not enough to pull off the upset. Let's say I'm an 8.
2. It's gotta be Mizzou/Illinois. While I really don't think Illinois is going to be that great this year without Rashard Mendenhall, they're still a better first-week opponent than anyone else has. I would love to have a "for real" team from the Big 12 North this year, and if it can't be us, then Mizzou has a chance to prove that's what they are early. Or, they could fall on their face and it's back to being good ol' Mizzou.
3. I want to see what our defensive line has. Granted, UNT gave up about a million sacks last season, but we need to see these guy stifle the nearly non-existent UNT running game, as well as knock Giovanni Vizza around.
4. I'm going with Nebraska. When I looked at the lines for this weekend's games, I noticed NU is only about a two-touchdown favorite over Western Michigan. Then, I got home and my roommate, an ardent Husker supporter, informed me that Nebraska may be without several offensive linemen. Don't know if that's for sure or not, but if they are, they'll have to rely on their defense to stop WMU often enough that they don't have to get into a shootout.
5. After last season, we really need to see some consistency and spark defensively. If this squad can show up, fly around the field, get a lot of pressure on the quarterback, and shut down this high-flying North Texas offense, I will suddenly feel quite a bit better about the upcoming season. Granted, the performance would be against a mediocre Sun Belt team, but this team still put up some pretty good offensive numbers last year.
Part (b) to this answer is that I would love to see Josh Freeman pick apart the UNT defense to the tune of 300+ passing yards, several touchdowns, and no interceptions.
Panjandrum: Part (b) to my (#5) answer would also be seeing Josh Freeman tear up the Mean Green defense. Of course, my reasons are pretty superficial; he is starting for my college fantasy football team this week.
I can't believe that someone hasn't commented on my Dan Hawkins prediction. Either everyone agrees with me that he's certifiably insane, or they just don't want to talk negatively about him. Kind of like the kid in the corner of the classroom who eats paste and craps in his Pokemon lunch box.
mystman995: I think Dan Hawkins just fits in with the rest of the crazies in the Big 12. He joins a great list that includes Mike Leach forecasting the weather, Mike Gundy being, well Mike Gundy, Mangino just being the whale of a human that he is, or even our guy Ron Prince doing another romp stomp down the sidelines. I think he's one "incident" away from pulling a Nick Nolte.
TB: Hawkins is nuts. It made me think a montage of Big 12-coach craziness was in order.
Dan Hawkins (via optimum00)
The Prince's Dance (via PettMB)
Mike Leach Does the Weather (via wormdood)
Coach Mangino no like Ut and their refs (via Docbrown777)
Coach Mark Mangino explodes (via rockchalk121)
Mangino gets in there twice because the dolla-bill y'all rant was an all-time classic.
TB: Oops! How could I forget Gundy?!
Oklahoma State Football Coach Mike Gundy Upset (via kocotv)
TB: Panjan, you're so selfish, always thinking about yourself and not the greater good of the team.
Panjandrum: Let's be fair...
Mike Leach is eccentric.
Ron Prince is enthusiastic.
Mark Mangino is a cheat.
Gary Pinkel is the human representation of ecru wallpaper.
Bo Pelini is stupid.
Gene Chizik looks like a caveman.
Mike Gundy is a man.
Bob Stoops is accomplished.
Mack Brown is nice.
Mike Sherman is the second coming of Bill Callahan.
Art Briles ... who cares? He coaches at Baylor.
But Dan Hawkins, he takes the cake. While most people have salient thoughts from time to time, Dan Hawkins just has cartoons running wild through his mind.
Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos - Best Lines and Scenes (via xxmuraxx)
TB: I'd really like to add to that list, but I can't. Well done.
mystman995: I think you were way to nice with Bob Stoops, so allow the random jokes on the internet say it:
Why does Stoops eat cheerios on a plate? He's afraid of bowls.
How do you make Sooner cookies? Put them in a big bowl and beat for 3 hours.
What does Bob Stoops and Marijuana have in common...they both get smoked in a bowl.
TB: Oh, boy. Cue the Sooner fans racing to this site to remind us how many Big 12 and national titles they have won.
Seriously, online Sooner fans take a backseat only to online Husker fans for rabidness.
mystman995: Well in that case:
What's the best thing to come out of Nebraska?... The highway
How many Husker football fans does it take to change a light bulb?
Nobody knows because they are all standing around talking about how bright it used to be.
What do a possum and the Nebraska football team have in common?
They play dead at home and get killed on the road
Panjandrum: Are they racing in an '85 IROC Z Camaro, or a pick-up truck that may or may not have a bumper?
TB: I would only modify the highway joke as follows:
"What's the best thing to come out of Nebraska? US-77 South."
Panjandrum: Nebraska: We have a unicameral legislature because counting to 'Two' is tough stuff.