As TB is somewhere in Houston getting ready for Hurricane Ike, I decided to take the lead in posting this week's Big 12 Roundtable. The good folks at the Big Red Network were kind enough to host this week, and we were more than happy to share our opinions as well.
Share your thoughts in the comments section below. Also, if you would like to wish TB luck, that would be appreciated too.
1. What has been the biggest surprise of the Big 12 season so far? The home loss to Arkansas State by Texas A&M, the impressive scores by Kansas State and Iowa State, or something else?
TB: Have to admit that I really have been somewhat impressed by Iowa State. True, their schedule has probably been worse than K-State's, but they've actually put some points on the board. If they beat Iowa this weekend, I'd have to consider them the surprise of the conference thus far.
Texas A&M has been surprising only in the degree to which they have sucked, not the mere fact that they have sucked.
Finally, I'm a little surprised by Colorado's relatively poor play. They beat CSU handily, but it looks like CSU isn't any good at all and they didn't exactly put them away decisively. Then the near-debacle against Eastern Washington.
Panjandrum: Some will be surprised that Nebraska, Texas A&M, and Colorado have struggled, but I'm not. Two new (bad) coaches have entered the league, so it makes sense that they're gong to have some issues. Now, losing to Arkansas St.? That's beyond bad. Nebraska getting outgained by San Jose St.? Bad.
However, I'm really surprised at Colorado. They were supposed to be starting to hit their stride in year three under Hawkins, who is an accomplished coach, but struggling at home against Eastern Washington? Kansas State absolutely destroyed Missouri State last year, and they weren't even a bowl team.
Good teams don't struggle against FCS competition. They just don't.
Also, the last time Colorado played an FCS team that close (or lost), they went 2-10.
Food for thought.
2. Should the ankle injury to Jeremy Maclin concern Missouri fans and does it alter the Tigers chances at a division or conference title? Or do his 65 all-purpose yards and a touchdown (on just 6 touches) tell us that he's fine?
TB: I don't think it changes the outlook much for Missouri. He appeared to be pretty healthy, although I can't figure out why they even bothered to play him against SEMO. I'd use him pretty sparingly against Nevada this week.
Panjandrum: As long as Chase Daniel sits in that pocket, they're going to be a machine. Maclin is a thoroughbred, but he's far from the only cog that makes that wheel turn.
3. Many people thought this could be the year that Texas Tech finally breaks through and wins the Big 12 South or at least finishes in the Top 10. Do their performances after two games change your perception of them at all or does this look like a team that can get to a BCS bowl game?
TB: Tech has been surprising for the wrong reasons, but let's be real here. They still have Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree. They're going to be OK on the offensive side of the ball. The defense looks improved, but I don't know if it's improved enough. I still think they can make it to the top of the South, but the odds look longer than they did before the season started.
Panjandrum: I don't know if Texas Tech ever really controlled their destiny this year; it's never really been their conference to lose. I've never presumed that they would go to the BCS. I think it's going to be hard to get past Oklahoma, Texas, and Missouri just to win the Big XII. Harrell is good, Crabtree is great, but something's just not right. If they lose to K-State in Manhattan, I just have a feeling their season's going to go South.
4. Oklahoma has put together some strong performances so far and should be favored in every game they play. But Bob Stoops' teams have shown themselves to be vulnerable to an upset from time to time. Is this team going to go 13-0 (regular season plus BCS championship game) or will they get knocked off (and if they get upset, who gets ‘em)?
TB: Oklahoma is going to lose somewhere along the way. I'm not sure who to, but I just have a feeling they're going to drop one they "shouldn't." They have looked good, though maybe not quite as good -- at least in the Cincy game -- as I thought they might.
Panjandrum: The Bedlam Game is always a tough contest. If Mike Gundy and Zac Robinson can keep that offense rolling, I think they've got a shot at beating the Sooners. That would be the only real ‘upset'. I think Texas and Missouri (in the title game) can beat them as well.
5. After two games, what can you say with confidence that you really know about your team?
TB: We have a pretty good quarterback, we have little running game, and we don't tackle very well. Oh, and our special teams are hellacious.
Panjandrum: Josh Freeman is a force to be reckoned with, the wide receivers are as deep as they've ever been at Kansas State, and I agree with TB; the tackling is about awful.
6. With two games down, how would you re-rank the divisions?
1. Missouri (easily the class of the division)
2. KU (here because of their defense)
3. K-State (looked really good against really bad competition)
4. Colorado (really need to find a running game)
5. Nebraska (defense looks pretty average, and almost no running game to speak of)
6. Iowa State (still have to keep them here, but a win over Iowa...)
1. Oklahoma (still the class of the division)
2. Texas (looking pretty good on defense under Muschamp)
3. Oklahoma State (just sick on offense)
4. Texas Tech (I'm still a believer, but based on accomplishments I can't move them higher yet)
5. Baylor (Robert Griffin is gonna be filthy)
6. Texas A&M (Mike Sherman = Bill Callahan, and I'll continue to say that until I'm proven wrong)
1. Missouri (They're considered the best until someone beats them.)
2. KU (Good defense, serviceable offense.)
3. K-State (Freeman has been unleashed.)
4. Iowa State (Chizik has improved ISU faster than I thought he would.)
5. Colorado (Eastern Washington? Really?)
6. Nebraska (Outgained by San Jose St. That's pretty bad.)
1. Oklahoma (They look dominant in nearly every phase of the game.)
2. Texas (Colt's back to form, and I heart Will Muschamp)
3. Texas Tech (I assume they will work out the kinks...)
4. Oklahoma State (Mike Gundy is a man, and his team plays like it.)
5. Baylor (Briles is a solid hire. They'll get better.)
6. Texas A&M (Mike Sherman is just plain awful. Stupid, stupid hire.)