Blog Entry

Picking the Big 12

Posted on: June 29, 2009 3:01 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2009 12:09 pm

The Big 12 South Division race, the Big 12 title game, the Heisman race and the national championship hinged on the conference's three-way tiebreaker. We found out about the 11-year-old rule when Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech each tied at 7-1 in the South Division.

Oklahoma "won" the tiebreaker because it finished the regular season as the highest-ranked team in the division  -- by .0128 of a point in the BCS standings. Instead of reliving the Austin angst, let's just say that one Longhorn suggested that if the tiebreaker rule wasn't changed in the offseason his school ought to pull out of the Big 12.

What's changed? Not much. The rule wasn't changed and Texas is still in the league. At the spring meetings, the Big 12 ADs accepted the coaches' vote that the tiebreaker remain the same. Why?

 One theory is that Texas probably doesn't get much sympathy from the other coaches because ... it's Texas. The school is perceived to have the best of everything so it didn't get much sympathy from schools that don't. Yeah, jealousy sucks.

 There is nothing to be gained for schools like Missouri, Iowa State, Colorado, Baylor, etc., so why change? Hey, the league got two teams in the BCS. To the other schools it doesn't matter who plays in those games as long as the money keeps rolling in.

 The tiebreaker makes sense. Why wouldn't you want your highest rated BCS team to win the tiebreaker? There was some feeling that the SEC tiebreaker is fairer.

In a three-way tie, the SEC drops the lowest-ranked team and decides things head-to-head. But since you're chasing a BCS title, the SEC tiebreaker potentially keeps the highest-ranked team out of a title shot.

The tiebreaker would have been a footnote on the national scene had not Texas and Oklahoma been involved. The rivalry was bitter enough without having to explain why the Horns lost out when they beat the Sooners on the field. Yeah, Oklahoma's fortune might cause a bit of consternation in Austin.

"They got a huge break," Texas' Colt McCoy said.

Like I said, nothing has changed. Texas and OU still hate each other. There is a good chance we could have another tiebreaker train wreck at the end of this season. Only the teams will change.

Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State could all start the season in the top 10. The Red River Shootout on Oct. 17 shapes up as one of the most intense in the history of the rivalry. Just for controversy's sake let's assume the Horns win in Dallas, they still have to play in Stillwater on Halloween. If the Cowboys win they could win out until a Nov. 28 date in Norman. If the Sooners win that one, we're looking at another three-way 7-1 finish.

Who wins it in the BCS tiebreaker? In that scenario, you'd have to like Oklahoma again. The Texas loss would be six weeks old by then and beating Oklahoma State impressively would be the emphatic final statement for the computers the pollsters. That same thing happened last year when OU blew out Texas Tech.

Closer to the field, for the second consecutive year the Large Dozen remains the conference of quarterbacks. It sports a Heisman winner (Sam Bradford), a runner-up (Colt McCoy) and well as 2009 Heisman candidate Todd Reesing of Kansas. You can add Oklahoma State's Zac Robinson, Baylor's Robert Griffin and Texas Tech quarterback du jour Taylor Potts as difference makers.

Just giving you a fair warning, Texas fans. Grow your hair out now. You might be pulling it out in December.

Picking the Big 12 ...

North Division

1. Kansas -- If this were Miami, Dezmon Briscoe, Kerry Meier and Reesing would be on the cover of every preseason mag in the country. Meier is the leading returning receiver in catches per game (10.8). Briscoe is second in receiving yards per game (108.2). Reesing already has led the Jayhawks to an Orange Bowl and is in line to become the school's best quarterback ever. Mark Mangino already has proven he can coach. If a new set of starting linebackers can tackle and if KU can beat either Oklahoma, Texas or Texas Tech (he is a combined 0-9 against the three) this could be a special season. The Jayhawks get the slight edge in the North because the Nebraska game is at home.

2. Nebraska -- Bo Pelini is slowly building Huskerville back to its usual standards. Slowly is the key word because defense is Pelini's thing and the D showed astounding lapses last year. Slowly, because Nebraska has not had a first-team All-American on the defensive line in 12 years. Tackle Ndamukong Suh could break the streak. Some draft boards already have him in the top five. There is little room for error where Pelini is a turned ankle away from having real problems at quarterback. Zac Lee is the guy after Patrick Witt, who was being counted on, left before the spring. A lot of folks think Nebraska has the advantage in the North because of its schedule. I see road trips to Missouri, Baylor, Kansas and Colorado, plus a home game against Oklahoma. Please tell me how that is favorable?

3. Missouri -- The Tigers will take a dip after back-to-back Big 12 North titles. Missouri knows it. The fans know it. The league knows it. The key is trying to make an 8-4 season seem like a success. Six-foot-five Blaine Gabbert takes over for Chase Daniel, only the greatest qb in Missouri history. He would be wise to spread the ball out to 1,000-yard rusher Derrick Washington and receivers Danario Alexander and Jared Perry. The Tigers will score, just not as often. If the defense is shored up at all this team could be on the fringes of contending in the North. At times, the secondary looked like a fire drill. Linebacker All-American linebacker candidate Sean Weatherspoon passed up the draft and will chase the school's career tackles record as a senior.

4. Colorado -- Has Hawk Love turned into Hawk Doubt? Entering his fourth season in Boulder, Dan Hawkins has won only 13 games. The pressure is on to produce (hint: Big 12 North contention and a bowl game). Hawkins isn't backing down, saying this at the senior banquet: "Ten wins, no excuses." The quarterback situation is unsettled with son Cody Hawkins and Tyler Hansen maybe sharing the job again. Freshman tailback sensation Darrell Scott was upstaged by fellow freshman Rodney Stewart who led the team in rushing. Here's the scary thing: In a league with unrelenting offenses, CU has lost six of its top 10 tacklers.

5. Kansas State -- This isn't the old Big Eight for Bill Snyder. Back in 1989, he was taking over Kansas State from a zero position. This time he is chasing his own legacy. Not to diminish what Snyder accomplished, but back in the early 1990s, Missouri and Kansas were jokes and Oklahoma was sliding. There was no Texas to play two out of every four years. The Big 12 has more depth and strength than the Big Eight as Snyder tries for Miracle In Manhattan II. Snyder got K-State from dregs to the brink of a national championship game in nine years. Will the 69-year-old have that much time this time around?

6. Iowa State -- Iowa State swapped coaches with Auburn. Gene Chizik went. Paul Rhoads came. Rhoads, from nearby Ankeny, seems like he wants to stay awhile. He'll be looking up at the rest of the Big 12 North for a while. Ripping Wally Burham from South Florida to be his defensive coordinator was a huge get for Rhoads. The offense will have a chance with dual-threat Austen Arnaud at quarterback

South Division

1. Texas -- Mack Brown smiled when I told I had his pregame speech ready for the OU game. "We beat the Sooners last year, boys. Now let's go out and get some revenge!" Yeah, it's about that and a lot of things for Brown and the Horns. Except for perhaps some suspect running backs, Texas is loaded. Brown has his best team since the 2005 national championship crew. Hybrid defensive end/linebacker Sergio Kindle should be this season's Brian Orakpo. McCoy is driven not only by the tiebreaker but also his second-place finish in the Heisman. Still, it all boils down to Oct. 17 in Dallas.

2. Oklahoma -- Sam Bradford won the Heisman, became the first quarterback to win back-to-back Big 12 titles and got the Sooners to the national championship game. What is there left to accomplish? Plenty for Bradford who listened to family and advisors and put off the NFL. His body can fill out a bit and it doesn't look like there will be a Matthew Stafford to compete with in the draft this year. Oklahoma's questions are at offensive line and receiver. If this were anywhere else but the Big 12 South, the Sooners would be prohibitive favorites to repeat. With a break here or there, they still might end back up in the national championship game.

3. Oklahoma State -- With apologies to Texas and Oklahoma, this could be the best offense in the Big 12, if not the country. Returning are a 1,500-yard rusher (Kendall Hunter), an All-American receiver (Dez Bryant), and a 65 percent passer with 25 touchdowns (Robinson). The problem remains defense. New defensive coordinator Bill Young is the Cadillac of his profession. Okie State will be better just because of his presence. Perrish Cox is developing into an NFL talent at corner and is one of the nation's best returners.

4. Texas Tech -- The Red Raiders slip back to the 8-4 level this season. You know the drill: Potts will throw for eight million yards. There will be a 1,000-yard receiver or two. Mike Leach will be his usual quote-machine self. However, last season was a once-in-10-year event. There is payback waiting at Texas, at Oklahoma State and at Nebraska.

5. Baylor -- Does any Big 12 school have more upside? Joe Pawelek is an All-Big 12 linebacker. Center J.D. Walton anchors the offensive line now that Jason Smith is gone. But let's be honest, the moment quarterback Robert Griffin followed coach Art Briles to Baylor (from his commitment to Houston), things took off. A sprinter with Olympic aspirations, Griffin gave up the Big 12 track season to concentrate on what should be his breakout season in Waco. If there is a one-man team in the league, this is it. Griffin also was the team's No. 2 rusher. With more weight and more knowledge, Griffin should become the most elusive dual-threat in the Big 12 since Vince Young. At stake is a 14-year bowl drought. That ties for the longest active streak among BCS schools.

6. Texas A&M -- One former Big Eight coach said it during the offseason: This is A&M. It should be able to go over to the Houston high schools and scrounge up a couple of defensive linemen. In Mike Sherman's second season, d-line is a good place to start. The one-time Wrecking Crew was Charmin soft as one of the worst defensive units in the country. After the non-conference games, the Aggies gave up less than 35 once. Once! Nineteen players had surgery in the offseason. The Aggies better get fat early. The season ends with Oklahoma, Baylor and Texas.


Since: Nov 24, 2008
Posted on: June 30, 2009 11:34 am

Picking the Big 12

"you guys have been good for a while now"

Funny. UF wins 2 NCs and suddenly they are NCAA Football royalty. Puhleez! We were winning National Championships before Florida even had a team to compete. The SEC is a dominant league now, but it hasn't always been that way. I look forward to taking down whoever comes up from the SEC this year.

Since: Dec 20, 2006
Posted on: June 30, 2009 10:12 am

Picking the Big 12

Now on to your gators.  First of all, drop the notion that Tebow is the greatest college QB of all time.  He's not.  He's good, but not great. He runs an offense that made Alex Smith look phenomenal. People say that Leach's offense makes his QBs look good, but for some reason Meyer's offense isn't given enough credit.  Either way, as a gator fan, you should remember a QB much greater than Tebow.  He beat up on you guys back in January of 1996.  Tommie Frazier.  Nuff said. Now, back to this season.  Florida will be beat. Sorry.  They don't have the same talent around Tebow as they did last year. No Harvin.  That is a big time loss.  Sure, they'll win 10 or 11 games.  But they won't repeat.
Would agree that Tebow is probably not the greatest college QB of all time, but certainly do not think that Frazier is better. Frazier had under a 50% completion rate as a college quarterback. Frazier had far fewer TD passes and more interceptions thrown. I would agree if you had said that Frazier was the better runner, but give Tebow the edge as a passer.

As fas this year's Gators team, they return all 11 starters on defense and 10 out of 11 of the back-ups. This was a defense that was among the best last year, so they should be incredible this year. Yes the Gators have to replace both starting receivers, but the Gators have never had a problem finding receivers. Hammond, Moore, Williams, Thompson, Cooper, Nelson and Debose - they have plenty of talent at wide receiver. They also are returning their top three running backs, who all averaged over 7 yards a carry. They are returning one of top return specialists in Brandon James. They also have one of the better punters in the country in Chas Henry. The Gator team is stacked.

Since: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: June 30, 2009 9:07 am

Picking the Big 12

This isn't a slam on the Big 12 but doesn't it seem like they need to re-align the divisions?  Maybe east and west or something.  Seems all the power is in the south.  Will Nebraska ever contend again?  And Kansas and Missouri? Maybe once in awhile but don't bet the mortgage on them.

Since: Jan 6, 2009
Posted on: June 30, 2009 8:08 am

No Need To Pick the Big 12 - Texas hands down

The only thing that can help Oklahomo at this point is a stupid computer. You can't win on the field... Get your nerdy homers off the couch to pull some strings. Heck, OU can't even win a major bowl game.... 45-35 ring a bell????

Texas takes down OU again this year and will play in the Championship game in January.

Since: Apr 2, 2008
Posted on: June 30, 2009 4:25 am

Picking the Big 12

Beat Utah next time then talk pls

Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: June 30, 2009 3:49 am

Picking the Big 12

well naturally we will have to hear about how amazing the big 12 offenses are the entire year, and then when bowl season roles around they magically wont be as productive when they play teams outside of their conferences. The "great offenses" are due to terrible defenses, as the bowl season showed us last year...

Since: Nov 28, 2006
Posted on: June 30, 2009 2:36 am

Picking the Big 12

"Tebow is good, but not great"

From a South Carolina fan who hates Florida and from a non biased standpoint, I think you need to actually watch college football before you post a novel like you just did on the internet so everyone can see your ignorance.

Since: Nov 4, 2008
Posted on: June 30, 2009 2:28 am

Picking the Big 12

Actually, you Mr. Dodd, are not that far off on your picks. So I am going to present mine, and see what goes down. I really have a love/hate thing for that 3 way tiebreaker. And let it be noted from the start, I am an Oklahoma Sooner fan first and always, but a Big 12 fan also. Now to the picks:
1. Kansas [As you stated the edge is playing Nebraska in Lawrence]
2. Nebraska [Watch for a loss at Baylor]
3. Colorado [Tough place to play....ask Oklahoma]
4. Missouri [Rebuilding?]
5. Iowa State [They may beat Kansas State]
6. Kansas State [Snyder will tarnish his legend a little]
1. Oklahoma [Why? This year they will beat Texas]
2. Oklahoma State [Why? This year they will beat Texas]
3. Texas [Just 2 wins away from the top]
4. Baylor [2 words,,,Robert Griffin]
5. Texas Tech [Looking at 4 losses from above]
6. Texas A&M [They will win a few though]
As for the tiebreaker, well it stands until it is changed. I really thought Texas should have played it last season. They did beat Oklahoma on skill, and Texas Tech was lucky. And what is it? 5 or 6 BCS bowls lost, including 3 straight champsionship games. Sometimes the highest ranked BCS team might be the best during the season. But wouldn't we all rather see the team with the best chance of bringing the national championship to the Big 12. It's going to be a great year again for the Big 12.

Since: Feb 5, 2008
Posted on: June 30, 2009 12:56 am

Picking the Big 12

Wow, that was a lot of incoherent rambling.  Obviously you're a gator fan. Let's start with conferences, in alphabetical order, and see where you might be right.
ACC -Uhm, is VT really the favorite?  I predict a loss at home to Nebraska, nuff said.
Big East -Uhm(again), who exactly can hang with Oklahoma? West Virginia-THIS year?  Haha.  You make me laugh.
Big Ten -Ohio State should have a good season, again.  So should Penn State.  But, could either really STOP Oklahoma long enough to beat 'em?  Probably not. 
Pac-10 -USC's status as Powerhouse of the West isn't in jeopardy, but they're not exactly as stellar as they were a few years back. Don't  expect them to role through the Pac-10 this year.
SEC -Well, here's where you'll REALLY get mad.  But be honest.  Alabama was never a top talent team last year.  Never played like it.  Just won games against teams they should have. I foresee 8-4 this year for the Tide.  Georgia.  After last year, I'll never again accept any expectations of Georgia.  Last year they were actually GOOD.  But never really played like it.  So this year, without Moreno and Stafford, along with other receivers and defenders, I don't expect them to be as good as last year's record.  So give them 8 wins. LSU-well, they'll be good.  Defense.  Will still have some offensive woes.  I do, however, expect them to beat Florida at home. Jefferson at QB, Scott is a great RB, and LaFell is a big time receiver.  Now on to your gators.  First of all, drop the notion that Tebow is the greatest college QB of all time.  He's not.  He's good, but not great. He runs an offense that made Alex Smith look phenomenal. People say that Leach's offense makes his QBs look good, but for some reason Meyer's offense isn't given enough credit.  Either way, as a gator fan, you should remember a QB much greater than Tebow.  He beat up on you guys back in January of 1996.  Tommie Frazier.  Nuff said. Now, back to this season.  Florida will be beat. Sorry.  They don't have the same talent around Tebow as they did last year. No Harvin.  That is a big time loss.  Sure, they'll win 10 or 11 games.  But they won't repeat.

Now, since this article was written about the Big 12, let's talk about it.  I, for one, do not think that Kansas has the defense to win the North. I think the Huskers will return to their throne, this year relying on their defense to assist the offense. I do think the possession, west-coast offense will also come into play for them.  I also don't think that the South's offenses will be able to roll over the Huskers in the championship game.  While they will all be good offenses(outside of A&M), I don't think they will be able to score more than 30 on the Huskers.  The south-well, I think OSU wins this year.  The talk will be about Texas and Oklahoma, of course, but OSU has the best offense of the three.  And of the three, none play good defense.  That is part due to the amount of possessions the opposing offense gets per game due to the amount of points they score, and part that they just can't stop anyone consistently.  Texas wanted to talk about their defense last year. Orakpo is gone. That hurts. They already gave up lots of yards.  Oklahoma-well, no need to comment. Same with State.  We'll have to wait and see what happens this year in the South.  I just hope it's not Texas...

Since: Nov 23, 2008
Posted on: June 29, 2009 11:55 pm

Picking the Big 12

If this were anywhere else but the Big 12 South, the Sooners would be prohibitive favorites to repeat.

I assume by anywhere else Dudd means anywhere except the SEC EAST or WEST, the PAC 10, the Big Ten, or even the ACC or BigEasy.  Don't get all riled Sooner fans, you guys have been good for a while now, but you never really appear unstoopable unless you are playing someone from the miwest or a second-tier squad somewhere.  I said don't get riled, you guys are usually pretty good, but the Big 12 just is not a tough place to play outside of one team to the south of yall.  If you played in the SEC you would compete, but every game would be like the Texas game.  If you played in the PAC 10 you would have to face the Condoms every year, who remind me a lot of you guys(pretty good squad that seldom plays a game in which they are not heavy favorites) and it would be just like the Texas game every year to see who wins the conference; if you played in the Big Ten you would have to play the Nutsacks and the Lions every year, as well as the Wolverines when they pull their heads out; ACC you have the Hokies who could play with you as well as terribly coached but talented seminole and hurricane squads; and Big East has WVU who could play with you although I don't know about this year.  SO, basically by "anywhere else" Dodd must mean the big 12 north.  I assume that is what he means because only a loon would consider them prohibitive favorites in any other conference worth mentioning.  Although it must always be remembered that Dodd is a Big 12 homer, a drooling rabid dog of a big twelve homer with absolutely no professional ethics to keep him from licking their jocks in the most biased manner every chance he gets, so maybe he really does believe it. BTW...2 months until the pain begins; Gators rule the known universe; a storm is coming; OUR STORM; it's not a hurricane but those Bayou Bengals in Nawlins better beware just the same; we are coming to death valley to conquer so break out your kleenex early and don't call Tim's cellphone.  Dawgs, you best be ready, and Vols, you know you got it coming so just lay down and take it like the b*****s you are.  Condoms or Horns or anyone else thinking about meeting us in Cali better be ready to get exposed as the pretenders they are!!

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