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: Jun 10, 2009
Posted on: June 30, 2009 9:21 pm

Picking the Big 12

This should be a crazy year! Cant wait for the RRR its going to be out of the most exciting game this yeah. I think Texas will take OU again this year. OU has a new O-line this year which I think is harder to put together than the D-line Texas will have to put together. I am more worried about OSU they always play Texas well, I except the same thing this year. 

Hook EM  

Since: May 29, 2009
Posted on: June 30, 2009 8:57 pm

Picking the Big 12

First off, I want to say before anyone thinks otherwise, I am a diehard Cornhusker fan. This is in reply to the SEC people thinking all high and mighty about Florida, and about the Kansas fans thinking that they will make it to the Big 12 Championship. Some other points will be made along the way

Now, I first want to start off about Nebraska and there recruiting. Nebraska doesn’t have big cities or great weather and beaches like Texas, Florida, USC, and Oklahoma. As everyone in the Big 12 knows, the only threat we have in any male sport is Football. Not trying to take away from Nebraska’s Volleyball and even the Bowling program. Now, with having big cities and beaches, any freshman in college wants to be able to go to the beach, party in a big town, it is a great attraction. Beaches have gorgeous women walking around in bathing suits and big cities have drunk gorgeous women. We can all imagine what comes with that. Nebraska doesn’t have that so it makes it a little bit harder to recruit. Now I bring up the whole recruiting thing because, we don’t normally get your top prospects out of high school. We have always been a TEAM and are a lot about our tradition. We haven’t had many players make into the Pros from our offensive side. Defensive though, is a different topic. We have never been about one player. Hell, even I was shocked when Eric Crouch won the Heisman!

Now, and what I consider to be one of the most over looked things in all football, the offensive line. I don’t care if you are Vince Young, Tim Tebow, even Peyton Manning, you can’t do crap as a Quarterback if your offensive line can’t hold back the defense. During the 90’s, Osborne was great at getting offensive line recruits and we all know about “The Pipeline.” Much of our success during the 90’s has to go towards our offensive line because the Option and Running plays deal a lot about the Line. We have a great offensive line coming back, as well as experienced. This will give our Quarterback a better chance to make the right plays, as well as our combination of Helu and Castille to do some magic with running the ball. I would personally like to see Nebraska run the ball more, since that’s what we normally do, but I would rather see them win games and National Championships.

Our Defense, I think is being greatly underrated. Most of our defense is coming back this year and no matter what you say, Bo Pelini has a great way of working defense into a great force to be reckoned with. When he was the defensive coordinator for Nebraska back in the early 2000’s we still had the Black Shirts and a defense that couldn’t be over looked. Then he went to LSU as their Defensive Coordinator. The numbers he has with us back in the early 2000’s and also with LSU isn’t something that you can over look. He takes your basic and average players and makes them into stars. Yes, before Bo came back, our defense was pretty pathetic. Any team trying to pass the ball didn’t have much to worry about. NOW, that isn’t the case. Our turnover ratio has completely flipped over from losing the ball more often, to getting the ball back. That is something that a Defense must do to win a game. With it being his second year in and more players and more time to better perfect his Defense, you shouldn’t ever count out Nebraska against any team. Then to top that all off! If your defense is good, it reflects on your offense because then they got to work harder in practice to make the plays and move the ball.

Kansas Jayhawks have lost too much from last year to be able to say that they are going to beat us in Lawrence. I will give you this much, it should be an interesting game, only because we are playing you on your home turf. Otherwise, I wouldn’t even consider it. This also goes for Texas, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State. I am only including Texas and Oklahoma State because we might see you in the Big 12 Championship, but a game can easily be lost on turnovers, something Bo Pelini is good at teaching a defense. I believe Nebraska will beat Virginia Tech, the ACC Favorite to win the ACC Championship. I believe it will be an awesome game when Nebraska and Oklahoma meet at Memorial Stadium. If none of you have ever been there (with our consecutive home game sell outs at 300 now) and experienced how hard it can be to play there, I strongly recommend it.

So in closing, Nebraska will meet Texas in the Big 12 Championship game. Here, sad for me to say, Texas will win. Which all I hope for from here, is that TEXAS beats the crap out of Florida in the BCS Championship because if you are not in the Big 12, who has the best football program out there, then frankly I hope you lose all your bowl games.

Since: Aug 31, 2006
Posted on: June 30, 2009 8:51 pm

Feel free to do some research

I'm not a K-State fan, but Bill Snyder spent 10 seasons coaching in the Big 12 and seven in the Big 8. He was 46-33-1 (.582) while in the Big 8 and 92-35 (.724) in the Big 12. He has one Big 12 title. He lead the Wildcats to within one game of a national championship appearance in 1998. What exactly wouldn't Bill Snyder understand about playing in the Big 12? Feel free to do some research Dennis.

By the way, thanks for jinxing the Jayhawks. They are sure to finish with a losing record now.

Since: Jan 28, 2007
Posted on: June 30, 2009 8:01 pm

Picking the Big 12

This comment is pretty freaking hilarious, coming from an Alabama fan!

Now tell us again ... what exactly Utah do to your precious team and its defense in New Orleans - essentially your own backyard?!

Brian Johnson was 27/41 passing for 336 yards and three touchdowns , Freddie Brown had 125 yards receiving on a dozen receptions, Bradon Godfrey had 75 yards receiving and a TD and the Utah Utes (13-0) defense collected eight sacks and two interceptions in a shocking 31-17 victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide .

UTAH 31-17

Now crawl back into your RV and STFU!

Since: Jan 28, 2007
Posted on: June 30, 2009 7:26 pm

Alabama and defense

This comment is pretty freaking hilarious, coming from an Alabama fan!

Now tell us again ... what exactly Utah do to your precious team and its defense in New Orleans - essentially your own backyard?!

Brian Johnson was 27/41 passing for 336 yards and three touchdowns , Freddie Brown had 125 yards receiving on a dozen receptions, Bradon Godfrey had 75 yards receiving and a TD and the Utah Utes (13-0) defense collected eight sacks and two interceptions in a shocking 31-17 victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide .

UTAH 31-17

Now crawl back into your RV and STFU!

Since: Nov 28, 2006
Posted on: June 30, 2009 7:19 pm

Picking the Big 12

Bradford has many accomplishments, but he's never beaten Texas. And he never will.

He beat Texas 28-21 as a freshman.  He's 1-1 vs UT.  Selective memory, how shocking!

Since: Feb 5, 2008
Posted on: June 30, 2009 6:50 pm

Picking the Big 12

I think it's funny that I was pegged as an OU fan.  I'm not.  Live and die with Husker red.  Anyway.  To the comment about Tebow being better than Frazier, I have one question-who was the best receiver that played for Nebraska when Tommie Frazier played there?  And his completion percentage really has nothing to do with his accomplishments.  Stats aren't everything, especially for a guy that ran an option offense-passing wasn't his thing.  And yeah, Florida fans think they are the gods of college football because they won 2 of 3.  Big deal.  Nebraska played for 4 of 5 and won 3 of them in the mid 90s.  They were a missed field goal away from a 4th.  Frazier was a missed field goal away from a 3rd national title. Obviously, there was help.  Lawerence Phillips was a great talent at RB.  No discipline at all, but great.  The O-line was the biggest and meanest around.  The defense was spectacular.  I still have no seen a team in college that would have beat the 1995-96 Huskers.  Tebow is a better passer.  Yes.  But he is no Frazier.  The guy that came back into the 1995 Orange Bowl-against a Miami defense, led by Sapp and Ray Lewis-with blood clots in his leg to lead his team back to victory and to a National Title.  It's more impressive that he did that as a running QB.  The guy that broke 9 Florida tackles on one play in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl.  He out-played Charlie Ward in 1994 Orange Bowl, only to see a field goal sail wide left. He got was a 3 time MVP of the National Title game.  Only player to ever do that.  Give me a healthy Frazier(senior year he was healthy and passed much better-17/4 TD/INT).

To the comment from the South Carolina fan about how good Tebow is-open your eyes.  Go back to the tapes of Alex Smith at Utah running this offense.  Smith actually did it BETTER.  Tebow is the product of the Urban Meyer offense and media.  He's good.  He's not great.  He's not fast enough to be able to play a true option offense.  He's fast, yeah, but option-fast is different.  He doesn't throw well enough to play in a drop-back passing offense.  But he's perfect in the offense he gets to run.  I'm not going to say theres a better college QB in the game right now.  I will say that there are several better NFL QBs in the college game right now.  But Tebow isn't "superman".  Seriously, watch the tape on Smith.  Smith was better at this offense.

Given Kansas's trouble on defense, I doubt that playing in Lawerence means anything in the Nebraska-Kansas game.  Yeah, I remember what happened last time there.  So does Suh.  He will play his heart out in that game.

I would like to point out the people saying the South is head and shoulders above the North that the North has teams that are all rebuilding.  Out of the teams in the South, only one has achieved sustained progress to rival Nebraska(Oklahoma, who has achieved more-unfortunately).  Just because we had a dumb AD and an even worse college coach-doesn't mean they're dead.  A couple years and we'll see at least one, probably two teams from the North rivaling the talent of the South.  Nebraska, and Kansas.  There doesn't need to be a change, though I would like to play Oklahoma every year again.

Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: June 30, 2009 5:53 pm

Picking the Big 12

I look for KU to win the North. Nebraska is going to have to play the Hawks in Lawrence with a first year quarterback. Last time KU and Nebraska played in Lawrence...enough said. KU should win the game. I think KU will have some problems with the O line, but will improve. Reesing to Meier, and to Briscoe will be unstoppable. And Sharp is a great back with experience.
So my prediction for the North...
1 Kansas
2 Nebraska
3 Colorado
4 Missouri
5 Kansas State
6 Iowa State

Since: Nov 10, 2008
Posted on: June 30, 2009 5:27 pm

Picking the Big 12

Reading through the entire thread I can understand fans of teams think their team will win it all in the Big 12.  I expect nothing less and I want my team to win it all too.  But reading the few SEC fans comments about the Big 12 in general, well I just want every Big 12 team to put up 60 in every bowl game the teams are involved in this year.  it would go a long way in shutting up the yaps of BSPN analyst too. 
Geez...Some of the SEC fans make some of the OU fans look like a freaking genius, and that my friends is hard to do!

(Can't possibly quit writing without putting in a dig at OU.)  

Since: Aug 15, 2006
Posted on: June 30, 2009 5:11 pm

Picking the Big 12

KuBoy33...Come on man.  You know you KU guys love the attention from Nebraska.  

Kansas has major questions on the O-line.  Doesn't mean they won't bring it, but think about this.  The last 4 years according to Scout your recruiting classes were ranked 50,49,78, and 47th respectfully.  Now I'm the first one to say that doesn't always mean anything but Dodd wants to compare you guys to Miami and he's right that there is some comparable talent but its a dumb comparision when you think about what Miami would be filling those other holes with.  4-5 star talent.  Something you guys dont have.        

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