Without anything else to discuss, here are this week's questions. The answers are after the break:
1) Considering both the first half and the end result, are you happy with Saturday's overall performance?
2) Is Jake Sharp the answer at RB, if there is one at all? Or do you still prefer either Angus Quigley or Jocques Crawford?
3) Given the weekend's results (particularly Colorado's poor showing against Texas and Kansas' roller-coaster-of-a-game), are you more or less confident going into the Colorado game? What is the thing that scares you the most about the game?
4) What is your take on Cody Hawkins? Overrated, shouldn't be starting, underappreciated, what?
5) And, finally, a little off-the-wall question: Five years from now, who is the better team? Kansas or Colorado?
6) Big 12 Picks! Obviously, the interesting one is the Red River Shootout; between two Top 5 teams and all.
Oklahoma versus Texas
Nebraska @ Texas Tech
Iowa State @ Baylor
Oklahoma State @ Missouri
Kansas State @ Texas A&M
Again, answers follow the jump...
1. Not happy with the overall performance and not because of this game but because we haven't seemed to put together an entire game this year. I expected after the bye week we would start to gel and it took a half for us to figure it out. That said I was happy with the second half and that is how we should be playing. The defense played angry, Jake Sharp took control of the running game, and our line was staying on their blocks. If we can carry the second half attitude over this team will be in good shape.
2. Jake Sharp has been the only one that I have seen run hard and last week he seemed to be finding the running lanes. Another thing that impressed me about him last week is I can't remember one play where he chose the sideline over turning the play up into a defenders face for an extra yard. "The Beef" and Crawford have greater physical tools and if one of them would figure it out we might be better off but right now Sharp seems to have the heart and I say give him the ball and let him get into a groove rather than juggle guys around.
3. I feel pretty good about KU's chances against CU for several reasons. First, CU hasn't played a true road game this year and this can always make for an interesting dynamic. CU has some crazy injury bug going around, Darrell Scott has yet to be fully healthy and their offensive line is a skeleton of what it was at the beginning of the year. Finally KU will be the most potent offense this CU defense has faced and they have given up some points at times this year. The thing that scares me most is if we sleepwalk through part of the game...Dan Hawkins is a risk taker and if we do we could get behind early like we did against ISU and if that's the case Hawkins will grind it out with Rod "if ya think I'm sexy" Stewart and Darrell Scott. KU can't let this happen.
4. Cody Hawkins can be an effective game manager type QB(see Kyle Orton). The problem is because of the o-line issues he is being pressured into poor decisions and if they get behind he can't be relied on to bring you back like a Todd Reesing can. CU will be a very good team by the time Cody is a senior and with the talent around him he will be a very effective QB.
5. Wow that is a tough question...living in Colorado and following the Buffaloes a bit as well I can tell you they will be a very good team in about 2 years(at least that's my prediction) Hawkins has built his program from the inside out...big strong lineman and now he is putting the position players in place to complete the puzzle. I guess the question for both programs is when is the honeymoon over. Kansas will benefit from the Orange Bowl in recruiting fan support and enthusiasm. Colorado is still riding the momentum of a new coach and promise of the future. If both can continue the momentum the Big 12 north is going to be brutal, if one does not than you have your answer for who will not be better in 5 years. That my friends is my best presidential candidate version of an answer that I can give.
6. OU over Texas
Texas Tech over Nebraska
Baylor over Iowa State
Missouri over Oklahoma State
Texas A&M over Kansas State (my upset pick)
Kansas over Colorado
1. That's a really good question that deserves a really good answer. Unfortunately, I'm not sure I can provide one. But I will say that I'm happy with the result. How can you not be when they ultimately won a conference road game when they spotted the other team a twenty point lead? That being said, as rattled as they looked in the first half at Arrowhead last year, that was the first time I've ever seen them simply show up not ready and expecting to win. If nothing else, I hope that taught the team that they're nowhere close to being able to coast through games, so hopefully we won't see many more mental lapses the rest of the year.
2. Angus has been the most consistent, Jake the most explosive and Jocques the most disappointing. And I don't say that because of the expectations we had for him (or he for himself with his infamous prediction), but because of the promise he's shown. But really, as great as B-Mac was (and I was calling for him to get carries way before last year), do we really think he'd be tearing it up behind this line? The backs are capable; we just need to get them in position to succeed. Going forward, I think Angus has earned the right to be the guy from down to down, but Jake is more than able to be a complimentary guy and I think he can be a little more if he gets the chance.
3. I was already pretty confident and last week did nothing to dissuade that opinion. Colorado looked extremely over-matched in all areas of the game and though they're plenty dangerous, I'm not too worried about them with the game being in Lawrence. And despite the glaring holes that showed up in KU's game Saturday, I honestly feel like it makes me a little more confident that they won't overlook this week. Given how CU was steamrolled, had KU done the same to the Cyclones, I could see how they might look past this game with OU on the slate next week. As it stands, I can't imagine Mangino letting that happen for a second straight week.
4. Last year, I thought he looked decent and showed plenty of promise for the future. In fact, I was pretty high on Colorado going into the season. Then I watched the WVU game and it was clear he had regressed. Then I watched the Texas game and he just looked awful (39% completion). I'm not too sure on his appreciation level or if he should be starting (I don't know the first thing about Ballenger), but I wouldn't feel comfortable with him under center as the quarterback of my team.
5. If for no other reason that Mangino has proved he can be successful in the Big XII and Hawkins hasn't, I'll go with Kansas. Colorado has a recruiting advantage, due to location and tradition, but so far that hasn't translated. With neither on his side, Mangino has won an Orange Bowl so until proven otherwise I'll go with the Jayhawks.
6. OU over Texas
Tech over Nebraska
Baylor over ISU
MU over OSU
Texas A&M over KSU
1. Hmmm. Such a strange game. On one hand, Mangino should be praised for making the adjustments necessary for his team to overcome a huge deficit on the road and get a crucial victory. On the other hand, it is clear that he didn't have the team ready to play. Whether it was rust from the bye week, an early starting time, who knows. But defending Orange Bowl champions that bring back most of their team shouldn't need excuses for games like this. Iowa State should not have the ball and a chance to win in the final minutes. So I guess I'd have to say no, I'm not happy with Saturday's overall performance. There were some positive flashes, but we need to start seeing more than that if this team is going to accomplish what it is capable of.
2. I really don't think this has been a RB problem. I see it much more as a line issue. Sharp did great in the second half. He's also our best backfield receiving threat for longer throws. But Crawford or Quigley could have hit those holes just as well. I don't think there will be one final answer for the running backs this year. It's going to be more of a situation where we find the hot hand that day, and ride them. Sharp did put up great numbers on Saturday, though. And hopefully that's a sign that some of the isues with our running game were fixed over the bye week.
3. My confidence is probably about the same. I thought we could win by about as much as we did last year, and I still feel that way. The thing I'm most worried about is Darrell Scott finally having his breakout game at our expense. I know he's been dinged up, but a guy that talented will unleash the fury at some point. If they get that running game going, Hawkins is good enough to torment our suspect secondary, and we could have a long day.
4. I'll go underappreciated. Hawkins suffers from two issues: he plays in the most rediculously talented quarterback conference in the country, and he's the coach's son. The pressure on him is therefore enormous. If he was at some ACC school, away from his dad, I believe he would be one of the top signal callers in the conference. Teams like VaTech, Clemson, or Miami would kill for a kid like him at this point. If we give him time on Saturday, he is definitely good enough to make us pay.
5. Tough call. CU is starting to recruit some elite talent. However, we have shown we can get more out of lesser talents. I'm a big fan of Coach Hawkins. What he did at Boise State was amazing. Plus, KU will always have the challenge of competing with Mizzou and KState for recruits in its own back yard, while CU has the advantage of being reasonably close to the fertile recruiting territory of California. So, I'm going to give the edge in this one to the Buffs. I'll happily admit it I'm wrong, though.
6. OU over Texas (Wow. Should be a dandy. Vegas has OU as 7 point favorites. So I'll say OU triumphs, but UT covers.)
Tech over Nebraska (Nebraska is pathetic. Tech puts up 60+.)
Baylor over Iowa State (Baylor. Robert Griffin is the most electric player in college football right now.)
Oklahoma State over Missouri (For the first time all year, Mizery plays somebody that can go point for point with them. This will cause panic to set in during the 4th quarter. Cowboys pull off the upset.)
K-State over Texas A&M (No matter who wins, we all lose. KState. Whatever.)
Denverjhawk: I just want to echo the concern of Darrell Scott having his breakout performance against the Jayhawks...that would be bad.
Hiphopopotamus: Agreed, but I'll be shocked if it happens. Colorado is a little different than they were a year ago, as are we. But they ran for 66 as a team in that game. Talented as he may be, Saturday is not going to be he breakout game.
DJ (Hawk Digest):
1) I'm always happy with a win and I'm also glad to see some improvement in the running game. I'm also starting to believe that maybe Jake Laptad can be "the" defensive end. My #1 concern coming out of that game is how poorly our defense plays with a lead in the second half. It's not exactly a brand new problem, but I'd certainly like to see a fresh approach.
Baylor over ISU / It's tough to win in Waco ... as far as I know.
1. This is an interesting quetsion, one I have yet to fully develop an answer on yet. I mean, the first half obviously doesn't bode well for our incredibly tough slate of conference games; we couldn't have beat Mike Sherman's Aggies with that performacne (well, I maybe I take that back). We couldn't run, couldn't stop them, couldn't hang on to the ball. Pathetic. But, of course, we still won the game, and to do so we played on fire in the second half on both sides of the ball. In reality, this is a perfect case of whether you are a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty kind of person. Or, you could cop out and provide the "I'm a realist; the glass has water in it" response, which is the safest bet here. I realize there are problems, and those were heightened in it, but I'm not sure if those problems are outweighed by our strenghts more or not after the game. So, if that makes any sense, I'm not answering the question. Yes, the question I thought up.
2. Now, I will agree with a couple others who have already commented on this; the problem has a lot more to do with the O-Line than the running backs, in my opinion. Still, that isn't to say the backs are completely off the hook, and all have seen their fair share of struggles so far this season. To answer the question, I don't think that Jake Sharp is the end-all, be-all option, no. I do think he should be part of any successful equation, but I also think that at least one of Angus Quigley and Jocques Crawford will have to emerge as a threat, or our running game will continue to be in the shitter throughout the season. And to answer the second part; I still "prefer" the other two, as I think they are more complete backs and have a load more potential. But I am all for playing the best players currently, and that is clearly the helmet-readjuster as we speak. Should be interesting to watch how it is sorted out on Saturday; it could turn into a week-by-week thing, or Sharp could firmly entrench himself as a starter.
3. A tough question. However, I have to say that I am slightly more concerned than I was last Thursday, and that has everything to do with us. Colorado's performce over the weekend surprised me; I wasn't necessarily expecting an upset, but wouldn't have been shocked were they to pull one and fully expected them to at least compete. But we looked so awful in the first half, it just raises my worry level for every game from here on out. If we play like that, we most likely won't be able to come back like we did on Saturday. So, the worry level stays mostly the same, but I am still worried for the game. If that makes any sense.
4. I'm not the biggest Cody Hawkins fan in the world. Sure, I suppose he could be classified as a game manager, but that isn't good enough to win in the Big 12, with 100-or-so playmakers at QB. And no, that isn't an exaggeration. I think that, if Colorado is going to take that next step and be a threat in the competitive Big 12 North, they are going to have to get another QB. Again, he isn't bad, and you could certainly make a case he qualifies under 'good'. but he just isn't in the same league as the Daniels, Reesings and Bradfords of the world.
5. I really like this question, and want to talk about this further in-depth at a later date; analyzing what the Big 12 North teams will look like five years from now. They have hauled in two incredibly sick recruiting classes thus far in Dan Hawkin's tenure, and have a much wider recruiting base, with their California connections and the larger pool of in-state talent. Combining that with Hawkins' reputation as a really solid recruiter, and you are looking at a likely talent disadvantage, at least in terms of recruiting stars. If we are still better in 5 years, because we are clearly better as of right now, it will be because of an ability to find diamonds-in-the-rough throughout Texas. Oh, well, that and coaching. Because of that last little mark, coaching, and the QB situations (we figure to be set for the forseeable future, while Colorado's situation is considerably more nebulous) I'll say us. But I am biased.
6. OU over Texas
Tech over Nebraska
Baylor over Iowa State (should be a great game, though)
Missouri over Oklahoma State
K-State over A&M (Might be J-Free's only conference win)
More Colorado preview content will appear throughout the day on Friday...