You ready for this? I am awfully late to the party, but I'm over it.
1) Were Saturday's games a sign that the Big 12 North may be on its way back?
Define "back". We are definately improved as a group over the past couple of years, but the South is still the better division. I think. The Big 12 as a whole is much-improved over the past couple of years as well, and we are moving away from having 4 great teams and 8 pretty bad teams. Oklahoma, Texas and two other schools any given year (the most common offenders were Kansas State and Nebraska) were all in the national picture, but the other eight were the subject of national punch-lines. However, this season there are really only two "bad" teams (Iowa State and Baylor) and both have shown flashes. So, finally getting back to the quesiton. Yes, the North is definately on its way "back", but it has a way yet to go. As deep as the North is, there is no national-power, although that may change by year's end.
2) How seriously do we take the hot starts at Mizzou and Kansas?
Very seriously. Going into the season, plenty of people were expecting big things from Muzzurrah and they have played up to that level. I mean, they beat Illinois fairly handily and the Fighting Illini just upset Big 10 "power" Penn State last weekend. And the Jayhawks, well, everyone knows how I feel. You can't read too much into demolishing lower level competition, but we have outscored them 214-23. That has to count for something, doesn't it?
3) Pick one team from the opposite division that you truly hate, and say why; follow this up by picking another team from the opposite division that you don't mind pulling for, and say why.
I want to pick two teams that I hate. Oklahoma and Texas. Nothing that either team did that I personally hate, one of my favorite college football moments of all-time occurred with me cheering rampantly for the Longhorns (vs. USC in the Rose Bowl), but they are just too successful. i always, always, cheer for the underdog, meaning that I root against these two quite often. So it isn't really a 'hate' per se, but I dislike them more than any other school.
On the positive side, I've always been drawn to Texas Tech. It is probably the spread and the excitinginess that the offense creates that causes me to enjoy watching them play, but I almost always end up rooting for the Red Raiders.
4) The NCAA has enacted a rule allowing you to bring back one senior that graduated last year to play for your team for the rest of the season. Would you do it? And if so, who?
First off, why wouldn't you? I mean, I guess it isn't the "by-the-book" thing to do but the NCAA made it legal, so it doesn't go against a law. So yes, I would definately do it. Who I would bring back is another story. Jon Cornish was without a doubt the best player that graduated last season, but our running back situation is doing pretty OK thus far. Our offensive line, despite losing 3 starters, has played damn well thus far. So the answer? I'll stick to Cornish, you can never have enough weapons on offense and we could be unstoppable if we used them all correctly. Could be.
5) Rank the conference teams...
And finally the hard part. Last week's rankings in parentheses.
- Oklahoma (1) -- They are still the most talented team in the Big 12, and unlike Texas they lost on a last second FG on the road. They still have to be the favorite to take home the Big 12 crown, have to be.
- Muzzurrah (4) -- They jump Kansas, despite not playing a game. I don't want to be too homerish.
- Kansas (3) -- Big test this weekend in Manhattan. We "should" win this game, but that doesn't mean we will win. They kicked Texas' ass in Austin, and are more than capable of beating us at home.
- Kansas State (8) -- Kicking Texas' ass in Austin will move you up. They have gained national attention, which should make us gain even more attention. That is, if we win. It is far from a sure thing.
- Texas (2) -- They looked like crap on Saturday, sure, but they still have enough talent to come back and take the Big 12. I promise.
- Colorado (11) -- They looked incredible at times on Saturday, and thoroughly outplayed Boomer Sooner in the second half. They have the talent to compete in the North, just like everyone else not named Iowa State.
- Oklahoma State (5) -- They didn't do anything to drop 2 spots, but a week off from Big 12 play will do that to you. That and two huge upsets. They have the potential to take down anybody, it is just a matter of whether they can.
- Nebraska (6) -- Still didn't look impressive against Iowa State. Sure, they beat them by 18 points, but they struggled in the first half and this is Iowa State we're talking about.
- Texas A&M (9) -- Not sure what to make of the Aggies. To save Dennis Franchione's job they will likely have to pull at least one big upset this season, probably over rival Texas. Blowout wins against Baylor won't do a lot.
- Texas Tech (7) -- Them being 10th is more of a symbol of the conference's strength as opposed to their weakness. I mean sure, they aren't world-beaters by any means, but they crushed all of their non-conference competition and barely lost on the road to a talented team in Okie State. But still, someone has to be here.
- Baylor (10) -- They aren't Iowa State, but they are clearly not bowl-caliber material. 10 great-to-good teams and 2 not-so-much, the Bears being one of them. Guy Morriss will be fired at the end of the year. At least in my opinion.
- Iowa State (12) -- They put up a decent fight in the first half against the Huskers, but they are still going to struggle this year. A lot. They might go winless in Big 12 play, but Chizik deserves 5 years to turn the program around. Trust me.