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Big 12 Roundtable: Round 1

Instead of having to explain this whole shibang myself, I'll let the guy who got it started and threw out the questions, Matt from Crimson and Cream  Machine, explain it himself:

I sent out an e-mail to some of the best Big 12 bloggers around inviting them to participate in a series of questions concerning the upcoming football season. Hopefully those guys will leave a comment linking to their own posts where they have answered the same questions. It should make for a fun comparison and on Thursday I'll tally up the answers and post some of the better comments here at the Machine.

Hopefully this 'Big 12 Roundtable' will become a frequent event across the Big 12 blogosphere, but for now I will just take it as it is: a series of thought-provoking questions regarding the Big 12. Already today, TB over at Bring on the Cats, Blankman from Midwest Coast Bias and CrossCyed over at Clone Chronicles have all answered the questions, not to mention Matt's answers at Crimson and Cream Machine.

And now, on to my answers...

1) Pick a team (other than the one you blog about) from the north and south divisions and explain why they may be the best team in the division.

Instead of discussing my division winners, I am going to take a look at the teams I have slotted for second, just for equality purposes.

In the North, Missouri is the team. They have all the talent needed on offense, led by Big 12 POY candidate Chase Daniel. However, their coach is a question mark at best and their defense isn't quite championship caliber, even if it is just the "champion" of the Big 12 North.

Down in the South I have never really understood the fuss over Oklahoma. Sure, they are very talented on defense (led by Reggie Smith) and at the offensive skill positions, but they don't have a good enough situation at quarterback. I think they will have a very good year, but will end up falling short of a Big 12 South title.

2) If the Big 12 Conference had a Heisman trophy candidate who would it be and why?

In all honesty, only Colt McCoy has even a remote chance of taking home the hardware. If Texas wins the Big 12, McCoy is likely in the debate but barring an explosion of statisticality he will likely be just a name mentioned at the end of contenders. In case you care, I am going with the favorite and saying that Darren McFadden is taking home the Heisman this season.

3) If you had to place a $100.00 bet on a current Big 12 head coach being fired at the end of the season who would you pick and why?

Well first off, I would never gamble money on something so trivial, it is often hard to predict the motives and beliefs of school presidents and athletic directors. However, there are a couple of coaches I would be less than surprised to see let go after the season. Gary Pinkel comes to mind first, and I guess he is my pick on the most likely coach to be axed. Kansas State and Colorado are rebuilding, and Nebraska is playing worse than he has in the past. Combine that with the best Muzzurrah team in awhile, and folks in Columbia could get a little angry if they are denied a Big 12 North title. Our own Mark Mangino is another possibility, although if he wins 7 games he should be safe. Dennis Franchione is another candidate, although last year's upset win over Texas likely bought him an extra year in College Station.

4) The one non-conference game, not involving your school, you would pay money to see would be?

Uhhh. There really isn't a whole lot of selection, with Nebraska-USC most likely drawing the most interest. I am going to go against the grain, however, and pick Oklahoma State-Georgia in the season's opening week. Just a month ago I would have said Nebraska-USC, but I want to see how good Oklahoma State's offense really is and it is always fun to watch football down in SEC country.

5) Which of the four Big 12 schools currently ranked in the AP Top 25 doesn't belong there?

Let's see: Texas definately deserves it, as does Oklahoma despite my concerns (stated above). I'm not so sure Nebraska deserves it or not, but they do deserve it more than Texas A&M. So that is my pick. They got blown out in the Holiday Bowl, and despite returning a pretty damn good backfield still aren't talented enough to warrant serious Top 25 consideration. At least in the minds of the non-media.

6) Make a case for one of the 8 Big 12 schools not ranked as to why they should be.

Not that I think they should, but the best team NOT in the Top 25 is Oklahoma State. I know I know, they are a similar team to Missouri (the Dick Vermeil style of team; all offense and little-to-no defense) but I like their talent better on both sides of the ball. Plus, I like Mike Gundy more as a coach than Gary Pinkel.

7) Prediction Time:
Tell us the offensive and defensive players who are going to make the biggest impact on the conference this season.

Homer Time! Without mentioning Kansas once this entire Roundtable (besides the possibility of Mark Mangino being fired), I think I deserve to be a homer at least once. So, Aqib Talib is the impact defensive player. The rest of our secondary, as previously discussed in my brief season previews, is full of talented-but-young players, so both Aqib Talib's leadership and excellent coverage skills will be put to the test all season long thus creating IMPACT!

On the offensive side of the ball, this side of Heisman hopeful Colt McCoy, has to be, ummmm, Bobby Reid? Their offense is loaded, but it all revolves (obviously, he is the QB) around Reid. That, plus the fact that I am big on Okie State this season, creates IMPACT!

That is all for now, hopefully you have fun reading all of the different roundtables sure to consistently pop up across the Big 12 blogosphere the next couple of days. Crimson and Cream Machine is the home base for this thing, so check there for links to other Roundtable answers.

My apologies to Iowa State, Colorado, Baylor and Texas Tech for me not mentioning them more than in passing. I'm sorry, even though 3 of them (not including the Red Raiders) figure to be among the worst this season.