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Big 12 Roundtable: Round 4 (Now That We Know)

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Report card for offense, defense and special teams coming tomorrow.

1. Based on what you now know to be your team's strengths and weaknesses if the game was on the line do you want your offense or defense on the field?

Well, let's see. We have scored an average of 57 points, but have also only given up 7 total points. Based on what we knew before the season and the talent level, I would say our defense. Joe Mortensen is tremendously underrated, and Aqib Talib is a top-notch cover corner. Our defensive line has been impressive thus far as well, and we could have a top unit in the Big 12. Our offense has plenty of talent, but has yet to really prove anything against a BCS-conferene defense.

2. If you had to pick a team from the AP Top 10 for your team to play this weekend who would you pick and why (OU & Texas are not options).

Well, I am going to have to switch the question around. First off, I am picking the team based off of who I think we could beat the easiest, with easiest being a completely relative term. For me, it comes down to two teams. California and Ohio State. Cal's secondary is weak, and we have an abundance of athletes at the WR position (including occasional cameos from Aqib Talib) but DeSean Jackson scares the hell outta me, evenw ith Aqib Talib at corner. So, my pick is Ohio State, who lost nearly all of their impact players on offense (Troy Smith, Teddy Ginn Jr., Anthony Gonzalez and Antonio Pittman) and now rely heavily on a true sophomore in Chris 'Beanie' Wells. He has plenty of talent, but there is that whole 'inexperience' factor, not to mention their QB (Todd Boeckman) is a redshirt freshman. Don't get me wrong, they would likely be the toughest team we would play all season long, but I would feel more confident against the 07 Bucks than any other current AP Top 10 team.

3. You can take one player off your team and trade him for any player in the conference who plays the same position who are you taking?

Plenty of possibilities; there is loads of talent in the Big 12. This might be surprise to some, but I will choose Frank Okam of Texas. Stopping the run is, in my mind, the biggest key to consistently winning college football games and combining the huge Okam with James McClinton would pretty well solidify the middle of our line. Our defense could soar to the top of the charts if teams flat out couldn't run against us, forcing them to pass 40+ times a game, allowing more bodies to drop into coverage. Others considered include: Reggie Smith, Limas Sweed, Adarius Bowman and Colt McCoy.

4. Conference Power Rankings! Rank the teams in the conference from first to worst.

I guess this will count as my conference recap, basically summarizing where each team stands in the race to the finish that is Big 12 football.

  1. Oklahoma -- I was wrong, I admit it. Sam Bradford has played phenomenal thus far, and the rest of their team has looked National Championship-good. I still might lean towards Texas winning the head-to-head battle, but OU is clearly the better team right now.
  2. Texas -- The obvious follow-up, they lose some points for playing pretty bad their first 6 quarters of the year. They barely snuck by Arkansas State 21-13 in what should have been a laugher, and was losing 10-0 at halftime on Saturday against TCU. Of course, they went on to crush the Horned Frogs 34-19, finally getting their offense going for the first time this season. They could be the best team in the Big 12, but it will take an OU-falter (likely in the Red River Shootout between these two teams) for them to get to #1 here.
  3. Nebraska -- After the obvious first two, it is anyone's guess as to who is #3. I am inclined to go Missouri here, but their defense struggled against both Ole Miss and Illinois, not exactly offensive juggernauts. Nebraska struggled themselves against Wake Forest, but their defense is much better than the Tigers and Marlon Lucky can carry that offense. They have a chance to make a name for themselves this week against U$C, although Sam Keller needs to play better in order to have a chance.
  4. Missouri -- They will have to outscore people game in and game out in order to win, but they have the offense to do it. Chase Daniel is a special, special player and he has plenty of surrounding pieces, namely TE Martin Rucker and RB Tony Temple (Rockhurst High School Graduate; my dad's alma mater).
  5. Kansas -- Call this a homer pick, call it beating up on weak competition, call it whatever you want, the Jayhawks have flat out dominated our competition thus far. We will know a lot more once Big 12 season starts, but as of right now I can make (and will, if asked) that we are better than the more common options at this spot, Okie State or Texas A&M or even Kansas State.
  6. Oklahoma State -- I am a big fan of power-polling this thing, but it is hard to punish a team for going out and making a trip to Athens, Georgia. Their offense is very likely the second best offensive team in the conference, after Muzzurrah, and that will keep them in just about every game they play. All it takes is one upset against either Oklahoma or Texas to jump to the Big 12 elite, something that is always a possibility when you can line up Adarius Bowman on the perimeter.
  7. Texas A&M -- I know that they are undefeated and all that jazz, but I saw the Fresno State game. They jumped out to a 19-0 lead, prompting me to ignore it for quite awhile. Then, of course, Fresno State climbs back and nearly wins the game in the first overtime, on a replay that took 20 minutes. Coach Fran has a shot to lead a really good team this season, but he is Coach Franchione. Meaning that they will likely play extremely well against either Oklahoma or Texas, possibly even pulling off the upset, but will lose a game they shouldn't. Their passing game worries me, it will be tough for them to come back from behind.
  8. Kansas State -- This is likely unfair, but the Big 12 has a pretty good amount of depth this year and with depth comes underrated teams. They could win the North this year and surprise a lot of people, but they could also struggle to reach a bowl. Odds are they reach somewhere in the middle, and they end up with a better record than at least one team ranked ahead of them, but what can I do. Their running game, or lack thereof, worries me. I like balance.
  9. Texas Tech -- Wow, I almost forgot about the Red Raiders. They looked very impressive on Labor Day against SMU, imposing their will on both sides of the ball (specifically the offense) but looked much worse in the first half against UTEP on Saturday. Their offense is still a top-tier offense in the Big 12, and their defense could be improved over last year. Still, I just get a bad vibe from them, and the first half performance against UTEP certainly didn't help. This very well will make me look stupid later, but we'll wait and see.
  10. Colorado -- An impressive opening week OT victory over Colorado State, followed by giving up a 14-0 lead the next week in the desert against Arizona State. Cody Hawkins looked impressive in both games, and he will keep them in plenty of games. They are still a year or two away from competing for the North title again though, and will struggle this season.
  11. Baylor -- Up and down season already for the Bears. Got rocked 27-0 against TCU first week of the season, then turned around and beat a much worse Rice team 42-17. Guy Morriss could be job-shopping after the season, one which figures to be yet another in a long line of finishing last in the Big 12 South.
  12. Iowa State -- The only winless Big 12 team, they have lost to two MAC teams. Yuck. This figures to be a rebuilding year for Iowa State, and they could be even worse than last year's 2-10 Colorado team. Clearly the worst team thus far in the Big 12, although that could change depending on how bad Baylor proves to be.

5. Big 12 Players of the Week – Make your selections for offensive and defensive players of the week for week two. Offensive Player: I choose Chase Daniel. I know that Syzmanski threw for more yards for the Baylor Bears, but Daniel did threw for 330 yards himself and ran for another 68 yards. Plus, Daniel did it on the road against Ole Miss, not at home against Rice. Defensive Player: To Be Determined. I honestly have little idea on who to pick over who, so I will think it over, read some of my fellow bloggers' arguements, and make a decision.

That is all for now, report cards coming tomorrow...

ROCK CHALK!

(P.S.: Hopefully all of my grammar/spelling is correct ;) )