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Big 12 Roundtable: State of the Conference

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After a one-week hiatus, the Roundtable is back. Y'all excited?

1) The Big 12 conference has only four unbeaten teams left and has endured numerous embarrassing performances on television. State where you believe the Big 12 ranks among the BCS conferences.

The Big 12 hasn't liven up to the big expectations I had going into the season, although Oklahoma is a better team than I thought. Oklahoma and Texas alone deserve plenty of respect, but our "middle teams" like Okie State, Texas A&M and Nebraska have all struggled thus far on national, primetime games. Missouri and Kansas are picking up the slack, but it is really looking like a two-team conference, at least as far as national relevance is concerned. We are still a better conference than both the Big 10 and the ACC, but I would rank the other 3 (Big East, SEC, Pac 10) comfortably ahead of us.

2) What has been the conference's best victory and worst defeat so far this season?

We really haven't had a staple victory, although there have been quite a few embarrassments. Iowa State vs. Northern Iowa is my first choice for embarrassment, but A&M's thrashing from Miami (FL) didn't look good either.

On the positive side, just for sheer impressiveness, it has to be the Oklahoma-Miami (FL) matchup. Yes, everyone figured that Boomer Sooner would win, but not by that much and not by scoring 51 points.

3) Who is the worst coached team in the conference?

So many choices. Muzzurrah? Nah, they are 4-0 and they have to be doing something right on offense. Iowa State? No, Chizik is in year #1 and deserves a couple of years before we start judging him. My vote is for Texas A&M, just because they have enough talent to win the Big 12 but struggled to beat Fresno State at home and got dominated by a relatively weak Miami (FL) team.

4) With the regular season already a third of the way over, which players received too much hype in late August and which players didn't receive enough?

Sam Bradford didn't receive enough hype on the offensive side of the ball. Sure, he has a boatload of weapons, but he has been very impressive thus far and most people couldn't tell you who he was before winning the starting job. On the defensive side of the ball, I'll stay at home and pick Joe Mortensen. All of the defensive hype surrounded Aqib Talib and, to a lesser extent, Mike Rivera. But Mortensen has emerged as the leader of the defense, and has played phenomenal thus far.

On the disappointment side of things, the obvious choice on offense is Bobby Reid. He was hyped as the leader of the best offense in the Big 12 (potentially), but has disappointed so much that he has now lost a starting job, not to mention causing a overblown media blowup by his coach. Defensively, the first name that pops in my head is Bo Ruud. Sure, he has played good, but not at the level he was expected to when plenty of people had him pegged as their Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.

Conference Power Rankings. The best part of the roundtable is voicing how we believe the conference teams rank each week, from top to bottom. So, go ahead, let us know who's up and who's down in your book this week.

Note: # in (  )'s is last week's rankings...

  1. Oklahoma (1) -- They are the team to beat in-conference, and probably 3rd in the race to earn a spot in the National Championship game. Sam Bradford is the real deal, and their defense is pretty good too.
  2. Texas (2) -- Have enough talent to take down Boomer Sooner; probably the only team that can say that with a straight face. Colt McCoy has been off-and-on for much of the year, and they have generally looked unimpressive against pretty bad opponents (Arkansas State and UCF) despite pulling out wins.
  3. Kansas (5) -- This is at least one spot too high, but I don't really care. The season-ending contest in Arrowhead is getting more and more juicy by the second and could quite possibly decide the Big 12 North victor. But I'm getting ahead of myself, first we have to win in Manhattan. Oh, and why are they third? 214-23.
  4. Muzzurrah (4) -- Their offense still looks frightening, but their defense will likely cost them at least one game in Big 12 play. Hopefully it will be in Arrowhead.
  5. Oklahoma State (6) -- What can I say, I really like this team. Plus, despite the general lack of defense on Saturday, they beat a good Texas Tech team which has to stand for something. This entire Mike Gundy-blowup might effect the team, but they are technically #1 in the conference right now (only 1-0 team) and could be the team to upset Oklahoma and/or Texas. Could.
  6. Nebraska (3) -- They dropped more for the lack of defense displayed against Ball State than the blowout against USC. A blowout against USC was expected, almost, but sneaking out a win at home against Ball State, especially considering Nate Davis threw for more than 400 yards, is embarrassing. Embarrassing. They could still be the favorite in the North, but I wouldn't bet on them.
  7. Texas Tech (9) -- Yes, they rise after a loss. It was, after all, on the road against a very talented team. They get a pass for last week, but they need to be perfect until a trip to Columbia to be considered serious. Graham Harrell is a very good QB, although likely a system QB.
  8. Kansas State (8) -- Still another year or so away from competing for the North. Ron Prince has this team going in the right way, however, so positive times are around the corner in Manhattan. Could start out conference play 0-2 and 1-3, which wouldn't be fun.
  9. Texas A&M (7) -- That loss last Thursday night wasn't a good representation of the conference. At all. They got absolutely smoked by a fairly average Hurricanes team, and that could have begun the end of Franchione's reign in College Station. Or Aggies fans can only hope.
  10. Baylor (11) -- A 3-1 start, albeit with victories against Buffalo, Texas State and Rice, is a good one for Guy Morriss. He will have to win 3 Big 12 games this year, likely, to keep his job, a task that isn't beyond reach. It would be huge to win at least one of the first two (@ A&M and vs. Colorado) because after that it gets a lot harder.
  11. Colorado (10) -- Barely beat Colorado State and lost to both Florida State (at home) and Arizona State. Not a horrible non-conference mark, but not much to build on either. They figure to struggle all year long, although a major upset isn't out of the question. Just not this week, when they host Boomer Sooner.
  12. Iowa State (12) -- Despite their upset of the Hawkeyes, the Cyclones are still in trouble. Gene Chizik will take probably 5 years before he can make the program "his", and whether that will be a BCS-caliber team is yet-to-be-determined. Just keep in mind Mangino's career path, from a 2-10 start to a couple of decent seasons to now, where he appears to be having his "breakout year" as a coach. Appears.
That is all for now, check back next week for the next version of the Roundtable.

ROCK CHALK!