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What Wins the North?

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Another weekend down and another weekend of completely shattered expectations.  Not necessarily for the Jayhawks but across the board in the Big 12 North.  To recap:

Kansas loses to Oklahoma which in itself isn't unexpected but where the struggles are coming from is completely.

Nebraska drops a home game to the Cyclones who suddenly look formidable despite being down a starting quarterback and running back.

Kansas State moves out in front at 3-1 after beating an inept Colorado team a week removed from upsetting the Jayhawks behind the play of Tyler Hansen.  Shocker, Dan Hawkins benches Hansen in favor of son Cody.

Missouri sits in the cellar and admittedly has had a brutal schedule to start conference play.  Problem is they were throttled by the Longhorns, their 5* quarterback is heavily hobbled and that loss to Nebraska stings a little more now than it did at first.

All that in mind here are the standings:

Big 12 Standings

NORTH CONF OVERALL
Kansas State 3-1 5-3
Iowa State 2-2 5-3
Kansas 1-2 5-2
Nebraska 1-2 4-3
Colorado 1-2 2-5
Missouri 0-3 4-3

 

That's right, at the moment Farmageddon is the difference between number one and number two with a nearly complete flip flop from what would have been expected.  Clearly there's been some unexpected results that have gone into this and it's likely there will be more.  So what wins this thing? and hell at this point, what does winning the North really mean?

Starting with Kansas State the appearance would be that they've been the benefactor of a soft early conference schedule.  Texas Tech's dismantling of the Wildcats appeared to show the Cats stood no chance once they entered a gauntlet of a game in Norman, Kansas and Missouri at home and heading up to Lincoln.  That may still be true but what Bill Snyder has done in Manhattan is already instilled discipline and eliminated many of the beat yourself type mistakes we saw with Prince.  Combine that with the problems it's remaining three North opponents have shown and you've got to think the Wildcats are in the mix.  Especially when you consider that 4-4 could win this thing. 

Iowa State is next is a kicking game and an overthrown ball away from being 4-0 in the conference.  The Cyclones wrap up with A&M who is a mystery but very beatable, Okie State, Colorado and a trip to Columbia.  After beating the Corn in Lincoln it's hard to say these guys are out of any of those minus maybe Okie State.  Take that back I don't see Missouri's offense imploding in Columbia so they'll likely beat the Clones but again that puts them at a possible 4 wins which may very well win the North.

Next up our own Kansas Jayhawks.  Probably the toughest road from here on out but fact remains we may be in the same spot that we started the season.  Kansas faces Tech, KSU, Nebraska, Texas and Missouri.  Assuming the Hawks can't win one in the South that means a North sweep gives us 4 wins and the tiebreaker against everyone but CU.  Once again, can 4 wins take this thing?

Huskers sit 1-2 with the Sooners looming large in two weeks.  If the Corn offense struggled against ISU, get ready for hell when the OU defense comes calling.  A loss against OU puts them at three losses.  If we assume a win against Baylor that means they control their own destiny if they can run the table in the North against KSU, KU and CU.  That's five wins for the Corn tiebreakers across the board.  Lose one of those three though and they might find themselves on the short end of the stick with 4 wins but losing the tiebreaker.

Colorado 1-2 but looking pretty horrific against the Wildcats in Manhattan.  I'd say at Okie State is likely off the table as is @ Iowa State since this team is so bad on the road.  That leaves potential wins against A&M, Mizzou and the Huskers at home who they always play tough.  Win those three and they sit with 4 wins, crazier things have happened right?  Well honestly this one might be the longest shot on the table.  I just can't imagine a scenario where the Buffaloes can beat all three of those teams.  Maybe I'll change my tune next weekend but I just don't see Mizzou dropping one in  Boulder.

That leaves the Tigers.  Starting the Conference slate 0-3 and the health of their stud QB is questionable at the moment.  The schedule get's much easier from here on out as they go to CU, Baylor at home, head to Manhattan and Iowa State at home.  If we assume Mizzou wins all 4 of those then we head to Arrowhead where this thing could be decided.  if Mizzou drops one on the road or the Cyclones pull another shocker then Mizzou is still in the mix if they win out and finish with the magical 4 wins.

So what wins the thing.  Next week will probably flip this thing on it's face once again but right now it's wide open and there is truly a scenario where any one of these six teams is still in it.  Top to bottom 4 or 5 wins is in the mix for everyone and at this point, it could very well only take 4.

Now I threw this together pretty quick here on a Sunday night so maybe I'm way off base, but I couldn't help but think last night while I'm watching the Mizzou v UT game that I have no idea who is going to win the North.  Seriously, NO idea...it's still wide open and it's almost easier to find an argument against every team out there than it is to find an argument for.  We'll see, can't wait till Saturday.