Here we are, back with the Big 12 Roundtable. This week's edition is not hosted by Rock M Nation, but instead by Iowa State blog Clone Chronicles. That is all. Now on to the questions.
1) The Big 12 has looked more unimpressive than impressive thus far. Do you attribute this to early season struggles, or does the conference look to have regressed from '08? Please explain.
Both. The conference isn't as good as it was last year, and that sucks. I was all ready to champion a Big 12 > SEC campaign and everything, with T-Shirts and planes flying over The Swamp and everything. But alas, it isn't happening this year. The injury to Sam Bradford plus Oklahoma State's self-destruction in T. Boone Picken's new playground pretty much clinches that. However, those are most likely early season struggles, as Sam Bradford will get healthy eventually and the Oklahoma State defense should improve under Bill Young. So, as far as they are concerned (along with Texas Tech's first-game struggles, which already appear to have alleviated), I think it's mostly just early-season struggles.
However, the real disappointment has been the Big 12 North. And with that, it's most likely a regression, and a regression from already-bad football, mind you. Iowa State has been Iowa State, but K-State and Colorado are really killing the conference's perception. Colorado is the disaster en vogue right now across the country, and they'll be lucky to match last season's win total of 5. Kansas State was supposed to take a step forward without Ron Prince, and maybe they still will, but losing to Louisiana-Lafayette isn't the way to go about it.
Let's all hope that it is just early-season struggles, and I certainly think (at least the majority) of the South's issues will be resolved in another month or so, while the North appears to be, at least, a season-long affair of disaster.
All of the other answers after the jump...
2) When looking at our team's schedule, sometimes it's hard to get excited about non-conference portion of the schedule, except for maybe 1 game. In general, are you content with your team's non-conference scheduling? Is there an opponent you'd like to see on a regular basis, that you currently do not?
I'm cool with it. It's easy to say that I wish we could go out and schedule some solid opponents, but I really would rather us not. We put Georgia Tech on the schedule the next two years, and while I'm excited, I also am hoping that the other three games are easier. Like it or not, Kansas isn't competing for a National Championship anytime soon barring Armageddon-like seasons, such as 2007. It's just the reality of current CFB.
And if it is a crazy season, like 2007, you don't get credit if you're Kansas for losing once with it being against a weak opponent. Sure, there were potshots galore in 07, but we still were ranked #2 in the country because we were undefeated, and still made the Orange Bowl because we only had one loss. Undefeated is the name of the game unless you are an upper-echelon power, so you might as well not add in any unnecessary hurdles in the non-conference.
Really, I think this year's non-conference schedule is a perfect mix. Get it started with a cupcake, to get your team into game mode and all of that stuff. Then play three decent-to-solid teams, one of them on the road, so your team is used to a road environment and learns it can't waltz through teams, but there isn't a necessity to bring your "A" game or else. Especially Southern Miss should provide a decent challenge, enough to create some tension late into the ballgame, most likely, which can also be a teaching tool.
So, after a way-too-long answer, I like how Mangino is doing it.
3) Over the years we've seen a fair share of teams lose the week they appear on the SI cover. Does the "SI Curse" exist, is it a coincidence, or is it something that we only take notice of when it rings true (but forget when it does not)? Explain.
Usually, when a team is on the cover of Sports Illustrated, they fall under one (or both) of two categories: they are coming off of a huge/comeback/exciting/improbable win or they are really freaking good. So, usually, a win is expected after gracing the cover. When a win occurs, it doesn't go against what we expected, so we all move on with our lives, accepting Florida's win against South Carolina, or whatever. However, when they happen to be upset, it is a big upset, more times than not, so it catches our attention, and then we think of the SI Cover, and then we purport this nonsensical "curse" thing-a-ma-jig.
If there is any effect to being on the cover of Sports Illustrated, it would be mental. You see your QB plastered on the cover of SI, and you think a little more highly of yourself. You see the other team not mentioned once, and you don't see how the game is close at all. Maybe you relax a little bit. I don't know. I don't really buy that much, either, but it has happened before, I'm sure, and would be credible. It has nothing to do with some supernatural curse, for sure, though.
4) What is the biggest question your team has to answer heading into Week 3?
I would have said pass rush. I swear, I would have. That doesn't make sense, any more, though. So, with no really pressing needs, I'll say special teams. Alonso Rojas has had a good start to the year, and Jacob Branstetter is booting the hell out of the ball on kickoffs, but all of the other phases have been less-than-stellar.
Dezmon Briscoe still needs some more time back there at kick-off returner. Daymond Patterson needs to realize that the Dante Hall treatment isn't always the way to go, and it's okay to sometimes take the 12 yards and move on with your life. Most importantly, Branstetter needs to get his field goals straightened out. I hope it was just the injury issue, and he'll be ready to go for the rest of the year, but he did not have a good game in El Paso.
I'll also throw in snapping in there as well, because that was embarrassing. I don't care who the center is, just learn how to snap the ball into Todd's hands, please and thank you.
5) Choose an Offensive Player of the Week (non-QB to make it a little more interesting) and Defensive Player of the Week from Week 2. Provide solid arguments for each.
I really should pay more attention to the Big 12. Uhh. I know Taylor Potts threw for a hundred-thousand yards and eighteen touchdowns, but he plays quarterback. So, I suppose he's disqualified.
I really have no idea, so I'll just copy-cat Clone Chronicles on offense and go homer with the second pick.
Offense -- Ryan Broyles is a wide receiver for Oklahoma. Apparently, he caught 7 passes for 155 yards and 3 TDs. That is super impressive. Who has him on their fantasy team?
Defense -- Maxwell Onyegbule, baby. Two sacks, another tackle for a loss, a couple other tackles on great plays. Is he finally emerging? IDK my BFF Jill, but it was fun to watch for a game. At least.
6) Big 12 Power Rankings! Rank the teams 1-12 (remember, this is based on power i.e., who would win on a neutral field)
I won't forget this time. This is a Power Poll. Neutral field. Okay. I gotcha. Here are my rankings. After #1, it's anyone's guess. Well, until 10-12. Then it's just your pick of, well, you know.
- Oklahoma State
- Oklahoma (still counting without Bradford)
- Texas Tech
- Texas A&M
- Iowa State
- Kansas State
Thoughts? I thought about switching Nebraska and Kansas, but what can I say, I'm drinking the Kool-Aid. Also seriously considered moving Missouri above Bradford-less Oklahoma, but couldn't quite pull the trigger.