This is the first installment of this year's version of the Big 12 Roundtable. As the kickass logo shows, all ten blogs should be participating, making it worth your while. This week, Rock M Nation is hosting, so head over there sometime tomorrow for a recap post which will take the best from all of the individual posts. The goal for me is to get at least one quote up there. Even if it is for sympathy. Beggars can't be choosers.
1. Everyone knows the national talking points for each Big 12 team by now (Oklahoma has new linemen! Bill Snyder's back at Kansas State! Baylor might upset somebody!). Give us a storyline for your team that isn't quite getting the attention it should.
The defense returns nearly everybody. Whenever anybody talks about Kansas' defense, it always centers around the loss of Joe Mortensen, Mike Rivera and James Holt. All three present big losses, particularly the latter, but nearly every other contributor from 2008's defense will be back in a Jayhawk uniform this season.
More specifically, the secondary gets a bad rap. And deservedly so -- we gave up a ridiculous amount of points and yards and all of that last season. However, it should be much better this season -- everyone is back, for one, and it's the deepest group in Kansas history. Darrell Stuckey is a legitimate All-American candidate, Daymond Patterson should be All-Big 12, while Anthony Davis, Justin Thornton and Chris Harris have all shined for stretches -- Thornton and Harris in 2007, Davis in fall practice. People should be surprised about how much better our secondary is.
2. The Big 12 continues to be derided by other conferences as a pass-happy, no defense, made-for-TV free-for-all. The question must be asked, how accurate is this description, and is the perception something of which the conference should be ashamed?
It's partly the truth, partly exaggeration, as most extreme claims are. Obviously, offense reigns supreme in the Big 12, but it isn't like there aren't good defenses, either. Oklahoma held the vaunted Florida offense, which ripped ESSS EEEE SEEEE defenses to shreds all season long, to only 24 points. Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy, both Big 12ers, are probably the tw
o best interior defensive linemen in the entire country.
So, the perception is far greater than the reality. As to whether the perception matters at all -- I don't really care, no. It isn't like the Big 12's offense-first perception hurt them in bowl placement last year, and it shouldn't anytime in the future, either. Sam Bradford still won the Heisman, so that didn't have much of an impact (if one at all).
Football, as a whole, follows trends. Right now, the trendy offense is the spread, and no conference has adapted as quickly to this newest wrinkle of fabric than the Big 12. Basically, that is what the Big 12 is being punished for -- adapting quicker than the SEC (of course, a spread offense would never work in the SEC) and all of the other conferences to this new age of college football.
In 15 years, or whatever it is, when defenses have learned how to severely limit the spread, and the en vogue style becomes to run the ball 45 times a game, will the Big 12 be made fun of if they adapt quicker there, too?
3. Over the summer, ESPN's Tim Griffin compiled a list of the Top 25 moments of the Big 12 era that stirred up a bit of internal debate. Which moments for your program were either overrated or underrated?
Happy memory or not, Armageddon at Arrowhead should have been a Top 10 moment in league history. Probably even Top 5. I mean, compare it to Tim Griffin's Number 2 item on the list, Texas Tech's win over Texas last season.
- Kansas (#2) and Missouri (#4) had a combined ranking of 6. Texas (#1) and Texas Tech (#7) had a combined ranking of 8. According to the rankings, at least, Kansas and Missouri were better teams relative to that year's competition. ADVANTAGE: ARMAGEDDON at ARROWHEAD (AA)
- Kansas vs. Missouri took place the Saturday after Thanksgiving. TT-UT took place on November 1st, a full 4 weeks prior to the Saturday after Thanksgiving. A DVANTAGE: AA.
- None of the four teams ended up playing in the MNC game, so no bonus points added there.
- KU vs. MU was the biggest game in school history for BOTH schools; it was only the biggest game in Texas Tech history, diminishing the impact.
The only things that would lead you to believe the Red Raiders' win is superior is that (a) it ended on a last-second play and (b) it was at Texas Tech, prompting a rushing of the field and such. Fine. Maybe put it a spot-or-two ahead of Armageddon. But a Texas man like Tim Griffin, or anybody that grew up/lived in the Kansas or Missouri area, doesn't really understand what that game meant. It's one of my favorite Kansas football memories/moments of all time -- just because of what it meant, and all of the pregame hype.
The game was huge. The atmosphere was ele
ctric. It's a joke, an absolute joke and a travesty, to have it ranked at #23. I couldn't tell you anything else about the list, because I stopped reading it after that.
But, what is particularly irksome is, for example, #15 was Texas' 66-3 loss. How the hell is that a top moment in Big 12 history. I mean, what the eff (David Blaine)?
4. We've seen no less than 30-40 "Best Big 12 Coaches" power rankings in the offseason, but rarely is there the same press for the coordinators. If you had to replace your offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator with coordinators from within the conference, who are you poaching and why?
Offensive Coordinator isn't as easy for me now that Larry Fedora is out of the conference. I think he's just aces (just for you, Labba), which is why I'm already panicking about the Southern Miss game. Anyways, with him disqualified, I suppose I'll go with Mike Leach. That counts, right? No? Shoot. Um, I don't really...know...any...coordinators. So, I'll just copy RMN's answer and go with Oklahoma State's offensive coordinator. If I like Fedora so much, and their offense seemed to have stayed the same, that means the new guy is like a clone of Fedora! Yeah! That's it. What's his name?
Defensive Coordinator is awfully easy, though. Give me Will Muschamp and you take whoever you want, and we'll have a defensive coordinator battle off. Oh, we weren't talking actual fistifights? No matter -- Muschamp can coach up some defense as well. And it's always fun to watch over-30 white men jump up and down and act like they are hip. Or whatever. Anyways, that's my choice. And no, it's not because he's the only defensive coordinator I can name.
5. Time to start our weekly Big 12 Power Poll. Rank the Big 12 teams from 1 to 12. (Note: This IS a power poll and isn't intended to account for schedule)
3) Oklahoma State
7) Texas Tech
10) Texas A&M
11) Kansas State
12) Iowa State