Sunday, November 7, 2010

What's Going on in the Big 12?

Ah, parity. It's just the boring way to say "Everything is crazy!"

The South
Remember last week, when Baylor was all alone at the top of the division standings, and we were all like, "Whaaaaaa?" This week restored a little--a little--normality there, with Baylor falling to Oklahoma State on the field and in the standings. Of course, that leaves us with Oklahoma State as the favorite to represent the South in the championship game, which is still pretty weird.

Here's the thing about Baylor: they're better than we're used to them being, but they're still not great. Good for them for winning their entire North slate and a very, very down texas team, but losing to TCU, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State shows that they're not a brand new team.

As for Oklahoma State, I guess it turns out Mike Gundy is a better head coach than head coach/offensive coordinator. And that he made an excellent hire in Dana Holgerson as his new, external OC.

Speaking of great hires! I LOVE TIM DERUYTER, YOU GUYS. I'm not ready to dust off the Wrecking Crew name, but those multiple amazing goal-line stands make my heart go pitter-pat.

Ryan Tannehill has been good too, although frankly I'm relieved he hasn't been so mind-bogglingly good as to drag me into another Aggie QB crush. I've had my heart broken too many times. Too many times.

The team has clearly done better with Tannehill at the wheel than with Jerrod. However, I don't think it's because he's flat-out better than Jerrod. My theory is that Tannehill realizes that his job is to help the team win, whereas Jerrod may have been convinced that he had to carry the team. That in turn made him try too hard and force passes he didn't need to make. (It might be something else, like that the hype went to his head and he stopped working hard in practice, but I hope it's my more generous interpretation.)

As for our collective confusion over how t.u. is so bad, maybe we're overthinking things. It's possible that their weaknesses have been this big, or close to it, and that the weaknesses were just masked by excellent quarterback play. Vince Young and Colt McCoy are not just NFL players, but successful NFL starters. (I know Colt is just a few games in, but he's beaten Drew Brees and Tom Brady already. On a team that won five games last year. That's impressive.)

And then there are OU and Texas Tech, which both quite good at home and not as good away. It happens.

The North
The North division is much less topsy-turvy. As we expected, Nebraska's at the top, with Missouri as a solid second.

However, the Big 12 North did bring us yesterday's single craziest game, in which an abysmal KU team scored 35 points in the last twelve minutes of the fourth quarter to go from being down 45-17 to beating Colorado 52-45. Totally insane. Dan Hawkins should never get another head coaching job.

In other North news, both K-State and Iowa State are coming along nicely. It now seems reasonable to hope that they will not be dead weight in next year's 10-team conference. Thanks and gig'em, guys.

The future!
Which is to say, the near future. There are three weeks left of regular season conference play. Here are the standings as of today: knows I like the Aggies the best.

There are fifteen conference games yet to play. I went through them and made my predictions, picking the apparent favorites (my most arguable conclusions: A&M over Baylor and t.u., Oke State over Oklahoma), and this is what I think the final standings will be:

Nebraska 7-1
Mizzou 6-2
K-State 4-4
Iowa State 4-4
KU 1-7
CU 0-8

Oklahoma State 7-1
A&M 5-3
OU 5-3
Baylor 4-4
Texas Tech 3-5
t.u. 2-6

So the only big change I see is Baylor continuing to fall--they may well beat A&M and/or OU in Waco, but I think it slightly likelier that they won't. That would give us Oklahoma State vs. Nebraska in the championship game, and while it's hard to beat the same team twice, it's still looking probable that Nebraska walks away with a championship in their last year in the league. Dang.

The only teams already out of the South race are Texas Tech and t.u. Okahoma, even though they're fourth right now, is in a better position than A&M and Baylor because those two need Oklahoma State to lose twice. Oklahoma just needs to win out, because if they beat Oklahoma State in Bedlam (presuming Oke State has continued to win up to that point), they'll have the same conference record, and OU will own the tiebreaker.

In the North, it's hard to imagine Nebraska not winning. Mizzou, since they already lost to Nebraska, needs the Huskers to lose twice. With NU's last three games being against A&M, KU, and Colorado, that's pretty much an impossible dream.

1 comment:

  1. I remember that one week when Baylor was at the top of the Big XII. I felt really confused. And maybe like the world was about to end.