Fresh off a rout of Texas A&M our Kansas State blog (Bring On The Cats) is hosting this week's SBN Big 12 Roundtable. You should know the drill by now, critique my answers and add your own in the comments section. Make sure to check back with BOTC to get the roundup.
1. Though not true of everyone -- Texas continued its "just take care of business" approach -- Saturday shook a lot assumptions we had about some teams. What, if anything, can you say with confidence about your team?
I can confidently say two things about the Sooners right now. One, they are the best three loss team in the country and second they have the best defense in the Big 12. Looking at Oklahoma's three losses they are five points away from being 6-0. Yes, I know that a 1 point loss is the same as a 1,000 point loss in the W/L column and that there are no stats or rankings to moral victories but even with all the injuries that OU has suffered this year they've been very close.
With all due respect to the Texas Longhorns, I'm giving the edge to Oklahoma as the best defense in the Big 12. Both units were outstanding in the Cotton Bowl on Saturday but the Sooners were up against a first team offense while the Longhorns were relegated to playing the equivalent of Oklahoma's junior varsity offense.
2. Two weeks ago, we discussed whether the divide between K-State, Iowa State and Colorado and the rest of the conference was widening. After the North's total faceplant in "referendum" weekend, do we need to ask if the gap between the divisions is continuing to widen?
I don't think that we need to "ask" because it's pretty clear that it's not getting any narrower. I was shocked at the Texas Tech/Nebraska score. Not that the Red Raiders won but the margin of victory. Anyone who said that they saw that coming is lying! The problem is that at this point I would say that the Red Raiders are third in the South behind Texas and (gulp) Oklahoma State while the Huskers are one of the frontrunners for the North. Add to this Missouri's loss at Oklahoma State and you see that right now there's a Grand Canyon sized gap between the two divisions.
3. Speaking of that question two weeks ago, does Saturday's 3-0 showing by the three teams originally discussed -- K-State, Iowa State, and Colorado -- change your answer to that question, or was it just a random weekend where those three teams beat teams who weren't as good as we thought?
I think that you have to say that those three schools have shown significant improvement. Iowa State played a Baylor team that wasn't complete due to injuries but even at that you can clearly see that this Cyclones team has improved. Without looking for words that sound nicer, Texas A&M is just a bad football team but even at that the destruction laid upon the Aggies by Kansas State is just impressive. Then there's the Kansas loss at Colorado. You can spin that however you want but that was a game that the Jayhawks couldn't afford to lose and had no business losing.
4. Next weekend, we see an interesting matchup of suddenly desperate teams in Lawrence, Kansas. Which team needs that game worse? Oklahoma, to show that they're not going to pack it in and have a disastrously bad season, or KU, to show that they are still in the running for the North division?
The loss in Boulder certainly hurt the Jayhawks as far as the Big 12 North title goes but with Missouri and Nebraska still on the schedule Kansas would still be in the hunt even with a loss to the Sooners on Saturday.
Right now the world is looking at the Sooners and calling them what they are, a .500 team with an 0-3 record against ranked opponents. A loss on Saturday would move them below .500 with an 0-4 record against ranked teams. It would also put OU out of the Top 25 for the first time since the 2005 season. However, a win at Kansas would at least give the perception that things are heading in the right direction and that the ship is still floating. It may not be sailing but at least it isn't sinking!
5. After a low-scoring, fumble-ridden -- I seriously think the guys on the sidelines handling the footballs were eating fried butter from the Texas State Fair, thus greasing the pigskin -- win in the Red River Shootout, Texas has continued its "just win, baby" season. You're on the spot, right now: Do the Longhorns play for the national title in Pasadena this January?
Can I ride the fence on this one? Part of me wants to say yes just for the opportunity to see them go up against Florida or Alabama. After seeing the Longhorns play on Saturday I'm convinced that either of those teams would beat the Longhorns by at least two touchdowns. Yes, my sick and twisted hatred of Texas goes so far that I'd put them in a BCS Championship game just to see them get pummeled.
However, the logical side of me says that the Longhorns are going to stub their toe along the way and drop a game. This Texas team hasn't been impressive enough, as of yet, to overcome a regular season loss and still play for a championship.
Power Poll -- Rank 'em according to who you think would win on a neutral site
2. Oklahoma State
3. Texas Tech
8. Kansas State
9. Iowa State
12. Texas A&M