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Monday’s Big 12 Conference Thoughts

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A few things became clearly evident to me Saturday in regards to the Big 12 Conference and football. First, the North is wide open and unless it's Kansas State and A&M in the championship game the south has a huge advantage once again. The first five teams in the North Division are only separated by 1.5 games and the 6th place team is only two games out.

Second, the North has been turned upside down and is really bad. When the Big 12 teams broke their camps at the end of August who would have thought that Kansas State would be on top of the North with Oklahoma sitting third in the South when these two teams hook it up at the end of October? The K-State resurgence has been fun to watch this year but its due in part of a very weak North Division. Missouri has no defense (not much of an offense either), Nebraska has no offense and Kansas is giving the ball away almost more frequently than they are scoring points.

Third, the Big 12 as a whole is down this year. Last year was a banner year for the conference with OU, Texas Tech and Texas all carrying the banner for the conferen. This year not so much! Oklahoma is injured, Texas isn't as good as last year, Texas Tech is back to just being Texas Tech and the conference's second best team at this point (Oklahoma State) has a home loss to a non-conference, non BCS school opponent. Basically our conference has been rendered to a Texas team that's watered down from the season before and then the other guys.

Kansas State 20 - Colorado 6

How does Colorado follow up last week's upset over Kansas? By dropping an egg at Kansas State! The Buffaloes capped a 13 play, 71 yard drive with a Rodney Stewart touchdown run from three yards out to take a 6-3 first quarter lead. Then kicker Aric Goodman missed the extra point and the Colorado offense disappeared. Kansas State forced four turnovers, sacked Tyler Hansen four times and held the Buffs to just 1.9 yards per rush on 31 carries.

The Colorado Buffaloes failed on the road again. They did exactly what they couldn't do. The Buffs turned the ball over four times, played horribly on special teams, flip flopped quarterbacks with no benefit and were frankly out coached by Bill Snyder. Once again the Colorado Buffaloes failed in a chance to excel and take charge of the Big 12 North. Kansas State is not a great football team but they know who they are. They don't turn the ball over, they run the ball and they capitalize on other team's mistakes, not make them. - The Ralphie Report

The loss put the Wildcats one game ahead of Iowa State and pushed Colorado into third place in the conference just ahead of Kansas and Nebraska. Yes, you read that last sentence correctly.

Oklahoma State 34 - Baylor 6

Baylor has officially been reduced to the "What if?" phase of the season. The Bears are 1-3 since losing Robert Griffin and have scored a total of 24 points in their 3 conference games. If you thought that Oklahoma's four-game losing streak against ranked opponents was bad, Baylor has now lost 20 consecutive games to ranked opponents.

"Rhythm, confidence and momentum have to be created and it is hard to create it when your not making productive yards every snap," Baylor coach Art Briles

 Meanwhile Oklahoma State's win allows the Pokes to keep pace with Texas setting up a showdown in Stillwater Saturday night to decide who takes over first place in the South and who potentially could be sitting next to Oklahoma a game back. The Cowboys are averaging 37 points per game and doing just fine without standout wide receiver Dez Bryant and running back Kendall Hunter. However, Saturday night will mark the first time this season that they play a team that actually has a defense.

Iowa State 9 - Nebraska 7

Seriously Nebraska? Seriously! Iowa State hasn't won a conference game on the road in three years and they haven't won at Nebraska since 1977. This was the worst performance by two teams in a conference game quite possibly since the inception of the Big 12. Iowa State won on just 239 total offensive yards while committing 8 penalties for 72 yards. By the way, Iowa State was also playing with a backup quarterback and running back.

What was that?

0 giveaways, 8 takeaways, is the story of the game. The game wasn't pretty offensively, but ISU did what they had to do. It would've been easy for this team to mail it in, but they came ready to play, and if you play hard you can win. It's a team sport, and ISU showed that if you have guts and play as a team, you win games. That's football.  - Clone Chronicles

Eight turnovers! Nebraska turned the ball over eight times. That more turnovers than points! You almost have to try to do that, don't you? After opening conference play with a come from behind win over Missouri, Nebraska's season his suddenly crumbling apart after back-to-back home losses to Texas Tech and...gulp...Iowa State.

Oklahoma 35 - Kansas 7

One of the biggest things that stood out to me in this game was that OU only committed 5 penalties. You know that it's been a long season when you celebrate five penalties or less but that's just the way it is. The other thing is that OU passed the ball 38 times and didn't give up a sack. This allowed Landry Jones time to complete nearly 70% of his passes for 252 yards and two touchdowns. He did throw an interception but it really shouldn't be credited to him because he put the ball in a place where it should have been caught by a Sooner receiver. Darn you Cameron Kenny!

At first you might think that the sky is falling for the Kansas Jayhawks but then you remember that they play in the North where all things are possible. You really don't need a lot of defense to play in the North (which is really good for Kansas) you just need an offense that can keep pace with the opponents and match them score for score. Of course not having any defense helps make that a reality.

Texas A&M 52 - Texas Tech 30

Mike Leach decided to give Taylor Potts another chance to run the offense and it didn't quite last three full quarters before he was pulled. Potts turned the ball over three times and the Texas A&M scored off two of them. Tech turned the ball over a total of five times and surrendered 559 yards of offense and 52 points to A&M.

I think many people expected A&M to get blown off the field Saturday. I hoped our team would show up and play hard. I figured if they gave a good effort, we'd get a decent game and have a shot at upsetting Tech in Lubbock. After playing well against them last season in College Station and leading them at halftime, with a less-talented team than what we field this season, I figured we'd have a shot. The alternative was that we would show up, sleepwalk through a blowout, and lose in embarrassing fashion. I think many would admit that one of these two alternatives was the expectation on Saturday. I don't think any of us predicted a blowout win by A&M over Tech. - I Am The 12th Man

Texas A&M scored 31 unanswered points on Tech during the second and third quarters which turned a 14-7 deficit into a 38-14 rout in progress. The running back duo of Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael was unstoppable. Gray had 25 carries for 131 yards and 3 touchdowns and Michael carried the ball 22 times for 121 yards and 2 touchdowns. That's a 5.2 and 5.5 yard average respectfully plus the fact that Gray also had 4 receptions for 41 yards and another score. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Big 12 offensive player of the week.

Texas 41 - Missouri 7

What do you get when a team with a mediocre offense and a great defense plays a team with a poor offense and virtually no defense? You get a 41-7 Texas rout and Blane Gabbert's 84 total passing yards. Missouri was only able to muster 173 total yards of offense and 81 of those yards came on one drive. The Tigers had three drives that tallied negative yards and two of their final three drives ended in turnovers.

"It's a pivotal point of the season, obviously, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. "If we don't start playing better, you're never going to win a game."

Texas had a brilliant game plan for a hobbled quarterback that's been hobbled and shell shocked the past few weeks. Taking advantage of the speed of their secondary and Missouri's inability to block the Longhorns blitzed from the corners early and often. The Tigers were the perfect remedy for the slow starts by the Texas offense the last month as Colt McCoy and company railed out six first half touchdowns against a Missouri defense that's given up an average of 34 points per points per game since conference play began. I guess they'll be thinking that McCoy deserves a Heisman of something now because of that performance.