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Friday Forum: Does The Big 12 Have A Heisman Contender?

Its time again for the Crimson And Cream Machine's Friday Forum where we come together to weigh in on various topics. On tap today for our crew is the question of whether the Big 12 has a Heisman contender at this point of the season, predicting the winner of the Texas/Texas Tech football game, Big 12 players of the week from last week and this week's Big 12 power rankings. So, here we go...

Jon Woods

1) Does the Big 12 have a Heisman Trophy contender?

Eh, as of right now, it's not quite as close as other years. But then again, I don't feel like any of the Big 12's recent contenders got most of their pub until conference play so who knows? If we do you have to look at Landry Jones and DeMarco Murray first and foremost.

2) Texas @ Texas Tech - Who ya got and why?

I have been going back and forth over this game all week, but I think I have finally ended up with Texas in a close win. If Leach was still there then I would have a lot more faith in the upset, but Tuberville hasn't done anything to make me believe in him yet. One thing I do know, a "silent scare" is one of the dumbest ideas I have ever heard. 

3. Offensive and defensive players of the week

Offense - This week is easy, it's Landry in a landslide. If he plays like that against Air Force then I will feel very, very good about the rest of this season.

Defense - I'm going to stay chalk here and go with Justin Springer of Kansas. Such a fantastic turnaround for the Jayhawks and Springer was fantastic on defense. 

Big 12 Power Rankings:
1) Oklahoma
2) Nebraska 
3) Texas
4) Missouri
5) Texas A&M
6) Texas Tech 
7) Kansas State 
8) Baylor
9) Oklahoma State
10) Kansas
11) Colorado 
12) Iowa State

My Big 12 rankings moved around a good amount again, but that's to be expected after all that happened this past weekend. Oklahoma came out and gave the kind of performance many of us expected and then some, proving that Florida State is still a ways off. Nebraska and Texas both get their big tests this weekend, and unlike Oklahoma, both of their tests will be on the road. Oklahoma State took all of the good will that they had earned in the week one beat down of Washington State and managed to squander it all away with a narrow victory over Troy. The Pokes are very fortunate to be heading into week 3 at 2-0. As for the Buffs, there isn't anything that hasn't already said here on the site and I'm sure most of you would put them right down at the bottom of the conference.


Does the Big 12 have a Heisman Trophy contender?
One of my least favorite things to do in college football is handicap a Heisman race. There's always way too many guys thrown into the discussion. I prefer to start looking at candidates after conference play starts, and weaker candidates start getting weeded out with sub-par performances. Unfortunately, there are two sort-of "unwritten rules" for Heisman candidates: (1) must be a QB or RB - only 4 winners since 1950 have not played either one of those positions (2) must come from a winning team. Simply put, voters don't care about good players whose teams don't win. The problem is that I see a lot of excellent players on some mediocre teams - Kendall Hunter, Daniel Thomas, etc. You've got to give it more than two weeks - sorry but I've got to dodge this question.

Texas at Texas Tech - Who Ya Got and Why?
Texas. No question. And I don't even think it will be close. If SMU can take Tech to a 1 touchdown game in Lubbock, Texas will be able to do better than that. For all you want to laugh at Texas' offense, their defense has been pretty excellent thus far. They held Wyoming to 7 points, and if it hadn't been for a freaky bounce and apathy at the end of the game, they would have held Rice to 3 points. Plus, I doubt that they'll soon forget how the national title game slipped through their fingers in Lubbock in their last visit.

Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week

Offensive I'll go with Landry Jones. First, he rebounded like a good player needs to after a mediocre week. Second, he lit it up against Florida State. Even though the final score made Florida State look a little silly, let's give some credit to Landry for picking apart what will probably wind up being an average to slightly above average defense to the tune of 47 points.

On defense I've got to pick someone from Kansas who managed to shut down the Georgia Tech option attack just enough to sneak out a victory - one that seemed almost impossible after the loss to the Bison. Therefore, I'll go with Justin Springer a linebacker who had 15 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, and 1 sack. 

Big 12 Power Rankings
1. Texas - they won the Big 12 last year, their defense is on a roll, and they haven't done anything in my opinion to lose the top spot.

2. Oklahoma - definitely a solid #2 or even a 1-B with a dominating performance against FSU

3. Nebraska - they haven't really beat anyone, but they look to be the best team in the North, so far.

4. Texas A&M - two blowouts in a row and Jerrod Johnson is looking great (68%, 671yds, 6TD, 0INT). They could surprise in the South.

5. Baylor - they haven't beat the best teams, but they're 2-0 and their defense is 22nd nationally (2nd only to Texas in Big 12)

6. Missouri - I can't put my finger on it, but Missouri seems like a pretty good team. They have a chance in the North - only two ranked teams they play are Nebraska and OU. 

7. Texas Tech - it was them or OSU in this slot, and at least I can say that Texas Tech didn't almost lose to Troy at home, or fumble in victory formation.

8. Oklahoma State - they'll be what they usually are, a decent bowl team. Whatever.

9. Kansas State - they gave up 24 points to Missouri State? Easily the weakest 2-0 Big 12 team so far.

10. Kansas - give them credit, they had a quality win. I'll move them up more if they can do that consistently.

11. Iowa State - they didn't really have a chance against Iowa. Seeing them play Kansas State will be interesting to see which team is further along.

12. Colorado - losing by 45 to Cal? Ouch.


1) Does the Big 12 have a Heisman Trophy contender?

This is kind of a tricky question to answer.  Do they have some guys that after two weeks should be in consideration?  Yes.  Do they have some guys that could eventually wind up in the race?  Yes.  The after two weeks guys in my opinion include: Daniel Thomas, Kendall Hunter, Ryan Broyles.  WRs never win the Heisman so Broyles would have to have an "all-time" kind of season and he's off to that kind of a start.  Hunter is healthy and a quality back, but I think he'll tail off if not get dinged up and wind up out of the conversation.  Thomas seems like the most viable Big 12 candidate, but he plays on a team that won't get a ton (if any) national exposure so the odds are working against him.  The only way I'd see him getting serious consideration would be for KSU to make a run at the North title and/or he eclipses the 2k mark.

The guys who could eventually work their way into the conversation: obviously all the guys above are included, DeMarco Murray, Landry Jones, Jerrod Johnson, Blaine Gabbert, and Robert Griffin. 

2) Texas @ Texas Tech - Who ya got and why?

You have no idea how much I want to pick Tech, but I just can't seem to make myself do it.  As average as UT has looked so far, I have to believe that Ol' Yeller has been holding back and will probably open things up this week in Lubbock.  I stress the word probably because my expectation is that Mack will try to avoid putting the game on Gilbert's shoulders for as long as he is able to get away with it.  I expect conservative play calling early and if they are successful then they'll try and squeak out a win and avoid a shoot out.  So if Tech can jump on them early or force Gilly into an early turnover or two, then I think Tech's crowd smells the blood in the water and recreates the 2008 atmosphere and again pulls the upset.  So for the football gods who I know are faithful readers of C&C Machine and are very familiar with the opposite of my picks always coming true, my official pick for this game is UT (you're welcome Red Raider fans). 

3) Offensive and defensive players of the week

Offense - The easy pick here is Landry, so I'll leave that for someone else and try and get clever.  I'll go with KU freshman QB Jordan Webb making his first ever start and leading his team to an upset of Georgia Tech. 

Defense - Again I'm going to attempt to be clever and pick the OU defensive secondary.  After their performance against Utah State, most OU fans were rightfully worried about how FSU and Christian Ponder would pick them apart.  Well, they stepped up big time and as a unit played an exceptional game.

4) Big 12 Power Rankings

I said last week I'm taking a "what have you done for me lately" approach and not guessing how good a team might or might not be.  So with that being clear, my rankings are:

1. Oklahoma - 2-0 and best win in the conference by far, so they have to be in the top spot.

2. Nebraska - 2-0 and if this QB kid is for real, they actually deserve their national ranking.

3. Missouri - 2-0 and the Illinois win is a hair better than the team below them.

4. Kansas State - 2-0 and the UCLA win is looking less and less impressive.

5. Texas - 2-0 and one of the least impressive highly ranked teams in the country considering their competition.

6. Kansas - 1-1 and while they have by far the worst loss, the GT win jumps them ahead of some teams that have played two cupcakes.

7. Texas A&M - 2-0 and honestly these next three are interchangeable.  A&M is apparently adopting the Bill Snyder approach to non-con scheduling.

8. Baylor - 2-0 and Robert Griffin is officially back!

9. Oklahoma State - 2-0 and after fumbling from the victory formation lucky to not be lower.

10. Texas Tech - 2-0 and have played no one, gets a chance to prove themselves this week.

11. Iowa State - 1-1 and didn't even look competitive against Iowa.  Not sure about that pick CC.

12. Colorado - 1-1 and aside from their god awful performance against Cal, CSU lost making their Week 1 win even less impressive.

cc machine

1) Does the Big 12 have a Heisman contender?

At this point I'm going to say no. DeMarco Murray had a huge game against Utah State but was corralled by Florida State last weekend. Landry Jones was in the exact opposite position with a poor performance in the opening week and then a super star performance last week. Daniel Thomas may be the best running back in the conference and Kendall Hunter is special but unfortunately they're playing on middle tier teams and for whatever reason that disqualifies you from being a Heisman candidate. 

2) Texas @ Texas Tech - Who ya got and why?

My heart is telling me Tech but my mind is telling me Texas. I just can't see the Longhorns coming out for this game and being flat. The Longhorns do have the best secondary in the Big 12 but this will be the first real test for the defense. I gotta believe that Texas has been holding back some on offense and this is a game (like Oklahoma last week) where they have to open it up. I like the Longhorns by 10 points. 

3) Offensive and defensive players of the week

This has got to be the easiest selections of the season. Where we had several options to choose from after the opening week, in my opinion, it was cut and dry this week.

Offense - Landry Jones, Oklahoma (75% completion percentage, 380 yards, 4 touchdowns)

Defense - Justin Springer, Kansas (15 tackles (3 for loss), 1 sack


Big 12 Power Rankings

1) Nebraska

2) Oklahoma

3) Texas

4) Missouri

5) Kansas State

6) Oklahoma State

7) Texas Tech

8) Texas A&M

9) Baylor

10) Kansas

11) Iowa State

12) Colorado