An first installment of the weekly feature for the '09 season: The Big 12 Roundtable. Each week, a Big 12 SB Nation blog will host the series. This week, Rock M Nation hosts the roundtable. Below are Clone Chronicles' responses to the questions. Later this week (likely by Thursday), Rock M Nation will post consolidated answers, along with links to all the of the responses.
Without further ado, let's get to the questions!
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.
Storyline? This is Iowa State! Just pick a storyline other than Gene Chizik leaving, and non-ISU fans probably haven't heard it! I would say the story is that ISU has quietly put together a solid and dangerous coaching staff despite the constant uphill battle the program faces:
OC Tom Herman (previously with Rice) is now with the Cyclones. Both years at Rice under Herman led to record points for Rice, and last season Rice was top 10 nationally in passing offense, scoring offense, and total offense. If he can get it done at Rice, I have to think he will do a fantastic job at Iowa State.
DC Wally Burnham (previously with the University of South Florida) takes over for the Cyclones. 6 of the last 7 years USF had a top 30 defense in the Nation. We've seen Wally Burnham defenses shut down spread attacks like WVU.
This is the type of coaching staff a program would like to have when trying to get back to respectability. The question is not "if" but rather "when" the program will turn around with a coaching staff like this.
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?
Personally, I like watching a good defense. There's nothing that pumps me up more than having a solid defense getting a big stop, forcing a turnover, or taking one to the house. The conference will figure it out. The Big 12 has a slew of offensive minds, and they are simply exposing weaknesses on the field. Eventually, I would have to think that some teams would bring in better defensive minds. I look at the SEC, and they have a ton of talent on both sides of the ball, including having some very stingy defenses. At the same time, the SEC puts together some solid offenses. Eventually, someone in the Big 12 will figure it out, whether it's a system change, or personnel change (I can't wait to see the 6'5 DB that can move like a WR and tackle!).
3. Over the summer, ESPN's Tim Griffin compiled a list of the Top 25 moments of the Big 12 era (http://tinyurl.com/mzssj8) that stirred up a bit of internal debate. Which moments for your program were either overrated or underrated?
Well there was only 1 ISU moment, "The Run"... The year it occurred is incorrect, it actually happened in 2002 not 2001. Overall, the most overrated thing about this list is Tim Griffin's list-making abilities about Big 12 Football. While "The Run" was memorable, it didn't necessarily do much for the program as a whole, but I guess the list is "memorable plays" not "important plays".
I will say that we live in an era where the most recent thing we've seen is the best ever. "The Crabtree catch, best Big 12 play ever". "Tim Tebow best college football player ever". "Tiger Woods, best athlete ever", etc. There are some valid points, but we want everything we experience to be the best it has ever been and sometimes we convince ourselves that this is the case. Sometimes it is true, but I don't buy that everything I am experiencing in the present is the best thing that's ever happened to me.
I haven't watched every Big 12 play, and my job isn't to write about the Big 12 as a whole, but I would think someone who's covered the league since it's inception could come up with a better #1 than that. The Crabtree catch was a great play, but I have a hard time thinking it's the best play in Big 12 history.
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?
First off, I want to stay away from Major Applewhite. We already went the Texas "Golden Boy" route with Chizik
OC: Ed Warinner (Kansas). The past couple of years Kansas has had some good offensive teams. He's been able to take a group of unknowns and put together a solid unit. A couple of years ago, Kansas didn't necessarily recruit better than Iowa State, but they moved ahead (offensively) of ISU. It'd be easy to pick the Texas OC or Oklahoma OC, but give me a guy that's done it with 2nd and 3rd tier players as opposed to the top tier. Iowa State isn't going to have cream-of-the-crop recruiting classes. For the Cyclones one has to be able to develop talent and make the system fit the players you have. Warinner has shown he can do that.
DC: Brent Venables (Oklahoma). Over the past 10 years or so, he's put together some really exciting, athletic defensive units. At the very least, OU has not been a liability on defense, and I want to have a defense that can make a stop when it needs to (except against Boise State).
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)
- Oklahoma State
- Texas Tech
- Kansas State
- Texas A&M
- Iowa State
Iowa State can do better than last, but respect will have to be earned.