This week hosted at Bring On The Cats. Check out their summary later in the week to see the best responses.
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?
The team is improving, and there isn't a single game on the schedule that is unwinnable, as long as the players execute. Yes, we are supposed to get rolled by Nebraska, but we were supposed to get rolled by KU also, and look what happened. Winning the North isn't going to happen this year, but gaining Bowl Eligibility is a nice goal to have going down the stretch.
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?
Yes we do need to ask that question still if we're talking about North vs. South. Nebraska was supposed to be good enough to win the North, yet they get blown out at home to the 3rd or 4th best team in the South. K-State got a big win over A&M, and ISU over Baylor, but A&M and Baylor were supposed to be bad. All this past week has shown is that almost anybody can win the North, the best teams in the North aren't as good as the top half of the South, and the bottom of the South is as bad (if not worse) than the bottom of the North.
3. Speaking of that question two weeks ago, does yesterday'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 it was more of a weekend where things worked out. ISU exposed KU the week previous, and I think Colorado took it to another step. ISU was favored to beat Baylor this year. K-State was a suprise regarding the margin of victory, but that was aided by 5 giveaways. When I look at the schedules, K-State has to play Colorado, @Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and @ Nebraska. They could win a game or two, but I could also see them going on a 5 game losing streak as well. I don't consider them a player in the race. Colorado has to play @ K-State, Missouri, A&M, @ISU, @ Oklahoma State, and Nebraska. Some winnable games, but I could see them losing 3-4 games as well. ISU could win one or two more, but they could go winless also. Either way, these three teams may very well still finish with a losing record in the conference, despite how they played this past weekend.
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?
It's more important for OU than Kansas. OU is expected to win, and they've had so many close calls, in what I think has been the toughest schedule in the nation thus far. If OU can get to 9 wins, they could still make the Cotton Bowl which I think is important for that program. OU is still in a tough battle in the South against Oklahoma state and Texas Tech. For KU, they aren't expected to win the game. It's always nice to win the games you aren't expected to, but what you have to rely on is winning the games you are supposed to, and in that case it's Oklahoma. If KU loses this game, the North is still in play: Missouri already has 2 losses in conference, and Nebraska has 1 Big 12 loss with Oklahoma being the hardest team left on the schedule. Colorado has 1 Big 12 loss already with Oklahoma State still on the schedule. The North is going to come down to who wins Kansas vs. Nebraska, Nebraska vs. Colorado, and Missouri vs. Kansas. Going 6-2 in the Big 12 is going to clinch the North, but I think the winner will be 5-3.
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?
I think they are good enough, but with the way they've been playing, you never know. They are getting off to slow starts and letting teams stay in it for too long. That would concern me if I were a Texas fan. They need to go out and throttle some teams lower than them, especially because they have 4 games on the road out of their last 6. Getting off to a slow start on the road, is a recipe for getting upset. Without a doubt this is the best team in the Big 12, but they need to play like it... regardless of the opponent.
6. Power Poll -- Rank 'em according to who you think would win on a neutral site
- Oklahoma State
- Texas Tech
- Kansas State
- Iowa State
- Texas A&M
Oklahoma I still think is the second-best in the conference. Kansas could shootout with Texas Tech - something that Nebraska cannot do, which is why I have KU where they are despite losing on the road to Colorado.