This week's participants in the roundtable were: Rock M Nation, Rock Chalk Talk, Bring On The Cats, Corn Nation, Ralphie Report, Crimson And Cream Machine, I Am The 12th Man, and Burnt Orange Nation. Below are some of the highlights. Be sure to check each of the sites for all of the responses!
1. The Big 12 has looked more unimpressive than impressive thus far. Do you attribute this to early season struggles, or does the conference look to have regressed from '08? Please explain
Jon Woods from Ralphie Report sums up the consensus well:
Overall I think the conference has actually improved from last year as there is a lot more depth this year than last. However, the top 3 teams this year are not quite as strong as the top 3 teams were last year. I believe that Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas are all top 15-20 teams while Nebraska, Baylor, Missouri, Texas Tech and Texas A&M (yep, even the Aggies) are all top 30 teams. If we could somehow see some improvement in Iowa State, Kansas State and Colorado then we would have a very good argument for the Big 12 being the deepest conference in the country.
Panjandrum from Bring on the Cats just sees this as the natural progression in the Big 12:
I think college football as a whole is entering a dark, new territory that's going to rock it's world in the next ten years. Every year since the 85-man scholarship limit has been in effect, parity has sank in more and more. Teams like Kansas State and Virginia Tech in the 90's started to rise up and take prominence. Neither team had inherent advantages in location, exposure, tradition, etc., but they did creative things to get their name out there. Snyder started the whole 'soft-scheduling' that's all the rage, and Beamer took advantage of cable networks and got his team on TV all of the time. Good coaching here, a few superstars there, and next thing you know...voila...the era of big football party crashing began. From there, it was a matter of time before Utah, Boise St., Hawaii, etc. found a way to get into the BCS and into the public consciousness. Every conference gets on TV nowadays, and there's all kinds of talent to go around. Offenses have evolved so that teams can move the chains without dominant offensive linemen and a few key skill position players.
Overall it comes down to how you define the strength of the conference. If you talk about depth, the Big 12 might be right up there, but as far as having a few legit National Contenders, the Big 12 has slipped a little.
2. When looking at our team's schedule, sometimes it's hard to get excited about non-conference portion of the schedule, except for maybe 1 game. In general, are you content with your team's non-conference scheduling? Is there an opponent you'd like to see on a regular basis, that you currently do not?
Corn Nation doesn't like it:
Absolutely not. Virginia Tech is a great opponent, but the three Sun Belt opponents are laughable. Playing only one competitive matchup is bad for fans and bad for college football. Without intersectional matchups, it's impossible to gauge the relative strength of each conference. If anything, Oklahoma should get more credit for scheduling BYU (even though they lost) than Texas received for defeating Louisiana-Monroe
Rock M Nation breaks down the paradigm with scheduling:
Scheduling is a double-edged sword. Of course I'd love to see Missouri playing marquee games in big environments and have big-time programs come to Columbia. But what incentive does Missouri have to schedule these games? None. Kansas proved it in 2007.
Burnt Orange Nation shows when it has hurt:
Uh... With the caveat that Utah and Arkansas bit Texas a bit, there's little to be said for Texas' non-conference slate. But I can't say anything more about it; we've beaten it to death. I'm excited Texas has renewed its series with the UCLA Bruins. I think it's a great competitive opponent and an ideal opportunity to showcase ourselves in the fertile recruiting grounds of California.
Crimson And Cream Machine shows when it can help:
For the most part Oklahoma has done an excellent job at putting together a respectable schedule. If you remember, it was strength of schedule that allowed the Sooners to pass the Longhorns in the BCS standings last season. For that reason I would rather see the Sooners continue to play teams like BYU and Miami this year, Cincinnati and Florida State next year, because those are championship caliber schedules. If you survive those and win the conference you are sitting in pretty good shape.
I Am The 12th Man wants LSU!:
I am mostly content with our non-conference schedule, mainly because we now have a marquee non-conference games against a BCS opponent in a neutral site in the Arkansas game. I'd love it more if the opponent had been LSU, and the neutral site was in Houston to consolidate our recruiting there, but $Bill didn't want to make that move out of fear of helping LSU too much in recruiting
3. Over the years we've seen a fair share of teams lose the week they appear on the SI cover. Does the "SI Curse" exist, is it a coincidence, or is it something that we only take notice of when it rings true (but forget when it does not)? Explain.
I Am The 12th Man blames the media:
I think the 'SI Curse' is more a function of media hype and surging emotions than it is a reality. After a big win for the program that gets a player put on the front cover of a national publication, it isn't surprising that a player or team might feel cocky or overconfident going into the next game, which can lead to a letdown and an upset. People forget sometimes that we're dealing with 18-22 year olds here, and they aren't going to handle everything with the utmost maturity. Mistakes will be made, and sometimes those mistakes will lead to an upset loss. It isn't a function of a curse as much as it is a function of human nature. There is also the fact that the media, in an attempt to sell more magazines or more papers, may not look at the weaknesses of a team too deeply, ignoring the Achilles' heel of a team the week before they are exposed by their opponent. This isn't a curse as much as it is media members displaying their ignorance of football.
TB from Bring On The Cats blames it on the teams:
It's a coincidence. The photo on Sports Illustrated's cover does not hold some magical powers that cause the team featured to lose. Now, it may be associated with losing in the sense that some teams don't handle success very well, but that's certainly not the magazine's fault.
As does Rock Chalk Talk (See! KU and KSU can agree on something!):
If there is any effect to being on the cover of Sports Illustrated, it would be mental. You see your QB plastered on the cover of SI, and you think a little more highly of yourself. You see the other team not mentioned once, and you don't see how the game is close at all. Maybe you relax a little bit. I don't know. I don't really buy that much, either, but it has happened before, I'm sure, and would be credible. It has nothing to do with some supernatural curse, for sure, though.
4. What is the biggest question your team has to answer heading into Week 3?
Rock M Nation doesn't know what they have with their team:
Are they the team that steamrolled a Big Ten opponent at a neutral site, or the team that struggled to put away at team at home that was picked to finish low in the MAC?
Corn Nation is concerned about the defense:
I'd say it's solidifying the defense, which may sound strange since Nebraska has only given up 12 points this season. But in both games, Nebraska's given up too many yards based in part on large part on missed tackles and being out of position. If Sun Belt teams can exploit those problems, just imagine what Virginia Tech will do.
Burnt Orange Nation doesn't have too many concerns:
Can Colt McCoy and Texas make teams pay for sitting back on the passing game?
Ralphie Report's is pretty fundamental:
Can the Buffaloes win a game?
5. Choose an Offensive Player of the Week (non-QB to make it a little more interesting) and Defensive Player of the Week from Week 2. Provide solid arguments for each.
I first want to give props to Taylor Potts. I threw in the non-QB caveat to avoid the easy unanimous selection. I wanted my colleagues to dig a little bit further. Had we included QBs, I wouldn't doubt Potts would win it.
Defensive: Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri with 6 of the 9 votes. Maxwell Onyegblue was 2nd with 2 votes, and others thrown out there were: Patrick Mahnke, the entire Kansas Defense, and the jabs at Cody Hawkins and Austen Arnaud.
6. Big 12 Power Rankings! Rank the teams 1-12 (remember, this is based on power i.e., who would win on a neutral field)
Consensus with the average vote in parenthesis
- Texas (1)
- Oklahoma (3.14)
- Oklahoma State (3.48)
- Kansas (4.03)
- Nebraska (4.40)
- Missouri (6.08)
- Texas Tech (6.59)
- Baylor (7.63)
- Texas A&M (8.52)
- Iowa State (10.40)
- Kansas State (10.67)
- Colorado (11.81)
Thanks to all who participated, and look for another great roundtable next week!