Thursday, October 13, 2005

Last Minute Football Notes

Last week began to define the order of the Big 12. In the South, Texas took control with their whipping of Oklahoma and Texas Tech remained undefeated with a miracle in Nebraska. Make no mistake about it the South belongs to the Longhorns. Tech is improved, but only Texas can beat Texas. The Longhorns will have to have a meltdown of some sort to not roll through the conference undefeated. My advice, don’t read your press clippings.

In the North, Colorado has taken control once again. Like him or hate him you have to respect the job Gary Barnett has done in Boulder. The Buffalos are now in control of their own destiny and could make a return trip to the Conference Championship game. Just behind Colorado is Nebraska. The Huskers are improved this season, but how much is yet to be determined. This may sound strange but their game in Waco against Baylor will tell us a lot about this year’s Husker team.

Here are my last minute football notes for this week.

Big Game
Colorado @ Texas
This is quite possibly a preview of the Big 12 Championship game. Colorado will approach this game with a nothing to lose attitude, which makes the dangerous. Texas will have to avoid the Sooner slump coming off the Red River Rivalry game last week. Colorado has a better over-all defense than the Sooners do and is leaps and bounds ahead of OU in offense. That should make this a tougher game for the Longhorns, but they also have the advantage of being at home.

Colorado is in trouble if
• Vince Young is running and passing. The Sooners were able to limit Young’s running last week, but the Longhorns really didn’t need his feet. If Young is able to pass as he did last week then it could be a long day for the Buffalos. To beat Texas you have to force Young to be one dimensional.
• Texas does not turn the ball over. Texas is still turnover prone, something that should be driving Mack Brown crazy.
• Charles is in charge. Freshman running back Jamaal Charles is the spark that makes the Texas running game work. If he is healthy and has a big day then the Longhorns will cruise.

Texas is in trouble if
• The Buffalos are running. Colorado will try to win with ball control and running is a key to success there.
• Jamaal Charles is not healthy. He is by far the best running back on the roster for Texas and a nagging injury will allow the defense to put more focus on Young.
• They let the Buffalos hang around. Remember Arkansas two seasons ago? This game could set up in the same manner.

Prediction: Texas 27/Colorado 14

Must Win
Oklahoma @ Kansas – The Jayhawks moved this game to Kansas City in an effort to get more fans at the game and to create a better atmosphere. Had they known how bad OU was going to be and how horrendous their offence would be I doubt they would have gone through the trouble to move this game.

A bowl season is on the line for both of these teams Saturday. Kansas is 0-2 in conference play and the Sooners are 1-1. It’s safe to say that the team that loses will officially be out of contention for the Conference Championship and will have a huge hole to climb out of just to make it to a bowl game, that’s why it’s a must win.

This game should be a low scoring defensive battle. The Jayhawks struggled against a Kansas State defense that OU ran all over two weeks ago. I’m surprised to say that I think OU may have the better offense and I’m confident they have the better defense.

I tried to get the Phog Blog to make a friendly wager with me over this game, but never heard a reply.

Prediction: OU 17/Kansas 9

Possible Upset
Nebraska @ Baylor – The Bears actually should be 2-0 in conference but an overtime loss to A&M has them at 1-1. Nebraska could be 0-2 in conference but an overtime win against Iowa State has them at 1-1. Nebraska comes in a slight favorite and could be walking into an ambush. The Bears are playing solid defense and could actually have a home field advantage with a sell out crowd.

Prediction: Baylor 24/Nebraska 21

Other Big 12 Games

Kansas State @ Texas Tech – This is the Red Raiders final tune up before a big showdown with the Longhorns. Tech is a much better team than Kansas State and barring an injury or looking ahead they should win easily.

Prediction: T Tech 45/KSU 20

Oklahoma State @ Texas A&M – Oklahoma State finally found some offense last week, which is good news. The bad news is that the found it against Missouri who has the worst defense in the Big 12. Oh yeah and the Cowboys have quarterback issues as well. Let me see if I can get this right. The QB who started the first three games of the season now plays defense and their third team QB actually may be the starter this week because the first team QB could be injured and the opening day QB who was moved to the number two spot is now on defense. Raise your hand if you are confused.
A&M has struggled this season, but this is a great chance to put some things together and take advantage of a Cowboys team that has struggled all season on offense and has had some key injuries on defense. If Fran loses this one the hate mail campaigns will go into full swing.

Prediction: A&M 31/OSU 10

Game No One Cares About
Iowa State @ Missouri – That’s right we are bring The Game No One Cares About back because of this game. Missouri not only has the worst defense in the conference but they could be the worst coached team in the Big 12.

Iowa State showed lots of promise in the non-conference part of the season by going undefeated and knocking off Top 10 ranked Iowa. Then they start conference play with losses at Nebraska and at home against Baylor.

Prediction: No One Cares

Big 12 Power Rankings
1. Texas – Can they handle the pressure of being the frontrunner?
2. Texas Tech – Looks like the best team under Mike Leach.
3. Colorado – Huge showdown with Texas.
4. Baylor – Already a successful season.
5. Nebraska – When you intercept the ball late in the game JUST FALL DOWN.
6. OU – Worst team under Bob Stoops?
7. Kansas State – At least the punter showed up last week.
8. A&M – College Station could become an ugly place for Fran.
9. Iowa State – Fading quickly
10. Kansas – Soft non-conference = no offense in conference.
11. Missouri – Could have the first coach fired.
12. Oklahoma State – Has a long way to go.