I've decided for my first article to discuss where I believe some of the teams of the Big 12 deserve to be ranked on the Hype scale after three weeks. Overrated? Underrated? Or just where we all thought they would be. Before you get on your high horse about how "it's only been three weeks," I'd like to remind you that this has already been one hell of a season with upsets and near upsets popping up everywhere. Also, in the article there are
many upskirts, wet t-shirt pics,--ok, there's one Natalie Portman reference. With that said, let's get this thing moving.
Overrated (*Clap-clap! Clap-clap-clap!*)
1. Missouri: Before the season started, Mizzou fans were up in arms about the fact that they weren't getting much love from the national and Big 12 media. It turns out they didn't learn their lesson from speaking too soon (re: the whole conference realignment debacle). Mizzou got a closer than expected 10 point win versus an Illinois team that just struggled to beat the powerhouse, Northern Illinois (score: 28-22). They then handily beat the always terrifying McNeese State which temporarily eased some of the minds of the Mizzou faithful. Unfortunately, that was followed up this last week by a nailbiter against San Diego State. Mizzou was victorious in a three point victory but not before San Diego State racked up well over 200 yards rushing. Missouri may be 3-0 but it certainly hasn't been pretty and hardly deserves a top 25 ranking (which they have).
2. Oklahoma: OU should get the crown for inconsistency. While they handled a ranked Florida State, they were not able to put away Utah State and Air Force before each team made late game comebacks. In each of the latter games, glaring weaknesses were exposed by teams that likely wouldn't be in the top half of the Big 12--and both games were in Norman. Where would OU be sitting had the games been played on the road? One thing is for sure; consistency is the key to a successful season. Right now, OU definitely does not look like a top 10 team.
3. Kansas: I know what you're thinking (Mmmm, Natalie Portman), Kansas wasn't expected to be a top notch team this year. Maybe not. But did anyone think that they would be 1-2 with losses to Southern Miss and North Dakota State? If you did, please let me know so that we can plan a trip to Vegas. Let's not forget that Kansas was getting a bit of media attention and talks of hope before the season started with the hire of Turner Gill. Unfortunately for the Jayhawks, that was put to bed after a miserable 6-3 home opening loss to North Dakota State. So while KU was expected to be sub-par to average, it turns out they are actually awful.
They Are Who We Thought They Were!
1. Texas: I think everyone knew that the offense wasn't going to be the machine it had been for the last few years. With the losses of Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley (Did you know that they have been best friends since they were kids? Has that ever been mentioned before?) and having virtually no running game, it was clear that this year's offense was going to go through growing pains. With that said, the defense is absolutely sick. Plan to see a lot of victories accomplished by the offense doing just enough for the defense to win the game...which is what pretty much everyone predicted.
2. Texas A&M: This one was close to being in the overrated group. According to many media members, this is supposed to be the year that A&M breaks out and contends for the Big 12 South. QB Jerrod Johnson is thought by many to be the best in the Big 12 at his position. The problem, though, lies on the defensive side of the ball where the Aggies are thin and coming off a season where they ranked dead last in the Big 12 in scoring defense and total defense. So what happens when the A&M offense has a bad night? Rewind to last Saturday when Johnson threw four interceptions to Florida International and in result, A&M trailed 20-6 going into the 4th quarter. Luckily, the Aggies rallied and won the game 27-20. Will they be as fortunate when the conference season starts? We'll see.
3. Nebraska: Coming into this season, everyone could sum up Nebraska with four words: Terrific defense. Shitty offense. Even though Suh moved onto the NFL, the media and Nebraska fans knew that the defense still had potential to be prolific in 2010. The real question was "What about the offense?" So far, redshirt freshman QB Taylor Martinez has shown his athletic ability in the backfield by running for an average of 140 yards a game. The drawback to that is that he is only averaging 130 yards passing. In fact, through three games, he only has one touchdown through the air. The teams that these stats were compiled against weren't exactly world beaters, either (Western Kentucky, Idaho, Washington). Still, much like Texas, Nebraska can rely on their defense to win games and pick up the offensive slack. I'm sure many Husker fans would breathe easier though if they knew they had a QB who could get down the field with his arm.
Underrated (just a lot of claps)
1. Texas Tech: Had this article been written a week ago, the Red Raiders may not have landed in this category. However, watching their game against Texas made me realize that Tech has something it usually never has: a defense. Texas Tech may have lost the game but I was still impressed with how they fought throughout the game. Nobody left on their schedule will have the defense that Texas has. Tech will score points on most every team they face. The difference is now they have a legitimate defense to go with it.
2. Oklahoma State: Oh, come on. You knew I was going to. It's like going to a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert...you know going in that they're ending with Free Bird. Here's the deal. OSU pulled out a close one against Troy. They've beaten Washington State and Tulsa which was expected. But it is the way they are winning these games that is impressive. OSU beat Troy despite five turnovers and over 140 yards in penalties. In prior years (especially "rebuilding years"), there is no way OSU would have pulled out that victory. However, this young team showed guts and determination and came away with a win. Against WSU and TU, OSU absolutely dominated every aspect of the game and proved that they can win through the air or on the ground. Pick your poison. The OSU defense held TU's high powered offense to 7 points for nearly three whole quarters before the starters were taken out and the backups came in. Most national media members felt the experience lost last year would be too much for OSU to have better than a six win season this year. If the Cowboys continue to play like they have, eight wins are likely and nine wins are not out of the question.
So there you have it. Please feel free to comment on who you think is overrated/underrated/or a Dennis Green quote. Disagree with me if you will but please realize that I watch you while you sleep. Did that just get weird? Good.