clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

STATE OF THE BIG 12: Three weeks in and who the hell knows.

Will she be cheering for a championship, or just bowl eligibility? Who knows...
Will she be cheering for a championship, or just bowl eligibility? Who knows...

Experts started the season on speculation.

After 3 weeks of football, we are now dealing with...more speculation.

Shitty opponents will do that.

Eight of the ten conference members are undefeated. That includes Iowa State.

Only 1 conference game has been played, and that was actually more like some of the non-conference fodder, with TCU stumbling past Kansas, who also lost to Rice.

Big 12 teams have played a total of 24 non-conference games so far. Here's the list of victims:

  • Savannah State
  • Louisiana-Lafayette
  • Grambling State
  • Tulsa
  • Iowa
  • Western Illinois
  • Missouri State
  • Miami
  • North Texas
  • Northwestern State
  • Texas State
  • New Mexico (2)
  • SMU
  • Sam Houston State
  • UTEP
  • Florida A&M
  • Wyoming
  • Ole Miss
  • Marshall
  • James Madison
  • South Dakota State
Here are the losses:
  • Rice
  • Arizona
Of the 4 "major" Div 1 programs (bold italics above) that were scheduled:
  • Miami...6-6 (3-5 ACC) last year, no bowl game
  • Iowa...7-6 (4-4 Big 10) last year, lost to OU in Insight Bowl
  • Ole Miss...2-10 (0-8 SEC) last year
  • Arizona...4-8 (2-7 Pac 12) last year
While Iowa State did play the major opponent with the best record from 2011, Iowa will likely fight with Penn State for the cellar in the Big 10 this year. Oklahoma State arguably played the best non-conference opponent, but the jury is out on Arizona's new coach and QB until they get into conference play.

So, so far, here's what we've got to mull over...absolutely nothing. We are really no further along in deciding who the big dogs in the conference are going to be. This much is clear...Kansas is historically bad.

So let's run down the list and see who might be a good candidate for favorite:
  • West Virginia...the Mountaineers have easily dispatched two wimps, and Geno Smith is getting lots of praise. However, this is pretty much the same team that in 2011 lost to Syracuse & Louisville, beat Rutgers by only 10, and slipped past Cincy, Pitt, and USF by a combined 7 points. Obviously they are farther along in the Red Bull Express system, but their next 2 games are Maryland and Baylor at home (4 consecutive to start the season). We're not going to know ANYTHING about WVa until they visit Texas on Oct 6, at which point they will be exposed to the light of day.
  • Kansas State...the Wildcats have looked only moderately impressive pounding on lesser foes, although Miami did come to Manhattan. They stink. Kansas State struggled early against Missouri State & North Texas before pulling away in both games. The litmus test will come this week, I think, in Norman.
  • Oklahoma...nothing like an FCS opponent and a bye week after a horrible-road-opener-somewhat-narrow-escape at UTEP to make you feel all better. Let's see what happens when Optimus Klein and the Old Man from Manhattan come calling.
  • Texas...the Longhorns think they have figured out the formula to make David Ash appear to be a legit Div 1 QB. Shitty opponents who can be easily overpowered with what looks to be an overpowering rushing attack, and lots of dink and dunk passes. He's only thrown 3 passes (I exaggerate...maybe 4) more than 10 yards downfield that were on target. Again, like all the others, lack of stiff competition is holding back approval, so Sept 29 in Stillwater will either be the coming out party or the "I knew it was too good to be true" moment for Texas.
  • Oklahoma State...the Cowboys self-destructed at Arizona while still amassing tons of yardage. OSU has yet to gain LESS than 600 yards of total offense in a game. But Savannah State and ULL do not a schedule make, and Arizona did pile up some yardage on their defense. Add to that the truly scary and still speculated upon knee injury to Wes Lunt, thrusting J.W. Walsh into the spotlight, and we have another truly unknown entity. Walsh performed admirably substituting for Lunt against ULL, but the real game comes to town in the form of a Longhorn team that will be looking to repay two consecutive home losses to the Cowboys. That game will probably do more to tell us about the outlook of the conference than any other single game on the schedule. For me, depending on how the game plays out, the winner just might emerge as my favorite to win the conference.
  • TCU...the Horned Frogs were getting some love until they hobbled around at Kansas for a win. Virginia and SMU still await before TCU gets Iowa State at home on 10/6, but it is entirely possible that the Frogs could skate through until 10/27, when a visit to OSU starts a BRUTAL 5 game stretch to end the season (@OSU; @WVa; KState; @UT; OU).
  • Baylor...Bob hit the lotto and left town, taking his ego, talent, and whiny attitude to the NFL. So did Kendall Wright. Nick Florence has tried to fill the void, but honestly, how do you trail Sam Houston State 20-10 at the half at home and expect ANYONE to take you seriously? The Bears first test will come this week AT ULM (check Wikipedia for "team that no one in SEC besides Bama wants to play"). Besides, the Red Bull Express might put up 100 on them in Morgantown the following week.
  • Texas Tech...who the hell knows. They aren't going to win the conference. They'll probably get one good conference upset (see OU 2011), but at some point will mail it in. Tuberville is NOT the right man for that job (hint...the right man is in Spokane). Too bad, because I kinda like Seth Doege.
  • Iowa State...the Cyclones suck less than Kansas because they have a pretty decent defense and one of CRFF's favorite non-OSU blogs, WRNL (Wide Right Natty Light). We also like Paul Rhoads, who is just so proud of us all. And it's just not possible to suck as bad as Kansas.
  • it possible for a team to suck worse than the 1991 0-10-1 edition of Oklahoma State? Well I'll argue they did that already in 2011 (beat McNeese St & No Illinois before losing 10 consecutive and going 0-9 in conf), and are well on their way to duplicating that feat in 2012. They have redefined sucking. There's just no other way to put it.
So there you have it. As of now, any of these 5 could win it (WVa; OU; UT; KState; OSU); TCU is wondering around somewhere in the middle; any of these 3 could pull off an upset or two (Baylor; TT; Iowa St); and Kansas...well, they just suck.

Let's hope this next week begins to clear the fog a little, but don't be surprised if the whole thing is still up in the air with a couple weeks to go.