SB Nation Big 12 Roundtable - Red River Rivalry Edition

Big_12_roundtable_medium

1. What is the biggest Big 12 game this weekend not involving OU and Texas? Why?

I could easily make the argument for Missouri vs. Oklahoma State, but the real intrigue in my eyes is between Texas Tech and Nebraska. There's a reason the boys over at Corn Nation are asking whether or not the Huskers are facing a trap this weekend.

Texas Tech continues to be exactly what we expected them to be, an explosive but wildly variable bunch from whom you don't really know what to expect week in and week out. For the Huskers, Nebraska's margin for error in winning the Big 12 North got a whole lot larger with the win last week, but most roads to the Big 12 Championship for NU seem to hinge upon a home victory over the Red Raiders.

Missouri couldn't run the ball terribly well against Nebraska. Texas Tech can't run the ball terribly well on anybody. Predictably, it'll be up to either Taylor Potts or Sticks Sheffield to will Tech to a road victory that will most certainly have to become a shootout to lean in Tech's favor.

2. Sam Bradford has been hurt, Colt McCoy is throwing picks (6 Ints/10 TDs)and Dez Bryant has been suspended by the NCAA. Does the Big 12 have a legit Heisman contender left?

Define "legit."

If you define "legit" as "capable of actually winning the award," then I'm pretty sure that McCoy is the only Big 12 horse left in that race. Those six interceptions might be unsightly on McCoy's otherwise-sterling paper résumé, but he still quarterbacks a widely popular team that has yet to lose a game. Plus, he fits the mold that seems to have been established: high-flying, clean-cut, white quarterback from big-time program.

But if you define "legit" as "deserving of that kind of honor," then the answer is broader than McCoy. Anyone who watched Missouri's loss to Nebraska on Thursday can come to one of two assumptions: Either the Missouri offensive line is absolutely terrible or Ndamukong Suh is in the conversation for the honor of "best player in the country." While we reserve judgment on both accounts, it's a very likely possibility that both could be true, though the latter most certainly looks accurate. If the Heisman wasn't such an elusive club, Suh would have to be in the mix. His performance on Thursday was amongst the most impressive performances from an interior lineman I've ever seen in college football.

3. Its pretty much a consensus of opinions that Dan Hawkins is already standing with one foot out the door at Colorado. Who has the better chance of getting off the hot seat this season, him or Bobby Bowden?

I've got to say it's Bowden for two reasons: 1) Florida State has a contingency plan in Fisher, and 2) Colorado doesn't have the cash to send Hawkins packing.

I have to send a shoutout to the men of The Ralphie Report, who did an incredible job analyzing CU's current predicament. "Stuck between a rock and a hard place" is almost too soft of an expression to apply here. The Colorado athletic department has backed itself into an unbelievable corner, and has the choice of either 1) standing idly by as its football program plummets into further mediocrity or 2) taking a massive financial hit to try to salvage its reputation.

I doubt Florida State lacks the means to get rid of its coach like Colorado does. With Bowden, it's a matter of "when," not "how." With Colorado, it involves Who, What, When, Where, Why, How and perhaps a couple of other interrogatives that haven't been thought of yet.

4. We've got one full weekend of conference play under our belts. Who can you say, with confidence, that is out of the North and South division races already?

In the South, only Baylor is "done." I would say that Texas A&M is on the brink of "possible, but incredibly unlikely." Oklahoma State and Texas Tech sit in the next tier at "could very well happen, but I'm not betting on it." And, of course, I count Oklahoma and Texas as "the contenders," so to speak.

I think the stratification is far more embossed in the Big 12 North. I think it's an even split between contenders and pretenders at this point. To put it lightly, Iowa State, Colorado and Kansas State would be better served to take aim at future division titles. I think the three contenders are the ones most people expected -- Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri. Missouri's chances obviously got dealt a pretty heavy blow last Thursday, but the Tigers aren't at a point yet where you can say they are out of the conversation.

5. Which race is going to be better in the North, the race to win the division or the race to stay out of the cellar?

For my own sake, I'm hoping the race for the title is far entertaining. Don't get me wrong, though -- If you delight in the sick, masochistic pleasures of watching poor football teams fight to stay out of the cellar, then the Big 12 North cellar race is going to be quite the treat.

6. OU/Texas - Who ya got?

Texas. I just don't see any reason to believe that the questions about the Oklahoma offensive line are unfounded at this point. Contrast that with Texas' strength along the defensive line and it provides for a pretty apparent advantage in favor of the burnt orange.

7. Big 12 Power Rankings - Let's see 'em!

1. Texas
2. Nebraska
3. Oklahoma State
4. Oklahoma
5. Texas Tech
6. Missouri
7. Kansas
8. Texas A&M
9. Iowa State
10. Baylor
11. Kansas State
12. Colorado

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