The SB Nation Big 12 Roundtable takes a look at some of the prevailing philosophies and opinions on the Big 12 Conference from SB Nation's Big 12 outlets. This week, the roundtable stays within the Unholy Alliance, as it is being hosted by our comrade TB from Bring On The Cats. Patronize his site with your clicks and gift him with the finest spices and incenses.
1. Though not true of everyone -- Texas continued its "just take care of business" approach -- Saturday shook a lot assumptions we had about some teams. What, if anything, can you say with confidence about your team?
We can say with absolute confidence that Missouri is young team that will go through growing pains, be them great or small. As we've mentioned here several times, Missouri is falling victim to expectations they couldn't have expected. Before the season, most fans would have been thrilled with a 4-2 record through six games. But as soon as Missouri drubbed Illinois in St. Louis, A LOT of Missouri fans (myself included) saw their expectations jump. The problem is, very few fans have readjusted their expectations despite the Kingdome-like implosion of the Illini. That was a HORRIBLE football team that Missouri beat, and Missouri fans continue to use use "Expectations 2.0" to determine success. That may not be realistic.
The goal for this year was avoiding regression and positioning for the future, while potentially making a run at the North if things fell right. Thanks in large part to the current state of the North, all of these goals remain achievable.
That's a long way around the question, but all we know is that Missouri is a fairly talented team that is prone to mistakes and can either take off or shoot itself in the foot at any given moment. That's life for a young team in college football.
2. Two weeks ago, we discussed whether the divide between K-State, Iowa State and Colorado and the rest of the conference was widening. After the North's total faceplant in "referendum" weekend, do we need to ask if the gap between the divisions is continuing to widen?
Everyone can compare records all they want -- I'm not sure how to empirically prove the South's superiority to be true, but it certainly sounds accurate, doesn't it?
Usually the gap between the two division is one of two things: difference in depth, or difference at the top. This year, it's both. Not only does South have the undebatable elite at the top, they're stronger almost the entire way down the ranks than the North.
However, the gap between the divisions this season is a very sad state of affairs for the Big 12 this year, because as a whole, the Big 12 South doesn't really appear to be that strong. This only further proves how pedestrian the six-deep in the North has become that in what looks to be building into a down year for the South, their advantage over the North has grown as wide as ever.
3. Speaking of that question two weeks ago, does yesterday's 3-0 showing by the three teams originally discussed -- K-State, Iowa State, and Colorado -- change your answer to that question, or was it just a random weekend where those three teams beat teams who weren't as good as we thought?
Let's break it down, team by team in the North:
Missouri: Lost as 7-point underdogs on the road. Even though the game was extremely winnable if Missouri had gotten out of its own way, this was one Missouri shouldn't have been "expected" to win.
Nebraska: This loss was further proof of the benefit of the doubt given to the "NEBRASKA IS BACK!!!!1 GBR!" mentality. I thought Nebraska was a very solid football team, but acting like they were immune to a game like they played against Texas Tech would have been ignorant. It was a game NU could have won, but despite the large spread in its favor from Vegas, I think it's unfair to say the 'Skers "should have" beaten Tech.
Kansas: Absolutely should have won at Colorado. The only problem? Kansas hasn't looked that good this year in the first place.
Colorado: Weird things always happen in Boulder. As stated above, I think Kansas should have beaten Colorado, but there shouldn't be a complete discounting of the signs of life CU showed on Saturday.
Kansas State: A perfect storm in Manhattan against Texas A&M. You can come to one of two conclusions: Either Kansas State played flawlessly in taking advantage of A&M's mistakes, or Texas A&M is awful. The truth may be somewhere in the middle.
Iowa State: Hard to tell anything from a win against Robert Hot Tub Griffin-less Baylor, but they seem to have the ability to give most teams in the conference somewhat of a dogfight.
4. Next weekend, we see an interesting matchup of suddenly desperate teams in Lawrence, Kansas. Which team needs that game worse? Oklahoma, to show that they're not going to pack it in and have a disastrously bad season, or KU, to show that they are still in the running for the North division?
I'm sure I could justify it either way, but my gut tells me it's more important for Kansas.
Yes, I know that Kansas probably shouldn't win this game. I know that before the season, pretty much everyone had marked this game down as a loss. But Kansas is coming off of probably the most embarrassing loss in the conference last Saturday. Because of their South schedule, the 'Hawks margin for error was already razor thin. The loss to CU made it even thinner. That's not something that was supposed to happen it the "History Awaits" season. Missouri supposedly squandered its "greatest team ever" year last season. Kansas can take a huge step in the opposite direction by defending home turf against OU.
5. After a low-scoring, fumble-ridden -- I seriously think the guys on the sidelines handling the footballs were eating fried butter from the Texas State Fair, thus greasing the pigskin -- win in the Red River Shootout, Texas has continued its "just win, baby" season. You're on the spot, right now: Do the Longhorns play for the national title in Pasadena this January?
I'm going to say no, but that shouldn't be interpreted as me saying that Texas isn't the best team in the conference. I think the 'Horns are the class of the Big 12, but I'm just preparing to play the odds. I think it all hinges on the trip to Stillwater. If the 'Horns hold on at The House That T. Boone Built™. I think the coast is clear.
6. Power Poll -- Rank 'em according to who you think would win on a neutral site
2. Oklahoma State
4. Texas Tech
8. Kansas State
9. Iowa State
10. Texas A&M