Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Thoughts on the rest of the Big 12...

...written in order from most impressive (in accordance with expectations) to least...nothing about Mizzou here, but I'd put them around #8 on the list...

1. Oklahoma (embarrassed North Texas, 79-10): Well, North Texas might be really really bad (they probably are...apparently Todd Dodge is redshirting all of his newcomers, sacrificing any semblance of competitiveness this season for future depth), but that was still a sickeningly effective performance from OU. A (very biased) buddy of mine at the game said that that was easily the fastest OU team he's seen in a long time. After one game, OU is in fourth gear while UT's only in 2nd, but obviously things change.

Crimson and Cream Machine has more.

2. Kansas (crushed Central Michigan, 52-7): Now, I didn't expect much out of Central Michigan this year--they lost a lot of players (and coaches) from last year's MAC championship team. But I didn't expect them to get pasted like this. Todd Reesing, of course, showed how smart I am for saying Kerry Meier should start by throwing for 252 yards and 4 TD's. He's terrible. KU has a cupcake game this week (SE Louisiana) before an at least somewhat harder game against Toledo (who got whooped by Purdue yesterday) in two weeks.

Rock Chalk Talk gives out report cards.

And just for fun...also from Rock Chalk Talk...Mangino blows a gasket...holy crap...

3. Nebraska (spanked Nevada, 52-10): This was a close game for about 25 minutes before Nevada's defense began to wilt under the impressive presence of Nebraska's O-line. When I think of NU's O-line, I still have the same image of the 2005 MU-NU game, when Zac Taylor got massacred repeatedly for most of the 2nd half. They've obviously improved now, and they really made the difference in the game. Marlon Lucky had 266 total yards and 4 TD's, and while I'm sure some of that was his own talent, every highlight I saw had him running untouched for 20 yards thanks to fantastic blocking.

Meanwhile, Sam "Jesus" Keller didn't exactly have a promising start to his surefire Heisman campaign (193 yards, 1 TD, and an INT returned for a TD), but he didn't need to. NU will get a somewhat stiffer test this coming week at Wake Forest (I do expect NU to win pretty easily--WF caught lightning in a bottle last season, and I'm not thinking they'll put up an amazing fight...though of course I hope they do) before the huge USC game in two weeks.

From Corn Nation: the Report Card is a popular feature.

4. Colorado (beat Colorado State in OT, 31-28): As seems to normally be the case, a rivalry game was tight, and this one sounds like it was entertaining. Both teams exploded offensively in the first quarter (both had over 125 yards after 15 minutes), then both teams ground to a halt afterward, as neither reached 400 yards for the game. Cody Hawkins did enough to win--201 yards passing, 2 TD's, 1 INT--and that's all that's necessary, I guess. It gets tougher next week with a trip to Arizona State.

Here's a quick reaction from Buffs.tv.

5. Kansas State (lost to Auburn, 23-13): I watched most of the first half of this game, and I couldn't tell if K-State was better than I thought or if Auburn was worse. The AU offense was horrid, but Ian Campbell is great, and KSU seems to know how to swarm pretty well on defense.

As for the KSU offense...look, I think Josh Freeman is an okay QB. I do. He's not terrible or anything, and he's usually pretty poised. But he's not a sure-fire NFL prospect, and I get tired of his getting treated like he is. At one point, he threw three straight off-target passes on the same drive, but the announcers never took their eyes off the "surefire NFL prospect" cue card long enough to notice that he sprays the ball worse than a fire hose. Every single misfire is apparently an aberration...no matter how frequent. His touch needs serious work, and just because he's built like Dante Culpepper doesn't mean he's a can't miss kid. In the end, he did throw for 260 yards (albeit on 57 attempts) against a solid defense, but his 56% completion rate and 0-2 TD-INT ratio (not to mention his game-clinching fumble that got returned for a TD) still leave plenty to be desired...if anybody cares to notice.

Bring On the Cats has some lengthy comments. And yes, I realize that it's ironic for me to call somebody else's writing 'lengthy'...

6. Texas Tech (beat SMU, 49-9): The bar's high enough for Tech (and low enough for SMU) that this was precisely what was expected in every way. I like Danny Amendola, but if he's their biggest homerun threat (as he was yesterday), then they'll probably struggle (comparatively speaking, at least) in the future, but they'll obviously start 4-0 without much problem.

Double T Nation with some links and comments...

7. Texas A&M (beat Montana State, 38-7): ATM's biggest weakness was starkly pronounced in last year's Holiday Bowl versus California--ATM doesn't have great speed, especially on defense. Granted, Cal is just about the fastest team in the country, but ATM looked sllllloooowwwww. That said, they are superior to just about any team in strength and physicality, so there was just no way a Montana State would be able to keep up without wearing down. They tried--they held onto the ball for 11:00 minutes in the first quarter--but they were 2-for-13 on 3rd downs in the final three quarters, and that's deadly against such a physical offense. If you can't hold onto the ball, you can't keep your defense from wearing down.

I couldn't actually find an ATM blog with any post-game reaction. Weird.

8. Baylor (lost to TCU, 27-0): A while back, it didn't sound like Blake Szymanski was going to win the starting job, but he did...and then did absolutely nothing to reaffirm his position. TCU's good, but...yeah, this pretty much confirms what I was already thinking--Baylor's chance for success under Guy Morriss came and went last year.

BearMeat mines the scriptures and confirms that this will be a long season for the Bears.

9. Iowa State (lost to Kent State on Thursday, 23-14): I already spoke a little about this one, but...actually, with Minnesota's loss to Bowling Green and Michigan's loss to mighty Appalachian State (how great was THAT ending, btw), this one looks a little more acceptable I guess. Stuff happens. But after going through the play-by-play...yeah, ISU's going to have trouble this year. Bret Meyer continues to get sacked at the most horrifically inopportune times, and they only managed to get Todd Blythe involved at random times (mostly on the first drive of the second half, when they remembered he was a weapon and threw to him three times for 45 yards and a TD). And the defense wasn't able to slow down the mighty Golden Flashes running attack when the game was on the line.

Clone Chronicles discusses Bret Meyer's future as starting QB...

10. Oklahoma State (lost to Georgia, 35-14): Mike Gundy said he took this game so his guys would be more comfortable in hostile environments later in the season. Well...they couldn't look much less comfortable than they did in Athens. Georgia played well, but they gave OSU a few chances to stay in the game and the 'Pokes passed on it. Defensively, Adarius Bowman was kept in check, though the relatively underrated Brandon Pettigrew had a nice game. Keith Toston and Dantrell Savage combined for 5 yards a carry, but they only got 19 of them because Georgia's defense was stiff on 3rd down (OSU converted only 3 of 13 third downs). OSU just never could get going on all cylinders.

OSU has no blog I know of to quote.

11. Texas (snuck by Arkansas State, 21-13): Yes, they won, but... Don't know what to say about this, really. Arkansas State's not a terrible team by any means, and I know that Texas' WR corps has been decimated by injuries and a stupid suspension, but WR's weren't Texas' problem on Saturday. And besides...this is Texas, and they should be beating the Arkansas States of the world by more than 8 points. As frustrated as Mizzou fans may be by 'only' winning a rivalry game by 6 points, I have to figure UT fans are a wee bit more frustrated by this.

Burnt Orange Nation complains about, among other things, Texas' lateral running tendencies. Preaching to the choir, man...preaching to the choir...