Big 12 review, week 3: The realignment circus continues
In trying to keep up with college football realignment, a few questions have repeatedly crept into my mind during this time of anxiety and uncertainty.
How exactly did we get to this point in the first place? Did Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe destroy the league by allowing for the creation of the Longhorn Network? Would Nebraska (Big Ten), Colorado (Pac-12) and Texas A&M (SEC, eventually) have stayed in the conference if the Longhorn Network would have never been rolled out?
It just seems odd the ACC — a mediocre football league at best — is adding teams (Pittsburgh, Syrcause), while the Big 12 can't seem to add anyone and may be on the brink of extinction. Is the trust among Big 12 schools really that bad?
If conference realignment is all about football, something is off here. The Big 12 flaunts three teams ranked in the top 10 of the latest Associated Press poll, including Oklahoma, the No. 1 team in the country. And yet, the conference may be forced to take the Big 12 leftovers (Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Baylor, Iowa State) and merge with Big East leftovers (TCU, South Florida, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Louisville, Rutgers, Connecticut). That's 12 teams, but who knows if any of those 12 will explore other options, should the opportunity present itself. Most likely.
Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech are expected to explore the option of jumping to the Pac-12.
It was a bittersweet feeling this weekend watching top-ranked Oklahoma take down No. 5 Florida State in Tallahassee, Fla. On one hand, it was a great victory for the Big 12, and further paved the way for OU potentially running the table and playing for a BCS Championship. On the other hand, though, does anyone have conference pride anymore, with all this realignment stuff going on?
I want to see what happens if Oklahoma wins it all this season. I get the sense it would feel like the Pac-12 (or wherever OU lands) would be winning the title, not the Big 12.
To me, the fans don't gain anything from this mess. Traditional rivalries are lost to forced, start-up, exhibition-type atmospheres, and the geography of these 16-team super conferences makes absolutely no sense.
Let's say I'm an Oklahoma State fan, for instance, and the Cowboys eventually jump with OU, UT and TTU to the Pac-12. You're telling me in this time of economic difficulty, that in order to watch my team play on the road, I'd have to make trips to (not for sure, but just for grins) Pullman, Wash. (Washington State) and Salt Lake City (Utah)? No chance I'm spending my hard-earned money on those expensive trips.
The fans are getting hosed the most in these realignment developments. While these institutions look to join a league in which they turn the most profit, the fans are left with no control, having to sit back and take it. Will Kansas fans really get excited about facing Rutgers, in the event of a Big 12-Big East merger, to the point where they'd fly to the East Coast? That's not exactly easy on the wallet. For a series that has zero history? No thanks.
This whole thing has the feeling of the 'Back to the Future 2' alternate, gloomy, dark universe where Biff Tannen is running the town and chaos, deceit and crime run rampant with no regard to moral decency or common sense.
I completed my third week of picking every Big 12 football game, straight up and against the spread. The results, from week 3:
Straight up: 9-1
vs. spread: 5-3
Season, straight up: 21-4
Season, vs. spread: 11-8
• Thanks, Iowa State, for messing up my perfect week of straight-up predictions. I have to give the Cyclones credit, though. They are easily the surprise team in the Big 12 to date, with mammoth victories over Iowa and Connecticut, and sit atop the league at 3-0. No coach gets more out of his players on the field than ISU coach Paul Rhoads.
• Some statistical juggernauts from the previous weekend: Let's start with Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege, who completed 40 of 44 passes for 401 yards and five scores in a 59-13 victory over New Mexico. Hello. Second on the list is Missouri running back Henry Josey, who ran wild for 263 yards and three scores — on only 14 carries. That's an absurd 18.8 yards per carry, as MU steamrolled Western Illinois, 69-0.
• Player of the week: Josey, Missouri. Even more ridiculous about his 263-yard rushing performance is that it all came in the first half.
• For no exact reason, I stayed up until 3:30 a.m. on Saturday night/Sunday morning watching the Oklahoma State-Tulsa game. Anyone else make it? I figured I was witnessing some sort of history with the game kicking off just after midnight because of lightning in the Tulsa area. It helped that I work nights and am used to staying up, but I think that's the first time I've ever left work and been able to watch nearly an entire live Big 12 game on TV. OSU won, 59-33.
The following is the latest edition of the Sorrentino Scale. The number in parentheses is what the team was ranked last week:
1 (1). Oklahoma (2-0): Florida State checked off list; interesting early-season matchup vs. Missouri looms.
2 (2). Oklahoma State (3-0): Huge game up next at Texas A&M.
3 (3). Texas A&M (2-0): Big early test against OSU to see who has best chance of challenging OU for conference crown.
4 (4). Baylor (2-0): Another Robert Griffin clinic (20-22, 265 yards, 3 TDs; 78 additional rushing yards) against Stephen F. Austin.
5 (5). Texas (3-0): Longhorns seemed to find their QB in Colt McCoy's younger brother, Case (12-15, 168 yards, 2 TDs in UT's 49-20 drubbing of UCLA in Pasadena, Calif.).
6 (7). Iowa State (3-0): Cyclones have built up quite the resume already.
7 (6). Missouri (2-1): Tigers continue brutal, front-heavy schedule with trip to OU next weekend.
8 (9). Texas Tech (2-0): New Mexico still wondering where Seth Doege will throw the ball next.
9 (10). Kansas State (2-0): Wildcats rebound from ugly week 1, drill Kent State, 37-0. Tough road test at Miami (Fla.) awaits next weekend.
10 (8). Kansas (2-1): Jayhawks back in cellar after surrendering 768 total yards of offense in 66-24 loss at Georgia Tech.
That should be all for now, friends. As always, discuss.