Big 12 Update
Posted By:Russ James - Firth, NE Tags:
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Big 12 Update
The season to this point has gone exactly as scripted for some in the Big 12, Texas certainly, and disasterously wrong for others, most notably Oklahoma, Nebraska and Kansas. And while the Big 12 South has a clear division champion in Texas, the North would seem to be the division noone wants. Mack Brown has his Longhorns solidly in control of their own destiny, and looking at the remainder of their schedule, the road to Pasedena would seem to be paved with burnt orange asphalt. With a floundering Kansas team and an as of yet unkown opponent for the Big 12 title game as the only possible road bumps left I'm ready to call it now; Texas will be playing for their fifth National Championship next January.
The North on the other hand is as clear as mud. Going into this weekend's games the Kansas State Wildcats - yes Kansas State - has the lead in the North with a 3-2 conference mark and 5-4 overall. Bill Snyder and his boys though have saved the best, or at least the toughest, for last with home dates against Kansas and Missouri, and then on the road to face Nebraska at Memorial Stadium. A tall order to be sure. But they absolutely do control their own destiny, simply put, win..and their in. Big 12 fans remember all too well when in 2003 a 9-3 KSU team went into the Big 12 title game as huge underdogs against the number 1 Sooners and pulled off an epic upset, so it can happen. This however isn't 2003, and I think the dream starts to die this weekend against in-state rival Kansas. A team that is desperate to salvage their season.
Assuming KSU falters over the next few weeks that leaves, for now, Nebraska as the likeliest candidate to face Texas for the title assuming Pelini can find a way to right the ship for the Huskers on offense. IF the Huskers struggles continue however, and at this point I don't think anyone in the state is confident in what we've seen to say they absolutely wont, I think the likeliest of the rest is Kansas. The Jayhawks are now 1-3 in the conference but the door to a North title is still at least slightly ajar. Kansas has yet to play Kansas State, Nebraska, Texas and Missouri. If they can manage to win out and pick up some help along the way they would be in position to steal a North title and face the Longhorns - again, lucky them. We should have a much better idea after the KU/KSU matchup on saturday.
Of the remaining I think Iowa State, Missouri and Colorado are on the outside looking in, with the possible - possible - exception of Missouri also at 1-3 in the conference. The Tigers have only one loss in the division that to Nebraska and have the rest of the division waiting for them. They would need some help in the form of Colorado, but still, it's not completely out of the question. Colorado on the other hand has two division losses from Kasas State and Missouri, and have still yet to play Nebraska and Iowa State in the North. Mathematically there's a slim chance and it would take a perfect storm - or disater if you prefer - to make it happen. Also consdider this; if Colorado were to win the North at 6-6 they still may not be bowl eligible, assuming a loss to Texas at the end of the season - they wouldn't be. Iowa State? Well, it's been a fun ride, but in all honesty they aren't going to get anyone else to hand them another North win the way Nebraska so graciously did. But if not for a blocked fg against division leader KSU they'd be 2-0 in the division, so again, while it may be in the realm of absurdity, it's not out of the realm of possibility. Like I said, clear as mud. Maybe this division should be re-named 'As the World Turns'.
So for better(South) or worse(North) that's how the conference, championship wise, is shaping up.
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