Big 12: What-we-learned-100310

What we learned in the Big 12: Week 5

October, 3, 2010
10/03/10
10:00
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1. Texas should not be in the Top 25. Maybe Texas hangs on to a spot in the polls based on an eight-point loss to a top-10 team. But any voter who leaves the Longhorns on their ballot must not have watched Saturday's game or last week's debacle against UCLA. And it won't get better for awhile; the Longhorns look like they're on their way to a three-game losing streak with a game at Nebraska in two weeks. Texas has been the portrait of consistency under Mack Brown, but his streak of nine consecutive 10-win seasons is in major jeopardy with a punchless, directionless offense and a defense long on talent and short on production. It'll be a long bye week for Texas, and the Longhorns are a team playing very mediocre football right now. They'll likely see their streak of 162 consecutive weeks in the polls -- a streak that dates back to the 2000 season -- come to an end later this afternoon. (Ed. note: Since the loss came on a neutral field and not at home, I'll be sliding the Longhorns up from No. 20 to No. 17 on my ballot.)

[+] EnlargeMack Brown
Tim Heitman/US PresswireMack Brown and Texas could fall out of the polls this week with a game against Nebraska on the horizon.
2. Baylor may be a lot better than anyone thought. Plenty of folks dismissed the Bears as the "same old Baylor" after they were spanked at No. 4 TCU two weeks ago. Robert Griffin defiantly disagreed. Considering the history that was made on Saturday, Griffin is looking pretty reasonable today. The Bears, owners of a league-record 19 40-point losses in Big 12 play, did a little spanking of their own on Saturday, beating Kansas by 48 points -- the most lopsided Big 12 win in Baylor history. Griffin wasn't done with the ear-perking quotes. "The TCU game was a fluke," he told the Dallas Morning News after throwing for a career-high 380 yards. Fluke or otherwise, no team in the Big 12 played a more complete game than Baylor on Saturday, even though it came against the worst team in the Big 12. As for the TCU loss being a fluke, we'll know more when Baylor reaches the meat of its schedule. But right now, the only teams in the Big 12 that look definitively better than the Bears are Oklahoma, Nebraska and Oklahoma State. And it's worth noting that the Bears are tied on top of the Big 12 South with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State at 1-0 -- above Texas, Texas A&M and now 0-2 Texas Tech. The Bears were the only Big 12 team in Texas to win this week. Somebody dig around in an almanac and let me know the last time that happened.

3. Nebraska has even more reason to be mad at Texas. I thought this was supposed to be a big game? Now, the supposed (by me, that is) biggest game of the year in the Big 12 looks like a complete mismatch. And worse for the Huskers, its "favorable" schedule in the preseason has shifted closer to "laughable," through no fault of their own. Washington, despite its upset of USC on Saturday, is not helping the Huskers case. Thanks to Texas' freefall, the Huskers have a chance to run through their entire regular-season schedule without playing a ranked team. Nebraska fans, you better hope Oklahoma keeps it together through the Big 12 title game. And get behind future opponents Oklahoma State and Missouri, who need to keep winning to hang on to spots in the poll. Otherwise, it's very possible that an undefeated season could leave the Huskers behind Alabama, Ohio State and/or Oregon, who all look capable of running the table.

4. Teams better not overlook Colorado. The Buffaloes don't have a win that makes you say, "Wow!," but they have three wins, and that's more than most thought they'd have heading into their conference opener against Missouri. When Colorado establishes the running game (235 yards against Georgia, 252 against Hawaii) and keeps it clean (one turnover against Georgia and Colorado State, five against Cal in a 52-7 loss), they're capable of beating plenty of Big 12 squads. However, a bit of advice: If you'd like to be taken seriously once you find new digs in the Pac-12, Colorado, don't storm the field after beating a 1-3 team. Even if they are from the...S! E! C!

5. It's going to be a long, long season in Kansas. With losses to Southern Miss and now Baylor, the Jayhawks have lost all the redemption that came with the upset over then-No. 19 Georgia Tech. Maybe Kansas can pull another upset over somebody at home, but on the road, they've looked hopeless. Southern Miss was clearly the better team two weeks ago, and the Jayhawks didn't look like they belonged in the same league as Baylor on Saturday. And for Jayhawks optimists hanging on to two wins against Georgia Tech and New Mexico State, two quick notes: Georgia Tech is carrying a 17-point home loss to soon-to-be-unranked N.C. State and Boise State led 0-4 New Mexico State 24-0 after the first quarter on the way to a 59-0 laugher.

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