Sunday, October 24, 2010
What we learned in the Big 12: Week 8
By David Ubben
1. Missouri is the best team in the Big 12. They proved it on the field, defending their home turf against the No. 1 team in the country. The Tigers won solidly and announced to everybody that they would be a factor, if not the favorite, in the Big 12 title race. Missouri may have to beat Oklahoma again to get that title, though.
Art Briles has led the Bears to a 6-2 record, making them bowl eligible for the first time since '95.
2. The Big 12 South is in bizarro world. What in the name of Robert Griffin is going on here? Baylor's up on top of the Big 12 South, and Texas and Oklahoma lost on the same day for the first time since 2007. That means the plucky Baylor Bears are all by themselves atop what has historically been one of college football's toughest divisions. The Bears are 3-1 and play at fourth-place Texas next week. Say what?
3. Texas is even more inconsistent. Iowa State lost 52-0 last week to Oklahoma. Once again, the fans at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium are stunned by a flat Longhorns performance. Earlier this season, the Horns got shocked at home by UCLA, 34-12. Then they walked into a frenzied Memorial Stadium in Nebraska and knocked off a top-5 Huskers team. This week? They found themselves down 28-6 to Iowa State. The offense struggled until the fourth quarter, and once again, when the defense plays average, the Longhorns look awful.
4. Open competition means open competition. Jerrod Johnson entered the season as the best offensive player in the Big 12. Now, it looks like he may not be the best quarterback on his own team. Mike Sherman enlisted the services of backup Ryan Tannehill on Saturday, and it may continue after Tannehill threw three touchdown passes. Sherman hinted at an open competition on Monday, while expressing confidence (somehow) in Johnson. Most perhaps underestimated his actual intentions of making the move. We'll see who plays when the Aggies play their next tough opponent.
5. There was going to be a big game in Lincoln next week. Now it's even bigger. With a pair of wins against top-15 teams this week, Nebraska and Missouri's Big 12 North title tilt in Lincoln next week looks enormous. Missouri should easily be in the top 10. Nebraska might be close. This game already had big stakes at a conference level, and now it has plenty of national intrigue. If the Tigers clear the Husker hurdle, it could be relatively smooth sailing for them until the Big 12 title game considering the Huskers already hold a loss and Texas and Oklahoma State are off the schedule.