The football season is back and so is the Roundtable. In case you're new here or neglected the roundtables last season, it's when the Big 12 bloggers get together and share their opinions on the same topics. Feel free to add your own opinions in the comments section.
1. Everyone knows the national talking points for each Big 12 team by now (Oklahoma has new linemen! Bill Snyder's back at Kansas State! Baylor might upset somebody!). Give us a storyline for your team that isn't quite getting the attention it should.
I guess the only storylines you ever hear out of Boulder on a national level are "10 wins, no excuses", "It's the Big 12 brother" (still) and of course, "Cody Hawkins is the quarterback because his Dad is the coach" talk... basically everything other than what is taking place on the field. The quarterback competition is always going to grab most of the headlines but the storyline I will be watching is how the Buffs inexperienced players respond on the defensive line and at wide receiver, both considered unknowns going into the season.
At defensive line Colorado replaces three graduating seniors who underperformed a year ago but still leaves everyone uneasy because those seniors played the majority of the snaps. No one really knows what to expect from the big guys up front but if they can outpace their expectations Colorado has the talent elsewhere to be a top tier defense in the Big 12. We should know a lot about the defensive line, which has two true freshmen on the two deep rotation, early on as Colorado State's offensive line is the most experienced group in the country with 129 total starts.
At wide receiver the Buffs can be horrible or they can have the best group of players since Hawkins has been here... and no one has any idea which way it will go. The two most talented wide receivers are Markques Simas and Andre Simmons, but neither has ever taken a snap at the division one level and have established their reputations on potential alone. To make matters worse, Simmons, a 6'3 215 pound 4.4 running junior college transfer, was not cleared to play until last week so his timetable for impact is unknown and Marques Simas continues to have off field problems. Simas, suspended last season for being ineligible, was also suspended for the first two games of 2009 for "violating team rules". Once again, who knows when we will start seeing an impact from him. With those two players healthy and on the field the Buffaloes have a strong group of wideouts. Without them we will be looking at Scotty McKnight (former walk-on, led the Buffs in receptions the last two years) , Jason Espinoza (walk-on), Ryan Maxwell (walk-on) and Will Jefferson (true freshman who was an August 2009 signee) as the top four receivers.
Should be interesting...
2. The Big 12 continues to be derided by other conferences as a pass-happy, no defense, made-for-TV free-for-all. The question must be asked, how accurate is this description, and is the perception something of which the conference should be ashamed?
Pass happy? Yes. No defense? Not at all. Let's look at the conference bowl game results:
Missouri holds Northwestern to 23 points. Northwestern season average - 24.5
Kansas holds Minnesota to 21 points. Season average - 23.4
Nebraska holds Clemson to 21 points. Season average - 25.5
Texas holds Ohio State to 21 points. Season average - 28.1
Oklahoma holds Florida to 24 points. Season average - 45.2
Yes, I left out Oklahoma State and Texas Tech because we all know that neither one of those defenses aren't any good. But otherwise the numbers don't lie. The Big 12 defenses are fine, the offenses are just that good.
3. Over the summer, ESPN's Tim Griffin compiled a list of the Top 25 moments of the Big 12 era that stirred up a bit of internal debate. Which moments for your program were either overrated or underrated?
I don't know about underrated or overrated. But ask almost any Buff fan what their favorite Big 12 moment was and you will get an unanimous response:
12. A Buffalo stampede: Six Chris Brown TDs lead CU to first Big 12 title game.
4. We've seen no less than 30-40 "Best Big 12 Coaches" power rankings in the offseason, but rarely is there the same press for the coordinators. If you had to replace your offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator with coordinators from within the conference, who are you poaching and why?
At offensive coordinator I would start with Kevin Wilson from Oklahoma. How can you argue with the success that he has had, setting some ridiclous offensive records last year.
If we were looking at coaching (and excluding recruiting from the argument) then I would take Will Muschamp from Texas. If recruiting is in the equation I would take Brent Venables instead. There may not be a better recruiter in the conference and that
5. Time to start our weekly Big 12 Power Poll. Rank the Big 12 team from 1 to 12. (Note: This IS a power poll and isn't intended to account for schedule)
4. Oklahoma State
5. Texas Tech
10. Texas A&M
11. Iowa State
12. Kansas State