Tim Griffin of ESPN.com is searching through Big 12 rosters facing the daunting task of identifying the top 40 players in the conference (currently on #32). Of course, this is subjective. Is it based on past experience, future potential? Is it statistical based or based on importance to their team (i.e. his #40 player FB Matt Clapp from OU)? But in all of it's subjective glory, it got me thinking about that talent gap we seem to face when the Buffs take the field against a Texas or Oklahoma, where their is a noticeable size and speed difference.
So the question for you all is do the Buffs have a top 40 player in the Big 12 right now? To the point, do you see the talent gap closing?
My argument for or against is after the jump but before you read the whole post, give us your thoughts.
Griffin also has this peice about the Big 12 North as he has visited all of the schools in that half of the conference except our Colorado Buffaloes. He also acknowledges that Nebraska has holes on the offensive side of the ball and other than Suh, I still haven't found a player on the Huskers defense that puts fear in me. Hopefully he makes it out for the CU spring game, him giving the Buffs some pub is always a good thing.
see more after the jump...
Do the Buffs have a top 40 player? Sure they do.
Have they necessarily showed it? Nope.
Youth will still plagues this team in trying to garner preseason hype and attention. With the potential of only two senior starters on the offensive side of the ball, the young Buffs probably haven't had enough time to display for the media that they are worthy of such recognition nor have a lot of results been produced to make you say "Wow." Frankly, many honest Buff fans think we have a top 40 player but we would admit it is hard to place a ton of our players on the list because we haven't seen a large enough body of work.
Last year, DT George Hypolite probably would have made the list but on defense this year, maybe CB Cha'pelle Brown, maybe LB Shaun Mohler or LB Jeff Smart but I still think we get a snub on this side of the ball. Next year, Jimmy Smith has the potenial to be on their next year along with B.J. Beatty, but many of the players will still need to prove themselves that they are stars in this league.
Offense is where I expect to see many players break into that top 40 mark next year. As with all lists like this, winning helps (captain obvious). In fact, winning cures all problems. If the Buffs get to that 8 win mark this year, I can see this list littered with players like RB Darrell Scott, RB Rodney Stewart, OL Nate Solder, OL Ryan Miller, WR Josh Smith, WR Markques Simas, etc. but until they get to that upper tier of the conference again, this ranking will be full of players from OU and Texas.
The best chance for this year's list is probably RB Rodney Stewart and WR Josh Smith. Smith was third in the conference in all-purpose yards (ninth in the nation) behind only Oklahoma RB/KR DeMarco Murray and Missouri WR/KR Jeremy Maclin. Stewart will be a different beast because their is a good possibility that he will be splitting carries with RB Darrell Scott in 2009, which will work against him. If he doesn't get hurt last year, he is probably a shoe-in as he would have finished top 5 in the conference in rushing.
I guess we will have to wait and see.