Hosted this week at Rock M Nation, BON is once again a little late jumping into the Big 12 Roundtable.
1. The game between Texas Tech and Texas got the Big 12 in the national eye early in the season. If your team was approached with this opportunity (or for Tech and Texas, approached again), would you accept and reap the benefits of the exposure, or decline because of the potential pitfalls of playing a conference foe so early in the season?
I think it probably depends on the complexion of the team that season. With an experienced, seasoned team like Texas has this season, it's not as much of a concern -- in fact, facing a new Texas Tech quarterback in his first road start was probably a big advantage for the Longhorns. And that's not a dig at Taylor Potts, who was outstanding during the game, but the Longhorns could have had much more trouble with a battle-tested Red Raider squad at the end of a tough four-game stretch later in the season.
If ESPN comes along next season with a similar plan, though, when the Longhorns will be breaking in their own first-year starter, it would probably make more sense to decline and play the game later in the season. A school like Texas doesn't need the exposure nearly as much as, say, some of the teams in the North Division, so it's probably not worthwhile to risk a conference loss early in the season that has a much better chance of being a win later in the year.
2. Some of the Big 12 teams are starting to become known quantities, but there are still a few teams that most of us can't quite measure. Which team in the Big 12 do you consider the biggest enigma right now?
I think it might be Oklahoma. Brandon Caleb
has emerged as a solid no. 2 receiver and the offensive line has cut down on their mistakes since the BYU game, but I don't think anyone really knows quite how good this team is right now. If Bradford comes back healthy, are they really one of the top teams in the country, as many thought heading into the season? Or will the lack of playmaking at receiver, the offensive line play, and the sub-par secondary end up haunting Oklahoma and resulting in three of four losses this season? I'm not sure if people who follow the team much more closely than I could answer that question.
3. What did you learn about your team in Week 3, and what questions has your team failed to answer at this point of the season?
The victory over Tech provided two major lessons about the current Texas team: 1) the Longhorns have a championship-level defense and showed much more playmaking ability than last season, and 2) the offense, as Mack Brown said after the game, is still a work in progress. The first lesson isn't a major surprise considering the expectations of growth from the entire unit, but the second is more surprising given the return of the great majority of the offense.
As far as a major question that the Longhorns still need to answer, I think that would have to be the running game. Once again, a running back who wasn't even on the depth chart to start the season has emerged as the starter -- Tre' Newton. It's a positive development given his versatility, but there are still some concerns about the scheme and the ability of the offensive line to consistently block well in the running game. A related problem? The fact that the counter is about the only running play Texas is consistently executing well.
4. There aren't exactly a whole lot of marquee matchups in Week 4. Which Big 12 game this week not involving your team piques your interest the most?
Easily Texas Tech against Houston -- that game could last about five hours with all the passing. Can Houston pull off another big upset against a Big 12 team? Is Taylor Potts really as good as he looked against Texas last week? I think the answer may be yes to both of those questions, but one thing there isn't a question about is that this will be an entertaining, high-scoring affair worth watching.
5. Give us your Offensive Player of the Week, Defensive Player of the Week, and Surprise (team, individual, coaching decision, etc. Whatever you want it to be...) of the Week.
Offensive Player of the Week
--I spent some time trying to find someone other than Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones
, but it looks like he really did have the best week of any offensive player in the conference. He broke the school record for touchdown passes with six -- no easy feat considering the numbers put up by Jason White
and Sam Bradford
-- and completed 67% of his passes for 336 yards. An impressive performance in only his second start at the college level and it looks like the Sooners will be in capable hands at the very least until Bradford returns from his shoulder injury. Plus, he's got an awesome mustache. Is it more impressive and/or dirtier than Taylor Potts' Doc Holiday 'stache? Now that's a tough question...
Defensive Player of the Week
-- Gonna have to stay at home with this one -- Roddrick Muckelroy
. The senior linebacker had perhaps his best game as a Longhorn, almost single-handedly stopping the Tech running game on his way to racking up 10 tackles (two for loss), a sack, two quarterback pressures, and a pass broken up. Perhaps one of the most underappreciated players not only on his own team, but also in the entire Big 12, Muckelroy is an exremely savvy football player who spends a ton of time in the film wood and can really lay some wood.
Surprise Player of the Week
-- Uzoma Nwachukwu
. The freshman wide receiver known around the A&M program as "EZ" certainly made scoring the football look easy against Utah State. Sure, it was Utah State, but scoring four touchdown on only four touches it isn't easy for any player against any level of competition. A tall, rangy ahtlete from Allen High School whom Texas considered until deciding to stick with Greg Timmons as the only receiver in the 2009 class, Nwakchukwu took advantage of the injury to star receiver Jeff Fuller
by scoring on a 39-yard run and touchdown catches of 35, 16, and 50 yards. Talk about
6. Power Poll! Rank the teams from 1-12 based on which team would win on a neutral field.
- Oklahoma State
- Texas Tech
- Texas A&M
- Kansas State
- Iowa State