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Archive for Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Commentary: Bevy of byes a drag for Big 12

Football action on field neither inspiring nor suspenseful for league that took the weekend off

September 27, 2005

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It was something of a lost weekend for the Big 12 before the hatch opens this week on conference play.

With only five teams playing -two of them before Saturday - there wasn't much suspense about the Big 12's final nonconference games. What we did see of the Big 12 last weekend wasn't inspiring.

After weeks of complaining that the Big 12, as a whole, wasn't playing anybody strong, we get a week where most of the Big 12 wasn't playing anybody at all.

Not a good time for the Big 12 to take a weekend off with the Harris poll making its debut. Voters were no doubt forming final opinions as Miami was running circles around Colorado.

The Harris poll is the in-house component created by the BCS to replace the Associated Press poll in its standings.

Voters in all the polls probably caught some of Texas A&M's struggle to outdistance Texas State on Thursday. Then they might have seen Iowa State scurrying to beat Army on Friday.

No one outside of Manhattan saw Kansas State's 54-7 wipeout of North Texas. Only the diehards watched an online broadcast of Texas Tech 63, Indiana State 7. The biggest attraction to that game was whether the Red Raiders would hit triple digits against the overmatched Sycamores.

Instead, we found out that Tech coach Mike Leach is no Tin Man - he does have a heart. With a 49-0 lead at the half, Tech's backups played the last two quarters.

"I think that coach Leach showed a lot of class by getting his younger guys in the game," Indiana State coach Lou West said.

Too bad the weekend was so forgettable for the Big 12. Meanwhile, the Big Ten had an eye-catching Saturday. After taking a beating in several high-profile losses, the Big Ten roared back in conference play.

Minnesota beat Purdue in an overtime thriller on ESPN. Wisconsin pulled off another thriller over Michigan. Ohio State demolished Iowa. Then there's Michigan State, which put up 61 on Illinois.

The Big Ten's bad weekend of a few weeks ago seems like a distant memory now. The Big Ten has five teams ranked in both the AP and coaches' polls and six in the Harris poll. The Big 12 has two teams, Texas and Texas Tech, ranked in all three of the major polls. Iowa State is in the AP and Harris polls. It's all about results, but it's also about visibility.

The Rankings

1. Texas 3-0 (0-0): Would be No. 1 if Ducks had held on

2. Texas Tech 3-0 (0-0): Showed sympathy for the Sycamores

3. Iowa State 3-0 (0-0): Going from Cadets to Cornhuskers

4. Texas A&M 2-1 (0-0): No defense for keeping Texas State close

5. Colorado 2-1 (0-0): Buffs find air too thick at sea level

6. Oklahoma 1-2 (0-0): Dr. Stoops has been in the lab two weeks

7. Nebraska 3-0 (0-0): Can contend if offense gets clicking

8. Kansas State 3-0 (0-0): Fisher was best RB on the field

9. Kansas 3-0 (0-0): Touted defense faces Texas Tech test

10. Missouri 2-1 (0-0): Tigers get the Longhorns in their den

11. Oklahoma State 3-0 (0-0): Another offense in need

12. Baylor 3-0 (0-0): Hoping to sell more A&M game DVDs

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