All the football teams in the Big 12 Conference are one ligament or torn cartilage away from being transformed from contenders to also-rans. The league never has had such a wealth of vital triggermen. Kept healthy they will give us a sterling season.
Yet take away, for even a game or two, a Todd Reesing of Kansas, a Chase Daniel of Missouri, a Josh Freeman of Kansas State, a Joe Ganz of Nebraska or a Cody Hawkins of Colorado, and a genuine wannabe can in an instant become an almost-but-not quite.
The Big 12 North is entering the most competitive campaign ever, if key quarterbacks show up every week. Iowa State isn't sure who its man will be. Whoever it is needs experience and consistency to get the Cyclones even near the levels of its North foes. He can't get hurt, either.
To the South, Oklahoma and Texas with Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy are the favorites, but Texas Tech, Texas A&M; and Oklahoma State also have game-winners taking snaps. Even Baylor, like Iowa State the whipping boy of its division, has a legitimate threat in Blake Szymanski.
Injuries already are creating worries in 2008 planning. The broken finger of Missouri tight end Chase Coffman is reason for concern. But as long as Daniel is in charge, the ship will stay on course.
You watch KU pepperpot Sparky Reesing wheel and deal with utter abandon and you tend to think he's a kid who doesn't get hurt, or won't admit it if he is. But that ailing ankle, despite denials, was a hindrance against Missouri last season, and Kansas, like all the other teams in the league, needs its top guys at the throttle.
Kansas, however, could be better off than the others if Reesing is lamed. It has the versatile Kerry Meier with combat savvy in a lot of categories. Not sure any of the other 11 clubs are favored with such a "backup."
But just imagine what a treat we'll get if all the Big 12 quarterbacks avoid crippling wounds and can go the route at their best. Unlikely, sure, but delightful to think about.
¢ Sure, the Kansas basketball team will have seven promising 2008-09 prospects if all seven of the touted newcomers are academically harnessed for action. (Why it's taking all this time after five-plus years of prep time to get the Morris twins eligible is a massive mystery to me.)
But a Cole Aldrich-Sherron Collins anchor duo isn't chopped liver, and 6-foot-5 Conner Teahan, 6-3 Brady Morningstar and 6-3 Tyrel Reed, given sufficient opportunities, will add far more to the equation than a lot of people star-struck by the new guys seem to think. Even if the Morrises wind up in dry dock due to schooling woes, those other five talents are substantial.
Again, let's avoid a glut of hype for neophytes while we forget the notable holdovers.
¢ The Olympic movement has never been able to escape scandals. One of the biggest of all-time was China's feverish promises, most broken, to do many wondrous things such as treat its citizens better and clean up their Beijing joint. But among the pettiest of actions was projecting Lin Miaoke, that little pig-tailed girl in the red dress, "performing" the Chinese national anthem in the opening ceremonies. She lip-synched it while a girl who "is not pretty enough" did the vocals. Good lord!
Paging Charlie Chan and No. 1 son Key Luke to investigate that disgrace.