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Sorting out the Big 12 shakeups

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Super shakeup weekend in the Big 12 wasn't supposed to take place the second week of conference play.Then again, the Big 12 hasn't exactly been the most predictable conference in 2008.A few unforeseen upsets created a mess in trying to determine the front-runners for the slots in the Big 12 Championship Game on Dec. 6 in Kansas City, Mo. I tried to organize a few thoughts after Texas knocked off Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State beat Missouri:Thought #1: It's way too early to predict a South representative for the Big 12 Championship Game. Texas might have the upper hand, but Oklahoma State and Texas Tech are also undefeated. They all face each other at some point, so we'll see who prevails. The conference's balance could seriously diminish the chances of a Big 12 school playing in the BCS National Championship. There are now four teams just in the South ranked in the Top 10 of the AP Poll: 1. Texas (6-0) 4. Oklahoma (5-1) 7. Texas Tech (6-0) 8. Oklahoma State (6-0)Oklahoma could still play in the Big 12 title game, but would have to hope for two Texas losses, and beat Texas Tech (Nov. 22 at home) and Oklahoma State (Nov. 29 on the road). Hopefully, I didn't just make you too dizzy. Hold on though, because here's a second thought guaranteed to get you spinning:Thought #2: The Missouri loss to Oklahoma State opened a massive door for Kansas. Is it too crazy to think KU could represent the North in the Big 12 title game? If Kansas beats Missouri at Arrowhead, it could happen. Here's how:Missouri must lose next week at Texas, which could certainly happen in Austin. If KU later beats Mizzou at Arrowhead, the Jayhawks could still lose three conference games and hold the tiebreaker against MU.Here's the rest of KU's schedule: at Oklahoma, vs. Texas Tech, vs. Kansas State, at Nebraska, vs. Texas, Missouri at Arrowhead. The Jayhawks could realistically split those six games. As long as KU beats Missouri, a split of those six games could be enough to land them in the conference title game. Let's face it, K-State, Nebraska, Colorado and Iowa State have no chance of representing the North, and will all lose at least four conference games.With the Big 12 this season, you just never know.Now that the conference shakeup is somewhat sorted out, let's move on to the Week 7 awards.Performer of the week: Jordan Shipley, Texas The senior wide receiver made a huge impact on offense and special teams to contribute to UT's most significant victory since the 2005 National Championship game. Shipley caught 11 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown, and also ran back a kickoff 96 yards down the right sideline for another score. [Shipley has quietly caught at least one touchdown in each game this season][1] and has eight total receiving scores. He's a bigger and arguably faster version of [Wes Welker][2]. Both are sure-handed possession receivers with massive upside on special teams.Most significant win of the week: Texas 45, Oklahoma 35 I'll readily admit I didn't see this one coming. Here's a few reasons why:1. Texas senior defensive end Brian Orakpo, at times, dominated Oklahoma tackle Phil Loadholt, the can't-miss, first-round NFL prospect. Orakpo had two sacks, six tackles (including four for a loss) and caused a fumble. The Sooners were supposed to have the best offensive line in the nation, but only accumulated 48 rushing yards. 2. The Sooners, on paper, have more talent. There could be an NFL player at every position for Oklahoma. Texas starts two freshmen at safety, and had an unproven running game. Welcome to the show UT senior RB Chris Ogbonnaya (15 rushes, 127 yards). Before this year, Ogbonnaya hadn't rushed for 100 yards in any of his previous three seasons in Austin.The Sorrentino Scale will conclude this week's edition of Conference Chatter. The number that follows in parenthesis is what place the team was ranked last week.1 (3). Texas (6-0): Can they possibly play any better than they are right now? 2 (1). Oklahoma (5-1): Losing LB Ryan Reynolds for season a big blow. 3 (5). Oklahoma State (6-0): See comment on Texas. 4 (4). Texas Tech (6-0): Looked somewhat pedestrian in OT squeaker vs. Nebraska. 5 (2). Missouri (5-1): Amazing what happens when pressure is actually applied on Chase Daniel. 6 (6). Kansas (5-1): Angry Sooners await in Norman. 7 (8). Nebraska (3-3): Rugged schedule takes break with next two games against Iowa State and Baylor. 8 (7). Colorado (3-3): Offense was anemic in Lawrence. 9 (9). Baylor (3-3): Coach Art Briles wins first conference game for BU in 13 tries; might slowly be turning around program. 10 (10). Kansas State (4-2): Buffaloes await next in Boulder. 11 (11). Iowa State (2-4): Rather uninspiring performance against Baylor (38-10 loss), after such an inspiring performance - at least in the first half - against Kansas. 12 (12). Texas A&M (2-4): Has this program ever been any worse?Oh, and before I go, I must laugh about Auburn (formerly ranked No. 20) losing at home to Arkansas. A few commenters and I have ripped them before this game for boring play in the form of 3-2 "victories," but this was terrible: Losing to an Arkansas team that had lost in the previous three weeks by an average score of 46-10? Come on. That's all for now, friends. As always, discuss. [1]: http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/players/117991/gamelog [2]: http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/players/7027

Comments

Raider 5 years, 6 months ago

The South is a four game race right now. It would appear that it's UT's to lose. However, the Horns road to Kansas City goes right through Lubbock and Lawrence. UT has four very tough games coming up. MU and OSU are both at home, and the Red Raiders and Jayhawks are on the road. The Jones in Lubbock is one of the toughest places in the country to play a game, and the Red Raiders are very tough at home. While Memorial Stadium in Lawrence isn't that intimidating of an atmosphere, the Jayhawks are currently riding a 12-game home winning streak. They are hard to beat in Lawrence.The Horns host MU this Saturday. Chase Daniel is from not too far away from Austin, and wasn't even looked at by UT until the end of his recruitment. That, combined with MU coming off of a loss is going to make for a very interesting game. I'm not calling for a win, but if MU pulled it off, I wouldn't be surprised either. Chase is going to want this game bad, because he's playing in front of his own people. There is an upset alert that has been issued all throughout Raiderland. This is the classic 'trap' game for Texas Tech. A&M is awful this year, and the Red Raiders are undefeated. Even though Tech has won 10 of the last 13 against A&M (current 3 yr win streak) they could be looking ahead to a slightly better team they face the next week. This is also A&M's "Superbowl" as they want nothing more than to beat Tech.Oklahoma State takes on Baylor. In any typical year, this should be an easy win for the Pokes. However, Baylor shredde Iowa State on Saturday night. Coming off of such an emotional win in Columbia, it's possible that the Cowboys could have a let down.The North is the Jayhawks to take. With the MU loss on Saturday, KU is now in the drivers' seat. They simply have to take care of business against some very very good teams. With a MU loss to UT this weekend, KU could still lose to OU and Tech, and win the North by beating the Tigers in Kansas City.But, with the way the Big XII is shaping up right now, we could see any combination of teams on December 6th.

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