Sunday, August 24, 2008

Big XII Roundtable: Preseason Edition

Once again, the Crimson & Cream Machine is sponsoring weekly Big XII Roundtables featuring bloggers from across the Big XII. Those of you not familiar with blog roundtables, each week the host blog will come of with a series of questions and each blog will respond. You can then scan each blog to get a viewpoint from across the entire conference blogosphere. Several Husker bloggers participate including the BigRedNetwork and CornNation.

There has been lots of talk this pre-season about scheduling. Colorado has arguably the strongest schedule but who do you think has the weakest and which cream puff on your team’s schedule do you wish wasn’t there?
Weakest? Well, I'll take my shot at Texas Tech. Most of the Big XII schools at least schedule one BCS conference foe...except the Raiders: Eastern Washington, SMU, UMass, and a road game at Nevada. Yeah, I know that Eastern Washington was a late replacement for Tulsa who bagged them, but even with the Golden Hurricane, that was a bad schedule.

Who do I wish wasn't on the Husker schedule? I'd probably throw San Jose State off of the schedule; last year, I noted that Michigan was looking to fill that week on the schedule. Imagine a road game in the Big House for week two...then having the Weasels return the game in 2009 instead of playing one of the Sun Belt teams.

As a whole the Big 12 has the best quarterbacks in the country. Make a case for your quarterback being one of the conference’s top signal callers and tell us which other conference quarterback you would pick to replace him if you had to.
I can't do that. I'll be happy to argue that Joe Ganz was a better quarterback than Sam Keller last season, but there's absolutely no way I could vote Joe Ganz ahead of Chase Daniel, Sam Bradford, Graham Harrell, or Zac Robinson. Who would I choose to replace Ganz? I'd probably choose Bradford; I liked his poise in winning a conference title starting as a redshirt freshman.

Going into the season which unit for your team are you most confident in, offense or defense?
Having confidence in either unit requires a leap of faith after last season. I have a little more confidence in the offense, as the offense did explode after Joe Ganz took over. (To be fair, some of the offense's numbers can be blamed on playing from behind due to the pourous defense.) I think the defense will be significantly improved...but that might be enough to make them merely mediocre.

Who is the new guy on you squad that will be a household name among your fan base before the season ends.
New guy? Well, not sure if he counts since he isn't new, just was buried beneath Billy C's playbook and depth chart, but I think Menelik Holt is going to bust out this fall. If I have to pick a guy who hasn't played, then my vote goes to Curenski Gilleylen, who caught a bomb in the spring game. He might be the best deep threat Nebraska has had at receiver in years.

Prediction time! Tell us how the north and south divisions will wind up.
I'll start with the South: Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Texas, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Baylor. Texas is the big question mark in my mind; I could see them finishing second ahead of Tech...or fourth behind the Cowboys.
In the North, ordering four teams is relatively easy: Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Iowa State. But then there are two squads that you could make an argument to place them just about anywhere in that list. (That includes first AND last place.) Was Nebraska's poor performance the result of horrible coaching and being completely and utterly out of shape? If so, Nebraska could rebound quite nicely. On the other hand, if it was something more, it will be more of the same in 2008. Kansas State is bringing in 19 (count 'em, 19) junior college transfers. You recruit junior college players because you think they fill an immediate need...and by that, I'd say that Ron Prince feels he has a lot of needs. If he finds a bunch of starters in this group, they could be the shock team in the Big XII and roll into Arrowhead in December. If it's more of the same, it's "back to the 80's" in Manhattan. Here's the point...nobody knows if this Juco gamble is going to work out or not, not even the KSU faithful. So here's how I insert the Huskers and Wildcats into the North standings: Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Iowa State, Kansas State. Others may, of course, insert Nebraska and Kansas State elsewhere into the list.

1 comment:

TB said...

We only ended up with 15 junior college guys, Mike. That's a HUGE difference. ;-)