Overrated? We sure found out the Big XII North still hasn’t returned to prominence yet after this weekend, but the Big XII as a whole, overrated?
The Big XII was supposed to challenge the SEC for bragging rights and media coverage for the 2010 BCS Bowl Games, but it certainly hasn’t lived up to expectations. What exactly has brought down this conference, nay the South Division, this year?
Injuries. Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor, and even Texas QB Colt McCoy’s flu have kept these teams from playing up to their potential. OK, maybe the last one isn’t an injury, but it is an excuse the Longhorns used after McCoy’s performance versus the Red Raiders.
Texas Tech has had a quarterback shuffle and reshuffle after the last few weeks. The starting QB, Taylor Potts, coming out of spring practice struggled in his few games before sustaining a concussion in the fifth game of the season against New Mexico.
Junior Steven Sheffield came in and played remarkably well, but suffered a broken foot and seems to be out for the foreseeable future. Potts is slated to start this weekend against Texas A&M.
Tech has also struggled with injuries to the offensive line, most notably C Shawn Byrnes and LT Terry McDaniel. Inconsistency in the offensive personnel has hindered the growth of this offense in the first half of the season.
It’s hard to think that Texas A&M wouldn’t be miserable even with the addition of WR Jeff Fuller, but nonetheless he is the best offensive weapon on the field for the Aggies.
Fuller went out early in the season with a broken leg, but should return this weekend after missing four games.
Oklahoma State QB Zac Robinson has been battling a hamstring injury the whole year, while RB Kendall Hunter has also sat out a couple of games this year due to an injury.
Then you have Baylor, who was supposed to battle for a bowl game this year. But their dark horse Heisman QB Robert Griffin is gone for the year. He suffered a ACL tear in the third game of the season.
What about Oklahoma? They only lost their Heisman award winning QB Sam Bradford in the first half of the first game of the year.
Each team in every conference is facing similar circumstances with injuries, but when a majority of your division conference is facing starting QB issues there is bound to be some setbacks.
So, will the next half of the season be more of the same or can we expect the Big XII to bounce back and establish itself as one of the more dominant conferences in the nation?
You have to like your chance of seeing better play with most of the key players coming back off injury this week or the next. The only starters that look to be out for the rest of the year are Baylor’s Griffin and Oklahoma’s Bradford.
This second half is crucial for Texas' national championship hopes and the Big XII’s hope of getting another team in the BCS sweepstakes.
The Longhorns only have one "impressive" win on their resume, beating OU in Dallas this past weekend. A solid win in Stillwater over the Cowboys and Tech remaining undefeated for the rest of the year will pad Texas’ chances to take on the winner of the SEC for the National Championship.
If Tech loses a couple of more games and Oklahoma State isn’t able to keep up their pace then Iowa or USC could conceivably pass the Longhorns to go to the BCS Championship game, if they go unbeaten for the rest of the year.
For the Big XII to maintain its stranglehold on the BCS it needs Texas to go to the championship game and have Tech finish with no more losses. This could certainly parlay into an at large BCS bid for Tech or OSU.
This could also be a case of too high of expectations from the media. The conference, specifically the South Division, was so good last year that there is no way it could repeat itself.
Though, if Texas loses to Oklahoma State and Tech is able to beat Oklahoma State then we’ll have a triangle like we did last year. I think we all remember how much fun that was to sort out.
The best football has yet to be played in the Big XII and if the South teams can maintain their dominance over the North, then the last part of this season should be just as entertaining as the end of last year.