Kellis Robinett's Big 12 report (Nov. 8)
11/08/2011 6:46 AM
11/08/2011 6:46 AM
When Colorado left for the Pac-12 and Nebraska joined the Big Ten last year, both schools held parties to celebrate their new conference affiliation. Texas A&M and Missouri followed suit when they announced they were headed to the SEC.
Hope they enjoyed those moments.
As fun as it is for fans to look forward and think about new rivalries and additional money for their teams, life after conference realignment is no cakewalk. Switching leagues may solve some problems, but it doesn't help football teams win games.
The four teams that have left or are leaving the Big 12 are learning that the hard way. They have a combined record of 17-20 this year, and only Nebraska is eligible for a bowl game. Colorado is bringing the group down with a 1-9 start, while Texas A&M is 5-4 and Missouri 4-5. All four are coming off losses.
The future differs for all four. The Buffaloes will improve when they properly adjust to a coaching change, but the Big Ten could get harder on the Cornhuskers. They were supposed to contend for a conference championship right away, but just lost to Northwestern at home and struggled with a down Ohio State team.
As for Texas A&M and Missouri, the competition is about to get much stronger. The Big 12 is one of the best football conferences, but the SEC is the best of all.
In the league's Western Division, the Aggies will have to face LSU, Alabama, Auburn and Arkansas on a yearly basis. The Tigers could face an easier slate in the Eastern Division for a while, but Florida and Tennessee won't be down for long.
Both football programs know what they are getting into, and appear eager for the challenge. But are they ready for it? Their current records are enough to make you wonder.
LOCKETT GETS ANOTHER HONOR
K-State freshman Tyler Lockett, who gained 315 all-purpose yards at Oklahoma State on Saturday, was named conference special teams player of the week.
Moving on without Broyles
It will be difficult for Oklahoma to move on without Ryan Broyles in the lineup. The senior wide receiver, who broke a NCAA record with 349 career receptions and totaled 4,586 receiving yards in his career, meant more to his team than perhaps any receiver in the nation.
But the Sooners will try to keep their two-game winning streak going while Broyles recovers from a torn anterior-cruciate ligament nonetheless.
"We will have another guy in that position," OU coach Bob Stoops said after Saturday's win over Texas A&M. "The offense will continue just as it has been. Obviously, he is a big piece that is not there, but there are other guys that will have to step up and make those plays."
Baylor's entertaining victory over Missouri on Saturday was important to the Bears for several reasons.
Since K-State handed them their first loss in early October, they slipped into a slump and started to look like the old uncompetitive Baylor everyone was used to seeing before Art Briles took over. It lost badly to Texas A&M and Oklahoma State and didn't look all that good beating Iowa State.
But Saturday's win was a step in the right direction. Robert Griffin looked great throwing for more than 400 yards, and the Bears also got their ground game going. With Kansas up next, the Bears will have a good chance to become bowl-eligible and win their first road game.
"It hasn't been the way we wanted it to be the past month, to be quite honest with you," Briles said Saturday. "For our guys to keep fighting and come home and beat a good football team like Missouri, who is coming off of a really big win last week and playing with a lot of confidence, I think it says a lot about their faith and belief in themselves and our program."
This week's games
Must-see: Oklahoma State at Texas Tech
Worth watching: Texas Tech at Missouri, Texas A&M at Kansas State
If you're desperate: Baylor at Kansas
Next week's games
Kansas at Texas A&M, 11 a.m. (FSKC, Ch. 34)
Texas Tech at Missouri, 2:30 p.m. (KAKE, Ch. 10)
Oklahoma at Baylor, 7 p.m. (KAKE)
Kansas State at Texas, 7 p.m. (FX, Ch. 31)
1. Oklahoma State (9-0, 6-0 Big 12)
Will play in BCS title game if it wins out?
2. Oklahoma (8-1, 5-1)
Tough to move on after Broyles injury
3. Kansas State (7-2, 4-2)
If pass defense improves, 10 wins possible
4. Texas (6-2, 3-2)
First bowl-eligible Big 12 team in Lone Star State
5. Baylor (5-3, 2-3)
Road struggles should end at Kansas
6. Texas A&M (5-4, 3-3)
One of nation's most disappointing teams
7. Iowa State (5-4, 2-4)
Paul Rhoads and Cyclones keep finding a way
8. Texas Tech (5-4, 2-4)
OU win feeling like a distant memory
9. Missouri (4-5, 2-4)
Struggles will intensify in the SEC
10. Kansas (2-7, 0-6)
Let best chance at Big 12 win slip away in Ames