REAL Standings: Buffs and Aggies, No Bears (Oh, My)

BIG XII RECAP

Two huge developments on Saturday: A&M picking up its first Road win of the conference season, and Colorado grabbing its second straight nail-biter.

A&M's victory at Iowa St completely atones for last week's last gasp home loss to Oklahoma. A Big +1 for the Texas Aggies, moving it into a tie with KU for third place in the REAL Standings.

Of course, the flip side is that Iowa St lost every ounce of benefit it fought so hard to obtain earlier in the week in Lincoln. A Big -1 for the Cyclones.

Colorado's second consecutive Road victory, this one over Okie St, means a pickup of two full games in the REAL Standings in eight days. +1 for the Buffs; -1 for the Cowboys. If not for its loss at home to KU, Colorado would even now have second place all but wrapped up in Lexus-sized silver, black and gold bow. As it is, CU takes command of the chase for second place.

Mizzou, meanwhile, missed its chance to validate its Monday night victory as something other than a fluke--to demonstrate that it is a team to be taken seriously, not merely one that will decline to look a Gift-Hawk in the mouth. Instead, Mizzou again failed to Show Me or anyone else. The Tigers' loss in an at-risk game at k-state drops them a half game in the REAL Standings.

k-state, meanwhile, by holding serve at home, remains On the Bubble in its all-consuming quest to be included as a second-tier team. Well, guess what: their chance to do just that comes next Saturday when they travel to Colorado.

In other Saturday games, it was KU over Nebraska and OU over Tech--both at home--and Texas over Baylor in Waco. No surprises here. No movement by any of these teams in either direction in the REAL Standings, because all of these games went as projected.

THE REAL STANDINGS

The REAL Standings* as of January 19, 2006, are:

1. 13.5-2.5

Texas

(No projected L's/at risk games: at OU, MU, Texas Tech, Okie St, A&M)

2. 9.5-6.5

Colorado

(L's at UT, vs. KU/projected L's at ISU, A&M, NU, KU/at risk games: at k-state)

3. 8.5-7.5

Kansas

(L vs. k-state, at Mizzou/projected L's at A&M, ISU, NU, Okie St, UT/at risk games: at k-state)

A&M

(L's vs. OU, at OSU, k-state/projected L's at OU, UT, MU, Tech/at risk games: at Baylor)

5. 8-8

Iowa St

(L's vs. UT, at Tech, vs. A&M/projected L's at MU, KU, OU, CU/at risk games: at k-state, Baylor)

Mizzou

(L vs. CU, at k-state/projected L's at NU, Tech, KU, CU, ISU/at risk games: vs. UT, at Baylor)

Nebraska

(L's vs. ISU, at KU/projected L's at CU, OSU, UT, ISU, A&M, MU/at risk games: None)

Okie St

(L at Mizzou, vs. CU/projected L's at UT, Tech, A&M, ISU, OU/at risk games: vs. UT, at k-state)

Texas Tech

(L's at A&M, UT, OU/projected L's at KU, CU, NU, Okie St/at risk games: vs. UT, at Baylor)

Oklahoma

(L at Nebraska, vs. Mizzou/projected L's at KU, Okie St, CU, Tech, UT/at risk games: at Baylor, vs. UT)

GAMES TO WATCH

Big XII Games January 23-25, 2006, with IQ (Interest Quotient) are:

1. Oklahoma St @ Texas (Mon. at 8p.m.)***1/2

This should be a snoozer. However, Okie St has a level of dangerous young talent similar to KU's. When they click, they will be capable of taking out Texas--even in Austin. You might want to watch for a while just to see if this is the night. Not likely this early in the season, but that's why they play the games. . .

2. Oklahoma at Baylor (Wed. at 7p.m.)**

Baylor is not devoid of talent. They will win a game somewhere along the line. And their chances improve with each home game. Again, probably too early in the season against too good a team. This could, however, be a game into the second half.

3. Nebraska at Colorado (Wed. at 7p.m.)**1/2

Two similar teams. NU will be out to prove it can still play the game a little bit. And although CU is solidly in second place at the moment, they are hardly a juggernaut. Might not be a great game, but it could be another close one for the Buffs.

4. Iowa St at Mizzou (Wed. at 7p.m.)****

If Mizzou loses this one, the Quin experiment is over. The question is, which Mizzou team will show up: the one that lost to Sam Houston St, or the one that--well, actually, there isn't a good counter-example. On the other hand, the same question applies to ISU.

5. KU at A&M (Wed. at 7p.m.)****1/2

This could be an exceptional game. A&M now has a big Road win under its belt and could easily be 5-0 in conference play. KU is the most talented team in the league and, when it is hitting on all cylinders and plays forty minutes of basketball, is probably unstoppable by anyone in the Big 12, with the possible exception of Texas in Austin. If the Jayhawks come to play, they could supplant CU as the favorite for conference runner-up honors and the virtual lock on a decent NCAA seed (4-6) that comes with that distinction. Anything less than 40 solid minutes, though, and they not only will lose, they could get run out of the building.

Go Big--and getting Bigger--Blue!

--Mark

*Texas, the only Tier One team, is projected to win all of its home games and to be "at risk" in all road games vs. Tier Two teams.

The Tier Two teams are projected to win all home games with the exception of UT. They are projected to lose all road games not played in Manhattan and Waco. They are "at risk" against UT at home and on the road at Baylor and k-state.

As always, teams can move up or down in status with meaningful road wins and embarrassing home losses.

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