REAL Standings: Is A&M a contender?

The answer to the question in the Subject Line is "No." You don't go from 0-17 in conference to a contender merely by changing your coach. Although, when the coach you're losing is so bad he has to take a job playing Chester to Quin's Marshall Dillon, maybe it is conceivable. Or would a better analogy be playing Barney Fife to Quin's Andy Taylor?

That doesn't seem quite right, either. How about playing Gomer Pyle to Quin's Barney Fife the week Andy left Barney in charge and returned to find every single resident of Mayberry in jail?

At any rate, Billy Gillespie's Superman's victory over Rick Barnes' Lex Luthor sent a shock wave through the REAL Standings. Indeed, if A&M could somehow win a road game against a respectable opponent, the words "Aggies" and "Contenders" in the same sentence might not seem so far-fetched.

What the Aggies' home victory did prove is that UT is probably a year away from being a serious contender for the Big 12 crown. You don't seamlessly replace four seniors with tons of big game experience without skipping a beat--as KU will try to avoid discovering this time next year. It also established that victories in College Station will be as difficult to come by as they are in Lincoln, Ames, Columbia, and Lubbock. Games at A&M, will, therefore, be upgraded to "toss-up" status, meaning the projection of an additional 1/2 loss for both of the Okie schools.

Meanwhile, in case you slept through it, KU matched OSU's road win in Lubbock with one of its own in Ames. In toto (for any Tigers reading this, that's not a Wizard of Oz reference), then, the Hawks effectively picked up 1.5 games in the REAL Standings on UT and a full game on OU and OSU.

The REAL Standings in the Big 12 as of 1/13/05:

1. 13.5-2.5

KU: Projected losses: at OU Projected Toss-up Games: at NU, Mizzou, Tech Key Past Games (W at ISU)

2. 12-4

OU: Projected losses: at OSU, UT Projected toss-up games: at ISU, MU, Tech, A&M

OSU: Projected losses at KU, Texas, OU Projected toss-up games: at NU, A&M Key Games (W at Tech)

4. 11-5

Texas: Projected losses: at KU, OSU, OU Projected toss-up games: at NU, Tech Key Past Games (L at A&M)

Saturday's Games (All times CST):

UT at Nebraska (12:30p.m.) ISU at OSU (12:30p.m.) KU at CU (2p.m.) Oklahoma at Baylor (5p.m.) A&M at Tech (6p.m.) Mizzou at k-state (7p.m.)