BIG XII RECAP
Suddenly, Saturday's game in Austin is for all the marbles-not just for half the marbles. With UT's loss in Stillwater, the Longhorns dropped a full game in the REAL Standings to 13.5-2.5. They still hold a half game lead over KU, entirely on the basis that the championship game will be played on their home court. However, should the Road-savvy Hawks extend their away home record to 6-1, they will move to 14-2 in the REAL Standings, a full 1.5 games ahead of UT, with nothing but UC standing between them and the undisputed conference championship.
By UC, I don't mean the University of Colorado-I mean Unexpected Complacency.
In other games, Tech managed its first Road kill of the season in Lincoln vs. the Jekyll and Huskers, and CU lost an at-risk game at k-state. ISU lost as projected to OU-but the projection would have been different at about the 1:10 mark of the second half. And A&M squeezed out an at-risk victory at Baylor.
Based on its efforts vs. KU Monday night (which led me, in the last RS Report to state, "If Okie St gets out to an early lead [vs. UT], it could be a 40 minute game"), it appears that the young and talented Cowboys are turning the corner, much like KU did post-Columbia. Fortunately, the Hawks got in and out of Stillwater before it happened. At any rate, OSU is now listed as a Second Tier team, rather than being hopelessly mired in the Pit of Oblivion. Won't do a lot for them in the conference standings, but they could be a force to be reckoned with in Dallas.
THE REAL STANDINGS*
The REAL Standings, as of February 19, 2006:
Texas (10-2/No projected L's/at risk game: at A&M)
Kansas (10-2/projected L at UT/at risk games: None)
Oklahoma (8-4/projected L at UT/at risk games: at Tech)
Colorado (7-5/projected L's at KU, at NU/at risk games: none)
Nebraska (6-6/projected L's at A&M/at risk game at MU)
A&M (6-6/projected L at Tech/at risk games: at Mizzou, vs. UT)
Texas Tech (6-6/Projected L at Okie St/at risk games at Baylor, vs. OU)
Iowa St (4-8/projected L at CU/at risk game at Baylor)
Okie St (4-8/Projected L's at ISU, OU)
k-state (5-7/ Projected L's at OU, at NU, vs. UT, vs. KU)
Mizzou (4-8/Projected L's at CU, ISU/HAC games vs. A&M, vs. NU)
Baylor (2-10/Projected L's at KU, Okie St/HAC games vs. ISU, vs. Tech)
GAMES TO WATCH
Big XII Games February 20-22, with IQ (Interest Quotient) are:
1. Oklahoma at Texas Tech (Mon. at 8p.m.)***1/2
OU did everything but lay two big eggs last week. Is it possible that the Big 12 has only two good teams?
2. Baylor at KU (Tue. at 7p.m.)*
This is almost the ultimate trap game for KU. A contest against the conference's worst team smack dab in the middle of a game vs. an arch-rival and a game for the conference championship. Were the game at Waco, an upset might not be completely out of the question. However, the worst team in the conference is not going to take out the league's best team on the Road. If the Hawks are looking ahead to Saturday-which would be understandable-this could be a game for 15-20 minutes, and the Hawks might fail to cover the spread.
3. A&M at Mizzou (Tue. at 7p.m.)**
Your assignment, Mr. Watkins, if you wish to accept it, is to make the Missouri Tiger basketball team give a damn for two and a half weeks. If you go O-fer, the Athletic Director will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This message will self delete within 10 seconds. Here's hoping your career doesn't.
4. Colorado at Nebraska (Wed. at 7p.m.)****
Not UT/KU by any means, but an extremely important game for both teams after their losses Saturday. CU can pick up a full game in the REAL Standings and virtually lock up a 10-6 record, a fourth place conference finish, and the likely NCAA berth that goes with it. NU can stay alive for those honors, but will also have to figure out how to win at A&M.
5. Texas at k-state (Wed. at 7p.m.)***1/2
Is it possible? Could UT be looking up at KU Thursday morning with a 12.5-3.5 REAL Standings record? Probably not. UT has too many players, and k-state does not have Okie St's athletes. In fact, UT losing in Stillwater was k-state's worst nightmare. Not likely that the Longhorns will be looking ahead after that debacle.
6. Okie St at Iowa St (Wed. at 8p.m.)***1/2
One of the more intriguing games of the season. I didn't say important: I said "intriguing." ISU will be desperate to dispel the foul taste of blowing a game that was in the bag in Norman. OSU will be rejuvenated after stomping the No. 6 ranked team in the country, and will see a light at the end of what has, thus far this season, been a long, dark tunnel-and it isn't an oncoming train. A game sports psychologists would love.
Go Big Blue!
*Texas, KU, and OU, the Tier One teams, are projected to win all of their home games, lose their road games vs. other Tier One teams, and to be "at risk" in road games vs. Tier Two teams.
The Tier Two teams are projected to win all home games with the exception of games vs. Tier One teams. They are projected to lose all road games vs. Tier One and Two teams. They are "at risk" against Tier One teams at home and on the road against the teams that have cast themselves into the Pit of Oblivion.
As for the teams in the Pit, each is projected to (a) lose every Road game; (b) lose every home game vs. the Tier One teams; (c) win every home game vs. each other; and (4) to have a Half-Assed Chance to win every home game vs. a Tier 2 team.
As always, teams can move up or down in status with meaningful road wins and embarrassing (or enough) home losses.