The Big 12 Conference roundtable is back for Week Three. Our featured writers who cover the conference – Sean Cordy, Garrett Kroeger and Wendell Barnhouse – tackle this week’s three topics.
1.In the interest of knees being jerked, are the Big 12’s hopes of getting a team in the College Football Playoff as over as “Central Michigan 30, Oklahoma State 27”?
Garrett: The Big 12’s chances to make the College Football Playoff are 98-percent over with the two-percent hope being Oklahoma. The reason I say the conference has only a two-percent shot is that its biggest contenders — Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and TCU — all have a loss. However, Oklahoma is the only team that has one more strong non-conference game left on its schedule — Saturday versus Ohio State. The Big 12’s chances at making the playoffs are very slim.
Sean: If the only considerations for a playoff appearance were Oklahoma, TCU, and OSU, then yes, but just look at last season when TCU and Baylor were the odds-on favorites entering the season. OU swooped in to take the conference, and right now you still have Texas and Baylor as underdogs to do the same thing. Long shots at this point, but so was Oklahoma last season.
Wendell: Unless Red River rivals Texas (at Cal) and Oklahoma (versus Ohio State) win this week, we can write off 2016. If both lose … when does basketball season start? Personally, I’ll blame the stumbling start on the Big 12 presidents. Their wrong-headed announcement to pursue expansion as football media days wrapped up injected a vial of bad karma into the season.
2. Speaking of that outcome in Stillwater, do the NCAA and college football need to consider a rule change that would allow for reversing a final score?
Garrett: The NCAA should definitely consider a rule change that would allow for reversing a final score. It is unacceptable that officials — who are supposed to know the rules — cost Oklahoma State a game. Also, it’s even more unacceptable that a team has lost a game due to officials messing up has occurred twice now in two years — I’m talking about the Duke-Miami (FL) game. The NCAA definitely needs to take a hard look into reversing final scores because officials costing games looks bad for the NCAA.
Sean: The NCAA has vacated victories from Penn State, USC, and Ohio State among others years after the fact, so it has already gone back and changed history. The issue is that those changes have been one-sided. Arkansas didn’t win the 2011 Sugar Bowl. Something needs to happen so that these wrongs can be corrected 100 percent, not just halfway.
Wendell: Sean makes an excellent point regarding vacated victories and Garrett is spot-on regarding last year’s Miami-Duke debacle. In vacating victories, the NCAA is saying, “We ignore the fact that the game was played, there was a winner and a loser. Because School A broke our rules and was found guilty the outcome no longer counts. Our logic is that one plus one equals zero.”
Obviously, the outcome in Stillwater might not happen in another million Saturdays, but “what if” is a big part of sports and competition. There is no rule to apply to the Central Michigan-Oklahoma State game. There needs to be.
One more thing: Two-game suspensions for those involved are too lenient.
3. Who has the edge in what is shaping up as the Big 12 Battle For The Basement: Iowa State or Kansas?
Wendell: Heading into Week Three there’s not much optimism for either and I call it a tie – neither team has an edge. Kansas did end its losing streak by stomping Rhode Island in the opener, but it could easily end this season on an 11-game skid. The Jayhawks did not handle success well in Game Two against Ohio. No one expected Iowa State to beat Iowa, but the Cyclones weren’t competitive against their in-state rival. I still have faith in Matt Campbell, but the turnaround process looks like it will take a few years.
Sean: Right now you have to assume both are going to lose every conference matchup, other than when they play each other. Whichever team loses that meeting, there’s your basement. Despite Iowa State suffering its biggest loss against Iowa in some time, it’s hard to say a team with as much potential on defense and a star running back in Mike Warren can’t beat Kansas. However, the Jayhawks do have the home-field advantage there.
Garrett: As of right now, Kansas is the better of the two. The Jayhawks just look like more of a “complete” — a term used loosely — product than Iowa State does. Kansas can put up points — 55 and 21 in its first two games — while Iowa State is struggling, scoring 20 and 3 in its two losses. If Iowa State can quickly bandage its self-inflicted wounds, the Cyclones should finish above the Jayhawks at the end of year. However, as of right now, it doesn’t seem likely. Kansas should finish above the Cyclones in 2016.