Friday, July 18, 2008

Making Up for Lost Time

So apparently I lied when I said there was more to come on the Kansas v. Joe College lawsuit. But really, what more was there to say? Though Kansas won a decent chunk of change, they clearly came out looking petty and didn't even get the Muck Fizzou shirt banned. So as much as Marchiony might want to call it a win, the scales were more tipped in the favor of Joe College, I'd say. (The real question is why is there so much attention being paid to perhaps the least clever shirt in the store? Haven't high schools been making identical shirts for the last few decades?)

Moving along, the first link we have for you today is Tim Griffin's Big 12 blog for ESPN. It's actually pretty solid, for those of you interested in the conference as a whole. It's not great for Kansas material as many of the links are dated, but unless you're keeping tabs on the other teams as efficiently as you are for Kansas, it's pretty prolific.

Team - Odds
Oklahoma - 6:1
Methzouri - 10:1
Texas - 10:1
Kansas - 25:1
Texas Tech - 50:1
Texas A&M - 75:1
Nebraska - 75:1
Colorado - 100:1
Kansas State - 100:1
Oklahoma State - 100:1

I found these tables pretty interesting. The one above is the odds of winning the national championship. Shockingly, Iowa State and Baylor didn't even earn the right to get odds. Logically, the only decent bet on the board would be Oklahoma. But would you really want to lay any money on a team that apparently is boycotting January football? To be honest, Methzouri is probably your best bet as they really only have two tough regular season games in going to Austin and v. Kansas at Arrowhead. They would of course have to go through the Big 12 championship game as well, though. And lest we forget that Gary Pinkel is still involved so even if they're half as good as they're supposed to be, he'll screw it up somehow.

Team - Expected 2008 victories
Oklahoma - 10
Methzouri - 9 1/2
Texas - 9
Texas Tech - 9
Kansas - 8
Texas A&M - 7
Oklahoma St. - 7
Nebraska - 7
Kansas State - 6 1/2
Colorado - 5 1/2
Baylor - 3 1/2
Iowa State - 3 1/2

And this one is the O/U for wins for each team. Though he doesn't state it explicitly, I can only imagine that it's based only on the regular season. Again, I don't have much to argue with here. I think there are some plays you could make; specifically, the top 5 teams could all exceed their total. Also, Colorado seems like a good play.

Next up is ESPN's Blue Ribbon analysis. Let's just say that a year culminating in a BCS win does wonders for your national reputation. (I should also mention though that this "analysis" has apparently been sitting arounf since Spring practices ended because it labels Todd Haselhorst a likely candidate to replace McClinton and also includes Anthony Webb in the secondary (It does state that the info is as of June 20, but both of them left the team June 10). All in all, though, it's not a bad overview of the team, aside from stating that they scored 73 points against Nebraska last year, when of course we all know that it was 76.
The final grades given out by Blue Ribbon were as follows:

Offense: B+
Defense: B+
Special Teams: B
Intangibles: A

As I mentioned, the Blue Ribbon analysis is pretty decent for a mid-summer look at the upcoming year for the Jayhawks. However – and maybe I'm in the minority on this one – but I'm still just as worried about the line on the defense as I am on offense. True, the defense returns 3 out of 4 starters and both Greene and Johnson look to be fully capable replacements, but you can't underestimate what you're losing in McClinton. For one thing, his senior leadership will have to be replaced and when you're going from the hunter to the hunted, that can be an issue. More importantly, though, he commanded a double team nearly every snap. Will anyone on the line this year require that kind of attention? If not, given the relative lack of a pass rush last year, if five can block four, that doesn't bode well for the Jayhawks. Not only will it give the quarterback more time, but in this spread offense era, it will also negate the need to leave in a tight end to do any blocking and thus provide one more offensive threat the defense will have to cover in space. Certainly the offense can't be successful without solid play from its tackles, but I think the d-line has just as much to prove. Throw in the fact that they won't have Aqib as a safety blanket in that secondary and the need for a pass rush becomes even more important. Let's just say I'm worried about this…

That's probably enough links from ESPN for one day, so let's move things a little closer to campus. I have one question for the Lawrence Journal World… What in the fuck were you thinking when you hired this guy as your KU football beat reporter? I mean, seriously, there was no one else? I realize the newspaper industry is dying, but in general you have adapted well by establishing KUSports.com as a place to not only read the paper, but to get updates (albeit usually a little late and sometimes wrong) as well. You even started having your reporters and columnists write blogs. Aside from the NBA draft, I'm not sure if there has been a post since the basketball season ended, but still, you were moving in the right direction. Then you hire Dugan Arnett, Methzouri graduate, to be your KU football beat reporter. Let's even pretend to put aside the Methzouri connection for a moment…let's even pretend he's the best writer this side of Buzz Bissinger…is that really the guy you want covering the football team? Is that really the guy you want sharing your staff room?

Never mind. I take it all back…Dugan knows Jemele Hill. Yes, the Jemele Hill who was recently suspended by ESPN for likening Detroit residents rooting for the Celtics to Nazi sympathizers. And he worked at McDonald's, so he can connect with thugs and rappers. The sky is the limit for this prodigy!

Alright, I promise never to mention this travesty again. Or at least until he starts pissing me off on a regular basis. Speaking of pissing me off, Stewart Mandel managed to do a decent job of it a couple weeks back when he mentioned that Big 12 quarterbacks wouldn't be nearly as good in a better defensive league. Forget for a moment that perhaps SEC defenses wouldn't be as good in a more offensive minded league or that Big 11 teams wouldn't be as good in a league that has moved into the 21st century, and let's just keep the argument within the scope of Big 12 teams. Consider the following:

- Playing against only BCS conferences, the league went 5-3 in bowl games last year
- The scores in those games were:

o Texas 52: ASU 34 – Not great D by either team, but it's clear that Texas was able to score just as easily against a PAC 10 team
o Colorado 24: Alabama 30 – I wouldn't say this game does much for either argument, but since both averaged 27 for the season, it probably helps you more.
o Texas A&M 17: Penn State 24 – This one goes to your point, but with the whole coaching situation, it seems tough to figure.
o Oklahoma State 49: Indiana 33 – Since they had only scored that many points one other time and it was at home, I'll chalk this one up for my argument.
o Texas Tech 31: UVA 28 – Probably a push. Clearly Tech usually scores way more than 31 per game, but UVA had a great defense.
o Missouri 38: Arkansas 7 – Score one for my side. Though the Houston Nutt resignation could have also played a part.
o Oklahoma 28: West Virginia 48 – This one proves your point from both angles; that outside of the league OU's offense wasn't as good and that it's defense was awful. Then again, I think we have to take any Bob Stoops BCS data with a grain of salt.
o Kansas 24: Virginia Tech 21 – And just know that it could have easily been 31, but KU was running out the clock/took a knee on the 1. And since Virginia Tech was considered in every facet to be a top 5 defense, I think this one speaks especially well for the Jayhawks and the Big 12.

In all honesty, I didn't exactly prove that the league lit the world on fire in its bowl games last year. However, collectively, they didn't struggle to put points on the board either. And with the exception of OU (and you could possibly add OSU or Texas), all of them had a respectable defensive performance as well. Short story long, perhaps the stats were a bit padded by the defensive ineptitude of Nebraska, Baylor and OSU, but this is the case in nearly every conference. Even the SEC has its doormats.

ASU was decent all year defensively, yet they didn't belong on the same field as Texas. Indiana was pretty middle of the road, but they didn't have a chance against a mediocre OSU team. Virginia gave up less than 20 a game, yet couldn't hold Texas Tech under 30. Virginia Tech barley gave up two touchdowns a game, yet allowed 24 to Kansas. Even after the Cotton Bowl, Arkansas was 54th in the nation in scoring D, but Chase Daniel didn't even have to pass, because they couldn't even contain Tony Temple. (Note: This doesn't even mention that a suspect Missouri defense held the Hogs to 7 points just a month after they posted 50 in Baton Rouge). You're certainly correct in mentioning that their stats are aided by poor defenses, but it's foolish to suggest that they wouldn't be able to achieve similar success in all the other major conferences, with the exception of the SEC. It's also worth considering that perhaps some of these Big 12 defensive stats are so bad because the offenses are so good. That would certainly explain the solid defensive performances by all of the teams not named Oklahoma. Just food for thought whenever someone tries to bring up this rather weak argument. These things go in cycles and right now defense haven't figured out how to stop the spread offense. It just so happens that nearly everyone in the Big12 runs this offense and most of them have quarterbacks capable of taking advantage.

And lastly, to all of you loyal readers out there we apologize for how slow we've been here lately. But aside from summer league games, there really hasn't been a whole lot discuss. However, the first football game is but a mere 43 days away and we promise to be more active as it approaches and into the season. Also, it looks like College Football Live will return next Monday with Brent Musberger hosting the inaugural two shows. And look who is on the guest list for their first week - none other than Hot Toddy!

Rock Chalk!

1 comment:

Big Head said...

Those Vegas lines need to be a little more descriptive; bowls/champ games or not. There are some obvious question marks that I'd bet on the Over if a bowl game counted.