November 20, 2006

Big 12 Rewind

The holiday season is quickly upon us, as visions of turkey and sweet potatoes dance through our heads.

And while most North American turkeys have already had their heads lopped off and packaged by Butterball, we still have a little pigskin to discuss. And as we head into the final week of action in the Big 12, we have some wild things to discuss, most notably the two games listed below. Like this week, this will be a short installment because we're making stuffing and having back pain. Our column for a small vessel of Aleve... or Bextra or whatever it is that doesn't kill you. We wanna see the bowl season. Even the bowl Kansas goes to. Is Golden Corral sponsoring wherever they're going? Those dinner rolls rock.

Man, we just sounded like someone else. Our apologies.

If you took a poll of collegiate athletic directors and asked them which schools they thought were the biggest underachievers around, Missouri would probably come up a lot. After all, they have sole possession of a populous state with two major metro areas and no competition from a pesky in-state rival, like Oklahoma, Colorado and Kansas State (or Kansas, if it's basketball season) do. With all the built-in advantages they have, you'd figure el Tigres would be a constant player in the Big 12 in basketball and football races.

But they're not. They've about as overrated as, say, The Da Vinci Code. Or upcoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Or Mike Vick.

Hey, we kid 'cause we love. But we don't love kids (at least like Michael Jackson loves them). That would be weird. Besides, they make too much noise and eat all our Doritos. Lack of snack food always registers as a national emergency.

But anyway, all of the Show-Me State is focused on the yellow Tigers. They must have been the inspiration for that state motto, because Missourians obviously are waiting for something else to be shown besides mediocrity. Like, ya know, winning the Big 12 North. Or at least avoiding a loss to a lame-duck coach.

The Tigers lost their third-straight game over the weekend to, get this, IOWA STATE Yes, previously 3-8, Dan-McCarney-is-out-for-bombing-another-season Cyclones. Simply amazing. Even on the road, this is a game the Tigers should won easily. After all, quarterback Chase Daniel passed for 310 yards and a score.

But to be fair to Team Mediocre, this was the swan song for McCarney in Ames. It was one of those "Win one for the Gipper" deals for ISU. Honestly, we're not sure why he's being fired. It's a bit like the dorky, ugly guy dumping the faithful and hard-working woman for the chance at... something else. Thing is, who would put up with being in Ames long-term like McCarney did. Even though they've underachieved the past few years, they might regret this move if they plummet to the bottom of the North Division.

It appears that the purple kitties from Kansas State shot their season load on defeating Texas. A week after the biggest shocker in the conference season, KSU goes to Lawrence and gets rolled like a sleeping bag at a campout. And this is a week after a shellacking of the Longhorns. As Mr. Belding of "Saved by the Bell" fame would say: "HEY HEY HEY! WHAT IS GOING ON HERE!?!?!?!?!?"

We'll tell you what: A K-State team that's wildly inconsistent. Beat UT? Lose to Texas? What in the wild world of sports is going on?

And now we wonder how many times we can ask the same question over and over again. We think 12? What say you?

Ah, Thanksgiving. The big American excuse to eat a ton of food and watch a ton of football. As Yakov Smirnoff once said. "I need some wodka!" Er, no, I think it was "What a Country! Ah ah ah." Whatever. Everyone reading this and the teams we cover all have something to be thankful for. Below is this week's ranking, plus a small tidbit of what each team should be thankful for.

These teams are thankful...
1. TEXAS: ...That Colt McCoy is going to play this weekend. That Wal-terrrr Cron-kite does those "We're Texas" ads. That they've beaten OU twice, the most wins ever in two years against the Sooners.
2. OKLAHOMA: ...That Kevin Wilson hasn't killed anyone in a jealous rage. That Bob Stoops hasn't bolted for the Dallas Cowboys job... yet. That the Adrian Peterson "comeback" was more than likely just propaganda to keep their fans at bay. Hey, you don't want a 40-year-old middle school graduate wearing Wal-Mart specials to get pissed at you, either.
3. NEBRASKA: That they won the Big 12 North. That Zac Taylor wound up in Lincoln, saving Billy "Tommy Boy" Callahan. That there's nothing else to do in all of Nebraska.
4. TEXAS A&M: ...That they gig and they don't care what other's think. That Lassie reruns are still bouncing around. That, if Texas ever left the Union again, they'd become the "Texas Military Academy & Fried Chicken Stand." That Dennis Franchione won't beat UT, so fans can be generally mad at the Sham-size and work for a 2007 ouster. That they can't read minds of opponent's fans.
5. MISSOURI: ...That fans and opposing fans don't really take Mizzou seriously... even when they're supposed to be hailed as a contender. That they're based in Columbia and not Kansas City or St. Louis, so they don't have to hear all the sports talk shows. That Sonic doesn't do their PR campaigns: "A dominating program: Others have it, Mizzou don't."
6. KANSAS STATE: ...That purple is an in color right now. ("That Derek Zoolander is so hot right now!) That Ron Prince seems like a decent coach. That the program didn't just freefall back to Earth after Bill Snyder left. That Kansas highways really don't go on and on and on and on and on forever.
7. TEXAS TECH: ...That Mike Leach was born a pirate, 200 years too late. That the campus isn't in Cairo, Egypt. That the sandstorms really aren't that big, after all. That I-27 is a quick escape to... Amarillo. Wow, that sucks.
8. OKLAHOMA STATE: ...That their fan base doesn't make the playcalls. That they're bowl-eligible. That they're not based in McAlester. That orange is a color that warms to you. Or blinds you. That Mike Gundy likes Charlie's Chicken chunks so much he refers to them on a daily basis as part of his secret promotional deal.
9. KANSAS: ...That buffets aren't open 24 hours. That Lawrence isn't quite as liberal as San Francisco. That they're so close to Kansas City. That the New York Giants haven't busted them for stealing their uniform design. That basketball season overlaps the end of football season. That Bill Self left Illinois. Well...
10. IOWA STATE: That Dan McCarney gave them better years than they'll ever appreciate. That Ames isn't where South Dakota is. That they're not Northern Iowa. That they're just off I-35 and not just off of Lake Superior. That Seneca Wallace is making Cyclone fans proud in the NFL.
11. BAYLOR: That Colorado is in the league. That Baptists just say they don't drink and dance. That Dallas is a short drive away. That they have zero expectations. That Ann Richards saved them from an eventual Conference-USA rivalry with SMU, Houston, Louisiana Tech and UTEP. That they get BCS-level money. That Guy Morriss looks like a fat William Devane.
12. COLORADO: That a ski trip is just a short drive away. That people in the area have open feelings about Marajuana. That the town movie to be "Half-Baked." That Ralphie the Buffalo doesn't want a Red Rider B.B. Gun to take the team out of its misery.

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