Big 12 North: Looking for one good team
In the preseason, I picked Colorado to win the Big 12 North. I thought the Buffs would be decent, they most definitely had the most favorable schedule and Dan Hawkins had to start doing something sometime, didn’t he? Then Colorado lost to Colorado State and got rolled by Toledo, and my pick looked silly.
Last week, I took another flier on Colorado. I decided to go with a daily double on my weekly Upset Special: Texas Tech to beat Nebraska straight up and Colorado to do the same to Kansas, straight up.
Darned if the Buffs didn’t pull it off. Under new starting quarterback Tyler Hansen, Colorado beat KU 34-30, and now look at the crazy North standings: Kansas State 2-1, Colorado 1-1, Nebraska 1-1, Kansas 1-1, Iowa State 1-2 and Missouri 0-2.
Suddenly, it’s not crazy to see Colorado winning the North. Kansas has the toughest schedule (OU, Texas and Tech). Missouri has a bad team. Nebraska has no offense. I can see Colorado winning at Iowa State and beating Texas A&M at Boulder. That’s three wins. CU also goes to Kansas State (this Saturday) and hosts Missouri. If the Buffs can split those two, that’s four wins. That means Colorado would host Nebraska on Thanksgiving Friday with a 4-3 record and perhaps the North Division title on the line.
Saturday night, someone asked me what’s the minimum number of wins for the division winner. The answer will startle you: three. The North champ conceivably could go 3-5.
Here’s how. If the North teams play as even as possible, you’d have three teams go 3-2 within the division and three teams go 2-3. Let’s say Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska are the three that go 3-2.
Kansas hosts OU and goes to Texas and Tech. That easily could be 3-5.
Nebraska hosts OU and goes to Baylor, plus already the Huskers have lost to Tech. It would be a huge upset if Nebraska lost to Robert Griffin-less Baylor, but with the way NU’s offense struggles, anything is possible.
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