Big XII race is wide open

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This weekend will be a pivotal weekend in the Big XII as there are two match-ups between ranked teams and one match up of two teams poised to make the playoffs. These two games could have a big bearing on the conference race as well as the playoff race.

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FCS Round up – Week 1

While most people will choose to only pay attention to the FBS side of college football, there is another side to the sport and this side has been doing it the right way with playoffs every season and has done it successfully. That is why I will pick a few games each week to spotlight and try to keep everyone informed of what is happening on the lower level of the FCS. This week we saw 4 FCS teams go in and beat the supposedly superior FBS teams.

Towson 33
Uconn 18

This victory over the Huskies is considered the biggest win in school history for Towson and their first win over an FBS opponent. For the Tigers, they come into the season with a chip on their shoulder after being left out of the playoffs last season. This was the first time the Huskies lost to an FCS opponent since 2001, this loss is also shocking because a lot of people predicted the Huskies to be much improved this season. Towson will play at Holy Cross next weekend.

Incarnate Word 7
Central Arkansas 58

Incarnate Word is relatively new to the college football game, they started their program in 2009, and they are in their first season as an FCS team. Their first test came against a team who has made back to back trips to the playoffs. Unfortunately for Incarnate Word, they were shut out most of the game until four minutes to go in the game and scored their first and only touchdown of the game. Central Arkansas scored twice every quarter and the game was in no doubt from the start. Incarnate Word will face Sam Houston St. on 9/21, while the Bears of Central Arkansas will face Colorado next weekend.

N. Dakota St. 24
Kansas St. 21

In the one game that seemed to make the most headlines in week one, was the Bison of N. Dakota State upsetting the defending Big XII champions Kansas State at home. But for anyone who has followed FCS football, this is not the first time the Bison have done this. They have knocked off an FBS opponent each of the last four years(Kansas, Minnesota, Colorado St.). Also the Bison are defending back to back champions in the FCS. Coach Boles even commented “we have had a lot of these types of wins, but never over a program like this”. The Bison will be continuing their march towards a third straight playoff run next weekend against Ferris St.

E. Washington 49
Oregon State 46

This game drew a lot of attention nationally because Oregon State was ranked #25 in the country and figured to roll over E. Washington easily. But Vernon Adams had another idea and threw for 407 yards and rushed for 107 in this upset victory. When asked if he thought his team overlooked E. Washington, coach Riley said “I don’t, I feel it would be disrespectful to them to say that”. This will garner more national attention for Eastern Washington who has been a playoff team in the FCS and looks to return to the playoffs this season.

Houston Baptist 0
Sam Houston St. 74

The Sam Houston Bearkats are in hunt for their third straight FCS title game and they started that off with impressive fashion in winning big and by shutout. The Houston Baptist Huskies were playing their first game as a football program and will look to be joining the Southland Conference in 2014. This game just shows the nation, the Bearkats are going to be good again this year and have one goal in mind, return to Frisco for a shot at the elusive championship.

McNeese St. 53
South Florida 21

The McNeese St. Cowboys are no stranger to beating FBS caliber teams after beating three teams in the Sun Belt Conference in the past, but this victory was a step up for a team who has been a winning program at the FCS level. Quarterback Cody Stroud threw for 207 yards and two TD’s in the win. This will again add credence to the FCS being a very competitive division. McNeese will hope to stay in the conversation for a conference championship and make a deep playoff run this season.

Can Kansas State stay undefeated?

The Kansas State Wildcats have proven to be one of the best teams in the Big XII conference but in that span, they have shown to be one of the best teams in the nation after Alabama’s upset, rising to a #1 ranking. This has caused all of the national “experts” to jump out and declare that K-State won’t be able to stay in the National title hunt because… (Insert absurd reason here).

Everybody wants to scream and holler about who is, or isn’t the best team in country and why they think their choice is the best. Kansas State has done what has been asked of them all season, beat the opponents scheduled ahead of them, and do it with an exciting quarterback in Collin Klein. With two games left on the schedule, it looks like finishing up undefeated is a strong possibility.

With games remaining against Baylor and Texas, the final hurdles won’t be easy because both teams could prove to be tougher than they look on paper. Any overlooking by the Wildcats could end up costing them big, in terms of a BCS bowl and or possibly a chance to play for the National Championship. But once again, some “talking heads” on ESPN will tell you that the wildcats will get passed by an undefeated Oregon and possibly an undefeated Notre Dame.

The only think K-State can control is if they win or lose the next two games, and they do hold their destiny in their hands. This is a very experienced team, with a great leader in Klein and a veteran coach who has been around the block many times over. If the Wildcats take care of business, they could be sitting pretty in the BCS standings.

Kansas State is still an underdog team to make it to the National Championship in everyone’s eyes, but they would be a great story if they make it.

 

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The Big XII is changing

The last few seasons of the Big XII has been interesting to say the least. First we saw the departure of Nebraska and Colorado. But that same season Texas A&M and Missouri also flirted with leaving but decided to stay put. Then after last season both A&M and Missouri would decide to depart to the SEC.

While it looked like the Big XII was going on life support and free for the picking by other conferences, but the Big XII wasn’t going to roll over and die just yet.  TCU was lured away from an impending Big East move to a more local conference with the chance to be competitive and continue the momentum they had built up over the last five years.

While luring TCU was a great grab for the conference, they still needed to land another team, Then it came about West Virginia was unhappy in the Big East and wanted to find a new home. After some back and forth, West Virginia had agreed to come join the Big XII conference. This added in the eastern time zone and brings an exciting brand of football to the conference.

The 2012 season looks to be a very exciting season for the Big XII, and for the first time in 3 years, the conference looks to be at peace. But it is doubtful the growth is over for the Big XII, everyone at the league office says the Conference is done expanding for now. There have been rumors that some other teams from the East are interested in joining the Big XII. The question will ultimately be when they are brought in and not so much if.

Exciting times are ahead for the Conference and if there are additions in the future, it will only help build the Conference back into a true power conference.

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