Wall's World Week 8

I didn't want to do this, I really didn't. The grades column is one of the oldest and most overused column ideas in the history of the written word. This format of column actually dates back to the early 1780s, when Jebediah Springfield released a grades column ranking the members of George Washington's cabinet in Poor Richard's Almanac.

Okay, so I just made that all up, but the point remains, I've read about seven of them in the last three weeks. And so now it's time to write my own. (By the way, mad props to anyone who picks up the Simpsons reference and the two references to old-school American history). This is what you get for letting a former history minor, who is still painfully addicted to the History Channel, write a column.)


So without further ado, and in honor of the midterm grades just given out by the wonderful academic institution known as Iowa State University (note sarcasm here) I present the Wall's World midseason grades. And unlike my grades, these won't cost you an arm and both legs to get.


We'll start in the South and move our way down, ending with the Cyclones. That's my hook to try to get you to read this entire column.




This has been an up and down season already for the Bears. They are 2-1 in the conference (the only loss to Texas) and yet they are just 3-4 overall. After narrowly missing a bowl last year, many (including me) thought that this might be the year Baylor finally makes it into the postseason. Now I'm not sure…or am I?


Two wins in the conference is impressive, even if those wins are over Kansas State and Colorado (although that win is looking better and better). But three non-conference losses is a bit disappointing. TCU is 0-2 in their conference and the other two losses are to Washington State and Army. Baylor needed a couple of those games to help their cause with four of their five remaining games coming against South teams.






Things just aren't going right for the Sooners. First your idiot quarterback gets kicked off the team for taking improper benefits. Then you get screwed by the officials and have a win against Oregon taken away. Then your only offensive threat breaks his collarbone. Not good at all. Their season was starting to get on track, but now they're ready for a nosedive. Still, these are first half grades, so I can't take points away for what will happen.




Oklahoma State


Kudos to the Cowboys for winning the old fashioned way. By scheduling four absolute cupcakes for their non-conference schedule…and then losing to one of them? Oklahoma State started 3-0 and then lost to Houston and Kansas State. Ouch. A win over Kansas (and an impressive one at that) got them back on the right track, but don't expect that to continue. They will lose their final six games.






Not even replacing Vince Young could keep Texas from having success. The Longhorns are just fine with Colt McCoy now under center. Their only loss of the season came at the hands of No. 1 Ohio State, a team that is every bit as good as advertised. Their 28-10 win over Oklahoma was impressive, as was the 63 points they hung on Baylor. Mack Brown and his boys are No. 5 in the polls, but sit in the ninth spot in the BCS standings. Somehow the computers think Notre Dame is better then Texas. (Reason 64,973 that the BCS is a load of crap.) If Texas keeps winning and there is only one one-loss team at the end of the season, look for the Longhorns to have a chance to defend their national title.




Texas A&M


My personal congratulations go out to A&M for their job well done against Missouri last week. I'm not a big Missouri fan in anything, and seeing the Tigers go down was quite nice. But to the Aggies. They are one of two Big 12 South teams who can clinch a bowl bid this week, after I didn't even think they would make one this year. Their only real stumbling blocks the rest of the season are Oklahoma (who is going to tank without Adrian Peterson) and Nebraska. A&M can win both of those. This means their regular season finale against Texas could be for a spot in the Big 12 Championship game. Having an offense that averages 200 yards both rushing and passing and a rush defense that is only giving up 108 yards per game doesn't hurt either.




Texas Tech


The South's biggest disappointment. This was supposed to be the year where the Red Raiders finally challenged for the Big 12 South crown. Think again! Tech only managed three points against TCU and six against Colorado. That's not going to it done. They're also 1-2 in the Big 12, already eliminating themselves from any sort of title chase.



And now on to the North!




New coach. New system. New non-criminal atmosphere. Oh yeah, and I have a feeling Gary Barnett left the Colorado cupboard a little bare when he left. Colorado is bad this year but that will change soon. Dan Hawkins is a great coach and he already has a stout defense to build around. Watch out, this program will be back on top soon.




Iowa State


It's time to stop pulling punches and just tell the truth. This is the most disappointing team in the history of Iowa State football. This team is underachieving. They make the same mistakes week after week after week and don't seem to do anything to correct them. Their offensive line is awful and on the unlikely occasion the line does produce a hole to run through, the backs couldn't find it if given a map. The offensive scheme is extremely predictable and the defense couldn't stop me and Blum.


Oh, and look at the rest of the roster. There is no one at any position (except receiver and quarterback) who is ready to step in when the starter graduates. Whoever has been in charge of recruiting over the past couple seasons has really dropped the ball.


I don't want Coach Mac to be fired and I don't think he should be, but he really needs to clean house in the football offices (Barney Cotton, I'll help you pack). Things have to change soon or maybe we should just start all over.


We were told how good the offense was supposed to be, how with Stevie Hicks healthy we finally had the one-two punch that could take the team places. Well, Stevie's 89 yards against Oklahoma was the first time he'd broken 75 since the UNLV game. This team can't run and the line doesn't give Bret Meyer enough time to pass. We were told how good this offense was supposed to be over and over, until we started to believe it ourselves. Well, we were lied to. This offense has 35 total points in three Big 12 games. Take away Todd Blythe and they have two receiving touchdowns. Take away Bret Meyer and they have four rushing touchdowns. Take away Toledo and their three overtimes and this team hasn't cracked 30 points once this season. This is a bad offense and a bad defense that is going to get worse due to a couple key injuries.  


WALL'S GRADE: One big, angry F




Let's all just point and laugh and feel sorry for Kansas. This is a dead end program that isn't going to do anything for the rest of the season. They are one of only two Big 12 teams (Iowa State the other, thank you) who haven't won a conference game yet this year. They'll get one or two wins (at Iowa State is a definite possibility) but they made a bowl last year and this start has to be a disappointment.




Kansas State


At first glance, their 4-3 record with a brand new coach looks impressive. Until you dig deeper. This is a lost Wildcat team. They coach verbally assaults players in practice, making a couple of them just walk off the field and quit in the past couple weeks. Not a good start. That fact and a lot of loosing – their next four games – will definitely hurt his job security in Manhattan.






I knew it, I just knew it. Last week I finally threw my support behind Gary Pinkel and the Tigers and what did they do? They lost. I could have told you it would happen that way. Are the Tigers for real? I still don't know. They didn't play anyone in their non-conference schedule, but they beat the crap out of those teams. Then they handled Texas Tech before losing to A&M. I'm still not ready to commit to the Tigers, but things look good. They play Oklahoma post-Adrian Peterson and can definitely win that game. Just like the Texas-Texas A&M game could decide the South winner, the Missouri-Nebraska game on Nov. 4 could decide the North.






The Huskers are winning again. They jumped out to a 3-0 Big 12 start, squeaking past Kansas and then pounding Iowa State and Kansas State. The easy part of their schedule is past, but the Huskers just might be back. Their only loss of the season was to USC, not a bad team to lose to, especially on the road. The Huskers have a balanced offense (both facets ISU could do absolutely nothing with) and a stingy rush defense. These guys are good.




And now for my weekly picks:


Iowa State over Texas Tech

Texas over Nebraska

Oklahoma over Colorado

Texas A&M over Oklahoma State

Missouri over Kansas State

Baylor over Kansas



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