Overrated or Underrated: Big 12 Football
Sam Mayes from the mMm Ranch will be doing his “Overrated or Underrated” throughout the entire Fall to add on from the mMm Ranch’s radio segment that we all are accustomed to. He will discuss a single topic and talk who, what, and why that someone, or something, is “overrated” or “underrated”.
We are at a crossroads again. Texas was back after a big win over what was supposed to be a contending Notre Dame team that also went below .500 on the season in 2016. This happened before the Longhorns stumbled all the way to the finish line that included a loss to Kansas. It is these things that cannot be unseen.
Well, Tom Herman is now the head coach on the 40 Acres. They have a team with a ton of athletes that are buying in to what Herman is saying. Not only are the players buying what he is selling, but the media covering Texas and around the country are also buying in. The issue does not stem from the fact that the University of Texas will not have a successful season–it comes from the fact that these expectations may be inflated.
The Longhorns have not been over .500 since 2013 and have not win ten games or more since they played for a national championship in the 2009 season. Offensively, they have a quarterback that is unproven. Shane Buechele is in the same position Mason Rudolph was in his sophomore season, but Oklahoma State arguably had the more proven receiving corps two years ago than Texas does right now. The Horns lack a defensive a identity, too. They were out of position and out of mind for most of the 2016 season. Does this change in just one offseason? This is a program that fell so far that they lost in Lawrence, Kansas for the Jayhawks first Big 12 win in just over two years.
It is not about who Texas has in their head coaching office. It is not about the athletes that Texas has in their newly renovated locker-room. It is that these expectations of a nine or ten win season are unheralded. The last 8 years have proven that it takes more than just being a salesman to win football games in Austin, Texas. If Tom Herman and the media covering Texas expected a six or seven win season, that would probably be status quo for the entire country. Instead, the hype train is at an all-time high with some even predicting a Big 12 Championship out of Texas this year. For that, Texas is overrated.
Want to talk about going from one end of the spectrum to the other? Well, I have news for you–Kansas is an underrated football team heading into the 2017 season. These Jayhawks will not be at the bottom of the Big 12 this year.
If you pay attention to Big 12 football, then you know that David Beaty loves his football program at Kansas just as much as Nick Saban or Urban Meyer love their own. You can tell with the vigor in which they are recruiting at. David Beaty is making it a big deal to play at a place like Kansas even if these recruits are not getting the same attention as those who are heading to major power five programs. Add in that they are bringing in transfers from major programs like Alabama, and it is easy to see why many gravitate towards a coach like David Beaty.
Beaty knew this would not be easy. A 2-22 overall record after two years suggests just that. However, it is easy to look at what Mark Mangino did at Kansas and see that if someone fully buys in to that program, they can bring it close to the top of the Big 12. The University of Kansas won an Orange Bowl in the Mangino Era–you know how weird that sounds? Beaty is not acting like a Charlie Weis and treating his job at Kansas like an investment with the only return being money.
It is not about winning a Big 12 Title or pushing for ten wins this year for David Beaty and Kansas. It is that these Jayhawks will not be bottom dwellers of this conference anymore. They will not beat any of the upper echelon of this conference, but they will compete against the top-tier teams and win games against teams like Texas Tech, Iowa State, and Baylor. For that, Kansas is underrated.