A few days ago, there was an open debate raging in the comments thread about what kind of opponent UW ought to aspire to play in what appears in all likelihood to be the Alamo Bowl. With the blowouts of Texas and Oklahoma by Baylor and OkSt yesterday, we now know that the field for likely Big 12 opponents in any Alamo Bowl matchup is between the threesome of Kansas State, Baylor and Oklahoma.
So, who do you want to play?
1) Kansas State
K-State is the most interesting of the three options as they are the highest ranked opponent and they also may be the most favorable matchup when you lay out strength on strength analysis. K-State features a run-first offense that, statistically speaking, is among the top 30 in the nation but only ranks in the 100's in terms of passing game. Their QB, Collin Klein, is their main weapon on offense and has shown a knack for knowing when to throw and when to tuck and run. He just barely leads the team in total rushing this season, just ahead of John Hubert. This team feels like Nebraska in how it executes its offense. They've had a remarkable year under the venerable Bill Snyder who, just three years into his return to the sideline, has them knocking on the door of a BCS bowl. That said, K-State is up to its familiar tricks in terms of scheduling. Their best win is their only one against a ranked opponent (I should count Texas ... but I'm not) - a one point squeaker vs Baylor - and they lost to both the Oklahoma schools rather convincingly. In addition, if you throw out Kansas, they've had only one other game this season (Kent St) where they have won by more than 7 points. This is a team that is good - but beatable - and has benefited from a lot of breaks throughout the season. They went into this weekend ranked #11.
Baylor features, in my opinion, the best player in college football this season - Robert Griffin III. RG3 has had a remarkable season throwing for nearly 4000 yards and 36 TDs on 72% accuracy. His production is better than Matt Barkley, better than Trent Richardson and, sorry, way better than Andrew Luck. He deserves the Heisman. Baylor is fifth in the nation in passing and 18th in the nation in rushing. Their running attack is built on the legs of both RG3 (650 yds, 9 TDs) and RB Terrance Ganaway - a TB who has exploded for nearly 400 yds in his last two games (Texas Tech and Texas). Defensively, Baylor is very vulnerable - ranking around 110th in total D. Looking at the schedule, their signature wins this year are squeakers against TCU (one of the best games I've ever seen) and Oklahoma while they lost to Oklahoma St, K-State and Texas A&M. A matchup against Baylor would be a preview of every Apple Cup to come that involves Mike Leach.
Oklahoma is a team just trying to hang on. They've suffered greatly this year on the injury front with season-enders to Heisman candidate WR Ryan Broyles and RB Dominique Whaley. The absence of these playmakers has put the onus on stud QB Landry Jones - the successor of some dude named Sam Bradford. Landry has not responded well. He has not thrown a TD pass in his last three games and has just 2 TDs vs 5 INTs over his last four. On the defensive side, Oklahoma has received much criticism - but the reality of it is that OK is a pretty good defensive team and absolutely has the talent to stand up against the better offenses in college football. Oklahoma has notched some good victories this year - including a big win against #5 FSU early in the year and a convincing clown stomp of K-State midseason. But it also has three losses including getting blown out in Bedlam as well as close ones to both Baylor and Texas Tech. This Oklahoma team is playing through one of their most difficult stretches under Bob Stoops. While they may be the most "down" team of the three, they would also be the most prestigious opponent - a criterion that is very important to some of us on this blog. Given their "wounded bear" status, Oklahoma may be the most dangerous of the three possibilities.
So, who do you want? and, who do you think will get it?