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Picking the North versus the South

Yesterday, you saw my all-star teams broken down by division.

Before I offer my pick, here's a few thoughts and observations that emerged from selecting those teams.

  • In comparing the divisions, there are several lopsided positions. The Big 12 South is every bit the quarterback oasis we thought it was, while the North, outside of Blaine Gabbert's arm and Taylor Martinez's legs, is a bit of a wasteland. All five quarterbacks in the South -- plus Steven Sheffield -- would represent the North after Gabbert, and based on the way Martinez played in conference games, maybe him, too.

  • The same goes for the South and receivers. Somehow, Jeff Fuller couldn't make the South team, because he's got a pair of Biletnikoff finalists ahead of him. T.J. Moe and Scotty McKnight can get open in the middle of the field and both catch everything, but it's clear that all the big, fast receivers are in the South. The three aforementioned receivers, plus Kendall Wright, Lyle Leong, Detron Lewis and maybe Ryan Swope could have represented the North.

  • Meanwhile, the running backs are the opposite, like we thought at the beginning of the year. Kendall Hunter is the league's best, but DeMarco Murray might have been bumped off the South team by a number of North backs, including Rodney Stewart, Daniel Thomas, Roy Helu Jr. Murray racks up a lot of catches and is probably more dangerous in the open field than any of those previous three, but those three got it done between the tackles way more often than Murray.

  • Speaking of tackles, are there any good defensive tackles in the Big 12 North outside of Jared Crick? There are a lot of ends, so I put three on the team. Outside of maybe Nebraska's Baker Steinkuhler and Missouri's Terrell Resonno, there aren't many guys to fear in the middle of Big 12 North defenses. Could that perhaps be an explanation for the success of backs like Stewart, Thomas, and Helu? Can't hurt.

So what would happen?

Like we mentioned before, you'd see both teams rely on their strengths. If Blaine Gabbert is stepping back and throwing the ball 45 times to guys like McKnight and Moe all day, he's going to need a ton of completions to do it. The safer bet is to rely on those backs and a pretty strong offensive line. Ricky Henry and Zach Kendall might be two of the best run blockers in the Big 12, and their ballcarrier teammates benefited, so have them lead the way at the two guard positions.

It'd be a bit of a throwback offense for Gabbert, who is used to the spread at Missouri and in high school, but hey, it's only one game, right? He'll be OK. If the North was going to pull the upset, it'll have to do it with downhill running.

Meanwhile, expect the South to mix in plenty of those downhill runs with wide-open passing like most of them are used to. Swing passes to backs like Hunter and Murray would work well, and Ward served nicely as a lead blocker for Hunter.

Can you imagine the "backs" or "diamond" formation with Hunter, Murray and Ward? That's scary.

Through the air, how fantastic would Amukamara vs. Blackmon on one side and Broyles vs. Dennard on the other be? I want this game to happen. Somebody get Boone Pickens on the phone.

This game would be closer than it might seem coming in because of the North's salty secondary. That said, give me the boys down South by a touchdown.

South 27, North 20.