1) It doesn’t matter if you bleed regular orange (Oklahoma State) or burnt orange (Texas) or any other color in the Big 12. If you are a fan of the Big 12 Conference, you should have been rooting for the Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday night against the Tennessee Volunteers. Thanks to the pathetically embarrassing nonconference schedule by the majority of Big 12 teams, this was the lone Big 12 matchup where the Big 12 could impress with a solid road win over a good SEC team. Kudos to Stoops & Co. for getting the job done. What a win and what a game. More coming up on this topic in this week’s podcast.
2) Baker Mayfield. What a stud. He doesn’t feel like your classic buttoned up Oklahoma Sooners QB (think Landry Jones, Sam Bradford). He’s got plenty of flash and swag, plus he has the game to go along with it. Some have predicted this to be a magical season for the Sooners because when Bob Stoops is being counted out, he often has a way and ability to come through. Certainly what happened on Saturday night in Knoxville would support those believers, but I’m still not buying it. The OU offensive line was beat most of the night, while the D-line remains a work in progress. I still believe this team finishes 3rd or 4th in the conference.
3) Last thing on this game, as I tweeted this last night from my personal account: Brad Nessler is the most underrated network play-by-play guy in the biz. No doubt about it. He has the “big game” voice, combined with a smoothness, ideal inflection, and no gimmicks. He’s the best college football play-by-play voice ESPN has (Sean McDonough right up there too) … and in terms of all sports is near the top with Dan Shulman and Mike Breen.
4) So, have the Texas Longhorns found their new quarterback? Has Texas officially moved on from Tyrone Swoopes into the Jerrod Heard era? In fairness, the Notre Dame defense Swoopes was facing was a just a touch different from the Rice defense Heard beat up on. Heard threw for 2 touchdowns, 216 yards and ran for 96, without a turnover. Also, Heard appeared to have a bit more personality, energy, and confidence than what we’ve seen from Swoopes. I’ll ride Heard for now. Although I think by 2017, neither player will be the starting QB in Austin (I’m looking at you, Shane Buechele).
5) I picked Baylor to win the Big 12 because I felt their defense would be better than TCU’s. But, so far that’s not the case. Baylor got off to a slow start against SMU in Week 1 allowing 21 1st half points (before pitching a shutout in the 2nd half) and then gave up 31 on Saturday to Lamar. Sure, they won the games by a combined 70 points, but that’s not really the point. Baylor has committed an atrocious 25 penalties over their first two games. Maybe the team is just sleepwalking through their pathetic non-conference schedule. If so, that’s all the more reason Briles should be scheduling better teams. If his team isn’t getting better and learning by playing these games than it will only hurt their chances at winning the Big 12 once conference play comes around.
6) Here is our tweet of the week … Andrew is spot on. ESPN suits were soiling their pants on Saturday night!
7)So, Kansas was a 13-point dog against Memphis and lost at home 55-23. It’s entirely possible every conference game will have the Jayhawks as at least a 3 touchdown underdog. Geez, you could have a 30+ point spread in games against Baylor and TCU. When is the last time a Power 5 conference team was a 30+ point underdog? Well, I found this cool story … the largest overcome point spread at the time … and it happened to be a conference game: Oregon State vs. Washington in 1985. Since then, it was Stanford upsetting USC in 2007 in what was a 41-point spread.
8) If you had told me that Kansas State would score 30 points against UTSA, I would’ve felt good about a UTSA 17-point cover. But, not the case. A week after the Roadrunners scored 32 against Arizona, the K-State defense shut them down. Unlike last season where the stars were on the offensive side in Jake Waters and Tyler Lockett, it looks like for K-State to compete with the top tier teams in the conference, they will have to be led by their defense. The studs reside in the secondary in Morgan Burns and Danzel McDaniel, but there has been improvement in the front 7, notably defensive tackles Travis Britz and Will Geary. While I don’t think this is one of those seasons where Bill Snyder shocks the nation and the Wildcats are 8-1 in early November, it will be fun to watch this team grow. They’ll be the most improved team in the Big 12 between Week 1 and the final week of the season.
9) Oh, Iowa State. I really thought they were going to hold on to their 17-10 lead and pull off the win. But, then came 21 unanswered points from the Hawkeyes in the second half. Overall, I think the Iowa State defense played better than the 31 points on the scoreboard may indicate. But, too many times Iowa QB C.J. Beathard would find open space on the ground to pick up big runs and key third downs. The ISU offense gained 244 yards in the first half, but only 66 more in the second half. The offensive line continues to struggle for ISU, with Sam Richardson being sacked 8 times over two games. Next up: Iowa State plays Toledo on Saturday, who, incase you’ve been living under a rock… upset Arkansas this week.
10) Speaking of Arkansas, I still believe this weekend’s Texas Tech vs. Arkansas game is the most intriguing in the Big 12. Did Arkansas get caught looking ahead? How good is Texas Tech’s offense? The Red Raiders have scored a combined 128 points in their first two games. Not sure they’ll exactly keep that 64.5 points per game clip going, but it’s been an impressive two weeks. Defensively, have the Red Raiders front 7 beefed up enough to stop a Razorbacks team that rolled all over Tech last season? This was listed as one of my most intriguing games in the Big 12 before the season began, and with the way the first two weeks have gone for both teams, it only becomes more interesting.
11) The TCU offense looked much better against Stephen F. Austin than it did against Minnesota. Sure, that’s to be expected. But still, the timing and crispness of Trevone Boykin & company was a welcomed sight after an opener in which the offense just looked out of sync. But, the TCU defense continues to be decimated by injuries, as Kenny Iloka was the latest victim (knee). Before the season, I believed it was TCU’s inexperienced D that would hold them back from reaching the College Football Playoff, and as you may expect, I don’t feel any different about that. But, if TCU does make a run at 12-0, this will prove Gary Patterson really is a miracle worker.
12) It was a horrible week for my Big 12 picks. I went 2-4 and needed to squeak out a victory in the Texas game to avoid a 1-5 week. That puts me at 6-6 on the season. Time to turn the page to Week 3.
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