1. Texas fans may be able to open their calendars following Saturday, December 5th. After what we saw on Saturday night in South Bend, I have a hard time figuring out how this team is going to make a bowl game. The offense was an absolute disaster, and while the defense showed promise, I’m not sure it’s good enough to hold teams scoreless … which is what will need to be done to get this team in the win column a few times.
2. That being said, I still believe Charlie Strong is the guy that can turn around this program. There is no one better to build character in young men and teams. He has had success at all his stops, but he needs time. This season will be worse than last year’s 6-7 record. But, it’s a very young team that is still searching for a quarterback. If I were the AD, he would get through 2016 to show serious promise before being on any kind of hot seat. I’m not selling Texas stock just yet.
3. Speaking of disappointments, Thursday night was far from a perfect showing for the Big 12. With a couple of nationally televised games, Oklahoma State had fans a little too close to the edge of their seats, considering they were playing Central Michigan. Then TCU had to hold off Minnesota late. Sure, the Gophers can win the Big 10 West, but still, TCU was a 17 point favorite and did not flash the same offensive bravado they did last season.
4. Sticking with TCU, their role has done a complete 180 from last season. In 2014, the Horned Frogs were able to keep their Cinderella story going while playing the underdog role in several games. This season, TCU goes from the hunter to the hunted. How well they handle the change will determine the outcome of their season.
5. As for Oklahoma State, I understand that Mike Gundy wanted to keep the playbook vanilla against an inferior opponent, but wasn’t that a bit much on Thursday night? The offense was very inconsistent, most notably the running game, behind an offensive line that was far from impressive. The Cowboys backfield received plenty of hype with a 3-headed monster of Chris Carson, Rennie Childs and Jeff Carr, but none of the three broke loose. Let’s see how the run game improves, or the play-calling becomes more complicated moving forward.
6. On Friday night, the Baylor Bears clearly didn’t miss a beat with Seth Russell stepping in at QB. It seems to me one of the reasons many people picked TCU over Baylor to win the Big 12, was because TCU returned Boykin at QB, while Baylor lost Bryce Petty. But, Art Briles has proven time and again his system works. From RG3, to Nick Florence, Bryce Petty and now Seth Russell, Baylor’s offense will be as potent as it’s ever been.
7. The most impressive unit of the weekend was the West Virginia Mountaineers defense. Sure, it was Georgia Southern, but they are still an FBS team coming off a 9-3 season where they led the country in rushing at 381 yards per game. WVU rolled to a 44-0 win while holding GSU to under 200 yards on the ground. We talked before the season about how good the WVU defense can be and how they could be the surprise team of the conference. Saturday did nothing but confirm my thoughts that it will be the best ‘D’ Dana Holgorsen has had during his Morgantown tenure.
8. Here is our tweet of the week. I want the Longhorns to succeed, it would be best for the health of the Big 12. But, it’s just too easy to not poke fun at them right now. Sorry, UT fans.
9. How about that Texas Tech defense, huh? Yikes. I honestly believed it would be drastically improved under new DC David Gibbs. But, allowing 45 points to Sam Houston State doesn’t bring the kind of confidence to the unit that Tech fans were hoping for. Let’s just say I’ll be eyeing a lot of the “overs” in Tech games in the coming weeks.
10. Yep, Oklahoma rolled Akron 41-3, but there were concerns, most notably on the offensive line. Oklahoma RB’s gained just 96 yards on 24 carries for an average of 4.0 YPC. Baker Mayfield was only sacked once, but that’s more a product of the style of the new air raid offense. OU does have turnover on their offensive line, and it’ll be a key as to whether or not they go on the road and beat Tennessee this weekend.
11. Ugh, I feel bad for the Kansas Jayhawks. They lost to South Dakota State 41-38 on Saturday and just … I don’t know. I feel for everyone involved. It’s one thing to just be bad and then it’s another thing to be embarrassed. If Saturday was any sign, the Jayhawks will feel plenty of embarrassment this season (and likely go 0-12). But, I love coach David Beaty. His comments after the press conference were fantastic as he held his head high, took personal blame for various mistakes (even if it was the players’ fault) and remained positive. It’s only one game, but he’s the man that can turn things around in Lawrence. I’ve always believed that.
12. After a 37-26-1 record last season, I started off 2015 with a 4-2 record this weekend. Since some Big 12 teams were playing FCS opponents, there were no spreads for those games. I lost Oklahoma State (annoyed at myself for that one) and OU (not annoyed, because if you told me OU would score 41, I would’ve felt good about an Akron cover of +33). Also, there weren’t many bets I’ve ever felt as good about as I did Notre Dame -9.5 on Saturday night …
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