I hear it all the time, “Who has the best conference in college football?” SEC? Big 10? ACC? What about the Pac-12? Very rarely are you going to hear the words “Big 12” coming out of someone’s mouth in that conversation. Whether you do it or not, there are plenty of folks out there who love to bash the Big 12 conference (cough, Paul Finebaum, cough). Week 4 was full of many surprises in just about every game for the Big 12. From defensive surprises, new contenders and pretenders, this past week had a little bit of everything. As always, there was the good, the bad and the ugly.
TCU (Beat Oklahoma State 44-31 in Stillwater)
Everyone knew that this team could have a big bounce back year on one condition, quarterback Kenny Hill. What people didn’t know is how good the Horned Frogs rushing attack would be and how stout their defense is. On Saturday TCU rushed for 228 yards and had a time of possession of 39 minutes and 4 seconds. Kenny Hill threw for 228 yards and had 1 TD and 1 INT while RB Darius Anderson continues to be a star in this league. Defensively they disrupted the Cowboy offense and got pressure on Mason Rudolph in key situations. This team is showing you that they don’t need Kenny Hill to throw for 300 yards every game to win football games. They chew the clock offensively to wear defenses down and control the game. Which in return gives their excellent defense more time to rest in this pass happy league. This team is very well in sync and understands what they need to do to win football games. Imagine the offense being a cold beer straight form the ice chest and the defense is a cold frosty mug. This is how well these units are working with one another on Saturdays and it equals a great product on the field much like the refreshing taste of the beer in the frosty mug. This team is for real folks.
Baylor Offense (Lost 49-41 to Oklahoma at Home)
If you are wondering why I didn’t put just Baylor on here is because their defense was horrible in this game much like it has been all season so far. The Beas gave up nearly 350 rushing yards to the Sooners and it could have been worse if Oklahoma would have run the football more. But I have-to give credit to the Baylor offense. Quarterback Zach Smith was outstanding in this game going 33/50 for 463 yards & 4 TDs. WR Denzel Mims was money in this game catching 11 passes for 192 yards and 3 TDs. What is crazy is that I thought Baylor would rely heavily on the running game to control the clock but that wasn’t the case. This offense didn’t look like anything we have seen the previous 3 games. They looked like a Baylor offense from the Art Briles era (I know, we all hate him) and have finally found not only a quarterback but an identity on offense.
Oklahoma State (Lost 44-31 to TCU)
How many of you reading this thought that Oklahoma State would start 0-1 in conference play before the season started? Well, I sure as hell didn’t and if you did then I am probably calling bulls**t. Let’s start with the defense, shall we? They gave up over 200 yards rushing to TCU and most importantly could not get off the field on third down (TCU went 11-19). TCU RB Darius Anderson averaged over 6 yards per carry and this defense was on the field for almost 40 minutes of this game. To make matters worse, their offense was held to 10 points midway in the third quarter. The Cowboys rushing attack only managed to average a little over 3 yards per carry on 31 attempts and QB Mason Rudolph was flustered in the pocket at times. OSU had both RG Larry Williams and RT Zach Crabtree out for the game and newcomers Johnny Wilson and Tevin Jenkins struggled in pass protection.
One of the biggest issues I had was with two particular-calls in key situations. The Cowboys were down 13 with 6 minutes left at the TCU 22-yard line. Offensive Coordinator Mike Yurcich calls a double pass for WR Jalen McCleskey? The play resulted in an interception to give TCU the ball back. Seriously? That is your play call in that situation? You have one of the best quarterbacks in the entire country and in crunch time, you call that. Not an ideal time to get cute with the play calling. Also, with 3 minutes left, OSU was down 6. They were kicking off and instead of a pooch kick they kick it straight to KaVontae Turpin who returns it to midfield before icing the game with a Darius Anderson TD run.
West Virginia Mountaineers and Kansas Jayhawks Defense (WVU beat Kansas 56-34 in Lawrence)
Where should we start here? Let’s go with the Mountaineer defense first. I understand you won the football game, congrats you beat Kansas (Which you were supposed to do). What I can’t figure out is how in the world do you let Kansas rush for 367 yards on your defense. I get it, you were up 35-13 at the half but my goodness take some pride in what you are doing defensively regardless of the score. Kansas RB Khalil Herbert is good but you let him run for nearly 300 yards himself? If you have seen my periscopes (Tuesdays at 8:30 PM CT) then you know that I think Kansas has found a stud RB in Khalil Herbert but you made him look like an All-American tailback this past weekend. I have never seen the Mountaineer defense ever give up this many rushing yards. If Tony Gibson (DC) doesn’t get this fixed then West Virginia is going to be in for a wild ride for the rest of the season.
As for Kansas, this is nothing new defensively. The Jayhawks have been poor on defense all season long to MAC teams and I am not surprised that a Big 12 team rolled them for a tune of 635 total yards. It is not just the run defense or the pass defense, both are atrocious and at times it’s almost like putting tabasco sauce in your eyes when you are watching them. The Kansas offense looks improved but it appears that the defense has taken big steps in the wrong direction from last season’s progress.