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). It was a CRAZY weekend in the Big 12. We had plenty of surprises, and unfortunately all of them were bad. So, buckle up and get ready for a dose of reality.
West Virginia (Beat Eastern Kentucky 56-10)
There was one thing that really stuck out to me in the game that I wanted to see. And that was the run game which racked up 329 yards as Leddie Brown and Alec Sinkfield each had 123 yards rushing and two rushing scores. That was an area that the Mountaineers struggled in as they averaged under 80 rushing yards per game in 2019. Quarterback Jarret Doege looked good as well going 19/25 for 228 yards and 3 touchdowns. As good as the offense was, the defense looked even better as they held Eastern Kentucky to just 206 yards and 1 for 11 on third down. Now I probably am not going to put too much stock into this win because EKU did lose to Marshall 59-0 a week ago but being down 11 players heading into this game, I thought the Mountaineers made some improvements from last year.
Oklahoma (Beat Missouri State 48-0)
It was a nice coming out party for Spencer Rattler as he made some difficult throws look effortless. Rattler went 14/17 for 290 yards and 4 touchdowns. There were plenty of passes to go around as 12 players caught passes in this game, but it was Charleston Rambo and Marvin Mims who really shined on Saturday. As for the run game, it was a little lackluster, but it was nice to see freshman Seth McGowan get nine carries and score a touchdown. As for the defense, what a performance. The Sooners held Missouri State to go 0 for 11 on third down and allowed just a total of 135 yards.
Texas (Beat UTEP 59-3)
I do not know if it has happened before at Texas, but Sam Ehlinger threw for over 400 yards passing and had 5 passing touchdowns in this first half. It was a collected effort in the run game and in the passing game as well. Nobody rushed for over 50 yards yet overall, Texas ran for over 200 yards on the ground. But in the passing game, wide out Joshua Moore stood out with a long 78-yard touchdown catch and run. Overall, this Mike Yurcich offense looked good and on defense, Texas did what it was supposed to do as they held UTEP to just 3 points. It was a good win, but this is what I expect when Texas plays a cupcake.
Texas Tech (Beat Houston Baptist 35-33)
I used to have this rule that if you win, you are in my good graces. However, after this near disaster, I decided to take that rule and throw in right in the trash along with Texas Tech’s performance in this game. On Offense, quarterback Alan Bowman was very inconsistent despite throwing for 430 yards. He looked average on short passes and struggled with the deep ball. And his receivers did him now favors as they struggled to catch passes. Although, I really like what I saw from KeSean Carter and it is possible he could be their bets wide out this season. With that said, the offensive line looked good and despite HBU loading up the box, running back SaRodorick Thompson still found some wiggle room rushing for 118 yards and two scores.
Now, what in the hell was that defensive performance? The secondary was atrocious and got torched all night by the tune of 572 passing yards against Houston Baptist for crying out loud. Again, Houston Baptist threw for nearly 600 yards against Texas Tech. That is a HUGE problem and if Texas Tech does not get some of these issues in the secondary addressed, they will be torched all season long just like they were last season.
Iowa State (Lost 31-14 to Louisiana Lafayette)
It seemed that all the hopes and dreams of Iowa State cam crashing down in front of the world on Saturday. Let me get this out of the way first. I thought the defense played fine. They did a good job outside of giving up a 78-yard touchdown pass. With that said, the offense and special teams was a disaster. The special teams gave up a punt return and a kickoff return for a touchdown. Without those, maybe Iowa State squeaks by but that was not the case. Offensively, Brock Purdy looked rusty and his wide outs looked slow and struggled to get separation at times and yes, I understand that Charlie Kolar was out. On top of that, when Brock did make some decent throws, they were dropped. Even the offensive line did not bring it on Saturday, and I thought they looked average at best despite Breece Hall rushing for 103 yards and a score.
To sum it all up, the offense was stuck in the mud and the special teams were a dumpster fire. If the offense and special teams can match the defense, then Iowa State will look like a true Big 12 title contender. But that looks like a big if right now.
Kansas State (Lost 35-31 to Arkansas State)
I can probably count on my hands over the years to where I could say that the Kansas State passing game was better than the run game. And that was the case on Saturday for the Wildcats. Skylar Thompson threw for 259 yards and 2 touchdowns but that was not enough because the run game was stuck in neutral. The Wildcats rushed the football 39 times and averaged just 2.3 yards per carry and 91 yards overall. And to do that against a Sun Belt team in Arkansas State is not a good sign especially despite the line being inexperienced.
But the bigger issue here was the defense. The secondary was awful and got torched for 330 yards and I know than Arkansas State wide out Jonathan Adams Jr. will be a guy who plays on Sunday’s, but he looked like a man amongst boys out there. And I do not know what happened in this second half as far as adjustments go but the Red Wolves outscored the Wildcats 24 to 10 in the final two quarters. There is a lot to work on in Manhattan, Kansas and after yesterday, this looks like a team that will not finish in the top five of the Big 12.
Kansas (Lost 38-23 to Coastal Carolina)
I almost feel like I need to grab a drink right now to make it through this one. Thomas MacVittie got the start for Kansas and Miles Kendrick played plenty as well, but it was not nearly enough to overcome the Jayhawks first half mistakes. Kansas had three turnovers in the first half, and it put the defense in some bad spots and the Chanticleers were able to get 21 points off turnovers in the first half alone. And after two quarters, Kansas was already down 28 to 3.
While the Jayhawks did put some points on the board, that first half hole they dug themselves in was just too much to overcome. Too many mistakes and to be quite honest, head coach Les Miles did not even look ready and I thought he had some poor game management.
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