Baylor Bears

Five Biggest Takeaways From Week 1 of the Big 12 Football Season

NCAA Football: Texas Tech at Wyoming

Week 1 of the Big 12 football season is in the books as the college football season begins the 2023 campaign. There were 14 games on the docket, and there were some great performances, such as UCF, K-State, Oklahoma and others, while Texas Tech, Baylor and TCU were some of the more forgettable games of the weekend.

So with a wild week in the books, here are the five biggest takeaways from Week 1 in the Big 12 Conference.


Double-Digit Favorites Shocked

It started with TCU as a nearly three-touchdown favorite losing outright to Colorado, as Coach Prime shocked the world and led the Buffaloes to an outright win on Saturday in Fort Worth. Ouch for a TCU program that was in the Natty last year. Then, came the Baylor shocker, losing as four-touchdown favorites to Texas State. In the nightcap, Texas Tech also lost as a big favorite to Wyoming on the road.

Granted, I said on my preseason Big 12 preview podcast I thought many were too high on Baylor and TCU. I had both finishing in the bottom half of the Big 12, with Baylor near the bottom. However, I did have Texas Tech making the Big 12 Title game. That’s not impossible, I still think the talent is there. Heck, look at K-State, who lost to Tulane last year and then won the Big 12. But obviously there is work to do.

As the three Texas-based members of the previously-dubbed “Hateful 8”, it was a bad weekend for those three to start off the 2023 season.

The New Four Balled Out

4-0 for the new guys in the Big 12 after UCF rolled Kent State, Cincinnati crushed Eastern Kentucky, Houston beat UTSA (who they were underdogs against), and BYU handled Sam Houston State. As rough as it was for some of the “old” Big 12 teams, it was that good for the new guys, as each of them looked like teams who could end up finishing higher in the Big 12 than many of the preseason predictions. In fairness, there might also have been bias against them as they make the jump to the Power 5, but I can find reason to believe each will beat preseason expectations.


Oklahoma and Texas Strong Starts

In their final season in the Big 12, OU and Texas got off to strong starts with Oklahoma rolling Arkansas State and Texas beating Rice in convincing fashion. Granted, neither played stiff competition, but much can be said for other Big 12 teams who struggled against mediocre, at best, competition. So all in all, when there’s not a ton to take away in a blowout win, at least these two blew out their competition, which many around the conference can’t say.

This doesn’t mean I am now predicting them to win the Big 12 based on Week 1, I’m not there, but neither program gave me a reason to believe they’re destined to disappoint, at least not any more than we were already projecting.

QB Questions

You’ve got to have a quarterback to do anything in this sport. If you don’t you’ll have issues. West Virginia hasn’t had a high-end QB since Will Grier and it continued to show itself to start the season in a 38-15 loss to Penn State. Garrett Greene is a nice player, but is he the guy who can win at a high-level at a Power 5 level? I have serious doubts. There is actually a lot of talent on the WVU offense with the entire offensive line back, CJ Donaldson is a stud at running back and Devin Carter has the potential to be the best WVU wide receiver in a few years. But with Greene running the show, it’s hard to see how they score at the pace they need to to win several games this season.


Meantime in Stillwater, Mike Gundy played three quarterbacks on Saturday in Garret Rangel, Alan Bowman and his son, Gunnar Gundy. Many criticized Gundy for putting his son in in a close game against Central Arkansas, but to be honest, no one else was necessarily moving the needle, so why not give him a shot? But either way, it’s the old saying of if you have multiple quarterbacks, you actually have none. Let’s see if OSU can find one before conference play.

Hot Seats Warming?

After WVU got crushed by Penn State, does Neal Brown’s seat continue to heat up? He clearly has the hottest seat of any coach in the conference, and while a loss to Penn State isn’t anything to be ashamed of, Brown needs to pick up some big wins at some point this season to keep his job. And the fact that the game wasn’t close in the second half doesn’t help.

Meantime, before the season I had Baylor’s Dave Aranda with a seat that wasn’t red hot or warm, but rather at a “simmer”. I still don’t think it’s warm, but if Saturday’s loss to Texas State is a sign of things to come this season for Baylor, then Aranda’s seat could be warm by the end of the year as the 2021 Big 12 Championship will continue to seem like a distant memory. Baylor was a favorite to win the Big 12 last year and barely made a bowl game. So let’s see how this team progresses from here.

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