Week 4 of the Big 12 football season is in the books as the college football season gets into the thick of conference play, especially in the Big 12. There were eight games on the docket, and there were some impressive performances, such as Texas and Kansas, while Oklahoma State, Baylor and Texas Tech were some of the more disappointing teams of the weekend.
So with another great week in the books, here are the five biggest takeaways from Week 4 in the Big 12 Conference
Tough Big 12 Start for the New Guys
The new guys in the Big 12 Conference didn’t have themselves a great first conference showing. Flashback to last week, where Houston got rolled by TCU 36-13. The other three new Big 12 teams played their first conference game on Saturday and Cincinnati lost to Oklahoma 20-6, while BYU fell to Kansas 38-27 and UCF lost to Kansas State 44-31. Now all three new teams were underdogs, so they weren’t awful losses, but the idea that any of the three were going to step in a roll through the Big 12 was always farfetched (and in fairness, no one was really predicting this anyway). UCF and BYU seem like the two who are further along than the other two, but Cincinnati’s defense is going to keep it in a lot of games as well. Houston looks like the bottom feeder of the bunch.
From Bad to Worse
There were three teams who had unexpectedly bad starts to the season, and on Saturday, they went from bad to worse. Like way worse. Baylor began the year 1-2, but hosted Texas on Saturday in what is likely to be the final time in who knows how many years, or maybe ever. It was a chance for Dave Aranda to get back in the good graces of fans who might have been questioning him. Well Saturday night only made things worse as Baylor got manhandled by Texas and lost 38-6.
Earlier in the day, Mike Gundy took his Oklahoma State Cowboys, fresh off a drumming by South Alabama, to Ames, Iowa and lost to the Cyclones 34-27. While Gundy stuck with one quarterback, Alan Bowman, for the entire game, the Pokes still look like a team that is in for a long, and disappointing, season.
And then Texas Tech, who many, myself included, were calling a dark horse to win the Big 12, fell to 1-3 after putting up a stinker in Morgantown and losing to West Virginia 20-13. To make matters worse, starting quarterback Tyler Shough got injured and never returned, and he reportedly broke his fibula. Now, it’s up to Behren Morton to try and right the ship and not lost this season.
There were three teams looking to feel better coming into Week 4. Three teams who felt their Week 3 performances did not indicated who they really are as a team. And all three did just that on Saturday.
Last week, Iowa State lost to Ohio, while Kansas struggled with Nevada and Texas was tied with Wyoming in the fourth is quarter. Well Iowa State, for all its early season on and off-field troubles, is 1-0 in conference play after beating Oklahoma State, and now travel to Norman to play the Sooners this weekend.
Kansas is also 1-0 in league play and 4-0 on the season after taking care of BYU and looking like the more dominant team with a 38-27 victory. And then Texas absolutely smoked Baylor 38-6 in Waco.
I’m not predicting all three to be at the top of the standings come the end of the year, but I do look at Texas the team to beat in the league right now, while Kansas might be the dark horse we have been waiting to pinpoint in this conference after the first month of play.
Say Hi to DJ Giddens
Not really, but D.J. Giddens did make K-State fans forget about Deuce Vaughn, at least for one night. Giddens had more rushing yards (202) than Vaughn ever had in a game on Saturday in the win over UCF. And he did that on 29 carries and added four touchdowns on the night. Oh, and Deuce Vaughn also never had four rushing touchdowns in a game as a Wildcat.
Giddens’ first half included 14 rushes for 107 yards and three scores, while also piling up 66 receiving yards on six catches. Through the air he finished with eight receptions for 86 yards.
And in classic K-State fashion, Giddens was an unranked recruit from Kansas with zero stars. Now here he is making his presence felt in a Big 12 opener. That’s K-State football in a nutshell.
WVU is the Surprise Thus Far
Listen, it hasn’t been pretty for the Mountaineers, who have yet to score more than 20 points against an FBS opponent this season (sorry, Duquesne), but the Mountaineers are off to a 3-1 start after beating Texas Tech and Neal Brown‘s seat is cooling off, for now.
With the way this defense has been playing, the Mountaineers can keep themselves in just about any game this season, and have winnable games coming up against TCU, Houston and Oklahoma State. Heck, is it inconceivable that WVU is 6-1 in late October? I don’t think it’s likely, but it’s entirely possible. The entire WVU schedule is manageable the rest of the season, with only Oklahoma as a game you’d like at right now as a likely loss. The rest (UCF, Cincinnati, BYU and Baylor) are also all games WVU can compete in, and possibly win.
We used to wonder if Neal Brown would keep his job until Halloween, now we wonder if he could be bowl eligible by Halloween.