5 Things I think
1. I think that the Big 12 champ will have to losses this year. I am not ready to say that it is a down year in the Big 12, but I think there is more parity at the Top 5 spots this year than in recent memory. Not one Big 12 team really went out there and dominated a legit FBS program. Oklahoma State did beat Mississippi State by 18 points, but that was not a dominating performance, more a workmanlike win for the Cowboys. The only dominating performance was done by the Baylor Bears, but that was against an FCS program.
2. Oklahoma impressed me with their win over Louisiana-Monroe. That is a good spread offense they beat up and shut out in Norman, 34-0. Last year, spread offenses just destroyed the Sooners. Just look at what West Virginia and Baylor did to them. If they finally get their scheme right and working against those types of offense, watch out.
3. The Big 12 had the most disappointing weekend out of the power conferences. With losses by the defending champion Kansas State to a FCS powerhouse North Dakota State and Iowa State falling to in-state opponent Northern Iowa, it was bound to be a disappointing weekend. However, the performances by West Virginia barely scraping by William& Mary and Texas struggling in the first half against a 1-win team last year in New Mexico State being up only 14-7 at halftime both left a sour taste in my mouth.
Texas at least came on strong in the second half, but the Longhorns had their starters in for pretty much the entire 3rd quarter and a good chunk of the 4th. This was the year David Ash would put it together, but he turned the ball over twice, something that he has to fix to take that next step.
4. However, I feel that there are 5 teams that will deserve to be ranked in Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, TCU, Baylor and Texas. I was impressed with both Oklahoma schools. The Cowboys beat an SEC team with their defense, only allowing 3 points to Mississippi State. More impressively, they did it without causing a single turnover. Holding MSU to just 2-16 on third down was excellent situational work by the Cowboys. TCU played hard against a legitimate national title contender in LSU, coming up short due to their lack of an effective passing game, getting just 145 yards on 28 attempts. That is a lot of dump offs.
5. I didn't catch the Alabama/Virginia Tech game originally, but caught a lot of the re-airings on ESPNU. Alabama will still be a great team defensively, but their offensive line is just not nearly as good this year. In 2012, the two best offensive lines in the NCAA were Alabama and Texas A&M, at least in my mind. Those two really jumped off the screen to me. With the significant losses both of these teams had to the NFL, neither of those units were as strong for the Tide or the Aggies. I have no doubt that Bama will get that figured out, what the offensive line is a key to a great year and something that is rightfully worrying the Tide faithful.p>5 Things I want
1. Only one major title contender lost a game, at least according to preseason expectations. Georgia lost, but don't look past them in the SEC East. South Carolina and Florida are also very tough, but the Bulldogs are a very good team. A one-loss or two-loss team will probably be in the SEC championship game. I just hope that we have two undefeated teams in the final BCS championship game, be it from the SEC or any other major conference.
2. The Bears defense looked great against Wofford. I hope those results are real, and not a false cover due to the unique offense the Bears faced in the Terriers. It is very hard to gauge what our actual defense will look like against a team that can actually throw the ball. We stacked the line and played the option well, but we didn't have to show multiple coverages in the back end, we didn't have to blitz very often at all, and we didn't have to really press their receivers much. Against Buffalo and Louisiana-Monroe, we will have a much truer test compared to what we will face in the Big 12.
3. I want to see more Big 12 teams face a tougher non-conference schedule, like TCU did in their first week. Yes, Baylor had SMU scheduled for this game originally before the Mustangs backed out so they had to scramble. But what is Iowa State, Kansas State, and West Virginia doing on the first week playing those teams? Well, maybe they should have scheduled even lighter than that this year I guess.
Oklahoma State had the right idea, but that is a down Mississippi State team. Not the Cowboys fault, as it is really hard to time these marquee games
4. Look, if you are reading this as a Bears fan, you want the Bears to go undefeated. Of course you want that. Heck, I want that. But in the micro sense, I just want to see improvement from the Baylor team. Again, tough to really gauge the defense, but I want to see consistent performance in the secondary and a better job of keeping the ball in front of them. I also want to see a better job of defending the flats and the shorter passes. Offensively, I am curious to see if we unleash Petty. He did not keep the ball once on a zone-read play, and he did not really go after the middle of the field. Will we see more of the offense, or still hold it all back till we need it later?
5. I watched the documentary "Freakonomics" over the weekend and I would highly recommend it to anyone. They took a fascinating look at the sport of Sumo wrestling and how corruption has become to be a problem for a 2000 year old sport referred by a priest. Watch it and enjoy.
5 Things I know
1. The Bears had the best first quarter of any of the Big 12 teams. Look at the scores for the rest of the conference after the first quarter:
Texas Tech 3, SMU 3
North Dakota State 7, Kansas State 0
Williams & Mary 7, West Virginia 7
Mississippi State 3, Oklahoma State 0
Louisiana Monroe 0, Oklahoma 0
Northern Iowa 7, Iowa State 7
New Mexico State 0, Texas 0
LSU 6, TCU 3
Not a single Big 12 school outside of Baylor actually led their game after the 1st quarter was finished. The Bears were up 28-0, which outscored the other eight Big 12 teams in their opening stanzas 28-17.
2. Watching Jonathan Manziel (I refuse to call him by his nickname) act like a complete moron during his second half premier just made me glad that we have had the kind of men and leaders as our star players. Doing the money act last year was funny. He was a redshirt freshman playing with nothing to lose, playing with house money to put it in a gambling term.
He was a big mystery to everyone outside of College Station. But we have filled out the "persona" of Jonathan and quite honestly, there isn't a whole lot of humbleness or servant hood in that young man…yet. He is in it for himself. Hopefully, he can learn how to perform with a bit more class, rather than hiding behind the "I am just being myself, relax bro" mentality he thinks is cool.
3. Ohio State is one of the best teams in the country, but I was less than impressed with how they took their foot off the gas against Buffalo. They were up 23-0 pretty quickly, and then they just stopped grinding. Buffalo got some fluke plays, and a tremendous interception return by their star linebacker Khalil Mack for a touchdown put them down just 23-13. They would get within 10 again in the 3rd quarter, but the talent gap was too much. I am sure Urban Meyer is having some discussions with his team about that this week.
4. Clemson is for real. Their win against Georgia at home should have them in the Top 6 or so teams. I would have them ranked ahead of South Carolina and Texas A&M currently. They beat a very good Georgia team at home, and with the playmakers they have, are a threat to run the table. Part of that is due to their easier schedule than some of the SEC teams will have to face.
5. Big 12 Rankings after Week 1
1. Oklahoma State 1-0
2. Oklahoma 1-0
3. Baylor 1-0
4. TCU 0-1
5. Texas 1-0
6. Texas Tech 1-0
7. West Virginia 1-0
8. Kansas State 0-1
9. Iowa State 0-1
10. Kansas 0-0