The two polls treated the Big 12 very similar with Baylor (6-0) fourth in both, Oklahoma (5-1) is 11th, TCU (4-1) is 12th,. Kansas State (4-1) is 14th, and Oklahoma State (5-1) is 15th. West Virginia is collecting votes in each poll.
Grades are very subjective just as "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." Here are my grades midway through the 2014 season.
You might agree and you might not. You can always respond on the forums, explaining why you think I'm a football idiot or an unabashed Oklahoma State homer and how it frustrates you. Like I said, we all have out opinions.
The offense faired well in the opener against Florida State. But that was a different offense based around J.W. Walsh and his ability to run the football and use the zone read concepts. The offensive line blocked reasonably well against a strong defense that played it straight.
The next week the offense was thrown into its own version of sudden change with the Walsh injury and did okay on the fly against Missouri State, which applied pressure and stunted. Daxx Garman neutralized them and UTSA with the deep ball. He did the same thing to the young corners from Texas Tech.
However, teams since have been better at the corners and the varying and more intense pressures coming from the defensive front have really stymied the offensive line and therefore the offense. Mike Gundy said it there is a lot of work to do here. The running backs and receivers are all pretty good but are dependent on the offensive line and Garman to maximize their abilities.
In the second half of the season the offensive line has to be a lot better, if that is possible. Garman has to be better at getting through reads and making good pre-snap decisions to maximize the play call and give the offense a better chance to make yards and score points. It sounds a lot more simple than it is, unfortunately.
Hand it to Glenn Spencer and his staff as they have the defense playing at a high level and doing a good job of stopping opposing offenses in tough situations including sudden change and poor field position. They came up with critical turnovers against Florida State but have not done as much of that recently. Those turnovers will be critical in the second half of the season.
The defensive line is something to fear as Ofa Hautau and James Castleman have been a load inside. On the outside, Emmanuel Obgah and Jimmy Bean are relentless. Ryan Simmons has been the quarterback he needs to be and has not allowed that duty to take away from his own playmaking. Seth Jacobs and Josh Furman have been better than you could imagine in camp.
The secondary is outstanding. Kevin Peterson is the best corner in college football. The rest of the secondary, including pups like Tre Flowers (redshirt freshman) and corner Ramon Richards (true freshman), have been outstanding. Now they need to keep it up against the best the Big 12 has to offer.
Special Teams: B
Two kickoff returns for touchdowns from Tyreek Hill are the biggest highlights. The specialists like punter and kickoff man Kip Smith and field goal and PAT kicker Ben Grogan have both been vastly improved from first game to mid-season. The young cover units have improved greatly and while most return units collect more flags for blocking infractions than good returns or have good returns almost always called back, the Cowboys have been strong in that area. Fans love to gripe about special teams but it's hard to gripe right now. In fact. special teams coach Robby Discher has done a really good job.
Desmond Roland: I know he has 391 rushing yards and no 100-yard games, but behind this offensive line that has been a solid effort.
James Washington: In my opinion, one of the best freshmen receivers I have seen in a long time and I was extremely glad his injury was not serious at Kansas. This team needs him.
Jhajuan Seales: Took some time to get going and get the ball thrown his way. He is a leader and his catch before the half at Kansas was the kind of big-time play he is capable of making.
David Glidden: He is a ball of energy and has done a lot of tough things beyond his receptions.
J.W. Walsh: He played courageous vs. Florida State. Terrible shame he was so seriously injured.
Jeremy Seaton: He has been injured some but he is a big-time blocker and a strong threat as a receiving tight end.
Ben Grogan: Started out shaky but now is 14-of-18 on field goals and leads the Big 12. You wouldn't trade him.
Emmanuel Ogbah: Has five sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss and is very disruptive.
James Castleman: He draws extra attention and has played well with Ofa Hautau.
Ofa Hautau: He is like Castleman in that he draws extra attention and just battles so hard.
Jimmy Bean: Like Ogbah, he benefits from the work of the inside team and has 3.5 sacks and 5.0 tackles for loss.
Ryan Simmons: He is the heart and soul of this defense and its leading tackler.
Seth Jacobs: He has really developed and is the second-leading tackle of the defense.
Josh Furman: Had his first interception to seal the Kansas win, and he has five sacks to tie Ogbah for team lead.
Kevin Peterson: Best corner in the Big 12 and one of the best in the country, shuts down that side.
Jordan Sterns: One of the leading tacklers on the team and a very spiritual player.
Larry Stephens: He has been a playmaker and tutor for the younger safeties.