Big 12 Observations: Week 3

Scott Fitzgerald gives his observations from around the Big 12 Conference.

Another crazy week in the Big 12 sees some of what was expected and some of what wasn't expected around the conference. Here are this week's rankings. Last week's rankings are in parenthesis.

1)     Oklahoma State (1) – The Cowboys could have named their score versus Lamar winning 59-3. Everybody got a little bit of work, as 13 Cowboys caught passes and also ran for a combined 155 yards. The one stat that stands out is that the Cowboys defense did not force a turnover, which has been uncharacteristic of them for the last several years.

2)     Baylor (2) – The Bears had their first bye week of the season. The host Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday. See how the Bears defense performs against the ULM offense, which took a few BCS skins last year. 

3)     Oklahoma (4) – The Sooners ran for over 200 yards without suspended RB Damien Williams. Blake Bell completed nearly 75 percent of his passes, which was an upgrade for the Sooners at the QB position. Looks like they'll have something to think about when Trevor Knight is healthy again. We'll learn more about OU this week when they travel to Notre Dame.

4)     Texas Tech (5) – The Red Raiders got the biggest win in the conference this week defeating TCU on Thursday 20-10. The defense is better than people think, but the offense will have to get more consistent if they are going to make a run against the top three teams in the Big 12. For a more detailed assessment of Texas Tech's win, click here.

5)     TCU (3) – The Horned Frogs' defense frustrated a young Texas Tech quarterback, but their offense was stopped the entire night in Lubbock. If TCU can't get more production from their passing game, they will have to win games with low scores, which doesn't happen too often in the Big 12.

6)     Kansas St. (6) – The Wildcats defeated UMass 37-7. It looks like the dual QB system is firmly in place, as both Daniel Sams and Jake Waters alternated with no real rhyme or reason. John Hubert had 120 yards and K-State ran for over 300 yards as a team. I would expect them to keep the ball on the ground when they travel to Austin next week.

7)     West Virginia (8) – The Mountaineers started Ford Childress under center for the first time this season and rolled to a 41-7 win over Georgia State. Florida State transfer Clint Trickett was the name we had heard all week, but it was Childress who got the starting nod. If West Virginia can solidify the QB position, they can win some games, as it seems their defense has improved from last season. West Virginia plays Maryland on Saturday and we'll see who starts at QB and how the defense holds up against a BCS opponent.

8)     Texas  (10) – The Longhorns had a halftime lead versus Ole Miss, but couldn't maintain the momentum, losing 44-23 at home. David Ash didn't play, but I don't know if that would have been enough. The horns defense gave up almost 300 yards on the ground and Greg Robinson doesn't have a lot of time to cure what's ailing the horns, as they host Kansas State next week and have OU on Oct. 12. Texas also seems to have no clear cut number one running back. Johnathan Gray led rushers for the second consecutive week, but carries are still being spread around. This could be adding to the problem.

9)     Iowa State (9) – The Cyclones lost to Iowa at home in a rivalry game that has lost some luster over the last few years. From all accounts, there just isn't enough offense in Ames this season. That proved to be true again. The Cyclone defense also gave up over 200 yards on the ground.

10)  Kansas (7)  The biggest debate I had this week was the three bottom team. The logic I finally used was that Texas lost to a ranked team, Iowa State lost a rivalry game and while the Jayhawks lost on the road, they lost on the road to Rice. No Big 12 team should lose to Rice, even on the road. Jake Heaps was under 50 percent on his pass completions, and even though James Sims had good rushing numbers, it doesn't look like the offensive line protected Heaps, as he was sacked 3 times and threw 2 INTs.

 

Not a lot of movement in the Big 12 rankings this week, but that could change as a couple of conference games and BCS opponents are in the mix next week. If you are a Texas Tech fan, this league is up for grabs and if the Red Raider offense comes together, they have just as good a shot to win as anyone else.


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