It took exactly one week of football to screw everything up. The two heavy favorites to win the conference looked anything but contenders. As bandwagon fans hop off the Schooner like it’s on fire, no one knows what to make of the conference.
— LandGrant Gauntlet (@the_LGG) September 4, 2016
Oklahoma State made a late surge to carry the fan vote, but for a while “BU, Texas, WVU & Tech” was in the lead by a good margin. And that was before Texas crushed any dreams Notre Dame had of crashing the Playoff party.
So, it won’t be easy, but I’ll try to make some sense of the conference below.
Oklahoma State (1-0)
Third last week, the Cowboys are on the move. Mostly because the two schools in front of them showed some major causes for concern while the Pokes beat up a high school team. Still, the Cowboys looked solid on both sides of the ball and didn’t show any signs of rust from the offseason. They’ll get a tougher test in Central Michigan, but for now, they just might be the team to beat in the Big 12.
Give TCU credit. They buckled down and got the win, but anytime you say that, and the opponent’s mascot is a Jackrabbit, you’ve got problems. Offensively, the Horned Frogs look just fine under Kenny Hill’s command. On the other side of the ball, no one knows because the TCU defense missed the team bus. Instead, the coaches went for the bit riskier Texas Tech approach of ‘let’s hope we get the ball last’. I’m going to chalk up a poor performance to first game jitters, but I won’t be so lenient next week.
From last week: “The top three might want to start looking over their shoulder. Texas has struggled for far too long – allowing Baylor, Oklahoma State, TCU and K-State to join Oklahoma atop the Big 12 – but daddy’s back, or at least in the car and headed to the house to put the kids in order. Don’t be surprised if the Horns make it to Big 12 play undefeated.” Believe me now?
I’m going to put this here to hopefully limit the amount of flak I receive next week; I fully expect the Longhorns to struggle against UTEP. A Big win on a short week is a recipe for a let down. So don’t try to come at me afterward with any ‘Texas is still a joke and you’re an idiot’ nonsense. Now, if they lose, that’s a different story, but that’s not going to happen.
West Virginia (1-0)
Why hello there West Virginia. Last week I had the Mountaineers at fifth and in the “Don’t Count Them Out” category, but a big win over a SEC school will move anyone up.
Don’t Count Them Out
I saw the loss to Houston coming. How much Houston wanted it scared me, and I was leery of that matchup all summer. That is to say, this is not an overreaction. I fully expect the Sooners to bounce back and by the end of the season look like the class of the Big 12. That’s just what they do. Just ask any Oklahoma State fan. In October everyone’s ready for Bedlam. By November, the matchup scares the pants off them. There’s just one problem with that this year. The Sooners’ schedule is front loaded, and I mean FRONT LOADED. After UL-Monroe this weekend, they have Ohio State, TCU and Texas up next. I will be surprised if they make it through that without another loss, if not two or three.
Texas Tech (1-0)
What can I say? They took care of business against Stephen F Austin, as they should. You want to prove you can get over the hump in the Big 12? Go out and whip Arizona State on the road this weekend. Then we can talk about moving up the rankings.
What to make of Baylor? The Bears look good, and Jim Grobe seems to have picked up right where Art Briles left off. That’s enough to get them out of the basement, but not much more. Mostly, because they weren’t in the basement because I think they are bad. In fact, their starting talent could hang with anyone. This is a power rankings though, and I still believe that by the end of the season attrition has caught up with them and they struggle late. Especially, with a back-loaded schedule. Until then though, they can enjoy a little fresh air.
Kansas State (0-1)
The magic is starting to run low in the purple wizards tank. K-State, as is their way, showed tremendous heart, but it was clear they were out of their depth. They just don’t have the talent of some of the other schools in the conference. The bright spot was the defense. It looks to be as good as advertised, but Stanford is a unique offense and they won’t see anything else like it all season. So, until I see the Wildcat defense shut down the patented Big 12 hurry up spread, they’ll remain in the basement.
Iowa State (0-1)
Sigh. I expected so much more. I didn’t think Matt Campbell would turn you into contenders overnight, like some people, but I expected more. You’re really fortunate that I don’t put Kansas here.
Kansas won a game! And despite the weakest field storming I’ve ever seen, and hope to ever see, I’m proud of you, KU. Let’s keep it in perspective, though. I’d like nothing more than to reward you by moving you up the rankings, but I can’t. Rhode Island is basically the Kansas of the FCS, and if I wouldn’t move anyone else up for that win, then I shouldn’t do it to you either. Nor, should you want me to.