Welcome back to “What We Learned”, a weekly recap of all the action in the Big 12 from the week before. From slanderous takes to Kansas oriented hype, What We Learned is your one stop shop for all you need to know about the past week in the Big 12. This week, we take a look at Baylor’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, Oklahoma’s flag planting victory in Columbus, TCU’s impressive win over Arkansas, and much more. One team we won’t be looking at, however, is Texas Tech, as they didn’t play.
OKLAHOMA STATE (2-0)
For the second consecutive week, Oklahoma State broke the seal, playing in the first Big 12 related game of the week, as the Cowboys traveled to Mobile, Alabama to take on the South Alabama Jaguars. After beating the wheels off of Tulsa in week one, Oklahoma State is still yet to face a real challenge through two weeks, as they looked just as dominant against an atrocious South Alabama team. Mason Rudolph broke the school record for passing yards in a career, while South Alabama didn’t even break 200 total yards on the game. Oklahoma State dominated, and will have their first real test this week, as they travel to play Pitt in one of America’s most sterile football stadiums.
The important matchup in the conference this week yielded possibly the most interesting results. Oklahoma traveled to Columbus to take on the (then ranked second, now eighth) Ohio State Buckeyes, a year after being embarrassed by the Buckeyes in Norman. Out for revenge and led by star quarterback Baker Mayfield, the Sooners got the revenge they wanted, dominating Urban Meyer’s squad on the way to a 31-16 win. The 15 point differential in the final score doesn’t tell the whole story, because honestly, Oklahoma should have won by more. If it wasn’t for a few failed fourth down conversions or two first half fumbles, the Sooners likely would’ve had two or three more touchdowns.
Ohio State was beaten soundly on both sides of the ball, and after such an impressive performance, there’s deservedly a lot of hype around Oklahoma right now. Baker Mayfield tore Ohio State’s defense up, Oklahoma’s inexperienced defense shut down JT Barrett and the Buckeyes, as the Sooners planted a flag, both in the middle of the field, and in the early playoff discussions.
KANSAS STATE (2-0)
Much like Oklahoma State, Kansas State is sitting pretty at 2-0 through the first two weeks, but we still know next to nothing about the Wildcats. Wins over Central Arkansas and Charlotte aren’t exactly impressive, and while Kansas State did what they should do against the two bad teams, there’s really no way to pull anything as being significant from the games. Jesse Ertz looked solid once again, running back Alex Barnes was impressive, and the defense looked flat-out dominant. Kansas State plays their first real test this Saturday, as they’ll take on a Vanderbilt team that I’ve been impressed with thus far.
Another week two opportunity for revenge in this game, as last season, Arkansas toppled TCU in Fort Worth, 41-38, thanks to an excellent overtime performance, and a lack of any running game for the Horned Frogs. On Saturday, just like Oklahoma, TCU was able to get revenge on the road, as the Horned Frogs crushed Arkansas, dominating for much of the game despite offensive struggles. Quarterback kenny Hill was decent, and for the most part avoided doing too much, which is usually all he needs to do. Running back Darius Anderson ran for 106 yards, a career high, and TCU’s defense stifled a hapless Arkansas offense.
I’d still like to see more offense from TCU, but as of right now, this team looks a lot like a traditional Gary Patterson team. The defense was very impressive, but the offense will need to be better to beat SMU this week, or Oklahoma State next week.
IOWA STATE (1-1)
Despite their overtime loss to Iowa in Ames, outside of Oklahoma and TCU, Iowa State may have impressed me more than any other team in the conference this weekend. After four straight seasons of three wins or less for the Cyclones, Iowa State is finally starting to show improvement, and for the first time in a long time, there’s reason for ISU fans to be legitimately excited about their team. Yes, they couldn’t quite do enough to take down their rival from Iowa City, but after being destroyed by the Hawkeyes in back to back years, this performance was extremely encouraging.
Quarterback Jacob Park and running back David Montgomery (who caught the eye of some scouts this weekend) both impressed, and when it came down to it, Iowa State showed that they have the top-level talent to compete in the Big 12. They’re still building depth, but Cyclone fans should be very excited about the direction of this team.
WEST VIRGINIA (1-1)
West Virginia is in a weird football limbo right now. After a tough week one loss to Virginia Tech, the Mountaineers won’t really get a chance to establish themselves as a legitimate contender in the Big 12 until October 7th, when they travel to Fort Worth to take on TCU. Until then, however, West Virginia has to just wade through the dregs, and on Saturday they did that, destroying an awful East Carolina team by nearly 40. Will Grier looked great, as did Justin Crawford, and if it wasn’t for a late touchdown, the Mountaineers would’ve won this game by even more.
After an embarrassing loss at home to Maryland in the season opener, Texas needed a big bounce back game against San Jose State, for a number of reasons. Firstly, the Longhorns needed to gain some confidence, as they head to Pasadena this week to take on USC. Secondly, after a very bad week, the Longhorns needed a way to get fans and media off their back, which, even if it was against a bad team, they successfully did. Freshman Sam Ehlinger took over for the injured Shane Buechele and looked, well, like a freshman. The true star of this game was running back Chris Warren III and the Longhorn defense, as SJSU was unable to get on the board through 60 minutes.
Oh dear. It appears that for the second straight year, Central Michigan has beaten one of the best teams in the Big 12, thanks to a fluke on the final play. What’s that? I’m now hearing that Kansas was actually dominated for much of the game by the Chippewas? And that they lost by nearly 20 points at home despite coming in as a three-point favorite? And that the play of quarterback Peyton Bender was inconsistent, while the running attack and defense was almost non-existent? Now I’m hearing that they Jayhawks may not actually be the best team in the Big 12? Well no, that can’t be right.
BAYLOR (UH OH)
Baylor might be the most charitable team in the Big 12, they’re just going to give 12 different teams a win this season! So kind of the Bears to give back to the teams on their schedule! After losing to an online school and now a satellite school of Texas, there’s no real reason to expect Baylor to win a game this year, unless you enjoy getting your hopes crushed. Quarterback Anu Solomon is hurt, and backup Zach Smith will be taking over, but that won’t help. The Bears are really, really bad, and it’ll be a few years until they aren’t bad. It’ll be less painful if Baylor fans just accept that now, as many of them already have.
Matt Rhule is a good coach, I promise. He’s recruited a really fun 2018 class, the 2017 class was solid as well, and with time, the Bears will be back to winning games. For now, however, it’s going to be a rough couple of months for the Bears. Instead of watching this team get boat raced by Duke this week, feel free to watch literally any other game. Watch Lamar Jackson! Or Mason Rudolph! Or Baker Mayfield! Spend time with loved ones! Don’t feel like you have to watch Baylor football.