It’s hard to always know what to make of Week 1 performances. Is what we see Week 1 indicative of what we will see come bowl season? How much of what we are seeing is based upon the opponent they are playing? With such a small sample size it’s not always easy to make hard and quick judgments, but that is precisely what is about to happen. The Big 12 as a conference went 6-3 in Week 1, with losses coming from Texas, Texas Tech, Kansas. Iowa State had a game canceled. Five of the six winners won by at least 26 points, with only Kansas State struggling in a three point victory over FCS opponent South Dakota.
Those stats are helpful in painting a picture of Week 1, but let’s cut deeper and find out what we really learned from this past week.
OKLAHOMA IS STILL THE RUNAWAY FAVORITE IN THE BIG 12
Every non-OU fan in the Big 12 held hopes this season that the Sooners would take a step back. The logic goes that they have to regress some without their generational quarterback Baker Mayfield.
This past Saturday, OU dismantled most of the hopes for regression before the first quarter was even over. Kyler Murray only needed to throw the ball eleven times in the game, but still amassed over 200 yards throwing and two touchdowns. Rodney Anderson picked up exactly where he left off in 2017, with a 100 yard rushing day on just five carried, and two touchdowns of his own.
Maybe of most significance though was that the Oklahoma defense looked really good. The Sooners defense was able to hold Florida Atlantic running back Devin Singletary to 3.8 yards per carry, well under his average from 2017. Outside of the statistics of the game, the Sooner defense just looked good. They were playing fast, and as a cohesive unit.
A lot of teams put on good performances in the Big 12 over the weekend, but this is still Oklahoma’s conference to win.
THINGS MIGHT BE BLEAK IN THE SUNFLOWER STATE THIS YEAR
Both Kansas and Kansas State turned in performances on Saturday that have both respective fanbases looking forward to basketball season.
The Jayhawks played FCS team Nicholls State, what many considered to be one of the few wins on Kansas’ schedule. Instead of securing a win against a lower level team, the Jayhawks went out and lost in overtime to a team that went 8-4 in the FCS last year. This is not the same level of team as North Dakota State of James Madison.
The loss signals the beginning of the end for both the Jayhawks 2018 football season, and likely head coach David Beaty. There are already rumors flying around of potential replacements, and it would truly be shocking to see new athletic director Jeff Long stick with Beatty long term.
Kansas State did a little better, they actually won. That win was only by three points though, and as late as the fourth quarter the Wildcats were down by twelve points. Much like Kansas, their opponent was not an FCS powerhouse. South Dakota made the FCS playoffs for the first time EVER in 2017.
More than a handful of people expected the Wildcats to be competitive in 2018, perhaps even a darkhorse for the Big 12 title, but if Week 1 is any indication, then this will be a long season for Kansas State.
SAME OLD TEXAS TECH
There was a lot of talk in the spring and summer about how Texas Tech was finally going to field a competent defense. For years the Red Raiders have been known for their prolific offense production, but equally known for their inability to produce any kind of defensive results. Many thought that with the majority of starters returning, and defensive coordinator David Gibbs coming back for a fourth season that the Red Raider defense would have the continuity to be successful. However, this weekend we learned that this will be the same Texas Tech as in previous years.
It should be said that Ole Miss is a tough opponent to get in Week 1. The Rebels have a really good offense, and it showed on Saturday. Ole Miss had a 300-yard passer, a 200-yard rusher, and four receivers with at least 60 receiving yards.
The problem is that the offenses are not going to get any easier in the Big 12. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, West Virginia, TCU, and Baylor are all going to present issues for this Texas Tech defense.
Huge props to the Texas Tech offense for still producing after starting quarterback McLane Carter went out with an injury, but if the defense can’t get stops, it won’t matter who is running the offense in Lubbock.