The seventh week of the 2018 college football season came and went, and four all-important conference games took place. On Thursday night, the Red Raiders shocked TCU in Fort Worth and won with a strong defensive effort, because team chaos and why not? The Saturday slate saw Oklahoma State get drilled in Manhattan behind a strong effort from Kansas State. Baylor hung with, but just couldn’t get that late score to take down the Longhorns in Austin. The nightcap of Big 12 action featured the conferences highest ranked team, West Virginia, falling in Ames to Iowa State. The conference rankings shifted a bit and among all that – there was plenty of good, bad, and ugly.
The Cyclones Last Two Games – Iowa State’s turnaround and future for this season looks bright. After a 1-3 start, the emergence of freshman Brock Purdy has skyrocketed the Cyclones to back-to-back top 25 wins, and the trio of Purdy, Butler, and Montgomery looks deadly on the offensive side of the ball. The defense started slow but held a potent West Virginia offense to seven points last week.
The Cyclones also have the easier side of their schedule in front of them. Texas is the only real threat and it’s full of games where they should be favored. Iowa State moped the floor on one of the conferences best teams last week and if they can hold that momentum up then the Cyclones can find themselves in a very good Bowl game come December.
Red River Showdown Rematch Chances – Texas and Oklahoma fans looking for another game between the two schools may get their wish. After West Virginia’s loss in Ames the Sooners and Longhorns are now first and second in the conference. Texas is undefeated in conference play, and now can afford a loss down the stretch and still be guaranteed a spot in the conference championship game.
Oklahoma has to worry about West Virginia for that second spot but the Mountaineers haven’t looked all that great their last two outings, and their schedule is harder down the stretch than Oklahoma’s. These two teams always create electric games when they play each other and it’s looking more likely they meet once more this season in the conference championship game.
Texas Tech’s Defense – Texas Tech’s defense is starting to figure things out. Before their bye week, they held West Virginia to zero second-half points, and after the bye week, they held TCU to just 14 points. The Horned Frogs did put up 411 yards, but Tech forced three turnovers, and was clutch in the red zone and on third down. TCU really struggled to get points on the board, as the Red Raider defense frustrated Shawn Robinson.
Texas Tech only needed 17 points to win a Big 12 game on the road, pretty impressive. The emergence of this defense will be huge for a Texas Tech team that seems to be finding a rhythm now after a big win.
TCU’s Offense – Where did it go? TCU layed a dud offensively against Texas Tech. When a team plays the Red Raiders, points aren’t expected to be at a premium. But they were in Fort Worth, and TCU scored more. The Horned Frogs only put up 14 points despite rushing the ball pretty well and totaling 411 total yards, but the incompletions and turnovers killed them. TCU Fumbled at the Texas Tech 32, missed a field goal, and threw a pick with less than a minute left in the game while trying to mount a comeback.
TCU usually is a well coached and disciplined team but this year has been the opposite. The Texas Tech game reminded me a lot of the Ohio State game, in the sense that TCU played well but lost because of dumb mistakes. TCU is now 1-2 in conference play and their hopes of competing for the conference title are slipping away. They still have to face Oklahoma and West Virginia and can’t afford a slip up.
The West Virginia offense was a no show against Iowa State. Heisman Hopeful Will Grier needs to hope for some help now if he wants to win that trophy after a 100 yard performance. Grier seemed almost scared to throw the ball, it showed and resulted in seven Iowa State sacks.
The Mountaineers offense, who aim for 70-80 plays a game, attempted under 50. Grier threw the ball just 15 times and the rush game, which was working well, was only able to accumulate 27 carries. The Mountaineers also went 1-10 on third down. The strength of this team was continuing drives and they just couldn’t do that against the Cyclones. A bye week this week should help WVU figure things out.
The Collapse Of Oklahoma State – The Cowboy’s start to conference play has been awful. The team that was once ranked 15th in the country now looks in danger of not winning another game. The Cowboys continue to give up 30-plus points to mediocre offenses, like Kansas State and Kansas, while their own offense can’t seem to get out of their own way. Imagine what happens when Oklahoma or West Virginia takes on the Cowboys.
The offense simply does not produce behind an offensive line that’s been made to look silly. They only put up 12 points against Kansas State and 17 points against Texas Tech as the Pokes struggled to keep Taylor Cornelius’ jersey clean. Between missed throws and dropping the ones that are on target, a myriad of penalties, an offensive line that can’t block a phone call, it’s amazing the Cowboys get any yards at all.
Things aren’t going to get easier, either. The Cowboys have the more challenging part of their schedule coming up, and need to address things in the upcoming bye week before their showdown with Texas in two weeks.