The Big 12 Weekly Roundup took a week off due to depression after the loss in the Cotton Bowl and a pesky paper that took up a fair part of last week, but now we're back with a vengeance.
In somewhat of a surprise, Texas smoothly navigated its trap game against "Bye," which Scipio Tex over at Barking Carnival chronicles here in one of the most hilarious, accurate, and brilliant articles ever written about the Horns.
Texas still has some hope of salvaging the season with a win over Nebraska and an unlikely Oklahoma collapse, and let's remember the Huskers are a miserable 1-8 against the Longhorns in the Big 12 (and 0-fer in the regular season, if memory serves correct).
Last week's gauntlet of Big 12 games got started off with Nebraska eradicating upstart Kansas State in what many thought was going to be a competitive game in Manhattan, but the real gem of the weekend was Baylor and Texas Tech going to the wire in one of the most thrilling back-and-forth games in the conference to date.
Onward...and upward? Incidentally, I've been told it's easier to identify the bold team as the winner. So now home team's on top and bold team is the victor.
Kansas State-13 (4-1, 1-1)
Nebraska-48 (5-0, 1-0)
The Skinny: If there was any hope that K-State could magically expose some weaknesses just in time for Greg Davis and Mack Brown to intentionally not exploit them this Saturday as a "leaving-the-conference-forever" gift, well, that dissipated within about ten minutes of the game starting. Nebraska imposed their will on offense with 587 yards and, get this, 451 rushing yards. That was not a typo. 10.7 YPC. That's a first down every single run and it's terrifying. Texas has 649 rushing yards ON THE SEASON. Defensively, the Blackshirts held Daniel Thomas to 63 yards on 22 carries, which is all you need to know regarding how Kansas State did offensively. This is by far the best team in the conference right now.
Big Man On Campus: Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez is a perfect example of player optimization that is just completely foreign to the 40 Acres. He's firmly on the Heisman radar and a huge game against a Texas team that has struggled against dual-threat QBs since the mid-2000s (i.e. after they stopped getting to practice against one every day in practice) could vault him into the head spot as the QB of a top 5 team. Against the Wildcats, Martinez rushed for 241 yards on only 15 carries (16.1 YPC) and added scores of 14, 39, 80, and 41 yards respectively. Sounds like I just listed a Jonathan Gray game. He also passed for 128 yards and a 79-yard TD. He's beast and we need to spy him with somebody NOT named Blake Gideon. Think Kenny Vaccaro would relish the task? Yeah, me too.
Louisiana-Lafayette-28 (2-3, 2-1)
Oklahoma State-54 (5-0, 1-0)
The Skinny: Admittedly, I didn't find out this game existed until sometime late Sunday. Looking at the game more closely, a few things are weird. First is Okie Lite playing a game in Lafayette. Second is the 21-spot Lafayette dropped on the Cowpokes in the second quarter to gain a halftime lead. OSU kept Lafayette in the game with second quarter turnovers that led to Ragin' Cajun TDs before locking up on defense in the second half and pulling away. After three TDs in the second quarter, the Cajun offense wouldn't see the endzone again (although Lafayette did score on a 97-yard KR).
Big Man On Campus: I have to say I laughed a little when the commentators in the Oklahoma State/Texas A&M game a few weeks ago said the Cowboy coaching staff compared WR Justin Blackmon to Michael Crabtree. After watching more of the game, I wasn't laughing because the guy's legit. He's only a sophomore, but Blackmon is leading the country in YPG (150), catches per game (9.4), and TD catches (11). He caught 13 balls for 190 yards and two scores last Friday.
Texas Tech-45 (3-2, 1-2)
Baylor-38 (4-2, 1-1)
The Skinny: The best game of the weekend in the Big 12, and possibly the country. The teams went back and forth in the first half, which included some zany plays like Tech's poor onside kick that got returned for a TD and a ballsy fake punt by Baylor that led to an RGIII touchdown pass. The Red Raiders took control in the second half behind a strong performance by Taylor Potts. Baylor had a chance at the end, but poor clock management led to not having a chance for a final play into the Raider endzone to tie the game. All around exciting game and great offensive displays by Robert Griffin (384 passing yards and two TDs; two rushing TDs), Kendall Wright (11 catches for 145 yards and a score), and Detron Lewis (11 catches for 95 yards and a score). Tech avoided its first 0-3 conference start since 1990.
Big Man On Campus: Taylor Potts outshone Griffin III in a shootout, passing for 462 yards and four TDs, including a streak of 15 straight completions.
Texas A&M-17 (3-2, 0-1)
Arkansas-24 (4-1, 1-1)
The Skinny: I only got to watch part of this game because I was at a cookout and only had one TV to split between Mich/MSU, Bama/USC, and Arkie/Aggie before heading off to the Mizzou beatdown of Colorado. What I did see, though, was a pretty good game between two reasonably evenly matched teams. Arkansas QB Ryan Mallet threw for 132 yards in the first quarter, but the A&M defense made adjustments and limited him to only 178 the rest of the game. Yes, I know, I said "A&M," "defense," and "adjustments" in the same sentence. Please stop laughing. The talk of Jerrod Johnson as a Heisman contender, or even the best QB in the Big 12, didn't last long. He was 15/40 on the day for only 212 yards, a TD, and an interception. That's actually an improvement over the past few games for him, though. Think Texas has turnover problems? A&M leads the nation with 17.
Big Man On Campus: I was tempted to give it to Aggie wideout Jeff Fuller, who caught over half of JJ's passes (8) and ¾ of the yards (154), and added a TD. But instead I'm gonna go with the guy who won Arkansas the game, QB Ryan Mallet. In a big-boy stadium he played big-boy football with 310 yards passing, three TDs, and one pick on 27/38 attempts.
Iowa State-27 (3-3, 1-1)
Utah-68 (5-0, 2-0)
The Skinny: This one was a laugher, but it was made even funnier by the fact that Iowa State was leading 14-10 after the first quarter. I was watching the score updates while at the Mizzou game, and every time I looked up it seemed Utah had scored another couple touchdowns. Early turnovers by Utah helped the Cyclones along to the first quarter lead, but a frisky 31-0 second quarter maelstrom from the Utes ended any hopes of an upset in Ames. Remember, this is the same Iowa State team that bested Texas Tech by two touchdowns a couple weeks back. Unfortunately for Utah, the BCS buster spotlight is firmly planted on Boise State and TCU, especially the former. Here's something to consider: If Boise State goes undefeated and TCU loses to Utah, who also goes undefeated, does TCU have a shot at getting an at-large spot in the BCS in a year when many highly-ranked teams don't exactly look like 2004 USC, 2001 Miami, 2005 Texas, or 2007 LSU? Haha! I kid about LSU. Just making sure you're awake.
Big Man On Campus: The Utah offense gets the golden ball as a unit here. 593 total yards with a beautiful three/two split in passing yards and rushing yards and 61 total points is the stuff of dreams around here at Texas.
Missouri-26 (5-0, 1-0)
Colorado-0 (3-2, 0-1)
The Skinny: How surprised would you be if I told you the Tigers are the number three scoring defense in the country? And this is without their best defensive player (freak of nature DE Aldon Smith) the past two games. The D isn't exactly a world-beater, but they toe the line nicely between bend-don't-break and strong, which is basically all you need in the Big 12 North. Colorado is not a good team at all, but they did miss a bunch of opportunities to score in the red zone due to turnovers and missed field goal attempts. Blaine Gabbert got dinged up, but he should be fine for Saturday's tussle in Aggieland. Mizzou's offense is almost as predictable as UT's and relies on a bunch of short screen passes I could make blindfolded. Unlike Texas, though, Mizzou understands how to get their players the ball on the move, which makes a much easier day for the QB, the rest of the offense, the defense, and the fans. Should be a good game in College Station, but if Mizzou loses they'll likely drop three in a row because the next two are OU and at Nebraska.
Big Man On Campus: Obviously it has to go to the Mizzou defense. They got their share of breaks, but when a team that is traditionally known for poor stopping ability gets a shutout against a conference opponent, you have to give credit where credit is due.
Not much change here, except for now OSU gets the jump over Texas since they can actually move the ball on offense and they're, like, undefeated and stuff. Nebraska is definitely the crème de la crème. OU is definitely second. After that, it's madness. After a pitiful performance at home against Nebraska, KSU drops a little bit.
1. Nebraska Cornhuskers
2. Oklahoma Sooners
3. Missouri Tigers
4. Oklahoma State Cowboys
5. Texas Longhorns
6. Texas A&M Aggies
7. Texas Tech Red Raiders
8. Kansas State Wildcats
9. Baylor Bears
10. Iowa State Cyclones
11. Colorado Buffaloes
12. Kansas Jayhawks