One of the most beautiful images I've ever seen...(Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Ah, the sunshine and beauty of everyday life has returned at last. Texas got its first win in nearly a month, and it was a huge one as they upset Nebraska, the top five-rated, consensus best team in the conference.
This is such a huge win for Texas it's almost hard to imagine.
The team can move forward now and put the first half of the season's struggles firmly in the rearview mirror. The Big 12 Conference Championship is still an obtainable goal, where the Horns could meet Nebraska in the CCG for the second year in a row. Some things will have to fall in place in the South for the Horns to get there, starting next weekend when OU (and College Gameday) travels to Columbia, MO, for a tussle with the Missouri Tigers. By the way, did you guys hear OU is number one in the first BCS rankings? Alabama lost a couple weeks ago. Ohio State lost on Saturday night. Just sayin'...
Speaking of the Tigers, I'd like to give a huge shout out to my university for spanking the Aggies on their own field—a contest I didn't see us winning on the road, and certainly not in the dominating fashion we did. All Texas fans should be cheering hard for Mizzou next weekend.
We'll get to the games after the jump.
Kansas-7 (2-4, 0-2)
Kansas State-59 (5-1, 2-1)
The Skinny: Uh, Jayhawks, are you kidding me? 59-7? At home?! Sadly, this wasn't the first time Kansas has been behind 52-0 in a game this millennium (VY's final game at DKR when Texas started "slowly" and still led 52-0 at the half). KSU only managed a field goal in the first quarter before the floodgates opened in the second and third quarters. For what it's worth, KU was able to tie the Wildcats in the fourth quarter, 7-7...so there's that. Turner Gill's tenure in Lawrence may be even shorter than I initially expected after the Jayhawks' loss to North Dakota State 6-3.
Big Man On Campus: Kansas State QB Carson Coffman didn't put up huge numbers yardage-wise, but he was a laser precise 15/16 for 184 yards and two TDs. He also added three TDs on the ground.
Texas A&M-9 (3-3, 0-2)
Missouri-30 (6-0, 2-0)
The Skinny: Big time win for the Tigers on the road, as they improve to 6-0 and start number 11 in the BCS. A&M never had a chance in a game where Mizzou's secondary locked down the Aggies' talented wideouts from the get-go and the Tiger DL constantly pressured Jerrod Johnson. The two freshman tackles, though talented, had no chance against Mizzou's experienced lineman. We've seen this one before: when Johnson is under consistent pressure and can't get in a good rhythm, much like Landry Jones, he just isn't the same caliber of player. Hopefully Will Muschamp checks out the Tigers' gameplan because Mizzou's defense is very similar to UT's, albeit a lower tier.
Offensively, Blaine Gabbert had a field day and looked like the best QB in the league. He spread the ball all over the field to various receivers and had numerous complex option-route completions that will have NFL scouts drooling. Right now, the Aggies just don't have the defensive capability to stop a consistent spread passing attack. I can only pray Greg Davis and Mack Brown will have the requisite faith in Garrett Gilbert to open it up by the final game of the regular season.
Big Man On Campus: Gabbert threw for 361 yards and three TDs in a dismantling of the Aggie defense. Co-BMOC is Missouri DE Brad Madison, who filled in nicely for superstar DE Aldon Smith (out with a broken leg) with three sacks of Jerrod Johnson.
Nebraska-13 (5-1, 1-1)
Texas-20 (4-2, 2-1)
The Skinny: What a weight off the shoulders. For the first time this season, Texas fans have something to get excited about. Did anybody else get giddy during the game just finally seeing the players enjoy playing football? I think it was the first time our players have had fun this year.
Defensively, what else needs to be said? Will Muschamp concocted the perfect gameplan to shut down the Nebraska spread option attack and even got former Heisman candidate QB Taylor Martinez benched in favor of the much-maligned Zac Lee. The Horns' defense took the magic out of "T-Magic" like a 2nd-grade kid who just got told Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny aren't real. Even with rampant injuries across the defense, including Jackson Jeffcoat, Keenan Robinson, Kenny Vaccaro, and both the Browns, the Texas defense was dominant all day and only allowed six points. A few receivers broke free in coverage, but Nebraska helped our DBs out with one of the worst receiving games in the history of college football (no less than three dropped TD passes).
On offense, you have to hand it to Greg Davis-at least for the first half. He finally unleashed Gilbert in the running game and Nebraska looked completely lost on defense. Gilbert racked up 71 yards on 11 carries, a 6.5-yard average. Compare that to Martinez, who rushed for only 21 yards on 13 carries before being pulled, a 1.6-yard average. The second half gameplan was our typical "playing-not-to-lose" nonsense, but hey, we win 20-3 if not for that Eric Hagg punt return, so there's not too much to complain about. The offensive line played their best game this year and their most physical game since, God, 2008 against Mizzou? Supposedly Greg Davis told those guys he's tired of their underperforming week in and week out, so kudos to him for pushing the right buttons and to the OL for finally playing to their potential. If they keep it up, the sky's the limit for this team. Lastly, all the RBs ran like they had just been shown Malcolm Brown highlights for a week straight. I could totally see Major doing that. As good as Brown is, they aren't too hard to find and, hell, there might not even be a repeat play. I don't want to talk about the wide receivers...
Finally, adios to Nebraska. You guys have a great core of players to build around the next few years and a star in Martinez. Good luck in the Big 10, where you'll be looking up at Ohio State instead of Texas and lose your Texas recruiting base. Honestly, I just don't get it, but whatever. See ya when we see ya.
Big Man On Campus: This isn't a game where any single player jumps out at you, so I'll just go ahead and give it to Will Muschamp and the entire Texas defense. 10.7 YPC and 145 YPG. Those WERE Martinez's numbers coming into the game. Divide both by SEVEN to get Martinez's numbers for the UT game, not to mention they got T-Magic pulled. Nebraska got outrushed by Texas, which I'm sure not even the most optimistic UT fan would have predicted.
Texas Tech-17 (3-3, 1-3)
Oklahoma State-34 (6-0, 2-0)
The Skinny: Nobody seems to be talking about undefeated OSU right now, but that'll change this weekend as they host what should be an extremely pissed off Nebraska team.
The Pokes got a great win in Lubbock last Saturday, something they haven't done in 66 years. I expected a much higher scoring game, but the Tech offense was lethargic and couldn't get much going, particularly in the second half. Oklahoma State QB Brandon Weeden took a week off from tearing up collegiate secondaries and only threw for one score against two picks. He did outplay Taylor Potts, who only threw for 226 yards and a TD. When a Tech QB goes for less than 250 yards passing and only one TD, I don't have high expectations for the Raiders.
Big Man On Campus: Okie Lite WR Justin Blackmon looks like the best receiver in the country right now. I'd love to have this guy on a fantasy football team, and he's only a sophomore. Homeboy put up his first 200-yard game of the season with 207 yards on 10 catches and the lone TD pass from Weeden.
Colorado-25 (3-3, 0-2)
Baylor-31 (5-2, 2-1)
The Skinny: Baylor went nuts on offense with 543 yards, including 309 on the ground, but turnovers cost the Bears and they had to intercept a Tyler Hansen pass in the endzone to hold off a Colorado team that got shut out by Mizzou last week. Jay Finley had a big day for Baylor with 143 yards and two TDs on only 14 carries.
The big story here: Baylor is one game from being bowl-eligible with five chances to get there. We can also start throwing out bets for whom is going to be the team without a conference win this year, CU or KU. Only one can win the prestigious honor, as they play each other. My money is on the Buffs.
Big Man On Campus: Who else but Robert Griffin III? RGIII went into the game with the fourth most total yards per game in the nation, and didn't disappoint. He went over 100 by land and 200 by, uhm, air, with 137 rushing yards and 234 passing yards and a TD.
Oklahoma-52 (6-0, 2-0)
Iowa State-0 (3-4, 1-2)
The Skinny: Oklahoma vindicated what would ultimately be their BCS number one ranking by tearing the Cyclones into little pieces and looking like by far the best team in the conference. When their offense is on, it's unstoppable because they combine the short pass with the run in the hurry-up so fluidly and gas the opposing defense. The defense stops coming after Jones as hard because they're winded, so OU starts taking their shots downfield under no pressure. Iowa State had no answer for the part of the game when OU was actually trying to score, so we're left with 52-0 instead of 70-0. How nice. The Sooners racked up an incredible 672 yards of offense, with basically a 1-1 split between the rushing game and the passing game. This is the difference between Texas and OU. OU protects their QBs by default-it's just how their system works. Texas protects their QBs by X-ing out the middle of the field from routes, only giving the QB one read, and telling him to checkdown to a TE seven yards short of the first down marker.
They'll have a harder time against Mizzou's defense, but they still matchup nicely with the Tigers. Missouri has slow LBs that can't cover sideline to sideline and a susceptible belly up the middle for OU to run through. They also have a very good and experienced secondary that can lock down receivers and one of the better defensive line pass rushes in the country. OU has a quick passing game that protects the QB from getting pressured and doesn't rely on long throws. You see the problem.
Big Man On Campus: Landry Jones was lights out against the ‘Clones, going 30/34 for 334 yards and three TDs. Lots of threes in there.
This weekend won't go nearly as far as next weekend will in shaping my impression of the conference landscape. If you think I'm going to automatically jump back on the UT bandwagon and vault them up to number 1, think again. Or go read Orangebloods or something (Chip Brown had UT number one in his rankings-I literally laughed out loud). Texas has to earn it back for me, and one lights out performance by the defense and letting GG run isn't enough for me to jump them over teams who've earned it almost every week of the season.
Same with Missouri and Okie State, who many would expect to jump Nebraska. Sorry guys, you have to do better than beating up on Aggie and Sand Aggie to move up in my rankings. You deliver next weekend and you'll reap the benefits. Until then, be patient.
OU obviously takes the number one spot by default, but I was impressed with them in all phases of the game against an overmatched ISU team.
1. Oklahoma Sooners
2. Nebraska Cornhuskers
3. Missouri Tigers
4. Oklahoma State Cowboys
5. Texas Longhorns
6. Kansas State Wildcats
7. Texas Tech Red Raiders
8. Texas A&M Aggies
9. Baylor Bears
10. Iowa State Cyclones
11. Colorado Buffaloes
12. Kansas Jayhawks