Big 12 Report: Week 6

FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 10: Texas Christian University sophomore Zach Boring (L), and freshman Laura Dunn raise a Big XII Conference banner before a press conference in which TCU accepted an invention to join the Big XII on October 10, 2011 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images)

It was another active week for the Big 12.  Not only did it add TCU as a replacement for the departing Texas A&M, several ranked teams had important games last Saturday.  Speaking of rankings, the first Harris poll was released on Oct. 9 and showed these teams in the Top 25:  #3 OU, #6 OSU, #17 KSU, #20 Texas, #21 Baylor, and #23 Texas A&M, with Texas Tech also receiving votes.  The first BCS rankings will come out this Sunday as well.  There is no substantial difference in the rankings here, so as long as the top teams keep winning they will be fine.

In any case, the Big 12 continues its reputation, for good or for ill, as an offense-first, quarterback conference, with four of the top six, and six  of the top twenty, leaders in total offense being Big 12 quarterbacks (Landry Jones, Brandon Weeden, Robert Griffin, Seth Doege, James Franklin, and Ryan Tannehill).  Let's see how these quarterbacks faired in Week 6, and unfortunately, we have to start with what Landry Jones and the Sooners did to our Longhorns.

(The following rankings will reflect the AP standings; subsequent weeks will use the BCS)

#3 Oklahoma

LAST WEEK:  What an impressive performance the Oklahoma Sooners put up against the overmatched Texas Longhorns.  The final outcome was all but decided at half time with OU pushing to a 34-10 lead with Landry Jones navigating his troops at will, finishing with three touchdown passes in the second quarter.  The Sooner defense added a couple more touchdowns off of Texas miscues.  The result was one of the top five most lopsided victories in this storied rivalry.

The Sooners manage several records in the process, too.  Most defensive points in a game (21).  Most tackles for loss in a single game (17).  I'm sure there are many others. 

THIS WEEK:  The Sooners visit Lawrence to play Kansas.  You can take a wild guess on how that's going to go.  The Jayhawks better hope that Stoops doesn't try to one-up what the Pokes did last week.

SEASON OUTLOOK:  While anything can happen, this Sooner squad appears headed to another Big 12 title shot which will come against their cross-state rival Oklahoma State in the annual Bedlam game.  That will definitely will be must watch TV. - TXStampede

#21 Texas

LAST WEEK:  No need to spend too much time on this one with all the post-game reviews here.  In a nutshell:  The defense struggled but hung in there, but the offense, especially the offensive line, just got whipped.  The Horns committed five turnovers and had three of them returned for touchdowns; in hindsight, with that kind of statistic, it's somewhat surprising OU didn't eclipse 60.    

THIS WEEK:  This young Texas team doesn't get a breather as Oklahoma State visits Austin.  The Pokes may not have as strong a front seven but they arguably have a better secondary, and their offense is just as good as OU's if not better (they have a more credible run game).  Mack has never lost the next game after OU weekend, even inexplicably defeating Nebraska last season, but that's likely going to change this week.  Anything resembling last Saturday's performance will earn this team another thrashing.

SEASON OUTLOOK:  Before the season started, any Texas fan paying attention would have predicted losses to both Okie State and OU.  In that regard, losing to OU last week was hardly a surprise; however, it was definitely disappointing to get pummeled like that, even though it was not altogether unexpected.  It was a reminder that this season is about the process of building up to 2012 and beyond, and Horns fans would do well to remember that this weekend as well.

#24 Baylor

LAST WEEK:  The Bears bounced back from last week's loss to KSU with a 49-26 powerful win.  A little sluggish to open the game, BU roared to a 2nd half punishing effort with over 600 yards of offense led by senior running back Terrance Ganaway.  Ganaway finished the Cyclones with 200 yards on 23 carries (8.7 ypc) and 3 TD's.  Strong.  RGIII had an impressive night throwing for over 200 yards and rushing over 130 yards with a combined 2 touchdowns.  Said coach Briles, "This game tonight, we had to win. That's a tough position to be in. To get that victory says a lot about this football team. We had some bad things happen early and we didn't let that bother us."  Good teams compete.  Great teams persevere.  Baylor appears to be somewhere in that range.

THIS WEEK:  #20/#24 Baylor travels to College Station to tackle the Aggies in possibly the last time the teams face off on the football field in the regular season.  There is no love lost between these two schools and fanbases, but don't expect many Baylor fans to be in attendance as the Bears returned almost 1,000 allotted tickets.

SEASON OUTLOOK:  Baylor has the potential to beat any team on its schedule not named Kansas State.  The rushing attack that came alive last week against the Cyclones brings another dimension opposing defensive coordinators must account.  And that's not the half of it.  The Bears are the trap team of the season and someone along the way is going to be upset.  Maybe this is the week. - TXStampede

Iowa State

LAST WEEK:  No amount of Steele Jantz, good or bad, was enough to offset the Cyclone defensive woes losing to Baylor 49-26.  ISU recovered nicely from the previous week loss to Texas in that they started out with a one score lead but could not answer the bell against the likes of Baylor's RGIII and a great rushing performance by Terrence Ganaway. 

THIS WEEK:  The Cyclones tackle Mizzou in another conference away game. 

SEASON OUTLOOK:  What started out as a promising season has unfortunately, for Cyclone fans, turned into a more traditional result.  The Big 12 is a tough football conference and Iowa State does not have enough speed or depth to keep pace with the top tier Big 12 teams. Paul Rhoads is a great football coach but you can't teach speed.  They will continue to struggle the rest of the way in conference play as the completion, outside of Kansas, ratchets upward. - TXStampede

Kansas

LAST WEEK:  The Oklahoma State Cowboys throttled the Jayhawks 70-28.  No wonder KU is leading the FBS in points per game allowed category.  Kansas struck first in the games first series driving 80 yards for a touchdown.  Then it was Katie bar the door time as the Weeden led OSU offensive machine went into overdrive, scoring touchdowns on their first 5 possessions and opening a 35-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.  Interspersed in the scoring were three straight 3 and outs by the KU offense.  There was no stopping the Cowboys.

THIS WEEK:  Oklahoma Sooners come to Lawrence licking their chops.  Will the Sooners have a drop off after the emotionally charged RRR win?  Doubtful.

SEASON OUTLOOK:  Nothing changed here in the outlook.  My prediction of zero conference wins still looks doable. - TXStampede

Kansas State

LAST WEEK:  This team keeps winning, and keeps winning close.  They bottled up Missouri's offense for three quarters but nearly let Mizzou tie the game at the end.  They had two would-be turnovers overturned by replay, so that was a bit unlucky, but the play that sealed the win was ridiculous:  The Wildcats tried playaction and the Tigers had it relatively covered.  Klein rocketed a pass anyway to the tight end, a pass that missed being deflected by an inch, and that tight end snagged it out of the air with one hand for the game-clinching first down.  They win ugly, but they win.

THIS WEEK:  The Wildcats travel to Lubbock to face another dangerous offense.  This is their first conference away game, but while Lubbock is a tough place to play in, K-State has proven they can find ways to beat good passing offenses.   

SEASON OUTLOOK:  Has this team gotten a little lucky?  Sure.  They also make their own luck by playing disciplined and within themselves.  I'm through underestimating this team (though of course I was duly worried about them playing us, as all UT fans are).  They won't wow anyone with flashy plays and superfast players, but they'll methodically compete through four quarters.

Missouri

LAST WEEK:  Missouri's offense finally delivered some scores at the end after a mistake-prone game, but it wasn't enough as they fell to K-State.  It was a winnable game and one the Tigers definitely could have used given the tough Big 12 schedule.  James Franklin didn't play well and their run defense really struggled.

THIS WEEK:  The Tigers host Iowa State in a game they should be favored in but is hardly a guaranteed win.  Franklin needs to rebound and that defense needs to show improvement against the erratic but potentially dangerous Steele Jantz.

SEASON OUTLOOK:  Nothing has changed.  They have a decent offense, but they aren't going to win much this season.

Oklahoma State

LAST WEEK:  I said the Jayhawks deserved a pizza party if they lost by less than 25 points.  Well, no pizza for you.  The Pokes rushed out to a 56-7 lead and then cruised to a 70-21 beatdown.  Goodness.

THIS WEEK:  Okie State comes to Austin.  The matchups seem to heavily favor them, and unless they fail to protect Weeden and allow the young Longhorns to run the ball for four quarters, the Pokes should take the game.  A slow start like they had in College Station could be potentially dangerous, but Texas does not have the same offensive explosiveness as the Aggies this year to rush out to a big lead without the aid of turnovers.

SEASON OUTLOOK:  The Pokes continue to win and continue to pound most teams they play.  I've said it before and I'll say it again:  Their defense is a bit better than their final box score stats say, as most of the points and yards they've ceded have come after the game was decided.  Other than the A&M game, they've outscored their opponents 142 - 23 in the first half, so don't look too much into their raw points-allowed ranking.  Furthermore, in their lone competitive game against the Ags, the defense responded by posting a strong second half when they needed it.  This isn't Alabama's or LSU's defense, but they're not bad.  Couple that with a truly deadly offense, and they have the tools to beat everyone on their schedule, including the Sooners.

Texas A&M

LAST WEEK:  Texas A&M was able to hold off Texas Tech to end their losing streak at two games.  The Aggie defense did what they needed to; while they gave up yards, they held Seth Doege to less than six yards per attempt, though they were fortunate that Tech runningback Eric Stephens got injured in the third quarter because he had already eclipsed 100 yards, and they forced several Tech field goals.  However, it was special teams that gave A&M the big play they needed, as a blocked field goal that was returned for six in the third quarter gave the Aggies enough cushion to hold on.

THIS WEEK:  A&M hosts Baylor in what looks to be a shootout.  Robert Griffin is one of the top players in the country, but that Bears defense is just horrible.  Then again, the Aggie defense has not been stellar itself, so this should be one entertaining contest at Kyle Field. 

SEASON OUTLOOK:  That defense still doesn't look so great, and that alone makes a run for the Big 12 title very unlikely.  Getting special teams contributions to seal the win in Lubbock should be encouraging, but there are a few more offenses the Aggies must face that are capable of piling up yards and points, so things won't get much easier.

Texas Tech

LAST WEEK:  Red Raider fans resorted to an old, dirty, prank to put some mojo on the Aggies but their football team fell just a tad short. No amount of horse chips or washable paint was enough to offset the Aggie rushing attack losing for the first time this season 45-40.  While the score was respectable at the end, A&M controlled the outcome the entire contest.  But give Tech quarterback Seth Doege credit as he led the Raider offense with 391 yards on the day plus three touchdown passes, one of which was to Adam James (yikes).  Head coach Tuberville pointed to lack of touchdown production as the difference in the game, "We had to kick too many field goals and too much time ran off the clock."  Tech field goal kicker Donnie Corona went 4-5 with a long of 50 yards.  If one of those field goals converts to a TD then Tech might have won what might be the final meeting between these long time rivals for a very long time.

THIS WEEK:  Coming off an impressive come from behind victory over the Baylor Bears, Kansas State comes to town.  Another stern test ahead for the Red Raiders. 

SEASON OUTLOOK:  Despite their first loss, the Red Raiders have as potent an offensive attack as any in the conference.  Doege is another in a long line of Red Raider hurlers that anchors a quick strike attack.  And in the Big 12 often that is all that is needed to give a team the chance late in a game to be a real spoiler to someone's season.  With that said, Tech lacks a defense capable of playing a full four quarters.  Somewhere along the way they will have a conference statement game. Is it this week? - TXStampede

Players of the Week (courtesy of big12sports.com)

Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week
Landry Jones, Oklahoma, QB, Jr, Artesia, N.M.
In No. 1/3 Oklahoma's 55-27 win over No. 10/11 Texas, Landry Jones completed 31-of-50 passes for 367 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. His TD throws covered 19, five and 14 yards. Previously unbeaten Texas had picked off six passes coming into the game while permitting just two passing touchdowns.  Jones was named the Davey O'Brien Quarterback of the Week. In Oklahoma's past three games, Jones has collected 1,240 passing yards and 11 touchdowns. He currently ranks second in the nation in total offense, averaging 363.2 yards per game

Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week
Jamell Fleming, Oklahoma, CB, Sr, Arlington, Texas
Jamell Fleming had a career-high 13 tackles in No. 1/3 Oklahoma's 55-17 win over No. 10/11 Texas. The senior cornerback also returned a fumble 56 yards for a touchdown and forced a fumble. Eleven of Fleming's tackles were unassisted and two went for three yards in losses. The Oklahoma defense held UT to 259 yards, 161.8 yards below its average, and 17 points, 17.2 under its average. One of UT's touchdowns came on a kickoff return. The other occurred with 2:31 remaining in the game.  Fleming was also named the FWAA/Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week.

Upcoming Game of the Week:  Baylor vs. Texas A&M (11:00 a.m. FX)

 

Rankings

  1. Oklahoma
  2. Oklahoma State
  3. Kansas State
  4. Texas A&M
  5. Baylor
  6. Texas Tech
  7. Texas
  8. Missouri
  9. Iowa State
  10. Kansas
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