Chip Brown says that the Big 12's reputation for the season is at stake next Saturday in a handful of "sink or swim" matchups:
Missouri has a chance for the Big 12's first victory against the SEC – at Ole Miss – after Georgia and Auburn slapped around Oklahoma State and Kansas State, respectively. Texas A&M must avert a potential ambush by an improved Fresno State. And Texas Tech has what appears to be routine home game against UTEP after playing at SMU today.
But is anything routine anymore? After Appalachian State? After Arkansas State?
No two games are bigger to the Big 12 this weekend than Miami's first meeting with Oklahoma since the Hurricanes beat the Sooners for the 1987 national title, and TCU's first meeting with Texas since 1995.
I think Chip's right, especially after the Big 12 struck out twice against the SEC in opening week. (Kansas State leaked away a game to Auburn, while Oklahoma State was thoroughly buried by Georgia.) I've been contending that this is an improved conference in 2007, but we'll have to re-evaluate if more teams sink than swim next Saturday.
The Houston Chronicle's Moisekapenda Bower writes that Texas and Texas A&M are just happy to be winners given Michigan's stunning loss to Appy State. I suppose that's true to some extent, but I know both teams (and coaches) have much, much bigger goals than "surviving" the 2007 season. In particular, Fran needs A&M to contend seriously for the Big 12 title or he could find himself on the outside looking in come this offseason.
The Chron's Joseph Duarte has a string of random week one thoughts, none of which may be more important than his note that Oklahoma became the "team to beat" in the Big 12 after week one.
OU starting quarterback Sam Bradford set a school record when he completed 20 of his 22 first half pass attempts for 350 yards. Meanwhile, freshman tailback Demarco Murray scored five touchdowns.
I think most everyone agreed that OU's defense looked better on paper than Texas' heading into the season. The Longhorns' supposed advantage was to be on offense, but McCoy and Co. looked stagnant in the opener. I'm not ready to give up on Texas' offensive potency after one week, but consider me officially "on notice" that OU's own offense might be as good as its been since the 2000-2004 run.