This week was consumed with project-doing and test-studying, so I apologize for my lack of punctuality in finally getting this done.
This was a pretty crazy week for the Big 12, including a combination of impressive blowouts (Nebraska), head-scratchingly close near-shockers (Texas A&M, OU, Mizzou), and the first intra-conference games of the season (UT vs. Texas Tech and Iowa State vs. Kansas State).
We're still having a hard time figuring out just who is real and who isn't, especially with mercurial teams like OSU, A&M, Mizzou, and even Oklahoma.
And here...we...GO! Home team's in bold. After The Jump.
Kansas-16 (1-2, 0-0)
Southern Mississippi-31 (2-1, 0-0)
The Skinny: The Big 12 got started off a day early on Friday and the Fightin' Turner Gills did nothing in front of a national audience to build on their shocking upset over Georgia Tech last week. Southern Miss isn't a bad team and they have legitimate talent, but this was a route from the get-go. I can only assume the Georgia Tech victory was a complete fluke, but I'll take a wait-and-see approach with the Mangina-less Jayhawks. Oddly, Kansas beat the Golden Eagles in the turnover department one to zero and the penalty department 19 yards to 70. So, like, there's that.
Big Man On Campus: Southern Miss RB Desmond Johnson, who accumulated 89 yards and a touchdown on only eight carries. Yeah, it wasn't much of a game...I almost gave it to a Kansas KR unit that averaged 26.5 yards per return.
Kansas State-27 (3-0, 1-0)
Iowa State-20 (1-2, 0-1)
The Skinny: In what was actually a pretty good game and ending, Kansas State emerged from the contest a pristine 3-0, a tribute to Bill Snyder's scrappy ability to win close games (such as against UCLA). Manhattan is Lubbock North for Texas, so with our sputtering offense and Snyder's witch doctor machinations, I'm not exactly psyched for that trip. Luckily, it's down the road and the team, especially the offense, should be far more battle-tested than they are now.
Big Man On Campus: Kansas State running back Daniel Thomas is fighting tooth and nail for some national recognition, but it's hard to come by when your team's been an abomination for seven years now and you're located in the Children of the Corn-like fields of Manhattan, Kansas. The workhorse did work to the tune of 181 rushing yards and two TDs on 34 carries.
Colorado-31 (2-1, 0-0)
Hawaii-13 (1-2, 0-0)
The Skinny: Colorado rebounded from a dismal first half in which they trailed 10-0 with a torrid 31-3 second-half beatdown of the Humuhumunukunukuapua`a's. The Buffs actually got booed off the field by their own fans in the first half, and for once I honestly don't blame the fans because I'm still constantly amazed that Dan Hawkins is in his FIFTH seasons as the Buffaloes' head coach. But this is a good win for the program and another potential one awaits next week at home against a struggling Georgia team. Hint, hint: cheer for Georgia.
Big Man On Campus: The Colorado offensive rushing game managed an impressive 252 yards, while the Colorado defensive rushing game held Hawaii to a measly seven. Although Hawaii's a horrendous defense and almost never runs the ball, those are still impressive statistics. RBs Rodney Stewart (106) and Brian Lockridge (109) both eclipsed 100 yards rushing, marking the first time the Buffs have accomplished that feat since 2002. A cookie and a free BON subscription for a year to whomever can tell me the last two players to do that at CU.
Oklahoma-27 (3-0, 0-0)
Air Force-24 (2-1, 1-0)
The Skinny: Looks like I was right about OU last week when I said they'd play well when challenged, but slack off and struggle when they aren't focused. That was definitely the case against Air Force, as OU got up to a 27-10 lead in the third quarter before nearly choking the game away late. An embarrassingly bad defensive scheme from Sooner DC Brent Venables involving the use of the nickel and standing DEs to defend a triple option offense (huh?) adequately and efficiently misused basically every player on OU's defense. The result was a halberd-sized gashing of 351 rushing yards. OU fans need not fear the Red River Shootout, though. Much like there's no wrong way to eat a Reese's, there's apparently no wrong way to defend the Texas offense-11 warm bodies will do.
Big Man On Campus: Air Force's running game embarrassed a vaunted Sooner defense with 351 yards, and the total offensive output equaled 458 yards. OU, on the other hand, could only manage 367 yards of total offense-16 more yards than the Air Force rushing output.
Nebraska-56 (3-0, 0-0)
Washington-21 (1-2, 0-0)
The Skinny: Now this was an impressive win. In sharp contrast to the Sooners, Nebraska was completely ready for their game. Also, the coaches had the perfect plan on defense: sit back, let Washington move the ball with the run, and wait for unimaginably overrated quarterback Jake Locker to make a mistake. On the flip side, we were treated to a showing of what happens when you take decent talent and put it in an offensive scheme that complements it perfectly. Basically, the antithesis to everything Texas is trying to do on offense this season. Case in point: when Roy Helu is in the backfield, he's almost always in a pseudo Pistol formation that allows him to quickly get north and south and run people over or break tackles. This fits Helu perfectly because he's a prototypical I-back without a lot of wiggle or sudden change-of-direction ability. Sigh.
Big Man On Campus: Husker QB Taylor Martinez had another brilliant game for Nebraska, through both the air and on the ground. The dark horse Heisman candidate threw for 150 yards and a TD on 7/11 attempts and rushed 19 times for 137 yards and three more scores, including a monster 80-yard flash to start the second half that broke Washington's resolve for good.
Baylor-10 (2-1, 0-0)
TCU-45 (3-0, 0-0)
The Skinny: This game was a pretty big disappointment for some who predicted Baylor would put up a fight against the Frogs. TCU looked legit and the score could have been even more lopsided if Gary Patterson had the attitude (not coaching ability) of Bob Stoops. The score at half was 35-3 before the purple nurples took the peddle off the gas. TCU rolled up 558 yards and nearly 300 yards rushing.
Big Man On Campus: QB Andy Dalton hit on 21 out of 23 passes for 267 yards and a pair of TDs. That's the highest completion percentage since 2004. This time it's a cake and a stripper for whomever can guess the quarterback and the game it happened in.
Missouri-27 (3-0, 0-0)
San Diego State-24 (2-1, 0-0)
The Skinny: In a word, "ugh." I honestly thought Missouri had a chance to be competitive in the Big 12, but after last weekend's debacle (and Nebraska's decimation of Washington) I'm not so sure. The defense got gashed on multiple long runs by SDSU tailback Ronnie Hillman, who rushed 23 times for an absurd 228 yards and two touchdowns. I simply cannot WAIT to take on Nebraska and their consistent string of multiple 100-yard rushers.
Big Man On Campus: Hillman had the big day, but Mizzou wide receiver T.J. Moe was the game's hero. He caught seven passes for 119 yards, including an electrifying 68-yard touchdown with 51 seconds remaining to give Mizzou the lead for good.
Oklahoma State-65 (3-0, 0-0)
Tulsa-28 (1-2, 0-1)
The Skinny: This game was over quickly as Okie Lite got up 41-7 at the half. The move to the Run and Shoot offense is looking great for the Cowboys so far, as they totaled an unbelievable 722 yards of offense (574 passing). Some incredible stats: QB Brandon Weeden is number two in the country is passing yards and number one in touchdowns, RB Kendall Hunter is number three in rushing yards and number four in touchdowns, and WR Justin Blackmon leads the country in receiving yards and touchdowns. That's offensive balance anybody would be jealous of.
Big Man On Campus: At least in this game, it's hard to pick against Brandon Weeden. The 26-year-old threw for 409 yards and six touchdowns.
Texas A&M-27 (3-0, 0-0)
Florida International-20 (0-2, 0-0)
The Skinny: Somewhere, Beergut is just now starting to recover from an alcohol-induced stupor that's kept him sane this week after the Ag's debacle against FIU. A&M needed a scorching 21-point fourth quarter at home just to down the Golden Panthers. Jerrod Johnson was abysmal and threw for four straight interceptions and only 194 yards and one TD. The rushing game bailed out the Aggies and coach Mike Sherman.
Big Man On Campus: RB Christine Michael continues to prove just how terrible of a choice it was not to recruit him. The sophomore had 119 yards and a score in helping th
e Aggies salvage the their season.
Texas-24 (3-0, 0-0)
Texas Tech-14 (2-1, 0-1)
The Skinny: You saw this one. Weird shit happens in Lubbock, and last Saturday night was no exception as Texas sprinted out of the gates to a 14-0 lead in the first six minutes of the game before an offensive implosion that allowed the Raiders to get back to 14-14. It's becoming clearer and clearer that the Texas offense has absolutely no direction, accountability, or discipline. In blatant contrast, the UT defense is proving itself as possibly the best in the country. We're 3-0 and we survived a potential nightmare loss in the third game of the season. But unless we improve substantially on offense to at least average, we're consistently setting ourselves up to be upset week after week if the defense isn't lights out. Not to mention the upcoming double-header against OU and Nebraska.
Big Man On Campus: The Texas defense was absolutely phenomenal against a Tech offense that usually torches us. The Goon Squad only gave up 144 yards of offense, the lowest Red Raider output in a generation. Literally over half the players that get major minutes are playing at an All-American level, and as the commentators said Texas has the best secondary in the nation. I don't think you'd get any odd glances if you threw the defensive line in there as well. Or the linebackers. Jesus, it's been a while since you could say that about our LBs. Even if the offense continues it's incompetent streak, the defense will keep us in every game.
Nebraska has cemented itself as the best team in the conference, with Texas and OU directly on their heels. There's a logjam in the middle of the conference with teams like Okie State, KSU, Mizzou, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech all about to start jockeying hard for position once conference starts.
1. Nebraska Cornhuskers
2. Texas Longhorns
3. Oklahoma Sooners
4. Oklahoma State Cowboys
5. Kansas State Wildcats
6. Missouri Tigers
7. Texas A&M Aggies
8. Texas Tech Red Raiders
9. Baylor Bears
10. Iowa State Cyclones
11. Colorado Buffaloes
12. Kansas Jayhawks