I'll be your weekly conference reviewer for the season, so get excited. Hopefully I'll be able to bang these things out by Tuesday at the latest each week, but we'll see what school allows. Bear with me.
The Big 12 struggled mightily in the opening week of its final year as a complete conference. There was a little bit of good (Nebraska), a little bad (OU), and a little abso-freaking-lutely hideous (Kansas). Let's break it down a little more thoroughly. Home team's listed in bold.
Iowa State-27 (1-0, 0-0)
Northern Illinois-10 (0-1, 0-0)
The Skinny: The Cyclones came out solid against a formerly tough team from the MAC and were never threatened in the game. Coach Paul Rhoads is looking for another surprising bowl bid, but two interceptions and no TDs from senior quarterback Austen Arnaud isn't going to get it done against even decent competition.
Big Man On Campus: In an ugly game, linebacker Jake Knott totaled nine tackles, two picks, and a forced fumble to lead the Cyclone defense.
Missouri-23 (1-0, 0-0)
Illinois-13 (0-1, 0-0)
The Skinny: As a Missouri student, I'm accustomed to minimal in-game coaching and a dearth of halftime adjustments. Not the case in the opener against the Fight Illini, as the Tigers trailed 13-3 at the half before storming back to score all 20 points after the break.
Big Man On Campus: Starting running back Derrick Washington is suspended indefinitely, most likely for the season. So all the pressure's on QB Blaine Gabbert, and he delivered with 281 passing yards and a couple of TD strikes.
Colorado-24 (1-0, 0-0)
Colorado State-3 (0-1, 0-0)
The Skinny: Dan Hawkins is gone after this season if he doesn't produce something resembling progress. A three-touchdown throttling of your rival is a good way to remove a few coals from under your chair, but we'll really see what the Buffs are made of on the road in Berkeley next week against a Cal team that dropped 52 points in their opener.
Big Man On Campus: Ol' reliable former walk-on Scotty McKnight just keeps churning out production. On Saturday he caught six passes for 78 yards and a score.
Texas-34 (1-0, 0-0)
Rice-17 (0-1, 0-0)
The Skinny: An extremely underwhelming performance from the Horns actually should have still been a blowout to the tune of 49-6 if a couple of things had broken our way. If we never go vanilla on offense again, it will be too soon. Rice should win a lot more than two games this season. Horns welcome in Wyoming to a normal altitude level next week.
Big Man On Campus: Some would probably choose Kenny Vaccaro because of his propensity to eat vital organs of the opposition. But nobody impacted the game as much as linebacker Keenan Robinson, who had six tackles, a brilliant interception, and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.
Kansas State-31 (1-0, 0-0)
UCLA-22 (0-1, 0-0)
The Skinny: A very interesting game for the Horns, who play both teams this season. After 184 years of coaching, KSU legend Bill Snyder's still got it. In a great opening-weekend game, Snyder found a way to make lemonade out of a very minimal amount of talent (other than running back Daniel Thomas). Count the author as one who isn't excited about playing the Voodoocats in Manhattan later this year.
Big Man On Campus: Thomas is a big-time talent at RB, and I'll be shocked if he isn't first team all-conference. The senior rushed 28 times for 234 yards (a ridiculous 8.4 YPC) and two touchdowns, including the game clincher. Strongly reminiscent of Darren McFadden.
Nebraska-49 (1-0, 0-0)
Western Kentucky-10 (0-1, 0-0)
The Skinny: Kind of weird to see a big "49" next to Nebraska on the scoreboard. But remember, Western Kentucky just recently elevated themselves to Division 1 FBS in 2007. Meaning, like, they are utterly terrible. Taylor Martinez was the sexy pick to start at QB for the Huskers once Bo Pelini started equivocating around the question with reporters, and in fact the freshman did start.
Big Man On Campus: The speedy Martinez is exactly the kind of dual-threat QB who always seems to give UT trouble. He went 9-15 for 136 yards and rushed only seven times for 127 yards (18.1 YPC) and three TDs. Ugh...
Oklahoma-31 (1-0, 0-0)
Utah State-24 (0-1, 0-0)
The Skinny: Hahahahaha. And, might I add, HA! Somewhere Phil Steele is cringing in a corner as he tries to muster up the courage to check his e-mail containing the 8,452 messages derisively mocking him for picking OU as the number one team in the country. How do you get up 21-0 and almost choke the game away at home if you're Oklahoma playing the freaking Utah State Mormon Aggies? OU's pass coverage is the worst it's been in over a decade.
Big Man On Campus: Imagine how bad Oklahoma is this season sans DeMarco Murray. THIRTY-FIVE carries for 218 yards and two TDs. Do work! Oddly enough, he didn't have a reception.
Oklahoma State-65 (1-0, 0-0)
Washington State-17 (0-1, 0-0)
The Skinny: Man, Okie State's looking tougher than originally expected. Yes, everybody beats up on Wazzu, but this was just a demolition. So much so that T. Boone Pickens felt it move...
Big Man On Campus: Kendall Hunter just wasn't himself last season while playing through injuries that limited his speed and conditioning. Looks like he's back to his old self this year, after going nuts with 21 carries for 257 yards (a mind-boggling 12.2 YPC) and four touchdowns.
Baylor-34 (1-0, 0-0)
Sam Houston State-3 (0-1, 0-0)
The Skinny: This game was all about the return of Robert Griffin III, one of the more exciting players in the college game. SHSU was just outclassed in this game. Not much to see here folks.
Big Man On Campus: Griffin is everything to Baylor and losing him to injury again would cripple the Bears. He led the team in passing (19-36, 242 yards, two TDs) and rushing (six carries, 59 yards, one TD).
Texas A&M-48 (1-0, 0-0)
Stephen F. Austin-7 (0-1, 0-0)
The Skinny: No upset special from the Aggies this season as they gained 539 yards of offense and walloped SFA to start the season.
Big Man On Campus: It's a toss-up between QB Jerrod Johnson, who went 23-35 for 278 yards and two TDs, and Christine "Why didn't UT offer him instead of Chilidog Whaley?" Michael, who went for 105 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries.
Kansas-3 (0-1, 0-0)
North Dakota State-6 (1-0, 0-0)
The Skinny: OH, so you're telling me all those teams that didn't want to hire Turner Gill weren't racist, just well-informed? If OU's struggles were funny, this was just pathetic. Kansas somehow lost despite outgaining NDSU 293 yards to 168.
Big Man On Campus: Anybody who actually willingly watched this entire game.
Texas Tech-35 (1-0, 0-0)
SMU-27 (0-1, 0-0)
The Skinny: The beginning of the Tommy Tuberville era was inauspicious. Tech went up 14-0 early in the second quarter and 28-7 early in the third, but credit the Mustangs for repeatedly clawing their way back into the game. They scored the last 13 points of the game and had a chance to make it interesting late, but just ran out of time.
Big Man On Campus: Lyle Leong was the go-to guy for Taylor Potts in the opener, racking up 11 catches for 142 yards and three scores. He's not the pure talent Detron Lewis is, but he's the Raiders' most reliable target and catches anything within reach.
These don't really mean anything yet, but it sets the baseline for future rankings that have a little more merit behind them.
4. Texas A&M
5. Oklahoma State
7. Texas Tech
8. Kansas State
10. Iowa State