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Keeping up with the Conference

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As Texas heads into Big 12 play, let’s take a quick look at how every opponent has fared so far this season.

Paxson Haws/ The Daily

Over the past few weeks, you may or may not have noticed that college football made it’s glorious, long awaited return into our weekend routines. And the opening month-ish of college football certainly did not disappoint. With all the nail-biters, near upsets, dominating openers, disappointing revenge games, and whatever the hell happened in Ames, Iowa, there’s a good chance you may have missed a few games here or there. Or maybe you want to just relive some of the best moments from the greatest conference in college sports that includes schools from Kansas.

Well, look no further.

Without any further introduction, here’s the “Keeping Up with the Conference”, or KUWTC, for short. This article will be published weekly every week to provide a check-in with our friends in the Big 12 flyover states and cities, and our non-conference opponents. I’ll also let you know which teams are trending up, down, or are remaining neutral, and how their performance affects our own sons of Del Conte. So hit the lights, pump up the music, and get ready to scroll because starting next week, Big 12 football, like Texas, is BACK FOLKS.

BIG 12 STANDINGS (as of Week 3)

  1. Oklahoma (1-0) (3-0)
  2. Oklahoma State (0-0) (3-0)
  3. West Virginia (0-0) (2-0)
  4. Baylor (0-0) (2-1)
  5. Kansas (0-0) (2-1)
  6. Kansas State (0-0) (2-1)
  7. TCU (0-0) (2-1)
  8. Texas (0-0) (2-1)
  9. Texas Tech (0-0) (2-1)
  10. Iowa State (0-1) (0-2)

Oklahoma

Week 1: W vs FAU, 63-14

Week 2: W vs UCLA, 49-21

Week 3: W @ Iowa St., 37-27

Highlight: The Oklahoma Kyler Murrays™ held off a feisty Iowa State team on the road and avenged last year’s loss in Norman, proving once and for all that Murray > Mayfield and that Baker was really just a system quarterback.

Trending: NEUTRAL. Sooners doing Sooners things — scoring a chuck wagon’s load of points while sporting a defense that occasionally belongs in the witness protection program. However, the loss of RB Rodney Anderson does hurt this team moving forward.

Oklahoma State

Week 1: W vs Missouri St., 58-17

Week 2: W vs South Alabama, 55-13

Week 3: W vs Boise St., 44-21

Highlight: It should be that Okie State earned their spot in the top 25 with a 44-21 thumping of No. 17-ranked Boise St. in Stillwater. However, the highlight of the past three weeks has definitely been that coach Mike Gundy’s self proclaimed $1 million mullet has been cut off and is no more. The absence of hair on Gundy’s neck is the true last nail in the coffin of the old great Big 12.

Trending: UP. Replacing Mason Rudolph was a daunting enough task to keep the Cowboys from starting off the season ranked this year, but some dominating offensive games at home have breathed new optimism into their 2018 season behind the play of former walk-on quarterback Taylor Cornelius.

West Virginia

Week 1: W vs Tennessee, 40-14

Week 2: W vs Youngstown St., 52-17

Week 3: Cancelled @ NC State

Highlight: The Mountaineers defeated Tennessee easily on opening weekend to kick off what many experts view as a “dark horse CFP candidate” season. Will Grier impressed on the field and in the box score as his Heisman campaign set off down the country roads.

Trending: NEUTRAL. With not enough of a sample size and having played one of the worst P5 teams and a DII school, we just haven’t seen West Virginia play anyone close to their talent level. That may be the sentiment surrounding the team for the next few weeks, as WVU doesn’t play another currently-ranked team until a home game versus TCU on November 10.

Baylor

Week 1: W vs Abilene Christian, 55-27

Week 2: W @ UTSA, 37-20

Week 3: L vs Duke, 27-40

Highlight: In the “This is my UT safety school because I’m not crazy enough to go to A&M” bowl, Baylor marched down I-35 and took care of business against the UTSA Roadrunners. With this victory, Baylor doubled their win total from the 2017 season.

Trending: NEUTRAL. Not much was expected from the Bears this season, and not much is exactly what we’ve gotten. Baylor kicks off conference play this weekend against Big 12 juggernaut Kansas.

Kansas

Week 1: L vs Nicholls St., 23-26 (OT)

Week 2: W @ Central Michigan, 31-7

Week 3: W vs Rutgers, 55-14

Highlight: Where to start? How about notching the school’s first road win since 2009? Or creaming Rutgers in the Game of the (21st) Century? Instead, I’ll leave this fun fact here: Kansas leads the NCAA in turnover margin at +12. That’s four more than the next highest teams, and it’s the highest margin through the first three weeks since 2014. Forget Texas. Kansas football is BACK, FOLKS.

Trending: UP. This is literally the best start this school has had since forever (I don’t have the time or patience to verify that). Now Kansas is looking for its first Big 12 victory since, uh. Yeah.

Kansas State

Week 1: W vs South Dakota, 27-24

Week 2: L vs Mississippi St., 10-31

Week 3: W vs UTSA, 41-17

Highlight: K-State took care of business against UTSA as another Big 12 school whooped on one of our poor satellite institutions — pick on someone your own size, KSU. After a dismal showing against MSU, QB Skylar Thompson appears to have won the starting job, and K-State looked more like the K-State of old.

Trending: DOWN. Even with the improvement in last week’s showing, this team still faceplanted out of the starting gates. An escape in week one against D2 South Dakota was magnified by a smothering loss at home to MSU. K-State travels up to Morgantown before hosting the Longhorns in Manhattan.

TCU

Week 1: W vs Southern, 55-7

Week 2: W @ SMU, 42-12

Week 3: L vs Ohio St., 28-40

Highlight: TCU couldn’t take down the Urban Meyer-less Buckeyes in a “neutral site” game in Arlington this past Saturday. You may have missed that game, though, given that Texas was busy being back against USC at the same time. But TCU actually led at halftime, and held their own against OSU. A brief stretch of about five minutes of game time allowed the Buckeyes to score 20 points and bury the game. The actual contest was much closer than the score suggests.

Trending: UP. The loss to OSU is disappointing for the Frogs, sure, but Ohio State is among the top tier of college football teams this year. TCU heads to Austin looking to avoid starting the season 2-2. Texas should be by far the second best team TCU has played (both a compliment and insult to the Horns) so of course we’ll learn more about TCU this weekend. However, make no mistake — TCU is a very good team, on the cusp of being great.

Texas Tech

Week 1: L vs Ole Miss, 27-47

Week 2: W vs Lamar, 77-0

Week 3: W vs Houston, 63-49

Highlight: It’s amazing that Texas Tech has been the exact same team my entire life — score a ton of points and don’t even think about trying to play defense. Behind 600 yards through the air, Tech pulled away from Houston last week and had some players putting up some video game statlines in the process.

Trending: NEUTRAL. Kingsbury and co. are off to such a predictable start that a 27 point performance against a Power 5 school looks like an offensive disappointment. Throwing the ball 60 times in a 14-point win may not be sustainable, but damn is it fun to watch.

Iowa State

Week 1: Cancelled vs South Dakota St.

Week 2: L @ Iowa, 3-13

Week 3: L vs Oklahoma, 27-37

Highlight: Iowa State really took it to Oklahoma, playing a tough game to kick off Big 12 play. The defense stepped up, limiting Trey Sermon to under 100 yards rushing, and keeping the game within a score most of the fourth quarter.

Trending: DOWN. After cancelling their first game, and coach Matt Campbell declaring war on the weather, this season has been followed up with losses to their big in-state rival and a conference giant they slayed last year. Still a hard team to read after last year’s emergence from seemingly nowhere, the Cyclones trend down for now because of the winless start and inconsistent offensive play.

Out of Conference Opponents:

Maryland (2-1)

Week 1: W vs Texas, 34-29

Week 2: W @ Bowling Green, 45-14

Week 3: L vs Temple, 35-14

Highlight: Maryland jet sweeped Texas into oblivion, took it to Bowling Green, and then... got blown out by Temple? Just 63 yards passing and 195 yards of total offense doomed the Terps last week, as the offense accounted for exactly 0 points in a home loss.

Trending: DOWN. Same old, same old. If only beating Texas meant that you would actually beat other good teams, too. Maryland hosts Minnesota this weekend in what should be a closely contested match-up between two middling Big 10 schools.

Tulsa (1-2)

Week 1: W vs Central Arkansas, 38-27

Week 2: L @ Texas, 21-28

Week 3: L vs Arkansas St., 20-29

Highlight: Tulsa had a late comeback against Texas two weeks ago, in case you forgot. The Golden Hurricanes left plenty of points on the board, with missed field goals and empty red zone trips galore. Eventually, Tulsa put up 21 points on Texas in the second half, and clearly had all the mythical momentum, before ultimately running out of time on their comeback bid.

Trending: DOWN. Tulsa has waged war against the entire state of Arkansas, and it will not stop until all directional schools are defeated at the hand of the Golden Hurricane. Unfortunately, their conquest did not include state schools, as Tulsa was upset at the hands of the Arkansas State Red Wolves this past weekend. Tulsa will look to rebound in a weak AAC, but you shouldn’t expect many big wins from this program moving forward. That 28-21 win could begin to look a lot worse for Texas.

USC (1-2)

Week 1: W vs UNLV, 43-21

Week 2: L @ Stanford, 3-17

Week 3: L @ Texas, 14-37

Highlight: For all the questions that surrounded USC’s offense, there remains much to be seen or answered. However, true freshman QB JT Daniels has looked impressive in spurts to start the year. It’s a tall task to have to play at Stanford and at Texas behind a weak offensive line, and times he has looked not so great. But the QB should still be in high school right now, and Trojans fans have to be excited for the potential Daniels possesses to become the next great USC quarterback.

Trending: DOWN. With the yearly exodus of talent USC seemingly undergoes every offseason, many were confident in the Trojans’ ability to muster up an offense that would allow for an improved defense to contend for the Pac 12 title. The second and third games of the year put a huge dent and question mark in those aspirations, as USC could only amass 3 points at Stanford and -5 rushing yards at Texas. USC will have plenty of chances to earn back its ranking, but as of right now, Texas’s most recent victory doesn’t look as appealing as it did preseason.

Texas Strength of Schedule — 22-12

Strength of Remaining Opponents — 18-7

Week 4 Schedule

Army @ Oklahoma

Kansas @ Baylor

Texas Tech @ Oklahoma State

Kansas State @ West Virginia

TCU @ Texas

Akron @ Iowa State

Minnesota @ Maryland

Tulsa @ Temple

Washington St. @ USC

Parting Shot