A lot of byes this week, but there were some interesting developments. The Longhorns remove the curse that is K-State. Baylor continues to roll. West Virginia struggles to do anything against Maryland and Kansas wins.
Our Daily Bears (Baylor Bears) Forgive me if you've heard this before, but today's game might have been the most impressive complete performance, against a team that gave us everything it had a year ago, that we've ever seen from a Baylor squad. When the game was close early, the offense did its job and the defense responded, creating a duet of dominance that left in its wake a ULM team down 35 after the first 15 minutes. 30 minutes later, they'd be down by 63. We've seen the offense before; it's Art Briles' staple. But the defense ... that's where I have been truly impressed. For a healthy portion of the game, we played two true freshmen -- two guys just months off their high school proms -- at defensive tackle. That they didn't just play, but played extremely well (I think Billings, in particular, must have leased a timeshare in the ULM backfield), a testament to both our talent and our depth. We didn't expect either of those guys to play major roles in our third game of the season, but they did. Did I mention the defense held ULM to 13 total yards in the second half? 21 in the third quarter, -8 in the fourth. Part of the reason our offense looks so good, so far, is that our defense has given them the ball back quickly with the opposing team unready to handle them. I truly believe that. I've been called it enough times to know that I'm a homer. I can't help it. I can't help thinking that this team can actually be the favorite we're starting to be called in the Big 12. This offense, with speed and power everywhere, can score on anyone. The defense, which looks as good as any Baylor fans have seen in a long time, should be able to, at worst, do its job. The refrain has always been that with our offense and playmakers, we needed a defense that could just be bad instead of awful. Now it looks like they could be much more than that. In a Big 12 that isn't so much "down" as "bereft of an obvious choice", why can't Baylor win? How many times are people going to ask that question before the answer becomes simply: They can? (Link)
Wide Right & Natty Lite (Iowa St. Cyclones) Bye week.
Rock Chalk Talk (Kansas Jayhawks) Jayhawks win! Time to celebrate today because anyone that watched this game knows they had no business winning. Outgained throughout the day and two fumbles by Louisiana Tech inside the five yard line provided every break imaginable and finally Jake Heaps and company took advantage on the last possession. Starting at the 5 yard line following Kenneth Dixon's fumble, the Jayhawks went 60 yards on eight plays. A couple runs by Sims and three big completions from Jake Heaps, Matthew Wyman came on nailed a 52 yarder for the win. I'm too excited after that one to worry too much about everything that happened before the last possession. Trevor Pardula was an invaluable with punts of 57, 65, and 78 yards to give La. Tech long fields all day. Jake Heaps looked good on the last drive, throwing his best pass of the game to gain 29 yards to set up the final kick. And Wyman showed balls of steel in drilling the winner. Again, we've doubled the win total from last year. (Link)
Bring On The Cats (Kansas St. Wildcats) The game plan was something out of a Wes Craven film, the defense was putrid outside of some noteworthy efforts from the usual suspects, and I'm not singing hosannas to the coverage teams. The worst part, however, was that Texas held Kansas State to 115 rushing yards. That is not a misprint. You read it right. Texas, the third-worst rushing defense in the nation, held Kansas State to 115 yards on the ground. The problems with the defense are probably not fixable given the speed the Wildcats don't have. The offensive issues... well, let's face basic reality. What I'm about to say is utterly incontrovertible. If Daniel Sams is not going to be allowed to throw the ball, he has no business playing quarterback because defenses will manage to shut him down. (If Texas can do it, anyone can.) Bill Snyder clearly has no intention of letting Daniel Sams throw the ball. Ergo, Jake Waters is our quarterback, for good or for ill. There's no debate here anymore. If you still want to sit and kvetch about how Daniel Sams should be in rather than Waters, you're just shouting nonsense at a brick wall, because Snyder will not allow Sams the opportunity to succeed. (Link)
Crimson and Cream Machine (Oklahoma Sooners) Bye week.
Cowboys Ride For Free (Oklahoma St. Cowboys) Bye week.
Burnt Orange Nation (Texas Longhorns) After two weeks of terrible football and Kansas State linebacker Tre Walker calling out the toughness of the entire Texas Longhorns team prior to the season, the Longhorns had only two choices on Saturday night -- define themselves as physically and mentally weak or finally show some toughness and pride. Consider the latter option the choice for Texas as the defense developed a game plan to stop the Kansas State rushing attack and flowed hard to the football with bad intentions and the offense made enough plays for a 31-21 victory, the first against the Wildcats since 2003. Is Kansas State a good football team? Does this mean that everything is back on track for Texas? Neither question will have an answer for several weeks, but the bottom line is that after being out-coached, out-executed, and out-efforted by the Wildcats for the better part of a decade, the Longhorns were the more physical football team in a critical game at Darrell K Royal-Memorial Stadium. (Link)
Barking Carnival (Texas Longhorns) For a team as beleaguered as the Longhorns have been over the last couple of weeks, any win feels good and you can never discount a victory over a squad that has tormented Texas the way KSU has. Make no mistake, however - this was a bad, bad KSU team that will do well to win three games in conference, and they made a game of it. It's a good righting of the ship and a chance for the team to collect itself, but this is little proof that Texas can execute at anything close to the level we hoped for going into the season. They won't be executing anything against legitimate contenders without David Ash, and just how long he'll be gone and the kind of shape he's in are massive questions. The word was that his concussion was 'minor' and that he was held out more for his shoulder than anything last week, but there was also word that he didn't attend Ole Miss because he was still not up for lights and loud noises - which doesn't sound very minor on the concussion scale. There's no question Ash is a tough kid who was campaigning like hell to get back into the starting lineup, but that's why those decisions have to be left in the hands of the adults. I don't know if anyone knows just how severe his concussion was and how ready he was to play football tonight, but I do know that the constant stream of spin, message control, half-truths and outright lies from Bellmont over the years have completely eroded any credibility they could have on that or any other topic. (Link)
Frogs O War (TCU Horned Frogs) Bye week.
The Smoking Musket (West Virginia Mountaineers) In a game they never game themselves a chance to win, WVU turned the ball over 6 times resulting in 24 Maryland points. The defense played pretty deceptively well in an effort that didn't have many missed tackles, big plays or blown assignments. A look at the box score confirms that this was a failing of the WVU offense at every conceivable level as they dropped their first game to the Terps since the invention of Facebook. A scant 7 days after the most statistically impressive debut of a freshman signal caller in WVU history, QB Ford Childress looked as lost at the position as anyone ever has and leaves in his wake a mountain of questions about the future. The numbers are ugly. The Terrapins ran 72 total plays and gained 330 total yards for an unimpressive average of 4.6 yards per play (that would place them 111th nationally if it were a season stat). The Mountaineers on the other hand ran only 47 plays. The average doesn't matter - when you run 25 fewer plays than an opponent, it's because you're giving them more possessions. That's a result of turnovers and inability to move the ball - no more, no less. (Link)