The purpose of this post is to be the anchor for this week's story steam for the game between Oklahoma and Texas Tech. Here is the official site preview with Oklahoma. The opening line was apparently Texas Tech getting 8 points and has now moved to Texas Tech getting 4.5 points and in one place 4.0 points. Opening lines are usually announced on Sunday and it moved very quickly. The Monday press conference is today, so we'll have more tomorrow. Big game. Here are some additional links:
* LAJ's Don Williams writes that the defense and the run game is finally on:
Take the fourth quarter alone. Linebacker Terrance Bullitt hurdled a guy while chasing the quarterback. Safety D.J. Johnson decked a big tight end right after a pass arrived, his hit leading to a Cornelius Douglas interception. Defensive tackle Kerry Hyder doggedly chased Steele Jantz so that, when the ball squirted out of the quarterback’s hand, Hyder was there to jump on the fumble. And later, when Jantz heaved one into the end zone, the secondary that so seldom made plays a year ago got another interception from safety Cody Davis.
* LAJ's Nick Kosmider writes that the Texas Tech defense is all about fundamentals:
"It’s really the whole defensive coaching staff," said Hyder, who had two sacks and a fumble recovery during the win. "They’re doing a great job of putting guys in the right places and helping them succeed." Therein lies the success, thus far, of new defensive coordinator Art Kaufman’s approach during his first season in Lubbock. Against the Cyclones, the Red Raiders once again limited big plays. Running back James White broke a 36-yard run up the middle, and Steele Jantz was able to scramble for 21 yards when he couldn’t find a receiver, but other than those instances, the Cyclones were rarely able to move the ball more than a few yards at a time.
* LAJ's Don Williams and Nick Kosmider review the 5 key developments from Saturday's against Iowa St.
* DMN's Chuck Carlton writes that scoring was great, but TCU and Texas Tech won games with defense and FWST's Jimmy Burch writes that Texas Tech's defensive coordinator Art Kaufman is the leader for the Frank Broyles Award, which goes to the top coordinator or assistant.
I also figured it was high time to go ahead and start keeping track of what our Big 12 brothers are doing, but in their own words.
Our Daily Bears (Baylor Bears): Yes, everyone expects for the defense to perform much, much better than it did today. No, we can't get where we want to be with that kind of performance. All that taken as fact, Phil Bennett is a good defensive coach. Despite the scorn I heaped upon him in the heat of the moment on twitter, it's not his fault that our players don't tackle when they have the chance, and it's not his fault they make terrible decisions like leaving Tavon Austin wide open down the sideline. Our biggest problem at this point is clearly the defensive line, where we're playing a redshirt freshman in an alignment we've never used before because we lost our starter before the season. (Link).
Wide Right & Natty Lite (Iowa St. Cyclones): Iowa State's defense kept them in the game, but the offense was too inept to pull out a win. It's hard to pin the blame for the offensive output (or lack thereof) on one thing. Steele Jantz finished the day with 73 yards passing total, which is probably what Geno Smith calls one good drive. Jantz compounded the lack of yardage with 3 interceptions and one of the most ridiculous fumbles I've ever seen. Of course, the offensive line was continually getting manhandled, resulting in Jantz, Shontrelle Johnson and James White all running for their lives with barely any daylight or protection. The third part of the trifecta of offensive woes was the playcalling. The ghost of bizarro Barney Cotton came back to town and forced the Cyclones to run read option after read option, with a turnover as a rare treat. (Link)
Rock Chalk Talk (Kansas Jayhawks): Four games in and I think the most appropriate question seems to be what happened? The Kansas offense was good last year during the non-conference schedule before falling off of a cliff, but this year that decent seems to have started a bit sooner. If there was one thing that Charlie Weis and Dayne Crist were expected to do it was improve and improving offense. Instead it seems as though the program has taken a step in the wrong direction. (Link)
Bring On The Cats (Kansas St. Wildcats): It's that time of the week (or actually, slightly past it) where we normally like to try to provide you with some insight from our upcoming opponents. The anticipation is building, but generally we haven't all yet reached the point where we can't show a little civility on the outside. I figured it would be impossible to do on a bye week for obvious reasons, but it turns out our own Jon Morse's connections in the college football world expand to all entities at all levels, whether real or imaginary. Idle refused an interview because they're kind of elitist, but Bye was kind enough to sit down with me for a brief Q&A. (Link)
Crimson and Cream Machine (Oklahoma Sooners): The undeniable fact is this Oklahoma offense is struggling. Even the coaches could no longer deny that fact as they were very open about the offense's early struggles in post practice interviews this week. And while that's all well and good, until there are some actual changes made to what we see on the field it's just really nothing more than empty coach speak. The reason for optimism lies in the fact that struggling on the road at UTEP is one thing. Winning comfortably, but in less than the expected dominating fashion, against a Florida A&M team is another. However, losing a conference home game against a quality opponent is a very different thing. (Link)
Cowboys Ride For Free (Oklahoma St. Cowboys): The defense couldn't get off the field on 3rd down, playing fantastic on the first two downs almost all night. But when it counted, they gave up 3rd down conversions. When the moment was biggest, and they had played their best for THREE downs, the player we loved to bash made a clutch throw, and Texas was in charge. Little did we know Squinky would make an appearance. After the Longhorns advanced inside OSU's five, a handoff that was originally called a touchdown was reviewed. Two camera angles clearly showed a fumble, VERY likely before he crossed the goal line, but it wasn't definitive enough to overturn and the Cowboys were done. A wild multi-lateral play which was only a block or two away from working ended the game. (Link)
Burn Orange Nation (Texas Longhorns): As well as Ash played across the first three games of the season, his performance in Stillwater wasn't exactly a "breakthrough," but it's one thing to excel against an overmatched opponent that's getting gashed by your running game, and something else to do it on the road against a Big 12 contender that's holding your ground game in check. Not counting sacks, Oklahoma State limited Texas to 154 yards on 40 carries (3.8 average), and the Longhorns' rushing offense effectively stalled out for half the game, producing little in either the 2nd or 3rd quarters. Had you told me Texas' rushing numbers before the game and that David Ash would throw his first interception of the year, I'd have held out little hope for a win. But Ash delivered. Oh did he ever: 30 of 37 passing for 304 yards and 3 touchdowns, including a game-winning drive that featured two throws that immediately enter the Mack Brown era pantheon of unforgettable completions like Colt-to-Quan in the Fiesta Bowl and VY-to-Sweed in the Horseshoe. (Link)
Frogs O War (TCU Horned Frogs): It was not the best of games for Casey Pachall. Not many QB’s would have been good throwing in that kind of rain, but Pachall finished 10-26 for 107 yards and 2 TD’s. The receivers didn’t help out much either, but they didn’t drop near as many passes as SMU did. A big concern for me is the running game. In all four games this season, TCU has passed for more yards than rushing. The Frogs had 47 rushing attempts but only managed to gain 56 yards. Can you blame the weather for this? I thought TCU should have been able to move the ball better on the ground. TCU finished with 156 yards of offense, its lowest total since compiling 151 in a 17-10 loss at Kansas on Sept. 6, 1997. Saturday marked the first time TCU failed to top 200 yards of offense since a 27-21 win at New Mexico on Nov. 11, 2006. (Link)
The Smoking Musket (West Virginia Mountaineers): On a day when the "Stripe the Stadium" worked better than either defense on the field, WVU (combined with Baylor) set a reported 20 school and national records (according to post-game radio). Geno Smith put up numbers that video gamers would have a hard time replicating with the difficulty settings set on the lowest level. (Link)