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Red Raider Ravioli: Big 12 chaos

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This week’s results created a lot of confusion, but let’s have an explication for them

Buongiorno!

I believe we all agree this week of college football was something incredible, with so many upsets and tight games also in games that weren’t expected to be so close. The Big 12 wasn’t the exception in all this, with four games out of four that had weird results. Let’s see them.

  • on Thursday, Texas Tech won in Fort Worth against TCU, with a performance that really surprised me in terms of defensive efficiency;
  • Oklahoma State was predicted to beat Kansas State, that was 0-3 in the conference, but was stunned by Alex Barnes’ 4-TD game, and that reduces very much the importance of the victory the Red Raiders had in Stillwater;
  • No. 9 Texas had a 6-point victory against Baylor but had to fight until the last snap and now has to face Sam Ehlinger’s shoulder injury;
  • Iowa State had the biggest upset of the night in all FBS (maybe alongside Tennessee victory in Auburn), killing every West Virginia’s hope of an undefeated season.
NCAA Football: Texas Tech at Texas Christian Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

All that said, today we wake up with the following standing:

Where is this confusion coming from? What are the reasons that led seven teams to the possibility to make it to the Championship game after seven weeks of games? I found two reasons, and I’d like to discuss them with you.

  • Lack of offensive powerhouses. The only team with a solid offense is Oklahoma, as the Sooners almost scored 50 points/game in the Big 12. The fact many quarterbacks graduated after 2017 doesn’t help: Mason Rudolph, Baker Mayfield, Nic Shimonek (I know, I know...), Kenny Hill all left, and their replacements are struggling with performances or injuries. This is something physiological, many teams had to replace important players, that in many cases rewrote their schools’ history.
  • We heard for years the chanting the Big 12 couldn’t build defenses, and watching some units Texas Tech, Baylor, Iowa State, and Oklahoma State put on the field in recent years, someone could think they were right. Well, Kansas State and West Virginia usually had good defenses, and that made the difference in their good seasons.
    But I think teams began to care more about defense, and the fact many players are under NFL radars (I think about Dakota Allen, TCU’s Ben Banogu and Ty Summers, Texas’s Kris Boyd, Kansas’ Joe Dineen Jr., and some others) should confirm this trend.

If we mix those two things, less productive offenses, and more effective defenses, we get more hard-fought games, and upsets can happen more often.

I really hope you will share your thoughts with me, this is a funny topic on which I’d like to hear your opinions.

Alla prossima!

P.S. Uh, did you see the new fantastic RRR logo? Thanks to our Jeramey Gillilan for his fantastic work.