This was a rough week for Texas Tech and Iowa State, but the bottom half of the conference had a renaissance. I’m too depressed from Saturday to ramble too much up here, so let’s get into it!
The Sooners led by their unstoppable offense crushed the Bruins in the last warm up game before they slap the entire conference around. Jalen Hurts has looked extremely confident in Riley’s system, which has led to video game numbers if you set the difficulty to rookie.
The Sooners weren’t expected to be tested in non-conference play, and they absolutely dominated this slate. Do I think OU’s defense is going to be a liability? Yes, but it won’t matter enough to stop their title defense. I am buying Oklahoma right now as a guaranteed playoff team, they are improving on defense just enough to win 49-35 against even the Big 12’s next best teams. Oklahoma is another example of how parity only exists outside of the top 5 teams in the country.
The middle is cloudy, but the top is just so far ahead. In fact, the gap in the Big 12 between the Sooners and their next closest foe has never looked so wide.
2) University of Texas
The highlight for Rice was their band, that 2.89 gag was beautiful and marvelous. Their ability to do anything to Texas was far less beautiful. I don’t want to waste too much time diving in to a game Texas was always destined to win big, but this was good mentally for the Horns.
They showed no signs of a let down after LSU marched out of Austin with a win, and really that is all Longhorn fans needed to see. Their young team still has lofty goals to aim for, and they have enough talent to hang around the top of the conference standings.
3) Kansas State
I reward wins over all, and I think the conference’s best win has been Kansas State at Mississippi State this weekend. I watched the Wildcats play with grit, discipline, and a will to win. Kleiman has taken the typical blue-collar Bill Snyder toughness, and drastically improved their offense.
That is a recipe for a lot of wins. I don’t know how good MSU will be long-term, but it is never ease to walk into Starkville and win. Kansas State is officially my sleeper pick to blow up the Big 12’s chances to get a playoff team. Their only flaw is the lack of blue-chip talent, but Kleiman is a winner and I think he will continue where Snyder left off.
ALSO YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS:
I don’t want to put Baylor this high, but here they are due to a lack of options otherwise. I won’t waste anyone’s time talking about the Bears coming off their bye. Another cupcake next week in Rice will provide no resistance.
I absolutely expect Baylor to get exposed in conference play, but these rankings are based on results we have seen and I just don’t see another team that fills this slot.
Another example of rewarding winners, TCU looked strong against Purdue. The quarterback play was gross to put it nicely, but they found a way to get out yards on the ground in chunks and blowout the Boilermakers.
I doubt TCU will be here when the season ends with that bad of a quarterback situation, but I can’t fault the ground game nor the defensive performance. If TCU can just find a game-manager at quarterback, and lean on their talented backfield to control the clock they might make it to 7-8 wins this season. Hell, if the ground game does what it did against Purdue they will win more than that.
Patterson better hope his defense stays stout against far better offenses or they are going to get torched. A test against SMU’s high-octane attack is a good litmus test for how they will fare this year.
I would have TCU lower if they hadn’t so thoroughly dismantled Purdue, but like I said I will always reward winners.
6) Iowa State
Wow, what a horrible way to lose a football game. I don’t want to beat up Cyclone fans too bad after a loss that will sting for a very long time, but I am rapidly losing faith. The offense that I thought would compliment an impressive defense has not materialized.
Iowa is a good team, but this result combined with the result of their UNI debacle and there is no evidence Iowa State is going to remotely be the team I thought they were going to be.
There is a lot of football left to play, but at some point excuses run out for these bad offensive performances. If the trend continues against ULM, I will be ready to bail on this team all together.
7) Oklahoma State
This was another game the Pokes let get too close for comfort. Sanders came down to earth this week, and the defense continues to look like a weakness. The hope of the Cowboys is Tyler Wallace just feasting this year.
As long as Wallace stays healthy, this offense will be fine. They get a bye week to prepare for their first actual test against Texas, and just like the next team on this list this is a big chance to put up or shut up after a bye.
8) Texas Tech
I am a reactionary football fan, so I react drastically to immediate results especially from the Red Raiders. As you all are aware, I have been extremely high on this team. I have even predicted 8-10 wins, and a top finish in the conference. After Arizona, this season is on the verge of going the other way.
With Bowman now out for the majority of the season, it seems certain we are doomed to fail. Going into the year, the worst quarterback room was TCU. With our backups, we have claimed that bottom spot. I will say this, I don’t know who will start but as fans pray it’s Jett Duffey.
If Tyner comes out, unless Yost is literally the greatest quarterback coach and offensive mastermind to ever live we may not win another game. Duffey is not a good quarterback at all, but he is so incredibly gifted athletically you can scheme to an RPO heavy offense and manage a half-decent showing.
Yes, he is going to turn the ball over 2+ a game, but at least he will be fun to watch. Tyner has no physical gifts to speak of, and is not a great passer. Like I’ve said to others on twitter, maybe Yost is that genius and Tyner will blow us away. I just strongly doubt that happening.
The only reason I am not moving Tech to last is how good our defense is and because I want to see how this team responds to tragedy.
Is the offensive line going to take this personally, as they should, and punch Oklahoma in the mouth? Are they going to step up as the vets they are and make it clear to Yost “Run it behind us, we got this”? If they don’t you are in huge trouble folks.
We aren’t TCU defensively, but the talent in the starters on the line and linebacker corp are one of if not the best in the conference. Yost has two weeks to duct tape together an offense to support it, but it just does not look good.
9-10) West Virginia/Kansas
I was pleasantly surprised to see the cellar-dwellers to earn wins this weekend. No, this is not a sign these teams are going to escape the bottom yet but it does make their eventual toilet Bowl match-up harder to predict. Both of these teams are in for rough seasons, but the signs are there they can rebuild.
You never know, maybe these teams shock the world. I just doubt it right now.