The Big 12 Conference is going to be an interesting one to follow this season, and Week One was a clear indicator of that.
Big 12 Football certainly had its share of weird in Week One. From a cancelled game due to weather, to an offensive monster in Kyler Murray, and everything in between, the first week of play for Big 12 teams was all the drama fans have grown used to expect. Here’s how each team stacked up.
Kansas dropped its season opener against Nicholls State–at home. It was expected to be the most winnable game on the Jayhawks’ schedule, but instead, Colonels’ running back Chase Fourcade punched in a touchdown from four yards out in overtime.
Can head coach David Beaty make it through the season? Unfortunately, that’s the only question anyone can draw from this past weekend.
9. Iowa State
Iowa State was forced to cancel its season opener against South Dakota State this weekend due to inclement weather. And while the Cyclones might be better than we think this season, without game film from Week One, it’s tough to discuss Power Rankings.
The bigger issue here is that weather cancellations work against teams like Iowa State, which would have likely pulled off a win, and been one game closer to the six win threshold teams need to qualify for the postseason. This week’s opponent, Iowa, steamrolled Northern Illinois last weekend, so unless the Cyclones want to avoid a 0-1-1 record on the season, they’ll have to regroup and get in a rhythm early.
The No. 23 ranked Texas Longhorns looked to exact revenge last weekend against Maryland, but are starting the season at 0-1 instead. As if that’s not bad enough, Texas fell out of the rankings this week, and received zero votes in the recent AP Top 25 poll.
Much of the focus over the last few weeks was on the unfortunate incident involving Maryland offensive lineman Jordan McNair, who died of an apparent heatstroke during Fall Camp. With the personnel issues that Maryland faced, it should have been easier for Texas to dial in and win. Fortunately for the Longhorns, Tulsa is headed to Austin this weekend, but Twitter would indicate that fans seem more interested in the tailgating than the actual game.
7. Kansas State
Thanks to two late touchdowns, Kansas State barely squeaked out a win against South Dakota State last weekend. While first-game jitters are to be expected, K-State has far too much returning talent not to use FCS opponents as opportunities to put on clinics and flex talents.
The Wildcats face a tough challenge this weekend against Mississippi State, which crushed Stephen F. Austin last weekend, 63-6. With win probabilities favoring the Bulldogs by close to 80 percent, this could be a long afternoon for Bill Snyder.
Baylor finally put together a game they could be proud of in a monumental 55-27 win over Abilene Christian last Saturday. While the stage was fairly intimidating for ACU, Baylor used its opponent to open the playbook and and address personnel issues with ample time before conference play begins.
Baylor plays UTSA on Saturday at the Alamodome in San Antonio, and hopes to keep the wins trending upwards, especially considering the Bears have only won two out of the last five games played.
5. Texas Tech
Texas Tech might have snapped its 16-year win streak in season openers, but it showed some flashes against an Ole Miss team that has the talent necessary to compete for the division this season.
Not only are the Red Raiders starting at square one with a new quarterback and receiving corps, Tech’s starter, McLane Carter sustained a high ankle sprain and had to be taken out of the game just as receivers and Carter started to find a stride. It didn’t stop T.J. Vasher’s OBJ-style catch from earning top spot on the SCTop10, so that’s reassuring headed into a game against Lamar this Saturday that should tell fans more about what this team can do at home, where Tech has a favorable schedule this season.
TCU had an easy 55-7 win over Southern last weekend, and while that was expected, quarterback Shawn Robinson emerged as a player who could tilt TCU into a serious competitor for the Big 12 Championship. With 499 total yards of offense, and three turnovers on the defense, it really was a balanced showing for the Horned Frogs, who look to look to continue their luck on Friday against SMU–a game TCU is also favored to win.
3. Oklahoma State
Like several teams in the Big 12, Oklahoma State is testing the waters with a new quarterback this season, and against Missouri State last weekend, Pokes’ senior quarterback Taylor Cornelius threw for 295 yards, five touchdowns, and just one interception. If OSU can keep this up throughout the next two weeks against South Alabama and Boise State, their offense could be a headache for defenses once conference play begins.
2. West Virginia
West Virginia handed it to Tennessee to open the season last weekend, but more importantly, quarterback Will Grier’s Heisman campaign looked to be in mid-season form. Throwing for 429 yards and five touchdowns–including a 59 yard TD pass, and a 33 yard TD pass–Grier stretched the field and was able to get many of the Mountaineers’ receivers some reps, which will come in handy if depth becomes an issue later in the season.
Look for West Virginia to keep flexing against Youngstown State this weekend.
Oklahoma really didn’t miss a step when quarterback Kyler Murray replaced current Heisman winner Baker Mayfield. Against Lane Kiffin’s FAU Owls, the Sooners put up 650 total yards of offense, and averaged 14.5 yards-per-pass. Where Oklahoma could get into trouble this season are in penalties. Oklahoma had a total of six penalties for 70 yards, and considering the offensive talent in the Big 12 this season, it would be beneficial for head coach Lincoln Riley to address discipline at UCLA on Saturday.
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