Recent play can be considered to be deadly….
I am hoping that by now the readers would have picked up on a constant theme that has been occurring in the Big 12 Conference this year, and that theme would involve the erratic play of almost the entire conference. Last week seemed a bit brighter than Week 4 but still came with some heavy losses. As each week goes by, conference fans are starting to realize that the Big 12 is not on the prestige level it once was.
Five teams (KSU, KU, WVU, TTU and ISU) have openly said that they are in rebuilding mode. TCU and Texas have not performed at the level of conference superiority as fans/ media had predicted. OU and OSU are the only teams that have kept up with expectations, as both are undefeated and pulling off stronger performances week after week.
Baylor is the classic yearly case of the ‘What’s in the Box?’ scene from Se7en, as many critics have no clue what to expect from them, every single year. They are performing at a level that is as equally disturbing as Gwyneth Paltrow’s decapitated head. Baylor’s offensive ability to put points on the board scares Big 12 defenses more than Kevin Spacey’s ability to murder people. Yikes.
Enough with the horror film references and the weekly critique of the Big 12’s inconsistent play, let me go into this week’s solid slate of games that actually has a great chance of ending on a positive note. There are only four games this week, with one of them being a conference game. All of these games are nationally televised as well, which is always great for exposure. The Big 12 has a really good chance of going undefeated in non-conference games this week, and doing so on national television would make this a great week.
This week’s games:
4. Iowa State (0-2) at Tulsa (1-2, C-USA)
Time: 6:30 pm (CST) Fox Sports 1
Iowa State: The Cyclones have had a great opportunity to capitalize on the bye week for this upcoming week against Tulsa. While ISU’s bowl hopes already seem to be crushed, ISU could still finish strong and go 4-8, or 5-7. But in order to acquire such record, they must be able to show offensive production against this inconsistent Tulsa team. Unfortunately, that is a great request to make out of ISU. Quarterback Sam Richardson has proven to be a productive leader on the offense, gaining over 300 yards himself in their first game and acquiring close to 300 against Iowa. His two interceptions and extreme lack of playmakers around him would cause the Cyclones to lose to Iowa. This might be the week for them to finally find an explosion in offensive production, as Tulsa is allowing over 30 points a game. ISU defense should be fine against but ISU has to find a way to take the lead early, something they have failed to do so far this year.
Tulsa: Tulsa has had a rough beginning to the 2013 football season. Going in as predicted C-USA Conference Champions, they fell flat to an average MAC team Bowling Green. And by flat I mean that they were flattened like a pancake, as the score was 34 to 7. As I wrote in my Week 3 blog regarding Tulsa vs Oklahoma, Tulsa’s strength is their wide receiving corps .While OU was able to maintain a control on Tulsa’s receivers, ISU might have some difficulty with that. Look for Cody Green to finally have a heyday with his receiving corps and score more than his season high of two passing touchdowns a game. Receivers Jordan James and Derek Patterson are known for their ability to part away from defenders with size and how to expose defensive holes with speed. If ISU can’t score consistently, expect a Tulsa victory.
3. Southern Methodist (1-2, AAC) at TCU (1-2)
Time: 11:00 am (CST) Fox Sports 1
TCU: This is some potential bad news for TCU. Not only are they owning a losing record but they now have to deal with an offense that ranks 10th in the nation for passing yards. TCU’s defensive secondary has been a somewhat of a letdown for fans and critics of the Big 12. They have allowed some insane passing production now from the two FBS opponents they have faced. Despite those nasty numbers, the secondary has allowed only four passing touchdowns through 3 games. That is a positive way to look at the defensive secondary of TCU. Trevone Boykin has the ability to explode in this game, as SMU has had a nasty time keeping points off the board. TCU should be able to run away from this one if Boykin can score points without giving the ball over too many times and if the defense can keep SMU’s quarterback from scoring.
SMU: SMU’s quarterback Garret Gilbert is in a weird position of production for this team’s offense. He has thrown for over 1000 yards in three games and is on pace for a 4000 yard season. Despite the wicked amount of passing yards, he has only thrown two passing touchdowns. For a team that can go down the field so efficiently, you would think that they would be able to translate that success to the red zone. That is simply not the case, and that is what is preventing SMU from getting wins. TCU doesn’t have the offensive firepower that SMU has to deal with before in the like of Texas Tech and Texas A&M. If Gilbert can add some points to the board and keep TCU at about 30 points, SMU could easily pull of this upset.
2. #11 Oklahoma State (3-0) at West Virginia (2-2)
Time: 11:00 am (CST) ESPN
Oklahoma State: This game seems to be heavily favored in the Cowboys direction. So far, no team has had an answer for quarterback J.W Walsh, who has completed around 70% of his passes and over 800 yards in offensive production. OSU has not been challenged yet offensively and after West Virginia’s awful appearance last week. they are safe to assume that a defensive struggle will be delayed again. The only element that could develop into a loss in this game for the Cowboys is if half of the starters on offense acquire the flu and can’t play.
West Virginia: Boy, the Mountaineers sure fooled us with their domination for Georgia State. After such a promising appearance two weeks ago, West Virginia was slaughtered by Maryland. In the first half, West Virginia acquired 65 yards of offensive production but gathered 59 yards in penalties. That means that they only received about 4 yards of offense in one half. Ouch! Quarterback Ford Childress, who many were expecting would carry the huge numbers he produced two weeks ago into this game, went 11 for 22 and threw two interceptions. In the rushing game, they ran for 113 yards. West Virginia’s main goal this game is to find a passing game for the offense. They won’t be able to win this week but with some guidance for Childress, West Virginia can still acquire a bowl game.
1. #14 Oklahoma (3-0) at #22 Notre Dame (3-1, Independent)
Time: 2:30 pm (CST) NBC
Oklahoma: Quarterback Blake Bell has Sooner Nation feeling pretty good right now. His 400 yard, 4 touchdown performance last week has shown the the quarterback play at OU was a lot better than many imagined. Against Notre Dame, Bell will have to put up identical numbers to win. But the bigger issue for OU is limiting ND’s passing game. Oklahoma has yet to take on a team with a passing game as smooth as Notre Dame’s. If they can apply pressure to Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees and let Blake Bell dominate the scoreboard, Oklahoma might jump OSU in the polls for next week.
Notre Dame: After a no-show against Michigan, the Notre Dame fanbase is starving to prove its elite status against #14 Oklahoma. Notre Dame has proven to be above teams like Purdue and Michigan State, they have many questions regarding their ability to keep up with teams like Michigan and Oklahoma. The key for this matchup is the rushing game. If they can get running backs Cam McDaniel and Amir Carlisle to be productive early, the pressure will ease off of Tommy Rees and he can have a big game against OU secondary.
Written by Mason Kilpatrick