Big 12 finally has its first full week of conference play
Top ranked Oklahoma State lossed to West Virginia last week. This was after OSU had allegations revealed against the credibility of their program. This also right as they were on the brink for a Top 10 ranking. OSU’s conference title hopes just got slimmer. Now, three teams remain undefeated and pushing for the title. Oklahoma ran over Notre Dame last week, proving that they are now the team to beat in the conference. Baylor is scoring points so efficiently, in a manner so vicious, that children shouldn’t even be allowed to watch the Baylor Bears play. When these kids watch the slaughtering of male ego’s and confidence on that football field, they would then lose all innocence that remained in them. Texas Tech is still undefeated. Why? Because they are a much more toned down version of the Baylor offense, that sometimes shows little gaps of inconsistencies.
With the top of the Big 12 becoming more obvious and the bottom becoming even more disappointing, it is time to analyze Big 12’s first week of conference games.
5. Texas (2-2) at Iowa State (1-2)
Time: Thursday, 6:30pm (CST), ESPN
Texas: Texas is going to win this one. Why? Because they will actually be able to handle the run game this week against a weak Iowa State. They had a bye last week, which gives them plenty of time to study the running of the Iowa State Cyclones. It probably took them a few days to realize that ISU doesn’t really have a run game, as it is ranked 92nd in the nation. Still, last week saw the most offensive production out their running game so far, so Texas could still blow the game by allowing over 300 yards of rushing again if they want. It is possible but a more unlikely compared to previous games. The Texas offense didn’t have amazing production in their win against KSU. But what will pull them away from ISU is if their quarterbacks, David Ash and Case McCoy, don’t turn the ball over again.
ISU: Aaron Wimbley is the factor this week for the Cyclones. He ran for 137 yards last week against a weak Tulsa defense, and it dramatically helped quarterback Sam Richardson’s position on the field. With another solid playmaker, Richardson was able to take more time on his passes and shake a few defenders off for some gain on the ground. Iowa State can easily win this game if Aaron Wimbley puts up identical numbers. Richardson has the potential to totally dominate Big 12 defenses if more credible playmakers came up on the offensive side, and Wimbley could be that man.
4. #20 Texas Tech (4-0) at Kansas (2-1)
Time: 11:00am (CST), Fox Sports 1
Texas Tech: Many fans are disgruntled at why the nation is not giving Texas Tech more credit for their wins. They overlook the fact that Texas Tech lost 4 out of 5 games last year in which they were favorited. And last year, they struggled against KU. Why? Because Texas Tech has an awful run defense. While Texas Tech undoubtedly have the firepower to put away KU early in this game, the key is run defense, Tech’s weakest spot. If they can stop KU from running the ball and controlling the clock, Texas Tech runs away with it. Not much needs to be said about Tech’s possibility to lose this game, mainly because of how awful KU has been this year.
Kansas: I previously wrote that Texas Tech needs to stop the running game of KU in order to win. The Red Raiders only need to worry about that if KU decides to not shoot themselves in the foot…again. For their past two games, Head Coach Charlies Weis has been pushing for a more pass-oriented offense. Unfortunately, the team doesn’t have the receiving corps needed to maintain with this style of play. KU finally has a good quarterback but their best receiver is a running back. What? KU has a great running game, and they have been trying to go away from it. In their first game, KU had 50 rushing attempts, 35 in the second, and 33 in their last game. No. If KU wants to actually win this game, they need to pound the ball. Or they can struggle throughout and hope that their walk-on kicker, Matt Wyman, can save the day again.
3. Kansas State (2-2) at #21 Oklahoma State (3-1)
Time: 2:30pm (CST), ABC
KSU: The Wildcats are obviously disappointed over their loss against Texas, a game that should have been won. But with OSU losing last week, KSU has to be thinking of the upset. If the Mountaineers can do it…so can Kansas State, right? Jake Waters needs to step it up in this game. He has easily been the most underachieving quarterback in the league so far. He threw for 275 yards against Texas, which was good. But he failed to throw any touchdowns. He did run for one, but gathered 26 yards on only 18 carries. If KSU opened the passing game a bit more, which is possible, that could open the gate for the struggling John Hubert and his playmaking ability.
OSU: OSU needs to rethink its defensive scheme. If you struggle to handle West Virginia’s struggling offense, then you know you are a member of ‘Struggle Nation.’ They were able to suppress and already weak rushing game but WVU kept getting serious yardage in the air. Add on Walsh’s poor decision making, and you get a loss. This week could look better, though. Walsh, who is a sophomore, is still going through growing pains. We overlook this because of his amazing performance earlier in the year. If he throws for no interceptions and puts up the consistent numbers he has been getting, OSU will be fine.
2. West Virginia (3-2) at #17 Baylor (3-0)
Time: 7:00pm (CST), Fox Sports 1
West Virginia: WVU is in a weird situation. You would think that upsetting a Top 25 conference would give you an amazingly exaggerated amount of confidence for the next game. Unfortunately, the Mountaineers have to figure out how stifle the wild Baylor offense. West Virginia is 101st in the nation for points per game, with 20.4. Baylor is first…with 69.6 points a game. Ouch. Luckily, if someone can stop Goliath, it is WVU. They are 35th in the nation with points allowed, at 19.6. Still, I have no idea on how to stop the Baylor offense.
Baylor: As said previously, I don’t see how Baylor can lose a game. Of course, their strength of schedule proves that the Bears have not played a credible defense this year. WVU, while not great, has a decent defense that is well tested. It will be interesting to see how Bryce Petty adjusts to his first ever play against a Big 12 defense.
1. TCU (2-2) at #11 Oklahoma (4-0)
Time: 6:00pm (CST), FOX
TCU: TCU is looking for some redemption after their loss to Texas Tech. Trevone Boykin had a solid game against SMU, throwing for two touchdowns and throwing over 200 yards. His ability to take over outside of the pocket makes it difficult for teams to adjust, because unlike other quarterbacks of his type, he can actually throw. Last week was a great game for the TCU offense to gel, as it was the most efficient display all year. If Trevone Boykin can continue his strong play, along with a solid performance from the offensive line, expect TCU to keep this game interesting.
OU: Oklahoma must be feeling really good right now. Rival OSU lost and now their position for Big 12 supremacy is as high as it has ever been. After manhandling Notre Dame last week, OU needs to adjust to TCU and Trevone Boykin. OU has a 3-3-5 defense, which brings interest in how they handle the ground ability of Boykin. They have the speed to keep Boykin under 10 yards if he breaks out of the pocket, and to keep up with TCU receiving corps. But how will they prevent Boykins short yardage threat? If TCU keeps heading down the field because of OU’s failure to stop them on 3rd and short situations….TCU’s clock management and tiring OU defense could be the fatal element of the game. Still, with Blake Bell performing over everyone’s expectations, OU will just have to worry about outscoring a once inconsistent TCU offense. If Blake Bell puts up numbers comparable to last week against Notre Dame, OU could run away with this early.
Written by Mason Kilpatrick.