This was a great weekend for the fan of college football in general, with a ton of statement games and a bunch of highly ranked teams going down across the country. FSU! Mizzou! Hotty Toddy! War Eagle! UCF! For the fan who just wants to watch Big XII football? Not so much fun. There was a paucity of intriguing matchups going into the weekend, and the games for the most part lived up to their billing, which is to say they weren't that intriguing either. The lack of a clear-cut (or, probably more importantly, highly rated - whatever that means) upper echelon in the Big XII means there aren't as many impact matchups as we are used to seeing, but bear with us as the conference schedule is definitely back-loaded. On to the recaps!
TCU Horned Frogs at Oklahoma State Cowboys (L, 10-24)
In a common theme for the conference this week, this game wasn't a very enjoyable viewing experience. Oklahoma State was so ineffective on offense early that they changed quarterbacks from J.W. Walsh to Clint Chelf, yet TCU was unable to do anything to take advantage of Okie Lite's ineffectiveness, even when Chelf was intercepted on his first pass attempt. Both teams' quarterbacks threw three total picks, and neither team was able to find any consistent success running the ball. The difference in the game was OSU's Josh Stewart, who returned a punt 95 yards to open the scoring, and caught the ball as many times (10) as all of OSU's other receivers combined.
Stats of note: 10 catches, 141 yards, 2 punt returns, 124 yards, 1 TD. Josh Stewart was the reason OSU won this game, and without his punt return to start the game perhaps this one turns out completely differently, given OSU's offensive struggles in the first half.
Also of note: 17-35, 188 yards, 5.4 yards per attempt, 3 INTs. I was trumpeting his early season improvement, but I was obviously mistaken in thinking that Trevone Boykin is a long-term answer for TCU at quarterback.
Going into this game, you probably think that Tech should be able to beat WVU by more than 10 points, but it's hard to go
two hours out of your time zone and blow someone out, even when that someone is a weak (but admittedly fiesty) WVU team. Tech failed to pull away early in this game when they had some opportunities, and allowed WVU to tie the game going into half. That allowed WVU to take a double digit lead late in the third quarter after Dreamius Smith's (what a name!) second TD run of the day. However, Tech roared back behind the arm of Davis Webb and a couple one-yard TD runs by Kenny Williams, icing the game with three straight touchdowns.
Stats of note: 36-50, 462 yards, 9.2 yards per attempt, 2 TDs, 0 INTs. Those are some pretty ridiculous numbers for your first road start, Davis Webb. I've said all along that Tech's ceiling is going to be determined by the progression of their quarterbacks, and this could be a bad sign for the rest of the conference.
Also of note: 437 total yards, 23 first downs, 5.9 yards per pass, 4.7 yards per rush. WVU's offense has been showing signs of improvement the last few weeks, and while it's a far cry from the explosiveness of a year ago, it is also a far cry from getting shut out by Maryland.
I really, really hate watching OU struggle in games and still win them. I know that that is part of being a great program, and hoping that they lose every time they struggle is asking to be disappointed, but I can't help it. KU's defense did what everyone should against Blake Bell - stack the box, pressure the wide receivers, and dare him to beat you over the top. This year's edition of the Oklahoma Sooners is just not that imposing if you can stop the run. For the majority of this game, KU was able to do just that, but 50-yard trick play TD by OU and a pathetically ineffective passing attack on the part of the Jayhawks made it a moot point. Charlie Weis even pulled the redshirt off of dual-threat QB Montell Cozart for two (?) series, which was an interesting/mystifying decision. Let's just say it didn't affect the outcome of the game.
Stats of note: 5-13, SIXTEEN YARDS, 1.2 yards per attempt. I think I misspoke when I called it the KU passing "attack" earlier. That was laughable.
Also of note: I'm not over the 16 yards thing yet.
Iowa State Cyclones at Baylor Bears (L, 7-71)
I'm going to have to be honest: I didn't catch any of this game. Baylor scored at least two touchdowns in every quarter, and scored three times in 3 out of 4 quarters. ISU did not score until there was less than a minute in the game. I don't know if I'm more impressed with Baylor putting up 70 on another conference opponent, or with the fact that K-State held Baylor to half their usual point production. There are better defenses than ISU's in this conference, but not by so great a margin that they'll be making Baylor sweat.
Stats of note: I mean, as I've said before, all of Baylor's stats are both notable and entirely unremarkable at the same time, at this point. 700+ yards of offense? Check. 30+ first downs? Check. 70+ points? Check.
Also of note: I heard it mentioned elsewhere that Baylor and Briles lacked class by going for it on 4th down with the game out of hand, but I've always thought that if you didn't like them scoring on you, you should stop them from doing it. Not to mention a 4th down actually gives your defense a chance to get off the field without being scored on, as opposed to your opponent kicking a field goal just to take the points in that situation.
And now, time for the flavor of the week! After last week pretty much everyone has lost faith in TCU and WVU, and I'm inclined to agree, so they are off the list. K-State remains...but they need a winning streak, badly. Baylor is still riding steady as a heavy favorite, although Texas has been rising from the ashes to stake their claim as a conference contender once again. Can Mack salvage a conference title before riding off into the sunset with a shit-eating grin? I have to say that I kind of hope he does...that is, if Baylor can't follow through on their intentions to disintegrate the rest of the conference down to the atomic level.