What just happened? Recapping the Big XII, Week 4

Rob Carr

I'd like to apologize in advance for the brevity of this week's recaps; I was camping all weekend in Anza Borrego State Park and wasn't able to watch any of the games. So all of this "analysis" is either stolen from the various SBnation sites or the Deathstar. Also, here is a picture of the view from my campsite in the morning, just because. You can see the mountains we are about to hike between to get to a spring oasis in the background:

Kansas Jayhawks vs. LA Tech Bulldogs (W, 13-10)

This game was apparently even uglier than the score indicates. Over at RCT they are discussing whether it even qualifies as a win when the other team turns it over twice on your 5-yard line and loses on a last-second 52-yard field goal. I'm less discriminating - just win, baby, especially when a win gives you twice the number of wins you had last season. That said, this was pretty rough. KU was held to a field goal through three quarters, and only won the game because LA Tech fumbled the ball on KU's 5 with 1:33 to go in a tie game. It's hard to see how KU is going to win any more games this season, but they will definitely have chances to do so against ISU and WVU.

Stats of note: 5 carries, 27 yards, 9 receptions, 82 yards. How do you make up for a lack of quality receivers to balance out a deep stable of running backs? Convert Tony Pierson to a "Joker" flex receiver. Although his route running and receiving instincts (especially after the play breaks down) are still a work in progress, Pierson is already the most explosive WR on the roster.

Also of note: KU broke a 22-game losing streak against FBS opponents. That sentence kind of stands on its own.

West Virginia Mountaineers at Maryland Terrapins (L, 0-37)

At this point, it is hard to see how the non-conference portion of the season could have gone any worse for the Big XII. In this latest setback, WVU emphatically proved that any improvements on offense that it exhibited last week can be purely attributed to the competition. They also showed that a year can make all the difference. Last year, this game could have been 73-0 in favor of WVU. But the trajectories for these two programs are entirely different this season, and I'm going to be interested to see how they both do as the season goes along. I think the season is going to be a lot longer for WVU, even if Maryland is probably going to play more games.

Stats of note: 175 yards of offense, 6 turnovers, 2-12 on third down. This is one of those performances on offense that WVU probably just needs to flush and not think about again.

Also of note: WVU had 59 penalty yards and 62 passing yards. That's a good (read: terrible) way to lose.

Baylor Bears vs. ULM Warhawks (W, 70-7)

I'm really running out of ways to talk about these performances that Baylor keeps putting up. Although ULM doesn't look to be as good (or near as exciting) as last season, they still beat a nominal BCS team in Wake Forest last week and were not completely embarrassed against OU in the first game of the season. Unfortunately, Baylor is not interested in salvaging the egos of others, and so ULM heads back to Monroe with a 63-point loss. Baylor has now scored at least 69 points in all three games, and has yet to give up more than one touchdown in a game. I'd say the threat level is probably at red at this point, with the caveat that I'm really, really interested and excited to see how they do in conference. Unfortunately, their first four conference games are against WVU, K-State, ISU, and KU, so it could be we don't learn that much about the Bears until the OU game. Then again, learning that Baylor can consistently roll the non-elite teams in the Big XII would also be a revelation, as that hasn't really happened before.

Stats of note: 781 yards of offense, 15.6 yards per carry for Seastrunk, 13 yards per passing attempt for Petty. Lache Seastrunk now has over 400 yards on the season, on 38 carries. Think about that for a second. Then think about the K-State run de-NO DON'T DO THAT.

Also of note: 35 rushes for ULM, 75 yards gained, 2.1 yards per attempt. Baylor's run defense has been very stingy through three games, forcing teams to be one-dimensional. That in itself is a huge improvement over...well the duration of Baylor's existence in the Big XII, to be honest.

Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. TXST Bobcats (W, 33-7)

Although Tech fans welcomed coach Dudebro back thinking that he would bring back the attitude that the program exhibited under Mike Leach, KK himself should probably be giving thanks to Tommy Tuberville for making defense such a priority in recruiting. Tech will likely eventually get to the point where they can just plug in quarterbacks and have the offense they want, but with the inexperienced players they have right now at that position the performance of the defense is even more important. Luckily, that defense has been good enough to carry Tech the last few games as their QBs run into what I like to call the "film wall." Whether it is good enough to carry games in the Big XII not against TCU, KU, ISU, and WVU remains to be seen, although I would tend to think the answer is probably "no." Still, their schedule sets up so favorably that they could easily attain bowl eligibility without being truly tested, before going through a gauntlet of quality opponents at the end of the season.

Stats of note: Baker Mayfield went 14-20 for 124 yards and an interception, and was replaced by Davis Webb. Webb proceeded to go 19-43 for 310 yards, 2 touchdowns, and two interceptions. The QB situation is probably going to remain fluid until Michael Brewer gets back from injury. Unfortunately for Tech, Brewer is nursing a back injury, which is not the kind of injury that is amenable to playing into shape.

Also of note: 434 total passing yards. Remember back in the 90s when no one would be able to fault any part of a 400-yard passing performance? We aren't in the 90s anymore. 3 INTS and a 52% completion percentage just isn't being efficient enough.

And now, time for the flavor of the week! Last week's winner were the two-time defending poll champs, the Baylor Bears, with 34% of the vote. No one believed in TCU or Texas, a few started hopping back on the Sooner Schooner, and a lot of people were apparently impressed by the whipping that Okie Lite gave Lamar. I'm interested to see who drops out of the running this week, as I will probably prune the list for next week's poll:

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