The Big 12 was front-and-center this past weekend as two of the nation's heavyweights took on a pair of Big 12 programs thought to be middle-of-the-pack, at best, in their own league. If the results have any insight into how the rest of the season will play out, this conference ... whoo boy.
1) Oklahoma Sooners (1-0) -- While other top teams in the nation struggled, the Sooners led 41-3 after three quarters and coasted. Trevor Knight gets headlines, but the OU defense held Louisiana Tech to 89 yards in the first half. That unit could be the best in years for Bob and Mike Stoops; far more tactical and disciplined than anything Brent Venables ever produced.
2) Kansas State Wildcats (1-0) -- Wildcats fans were a little shell-shocked after this game because it was so business-like and dominant. The opponent wasn't much, but none of the key players went nuts for KSU, and it still blew away Stephen F. Austin. We talked ad nauseum in the preseason about this team's depth, and some young guys (hi, Elijah Lee, with your two sacks, forced fumble and maniac speed) proved how right we were.
3) Baylor Bears (1-0) -- Robert Griffin III got a statue
(something, something ... Baylor and false idols joke, something, something ...), and Art Briles got a hurt quarterback in the Bears' shutout win against SMU. Bryce Petty was going to have to carry the weight of expectations this year, now he has to do so with a bruised lower back. The best news out of Waco on Sunday? Phil Bennett's defense. Ceiling looks pretty high on this unit.
4) Oklahoma St. Cowboys (0-1) -- Consistency will be Mike Gundy's charge this year to his stable of young, fast, talented, fast, exciting and fast team. If the learning curve is short, and the Cowboys have more games than not at the level they played against the Florida State Seminoles, OSU will be a player in the Big 12. That doesn't mean win the league, but it does mean it could keep another team or two from doing so.
5) Texas Longhorns (1-0) -- It's been a long time since "tough-minded" and "Longhorns football" have been in the same sentence, but Charlie Strong's first outing appeared to validate his tough-love approach. The defense was suffocating ... against North Texas ... but to have an entire unit show some fight is a good start. The offensive line needs work; David Ash was hit often, and he won't last against Big 12 opponents that get their chance to level him.
6) TCU Horned Frogs 1-0) -- Samford isn't exactly a strong litmus test, but Trevone Boykin did everything he could to prove he should FINALLY be given a regular chance to be the Frogs' regular starting QB. We know the TCU defense will be sound, it's the offense that needs to round into shape. That starts with Gary Patterson stopping the constant indecision at quarterback.
7) West Virginia Mountaineers (0-1) -- WVU's closer-than-expected game against the Alabama Crimson Tide was exciting, and it would be easy to OMG! it to death. But, under the score, you see so many dropped passes and missed plays. Yes, the Mountaineers were close, but when they needed plays, they didn't make them. It's fun to celebrate an unexpected close game, but there were just too many missed chances for me to truly believe WVU belongs in that "way better than we thought" conversation.
8) Texas Tech Red Raiders (1-0) -- What's the deal, Dudebro? If this game was supposed to wipe away the head-shaking end to last season (1-5 in last six games), it didn't. Yeah, passing numbers were gaudy against Central Arkansas, but c'mon .... 42-35? Off the field, the most interesting news out of Lubbock was Kliff Kingsbury's contract extension through 2020 announced last Friday. His 2015 guaranteed salary -- $3.1 million -- will put him in the Top 20 highest-paid coaches in the country compared to other current contracts. Um, wow.
9) Kansas Jayhawks (0-0) -- Bye week for the Jayhawks, which, funny enough, is how many of KU's opponents will view this team on their schedule through the year.
10) Iowa St. Cyclones (0-1) -- For a quarter plus, Iowa St. looked okay. Mark Mangino's offense put up 14 points, and ISU looked primed to knock off North Dakota St., which everyone now understands isn't a gimmie. But, then offensive line injuries happened. A defensive starter was lost to a terrible ejection for targeting, and a fragile Cyclones team gave way to the Bison in depressing, drowning, overwhelming fashion. It's as bad as we thought it might be in Ames, or maybe worse.