Big 12 links: Sooners looking fine after first three games
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Before venturing away from the friendly confines of Owen Field, there were some lingering questions that persisted about Oklahoma.
Considering Oklahoma had notched a 1-7 record in its last eight games west of Norman, the Sooners' road struggles were well chronicled. It led Oklahoma players preparing for the upcoming road season by wearing "Built Road Tough" t-shirts in the past several weeks.
The inspiration must have worked. The Sooners delivered a masterful 55-14 thumping of Washington on Saturday that ranked as the Huskies' worst home loss since 1929. That performance had Daily Oklahoman columnist Berry Tramel writing about how the Sooners are legitimate contenders for the national championship.
It won't be easy. The Sooners' remaining opponents have a combined record of 21-3 so far this season. And DT DeMarcus Granger picked up a nasty-looking injury to his left leg when he was involved in a scrum with three Washington defenders a play after he had been flagged for a personal foul.
But Tulsa World Oklahoma beat writer John Hoover said this squad appears to be different than recent Oklahoma teams after it returned to the top two in the nation in both major polls for the first time since 2004.
Whether the Sooners can maintain that ranking through the Big 12 schedule remains to be seen. But it's about as good a start as Bob Stoops could have asked for coming into the season.
Speaking of good starts, here are some nourishing links to get Big 12 fans through a Monday morning.
- Despite rolling up 693 yards against SMU in a 43-7 victory, Texas Tech coach Mike Leach wasn't happy with his team's offensive performance. Leach kept individual standouts Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree from postgame interviews because quarterbacks and wide receivers were "holding us back." The Red Raiders' offensive line is getting healthier with the return of G Louis Vasquez and the most extensive playing time of the season for T Rylan Reed.
- San Antonio Express-News columnist Mike Finger writes about some undetected early weaknesses in the Big 12, despite a strong early record.
- Bo Pelini saw glimpses of what he thinks are the real Cornhuskers, particularly his team's strong secondary play against New Mexico State.
- Iowa State was kicking itself after pushing the ball inside the Iowa 30 six times, but only producing a field goal. But Gene Chizik was impressed with the Hawkeyes' defense.
- Baylor's convincing victory over Washington State -- the Bears' first over a nonconference BCS opponent since 1998 -- opened some eyes around the country.
- Despite having two producers with more than 10 catches against South Florida, Kansas coach Mark Mangino was peeved about his wide receivers. The Jayhawks' heralded defense was doomed by a 20-minute lull against South Florida.
- The Lawrence Journal-World's Eric Sorrentino hands out his weekly Big 12 awards.
- There was no letup in Missouri's offense against Nevada, as the Tigers made quick work of the school's record book against the Wolf Pack. And the Columbia Tribune's Dave Matter writes the Missouri offense might be the nation's best.
- Louisville FB Brock Bolin is preparing for a physical game Wednesday against Kansas State.
- Oklahoma State's sizzling offense has piled up an average of 536 yards per game in its last three contests. And it has already scored 152 points so far this season -- a standard it didn't reach until the eighth game last season. Three OSU backs reached 100 yards against Missouri State on Saturday with none playing in the fourth quarter.
- Austin American-Statesman columnist Kirk Bohls offers a tongue-in-cheek look at the proposed Longhorn Television Network.
- Dallas Morning News columnist Chuck Carlton says that USC's dominating performance against Ohio State could help the Big 12.
- Freshman WR Jeff Fuller and Ryan Tannehill have emerged as vital cogs in Texas A&M's sputtering pass offense.
- Colorado is preparing for West Virginia's unconventional swarming 3-3-5 defense.