Big 12 stock report: Week 6

October, 3, 2012
10/03/12
10:00
AM ET
Acquisitions! Turnover! Capital markets! GDP! RG3!

Oh, that's right, I've found more terms in my financial glossary and sprinkled them on top of my weekly stock report. Here's a few things with wildly fluctuating prices in the Big 12 market.

Rising: Big 12 receivers

Those 70-63 games have a way of helping guys ascend the national offensive rankings. After Saturday's games, the Big 12 has the three leaders in receiving yards per game. Baylor's Terrance Williams, like he did on Saturday, leads the way with 166.8 yards a game. He has at least 130 yards in three of four games this year, and had 314 against West Virginia. Before Saturday, he had 17 catches on the year. He had 17 catches on Saturday. Ridiculous.

Meanwhile, West Virginia's Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin are No. 2 and No. 3, both topping 140 yards a game. Austin leads the nation at 12 receptions a game.

Falling: Oklahoma State defense

This wasn't supposed to be how this went for a more experienced defense that didn't need to rely on turnovers as much anymore. Outside of a shutout in an exhibition game vs. Savannah State, the Cowboys are giving up 41 points a game. Through four games, the Cowboys have forced just four turnovers, too, ranking 106th nationally in the stat. That's a far cry from the nation-leading 44 a year ago. The star duo of cornerbacks Justin Gilbert and Brodrick Brown both picked off five passes a year ago, tying for second in the Big 12. This year? Neither Gilbert nor Brown have done an ounce of thieving on opposing quarterbacks.

Rising: Kickoff returns

The new kickoff rules have stymied the league's speedsters, but Big 12 return men are making plays when they get the ball in their hands. D.J. Monroe was named the National Returner of the Week after taking a kick 100 yards for a go-ahead touchdown in the win over Oklahoma State. That was the second time Monroe had returned a kick all season, so he's batting a clean .500 on taking kicks to the house. Meanwhile, Kansas State's Tyler Lockett's only gotten to return five this year. He's averaging 39 yards a touch, ranking second nationally. He also logged a touchdown in the win over North Texas. Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert hasn't housed one yet, but he ranks 13th nationally, returning his 10 kicks for an average of better than 30 yards.

Falling: Field goal kicking

Saturday was not a banner day for Big 12 kickers. The 70-63 game was fun, but Baylor and West Virginia combined to go 0-3 on field goals. Texas refused to even try to kick a field goal on Saturday, but the Longhorns were perfect on fourth-down conversions.

Overall, the Big 12 was 5-of-10 on field goals on Saturday, and every single kicker who attempted a field goal missed at least one. For West Virginia, that was only their second field goal attempt of the season. Nobody in college football has attempted fewer.

Rising: Texas in the red zone

One of the Longhorns' biggest problems a year ago was red zone offense. Texas reached the red zone 53 times and walked away with a touchdown on just 27 of those trips, settling for field goals 11 times and walking away with no points 15 times. That TD percentage of 50.94 ranked 104th nationally.

This year, Texas is converting in a big way. It has reached the red zone 22 times and walked away with points 20 times. Of those 20, 18 have been touchdowns. That touchdown percentage (81.82 percent) is the second highest in the Big 12 (West Virginia, of course). That came into play big-time in a five-point win over Oklahoma State. Texas reached the red zone four times. It scored touchdowns on all four trips.

Falling: Texas turnovers

So, you think K-State takes care of the ball, giving up just three giveaways in four games? Uh, what about Texas? The Longhorns turned the ball over 26 times a year ago, ranking 86th nationally in the stat. So far this year, the Longhorns have a whopping two giveaways. Only three teams (coincidentally, West Virginia and Texas A&M are among them) have fewer.

Texas is a lot better this year, and though the QB play is a big reason why, a lot of the other reasons are the small big things. Texas is scoring TDs when it gets chances, and it's not giving the ball to the other guys. Not difficult stuff to understand.

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