What we learned in the Big 12: Week 5
The Big 12 has great offense, but its defenses are in for a long, long season. The league spent most of Saturday reinforcing its stereotype of being an all-offense, no-defense type of association. Texas Tech and Iowa State quietly tried to dispel that in Ames, but higher-profile games between West Virginia and Baylor in Morgantown and Texas and Oklahoma State in Stillwater stole the spotlight. The Longhorns had major, major tackling issues. Oklahoma State, West Virginia and Baylor were varying shades of not very good in coverage for most of their games. Get ready for plenty of points as Big 12 play hits full swing.
Mark D. Smith/US PRESSWIREUnlike the past two seasons, Texas coach Mack Brown says of the 2012 Longhorns, "we've got a chance now each week."
TCU had better clean itself up, or it will pay very, very soon. These sloppy mistakes are not going to get it done when TCU lines up against an offense that's actually functional. You saw those offenses on display all Saturday, and you saw TCU's mistake-laden squad, too. I know it was rainy, but TCU forced six turnovers and only beat a very underwhelming SMU squad by eight, letting the Mustangs back into the game late with a TD drive and a punt miscue that gave SMU the ball back on the TCU 1-yard line and the Frogs leading by just eight. The defense came up big with a sack and two incompletions to maintain the lead, but the Frogs can't keep putting the defense in those kinds of situations. That was absurd.
Iowa State's defense is for real. Yes, the Cyclones lost. Still, I was impressed. I had major, major doubts about the unit entering the week, but I came away much more impressed with the ISU defense than Texas Tech's, mainly because Tech has a much better offense, and what ISU's defense did was more impressive. Steele Jantz put the defense in some tough spots with three turnovers, but these guys covered well and pressured Seth Doege constantly. Texas Tech's defense may end up being pretty good, but Saturday doesn't prove it. Next week against Oklahoma will be an interesting test, but even then, it gets a lot tougher. The Cyclones may have a bad game or two, but that's now 10 consecutive games giving up fewer than 30 points. That'll keep ISU in some games this year. Credit defensive coordinator Wally Burnham. While the rest of the Big 12 is giving up points in bushels, the Cyclones are playing some great, great D.
Don't you dare turn your back on Oklahoma State. Yes, a loss is a loss. It'll hurt for the Cowboys, who fall to 2-2 and join Kansas as the only Big 12 team with more than one loss. Still, even without their starting QB, the Cowboys hung in with a very good Texas team, led by Joseph Randle, who played some tough, tough ball. He finished with 199 yards and two scores on 25 carries against an athletic Texas defense that, I will say, struggled with form tackling on Saturday. Still, this is strong program that's not going anywhere very soon. Don't be surprised if these two teams meet again next year with a ton on the line, like perhaps a Big 12 title.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Kirk Herbstreit joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Bob Stoops' recent comments about the SEC and the pending college football playoff, what appears to be an unpredictable Big 12 in 2013, how the Aggies will handle expectations and more.
Play Podcast Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin talks about the improvements being made to Kyle Field, what those improvements will to for the program, the success of last year, Johnny Manziel's offseason and the expectations for the Aggies in 2013.
Play Podcast Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo talk about Texas A&M's decision to expand its stadium and say although the Aggies had a fantastic year, the school must also be careful not to overextend its resources based on a single hot stretch.
Play Podcast Baylor head coach Art Briles joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss what kind of player the Cowboys are getting in Terrance Williams.
Play Podcast Arlington and Texas A&M product Luke Joeckel, the potential No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft, joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Richard Durrett to discuss the draft, coaches and advice from his dad.
Play Podcast Florida Gulf Coast athletic director Ken Kavanagh joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss his school's Cinderella story and playing in the Sweet 16 at Cowboys Stadium.
Play Podcast Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby joins Fizsimmons & Durrett to discuss Cowboys Stadium as a venue, the state of Big 12 basketball, the new 2014 college football format, why there's no hurry to have a Big 12 football championship and much more.
Play Podcast Jay Bilas joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the remaining 16 teams in the NCAA tournament, the intrigue surrounding the Northwest Region and the excitement over FGCU, even though a similar story happens every year.