Sunday, October 7, 2012
What we learned in the Big 12: Week 6
By David Ubben
Here's what I learned after another fun day across the Big 12:
Oklahoma is back in business. The Sooners were sort of left for dead after getting dropped by Kansas State at home two weeks ago and having only a modest road win over UTEP as the brightest spot on their résumé. Nobody made a stronger statement than the Sooners on Saturday. Oklahoma was a single-digit favorite, but dominated the second half against a pretty good Texas Tech team that was knocking on the door of the Top 25. With the depth of the Big 12, plenty of folks wondered if the Sooners were destined for a seven- or eight-win disappointment. After Saturday, Oklahoma clearly looks the part of a double-digit game winner and once again a Big 12 title contender. We'll know for sure next week. Oklahoma and Texas already have home losses to Big 12 title contenders in Kansas State and West Virginia. Next week's Red River loser may leave Dallas all but eliminated from the Big 12 title race.
Landry Jones and Oklahoma rebounded from a loss to Kansas State, setting up a must-win game for both the Sooners and Longhorns next week.
West Virginia's offense got even more dangerous. Everybody knew about Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, but Andrew Buie? WVU looked pretty decent running the ball with Shawne Alston early this season, but he's been banged up. Did anybody think WVU could run the ball like it did with Buie, who ran for 207 yards on 31 carries? It was even more impressive late, when Texas knew what was coming, and it didn't matter. On the final offensive drive for WVU, Buie ran seven times for 63 yards. He ran hard, but the offensive line took care of business, too.
TCU is in deep, deep trouble without Casey Pachall.Trevone Boykin put in a good effort, and Iowa State's defense is solid, but he simply can't do what Pachall can do, and TCU's offense has to be completely different with him in the game. He's not ready, and how could you expect him to be? Pachall's decision-making and accuracy had him as efficient as just about any quarterback in the league. Boykin completed just 53 percent of his passes, threw three interceptions and most importantly, TCU lost by 14 at home to what's likely the ninth-best team in the Big 12. Or eighth, perhaps, after handing a hefty beating to the Frogs. Without Pachall, the Frogs are very, very average. The losses are piling up for TCU, a team that has lost 20-plus players for reasons unrelated to graduation since the end of last season. None were more impactful than Pachall, whose indefinite suspension is unlikely to be brief.
Bill Snyder still owns the state of Kansas. New KU coach Charlie Weis wanted to know why K-State and Missouri had success in the area and Kansas hadn't lately. It'll be interesting to see what he gleaned from another Sunflower Showdown beating for the Jayhawks. KU is the only team Snyder seems to be lacking in mercy for, and for the third consecutive season, K-State beat its in-state rival by at least 38 points.
Texas Tech's defense has come back to Earth. Texas Tech's defense is good, and much better than last year. Against Oklahoma's offensive line, though, the D-line got no push and rarely pressured Landry Jones, who wasn't sacked all day. The yardage (380) wasn't too bad, but Oklahoma racked up 41 points in just three quarters and made Texas Tech look pretty average. A good defense? Yes. No. 1 in the nation? Absolutely not. Best in the Big 12? Not likely.