Dallas Colleges: Nick Foles

Big 12 Stock Watch: Week 3

September, 14, 2011

What's up and what's down in the Big 12 after two weeks of games?


Big 12 QB accuracy: They've all played only one game, but the Big 12 currently has three quarterbacks in the national top 11 in completions percentage. Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill completed 80.8 percent of his passes in a win over SMU and is third nationally. Baylor's Robert Griffin III completed 77.8 percent of his passes in a win over TCU and ranks seventh. Oklahoma's Landry Jones completed 74.5 percent of his passes and ranks 11th.


Kansas' rushing troubles: The Jayhawks had just 45 rushes of longer than 10 yards last year, ranking 100th in the nation. This year, Kansas has 17 rushes longer than 10 yards through two games, more than any team in the Big 12. That ranks 10th nationally.


Quinn Sharp's leg: Oklahoma State's special teams Swiss army knife does a lot for the Cowboys, handling kickoff duties, field goals and punting. He's second in the nation in punting average, with 52.4 yards per kick, leads the nation by three with 11 touchbacks on 18 kickoffs, and has made five of six field goal attempts, more than just three kickers nationally. Sharp, in fact, used both legs to convert a fake punt against Arizona with a 23-yard run.


Pressure around Iowa State: Did it seem like every time he needed to, Steele Jantz made a play this year? It's because he did. Iowa State leads the nation with a perfect record on fourth down conversions, converting all five attempts. Only Army (6) has converted more, but that came on nine attempts. Jantz extended the first overtime against Iowa with a fourth-down touchdown pass. He also kept alive the final game-tying drive before overtime with a two-yard run on 4th-and-1.


Brandon Weeden's big plays: Through two games, he has 29 passes of 10 yards or longer, more than every QB in the country except Case Keenum at Houston. Tied with him at 29? Arizona's Nick Foles, who faced off with Weeden in Stillwater last Thursday night.


Brandon Weeden's touchdown-interception ratio: Oklahoma State's quarterback has made plenty of plays through two weeks, breaking his own school record with 42 completions against Arizona on Thursday night. He's got five touchdowns, but his four interceptions? No quarterback in college football has more. Tommy Rees at Notre Dame, Austin Davis at Southern Miss, Ryan Radcliff at Central Michigan, Morgan Newton at Kentucky and Bryn Renner at North Carolina all have four alongside Weeden, who also has five touchdowns.

Schedule analysis: Oklahoma State

May, 10, 2011
The Big 12's full schedule isn't out yet, but a few teams across the league have released their individual schedules. In no particular order, we'll take a look at them.

First up: Let's take a look at the Pokes of Stillwater.

Nonconference (with 2010 records):
  • Sept. 3: Louisiana-Lafayette (3-9)
  • Sept. 8: Arizona (7-6)
  • Sept. 17: at Tulsa (10-3)
Home Big 12 games:
  • Oct. 8: Kansas (3-9)
  • Oct. 29: Baylor (7-6)
  • Nov. 5: Kansas State (7-6)
  • Dec. 3: Oklahoma (12-2)
Away Big 12 games:
  • Sept. 24: Texas A&M (9-4)
  • Oct. 15: Texas (5-7)
  • Oct. 22: Missouri (10-3)
  • Nov. 12: Texas Tech (8-5)
  • Nov. 18: Iowa State (5-7)
Gut-check game: At Texas A&M. Last year, we didn't know how good either of these teams were at the end of the Cowboys' 38-35 win. It ended up deciding the Big 12 South. Had Texas A&M won, the Aggies would have won the division outright. This season, they'll get their shot in College Station, and the winner of this game could go on to a BCS berth. Texas A&M fans probably couldn't help but ask themselves what would have happened last season had Ryan Tannehill started, instead of Jerrod Johnson, who accounted for four interceptions and a fumble returned for a touchdown. We'll find out in this early season clash between two possible top 10 teams that will sort out the top of the new, divison-less Big 12.

Trap game: Baylor. The Bears will have two chances to prove themselves before their game in Stillwater at Boone Pickens Stadium. After TCU to open the season and Texas A&M before OSU, the Bears will come off a bye with what they hope is a renewed defense looking to erase an embarrassing lopsided loss on the same field in 2010.

Snoozer: Kansas. Last season, Kansas played pretty well against the Cowboys and kept it close early, leading after the first quarter and trailing just 20-14 at half. Then the Jayhawks were outscored 28-0 in the second half of the late-season matchup in Lawrence. Kansas should be better this season, but nowhere near good enough to make it interesting in Stillwater.

Non-con challenge: Arizona. Laugh if you must, Cowboys fans. But I recall a Nebraska team that laughed when it got matched up with Washington in a bowl game a few months after beating it by five touchdowns on the Huskies' home field. The Cowboys rolled over the Wildcats, 36-10, in the Alamo Bowl, capping off an 0-5 finish for Mike Stoops' team. But his quarterback, Nick Foles, is back. So is his best receiver, Juron Criner, a possible All-American and the best receiver in the Pac-12. It's hard to imagine Stoops, a defensive coach, not learning plenty from the bowl game, and the Cowboys will be facing their first real test of the season.

Must-see date: Oklahoma. Oklahoma State got the best break of any team in the Big 12 with the new nine-game conference schedule. Because of the tweaking to the schedule, the Sooners have to play in Stillwater for a second consecutive season, and last season's game decided the Big 12 South. This season's game, moved to championship weekend and likely set for prime time, could decide the Big 12 or even more.

Analysis: Big 12 teams better get used to unbalanced schedules in the new league setup. That means five road games and four home games, a sometimes overlooked aspect of a nine-game conference schedule. Teams that schedule ambitiously in nonconference play better do it with a home game. Oklahoma State caught a break with the Sooners' return north, but will be one of the league's teams that has to hit the road five times in conference play. A short drive east to Tulsa will be a tougher early season test than it sounds, but it's a solid nonconference schedule and a league schedule that sets the Cowboys up to do well.