Sunday, October 23, 2011
What we learned in the Big 12: Week 8
By David Ubben
Here's what I learned in the Big 12's four games on Saturday.
Oklahoma is mortal, even at Owen Field. I didn't give Texas Tech a chance to win on Saturday night. I'm not alone, but still, I thought Oklahoma would roll easily. I mentioned it last night, but the warning signs were there: Oklahoma's offense was bad against Kansas last week, scoring just 27 points on college football's worst defense through late in the third quarter. The defense was burned for more than 500 yards earlier this year in Norman by Mizzou. Texas Tech walked in and took advantage of the Sooners on both sides of the ball, running up a big lead while the Sooners went without a first down through the second quarter and holding on. The 28-point underdogs got a much-needed win, the biggest of the Tommy Tuberville Era in Lubbock.
Brandon Weeden and the Cowboys look like the Big 12's best team.
Oklahoma State looks like the Big 12's best team. About that upset everyone was watching for? Oklahoma State made a statement with a 45-24 win against Missouri that looked a lot like the first six Oklahoma State wins, save the A&M comeback. Lots of offense, decent defense and Oklahoam State coasts. Outside of an uncharacteristic first half against Texas A&M, the OSU offense has looked largely unstoppable. The road to the Big 12 title goes through ... Stillwater? Get used to it.
Bill Snyder is at his best against Kansas. Bill Snyder has now won 14 of his past 15 meetings against Kansas, and check out this list of lopsided blowouts, courtesy of Snyder. The Wildcats rolled an overmatched KU team on its own field, and in the process, put Turner Gill firmly on the hot seat for the remainder of the season. K-State played relatively mistake-free football and Collin Klein enjoyed a career day through the air and in the end zone. The Wildcats are 7-0 and one of just eight remaining unbeatens. Amazing.
Welcome back to the Big 12 title race, Texas A&M. Keep winning, Aggies, and good things will happen. Oklahoma can clearly be beaten anywhere. Texas A&M goes there next month. Win that game, and have Oklahoma go up to Stillwater and beat Oklahoma State? With one OSU slip-up, what once looked like a national semifinal version of Bedlam turns into a game that could give Texas A&M its first Big 12 title since 1998. It won't be easy, especially beating Oklahoma and Kansas State on the road. But the Big 12's most talented team, Oklahoma, has a loss on its record, and Oklahoma State will have a huge monkey on its back against Oklahoma in the season finale. If Texas A&M gets its running backs going like it did on Saturday (267 combined rushing yards), the Aggies might not lose the rest of the season.
Iowa State has a new starting quarterback. Iowa State has a new starting quarterback. Steele Jantz was benched after taking a sack and missing on his first four passes, including an interception. The answer: Freshman Jared Barnett, who threw for 180 yards on just 16-of-36 passing, but didn't have a turnover. Cyclones coach Paul Rhoads said after the game the Barnett earned another start, and he'll get it next week in Lubbock against Texas Tech.