Sunday, October 14, 2012
What we learned in the Big 12: Week 7
By David Ubben
Here's what I learned after a wild Week 7 across the Big 12:
The Big 12 is more unpredictable than ever. What a crazy week. West Virginia provided the most eye-opening result, laying an egg on offense and getting dominated by Texas Tech in all three phases. TCU was left for dead by most (including yours truly) after last week's Iowa State loss but walked into Waco and rolled over a good Baylor team with a strong fourth quarter. Oklahoma looked like the national title team (and then some) many expected it to be before the season. Texas looked like a disappointment. Oklahoma State's 22-game streak of scoring at least 30 points ended ... against Kansas?! By far the craziest week in this league in a long time.
Oklahoma's defense overwhelmed Texas on Saturday, and have the Sooners looking like the Big 12's top team.
West Virginia's offensive consistency? Still waiting. We know WVU can do special things, but can it do them every week? The answer was a resounding no in Big East play last year, and Saturday, Texas Tech's defense made WVU look very, very bad. We knew the Mountaineers' defense was going to give up numbers, but when the offense doesn't play well, the Big 12 has offenses to make WVU pay. On Saturday, the Eers paid a very, very steep price.
Oklahoma has the Big 12's best defense. The Sooners left Texas bruised and battered, but they've got a fantastic defensive résumé so far this season. They shut out UTEP's offense and gave up one long touchdown to Florida A&M. K-State's offense scored just 17 points, and Texas Tech managed just 13 before a garbage-time touchdown. Until less than five minutes were left on Saturday and OU led 56-9, Texas had two first downs and hadn't scored on offense. Mike Stoops' arrival is already paying off.
Kansas State in the clutch is terrifying. K-State needed points and needed them badly. It got three, and it took eight minutes off the clock to do it. Quarterback Collin Klein converted three third downs (two passing, one rushing) to keep the drive alive, and the Wildcats took more than half of the fourth quarter to shorten their 27-21 win versus Iowa State. This team simply knows how to win tight games, and the defense didn't let Jared Barnett and the Cyclones even threaten to score on a possible game-winning drive. Pressure doesn't seem to ever affect the Cats.
It's time to stop holding out on Texas' defense. The Longhorns faced some great offenses to start the Big 12 season, and some (myself included) were willing to give a talented group the benefit of the doubt to fix the tackling issues that showed up in wins over Wyoming, Ole Miss and Oklahoma State. Not anymore. They might turn it around later this season, but this Texas defense has proved disappointing, and though the offense has been better than most figured, the defense is simply overrated.