Sunday, September 13, 2009
What we learned in the Big 12, Week 2
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Losses by Colorado, Iowa State, Kansas State and Oklahoma State and a near defeat by Missouri stamped this as a disappointing weekend for the Big 12.
Despite those unseemingly blemishes in the national spotlight, here are some items that we can take away from the games we just witnessed.
1. The Big 12 could arguably be considered the nation’s most overrated conference after the first two weeks of the season -- at least at the supposed strength at the top. Texas slumbered through the first half of game against Wyoming, a team predicted to finish last in the Mountain West Conference. Oklahoma lost last week to Mountain West Conference team BYU. Oklahoma State lost to the Conference USA’s Houston. You can argue all you want, but the conference’s expected three power teams should have played better to live up to the conference’s immense preseason hype.
2. The best example of the importance of returning Oklahoma’s Brody Eldridge to tight end could be seen with the re-emergence of DeMarco Murray against Idaho State. Murray had trouble getting free outside last week against BYU. But with Eldridge leading the blocking on the flanks, the Sooners’ outside running game was rejuvenated Saturday night against Idaho State.
3. For all of the excitement about Taylor Potts’ eight touchdown passes, I was even more impressed by the effort by Texas Tech’s defense in the Red Raiders’ blowout victory over Rice. The Red Raiders forced their first two turnovers of the season and racked up six sacks -- from six different players -- and notched eight other tackles for losses. Tech will be stepping up in class next week against Texas, but the Red Raiders’ defense should be brimming with confidence as it prepares to face the Longhorns.
4. Something seems to be amiss with Oklahoma State quarterback Zac Robinson after two games. Both coach Mike Gundy and Robinson termed his performance in the loss against Houston as “average.” The Cowboys aren’t going to be able to compete against the South Division powers elite unless their senior quarterback plays much better than that.
5. Nebraska’s defense has allowed only 12 points in the first two games of the season. But one statistic that has to be worrisome for Bo Pelini was that the Blackshirts surrendered 18 plays of 8 yards or more in their victory over Arkansas State. The thought here is that if the Cornhuskers are allowing those plays to Sun Belt Conference offenses, it won’t be a good sign when the Cornhuskers starting playing teams like Virginia Tech next week. And for those of you who may have missed it, a Virginia Tech running game that was expected to wither away after the preseason loss of Darren Evans produced 444 rushing yards in the Hokies’ victory Saturday against Marshall.