Rough week across the Big 12, with a pair of ugly losses and a missed opportunity. I sorted it out, though. Here’s how I slate the Big 12 after the opening weekend.
1. Oklahoma State 1-0, last week: 1. This week: at UTSA. It wasn’t pretty in the first half, but Oklahoma State gave the Big 12 its best win of Week 1, beating Mississippi State, 21-3. The defense looked dominant. One game isn’t enough to convince me that’s what we’re going to see for the next 11, but it’s major progress. Pokes are still looking the part of Big 12 favorite, even if they’re set to start a different QB in Week 2 than they did in Week 1. J.W. Walsh’s legs earned him that opportunity. Hard to see him losing it for awhile, considering the weakness of OSU’s upcoming schedule. 2. Oklahoma 1-0, LW: 4. This week: vs. West Virginia. Trevor Knight’s career got off to a shaky start, but I’m willing to credit a lot of that to nerves. He was missing on a lot of easy throws, not giving his WRs chances to make plays. That changed in the second half. Charles Tapper was a standout for a defensive line badly in need of one. Shutting out Louisiana-Monroe is impressive. The Warhawks returned 17 starters from a team that averaged 33.8 points a year ago.
3. Texas 1-0, LW: 3. This week: at BYU. Texas’ huge second half (outscored New Mexico State 42-0) made it easy to forget a slow start that had the Longhorns down 7-0 midway through the second quarter. David Ash’s turnovers are a concern, but Texas took care of business against a poor FBS team. BYU this week isn’t as tough of a test as its name suggests, but they’re a lot better than the Aggies Texas faced on Saturday.
4. Baylor 1-0, LW: 5. This week: Buffalo. Bears need to give lessons on how to put away FCS teams in impressive fashion. Bryce Petty didn’t do anything to dissuade me that he’s the best QB in the Big 12. Yes, already.
5. TCU 0-1, LW: 2. This week: Southeastern Louisiana. The Frogs hung tough against an LSU team that looks like it has an offense making progress. Giving up 37 points is a concern for that defense, with or without Devonte Fields. Trevone Boykin showed off the progress he made since last year, but I don’t buy the idea that he’s different enough from Casey Pachall to warrant rotating them both in for 12 games. Might help in the short term, but it hurts them long term. TCU needs to take Pachall and ride with him.
6. Texas Tech 1-0, LW: 7. This week: Stephen F. Austin. The Red Raiders were probably the second-most impressive team in the Big 12 in Week 1, using a strong fourth quarter to rout a pretty good SMU team. Baker Mayfield’s a great story and a great QB who utilized the Red Raiders’ depth in the passing game. Eleven different receivers caught passes on Friday.
7. West Virginia 1-0, LW: 8. This week: at Oklahoma. Paul Millard clearly looked like the superior QB on Saturday, but I’d still expect Clint Trickett to get more opportunities after his lone two drives resulted in three-and-outs with a sack and a near interception as part of his six plays. There are so many new faces on this team, though. The close call against William & Mary is a concern, but not a reason to write them off as a team who could finish in the top half of the league.
8. Kansas State 0-1, LW: 6. This week: vs. Louisiana-Lafayette. Motivation won’t be a problem after a tough loss to NDSU last week. The Ragin’ Cajuns couldn’t keep up with Arkansas. Jake Waters is as good of a passer as advertised. Tramaine Thompson and Tyler Lockett will benefit. They’ve stepped up nicely into featured roles with Chris Harper gone.
9. Iowa State 0-1, LW: 9.This week: Bye. The Cyclones are surely itching to play again and get the taste of the Northern Iowa loss out of their mouths. That was one of the worst losses for the Big 12 in recent history. Even with the losses from last year’s team in the passing game and along the front seven, there’s no excuse. Cyclones have to get better.
10. Kansas 0-0, LW: 10. This week: South Dakota. Tough call this week on whether or not K-State or Iowa State deserved to fall behind the Jayhawks, who made it through the first week of the season without a loss. I can’t do it yet. We’ll see how KU’s revamped roster looks this weekend. A blowout win over South Dakota would probably inspire me to slide them up to No. 9 or even No. 8, depending on how K-State looks next weekend.