Here are a few of the storylines I’m watching in the Big 12 this week. Getting heated in Stillwater: This week’s been unlike anything Oklahoma State’s ever seen, with plenty of crosstalk between an SI series alleging various improprieties within the football program and an avalanche of former players arguing the series is full of inaccuracies. In the middle of all of this, OSU has a game to play. Will we see any references to the controversy as part of OSU’s game day? What will current players say? What will the crowd look like for the Pokes’ home opener? The Cowboys game against Lamar got a lot more interesting. That’s a big if, Texas: “If only Texas had a QB, it would be great again.” Well, Texas has a good quarterback in David Ash. “If only Texas could fix its defense, it would be great again.” Just when the Longhorns fix one issue, another springs up. This is not what Texas had planned for 2013, and its defensive issues from last season to this year really have been shocking. I don’t buy Greg Robinson as a guy who can get it fixed in a hurry, but beating a good Ole Miss team would quiet a lot the skeptics in Austin and put Texas in position to reach Red River at 4-1. Lose on Saturday, though, and it could get even uglier in Texas fast.
The Belldozer tolls for thee: Just when you thought the Belldozer was shelved for the season, a pair of interceptions and a knee injury have paved a path for Oklahoma quarterback Blake Bell to make his first start on Saturday. Everyone wants to see what he can do throwing the ball, but OU will focus on two big numbers: Turnovers and completion percentage. Breaking out Baker: Baker Mayfield’s lit up SMU and Stephen F. Austin, but TCU is a whole different animal. The Frogs have the Big 12’s best defense and reigning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Devonte Fields will be making his first start of the season after a suspension. Texas Tech’s walk-on true freshman has been a great story and looked fabulous thus far. This will be a major test against a great defense with a great mind in Gary Patterson behind it. Will he pass? Should Iowa State brace for impact?: Last time we saw the Cyclones, they were losing to an in-state FCS opponent and trying to figure out what went wrong. Iowa’s not a great team, but if the Hawkeyes beat Iowa State in Ames, it’s a safe bet that it’s going to be a long season for the Cyclones. It’s already an uphill battle to reach a bowl after the opening loss, but a loss here might officially rule out the possibility.
Some streaks are meant to be broken: You’ll hear plenty of talk about Kansas’ losing streak on the road that stretches four years. The Jayhawks lost to Rice in Lawrence last season on a last-second field goal. Both teams are better this year, but Rice was impressive in its opening loss at Texas A&M.
Shuffling up the QBs in Morgantown: Dana Holgorsen said he wanted to shake things up at running back, receiver and quarterback in practice this week. That could be good news for Clint Trickett. Holgorsen stuck with Millard while the offense spun its wheels in a 16-7 loss in Norman last week. Trickett struggled in the season opener, but he may get another chance this week against Georgia State.