Welcome to the weekend warzone- mild depression edition. The Non-con season is well and truly done as the eight Big 12 teams in action this week were all locked in early season showdowns. Three teams were knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten in the Big 12 this week, leaving us with two standing alone at the top of the conference heap so far.
West Virginia 48, Texas 45- I've been slow to buy into the Geno Smith hype, as record breaking immolations of terrible defenses is pretty much par for the course for Air Raid quarterbacks by this point. Those other quarterbacks didn't go into Royal Memorial Stadium and grind out a not just statistically impressive, but well balanced effort over a solid Texas Longhorns squad. With Casey Pachall likely done for the season there is no questioning Smith is the best quarterback in the Big 12, and despite being tested throughout the game the Mountaineer offense never wavered. Like Oklahoma State last year, West Virginia may just have enough offense to cover up their weak defense and run through the Big 12. On the Texas side, the Longhorns quarterback controversy is definitively over, as David Ash has grown into a better than serviceable passer, but the vaunted Longhorn ground game just didn't make enough hay for them to keep the West Virginia crew on the sideline. Removing one 49 yard scamper that boosted the average considerably, Texas averaged under three yards a carry on what was thought to be a soft Mountaineer rush defense. Texas got lucky last week to escape Oklahoma State with the "win" but was unable to keep from slipping into the second tier of Big 12 contenders. Best Staff Pick: New picker Jamie Plunkett had West Virginia winning with the most points, but Trey had the margin perfectly- picking West Virginia 38, Texas 35. Trey is on a roll these past two weeks. Next week: West Virginia- @ Texas Tech, Texas- Oklahoma @ Dallas.
Kansas 16, Kansas State 56- The good teams win the games that they're supposed to win, the great teams don't let it be close. We're getting closer and closer to declaring K-State an indisputably great team as coming off of one of the biggest wins in program history the wildcats showed no let down. Kansas State played almost error free football, and shut the Jayhawk offense down entirely in the second half while averaging almost ten yards per carry throughout the game. KU had another poor game from Dayne Crist, throwing three interceptions, but he wasn't alone in the Jayhawk turnover woes as they kicked in another two fumbles (sounds like some other team we know). This will be a definite learning season for the Jayhawks, and it's looking more and more unlikely that they'll have another win this season. Best staff pick: Trey and myself both picked Wildcat blowouts, with him getting closest to the K-State score and myself closer to the Jayhawk score. Next week: Kansas State- @ Iowa State, Kansas- Oklahoma State
Oklahoma 41, Texas Tech 20- After Texas Tech blew out Texas State on the road I declared myself firmly on the Raider bandwagon (it sounds weird when I think of it now) until they inevitably blew it. Today I am officially off the bandwagon, as Texas Tech's offense bogged down and formerly reliable quarterback Seth Doege threw three interceptions and no touchdown passes. It actually looked like it was going to be a decent game for the first half, with Oklahoma pushing the lead to 11 just at the end of the half, but the second half was all Sooners, scoring a touchdown on a belldozer dive, then taking a pick six back on Tech's ensuing possession to put the game out of reach (sounds like another game I watched). The Sooners offense isn't a world beater, but it looks like they'll have enough success to let Stoops justify keeping the same staff on board for next season- whether that's a good or bad thing at this point is anyone's guess. Best staff pick: Fungo Frog picked OU by 23, which is impressive as all but he and Plunkett had picked Tech to win. Next week: Oklahoma- Texas @ Dallas, Texas Tech- West Virginia.
Iowa State 37, TCU 23- It was closer than the score indicates, but that doesn't matter too much as Iowa State capitalized on a highly inconsistent offensive effort from TCU. Boykin played more or less how you would expect a freshman starting his first football game against a solid defense to play- streaky and error prone, but I'm more concerned with the play calling on the drive after the Boykin pick six. TCU had the ball with over eight minutes left to play, down two scores- not an insurmountable deficit for an offense as loaded with quality receivers as TCU is. So the frogs took the field and... established the ground game? TCU ground five and a half minutes off the clock in getting down to the Iowa State three yard line. That's acceptable if you're trying to tie the game or go up on the opponent, but when you're down by two scores wasting that much time off the clock is absolutely inexcusable. Part of me is actually glad that the frogs didn't score from the State three (Boykin threw another interception) because it would have just led me to deeper rage about the awful time management. For the rest of the schedule if TCU loses the turnover margin by more than one they will lose the game- I guarantee it. The Big 12 is just too good to let your opponent have a +4 in the turnover department. On the Iowa State side, give them credit for capitalizing on Boykin's miscues, and finding the two big plays that TCU secondaries always seem to give up. I can't admit to being impressed with the cyclone offense at all, as Barnett had a worse completion percentage than even Boykin, and apart from one 33 yarder the 'clones got nothing done on the ground. Iowa State will need another big upset in order to get to bowl eligibility, but they have a much better shot at doing it than we do at this point. Best staff pick: Fungo picked Iowa State to win 17-10, what a jerk. A correct jerk, though and that's what counts. Next week: Iowa State- Kansas State, TCU- @ Baylor (what a time to get them, ugh).