Back at home after an up and down pair of opening games (including a win on the road against a tough opponent), a top ranked Big 12 school demonstrates offensive firepower, but an upstart in-state rival with very little recent success against them refused to be put away and made a young defense look repeatedly vulnerable, leaving the home crowd happy with the win, but worried going forward. I think most of you will recognize a game of that description that went on yesterday, but long before kickoff in Fort Worth a similar situation was unfolding in Norman. The good news is that the Sooner offense finally looks to be clicking on all cylinders, with the running game finally showing the kind of power that we were expecting when OU came into the season- but being shredded by the Golden Hurricane offense is the last thing you want right before conference play, particularly with mad scientist Dana Holgorsen waiting next week with what appears to be and actual defense. But, much like the TCU game, rivalry games are weird, so don't read too much into this one- we'll know if OU is for real starting next week.
Staff Picks: All good on this one, Rusty was the closest- Kudos!
Crimson and Cream Machine: Notes and Quotes
Next week: Vs. West Virginia Mountaineers
Kansas State Wildcats 39, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 33 (3OT)
Remember what I've been saying about the KSU offense being a work in progress? It's a lot more work and a lot less progress at this point, as the Cats managed just 23 points against Louisiana Tech in regulation, getting repeatedly stuffed on the ground for less than 4 yards per carry and managed less than 200 yards in the air- with the benefit of three overtimes as well- Overtimes that KSU had to rally like hell to even reach in the first place. This is a bowl team, as you can likely pencil in wins over ISU/KU with just one more to find somewhere (KSU does almost always beat Texas as well), but beyond that the offense is not going to be able to keep up with the sorts of attacks that they're going to see in the Big 12 without some major growth- and the sooner the better, because their next opponent may have flicked the switch.
Staff picks: We're all good again, but Warrior was the closest.
Bring On The Cats: Somebody get them a doctor... or Eleven new guys.
Next week: Bye
Oklahoma State Cowboys 69, UTSA Roadrunners 14
That looked... pretty darn impressive, really. The Roadrunners hung with Arizona in week 1, got a bit beaten down by KSU in week 2, but this was a buttkicking in every phase of the game as OSU's defense reverted back to the turnover forcing ways that won it its Big 12 title back in 2011, forcing turnovers on over half of UTSA's first half possessions, and cashing in each of them for points. OSU quarterback Mason Rudolph was his effective self and OSU's ground game averaged over 5 YPC, despite Randolph tanking the average. The star of this win was the defense though, as if OSU can continue to force turnovers, they will be a force in the Big 12 this year and a prime darkhorse candidate to steal the league title with both TCU and Baylor having to make the visit to Stillwater- but it's a dangerous game to make too many assumptions from just one game. I think they beat KSU though.
Staff Picks: Unanimous again, Andrew was the closest in his blowout prediction without it getting ridiculous.
Cowboys Ride for Free: OSU takes it back.
Next week: @ Texas Longhorns
Bret Bielema will be quiet, for at least a little while, which is the most important thing that can come out of any football game involving Arkansas. The Raiders offense was very effective in carving up the Hogs through both the air and the ground, but Patrick Mahomes again showed that, while a dangerous quarterback, he will make poor decisions with the ball and threw a pair of picks to go with just one touchdown toss (but he did add two more on the ground). The Raider defense showed that it could continue to be had on the ground, however, as Arkansas continued to average over 5 YPC on the ground, despite the absence of its starting RB, and the Hogs completed just about a quarter of their passes for around 9 YPA (and against a very vanilla Arkansas passing attack to boot). The Raiders will head back to Lubbock feeling very confident in their abilities, and at this point there aren't a lot of differences between TCU and Tech heading into next week's game- QBs who can both run and pass, explosive offense, suspect defense. TCU's offense is probably a bit better, but Tech has the home field advantage in what has traditionally been a bad environment for TCU wins. To me, next week's game is the most interesting of the season so far (forget you, Ole Miss/Alabama)
Staff Picks: Jamie, Rusty, Swayze and Samantha picked the pigs, but Samantha was only 1 point off a perfect pick- very impressive!
Viva the Matadors: 10 Quick Overreactions
Next week: Vs TCU Horned Frogs.
California Golden Bears 45, Texas Longhorns 44
Are you a glass half full, or a glass half empty kind of guy? The good news is that Texas was highly competitive in this one, and gave a (still undefeated) Cal squad all that it could handle. The bad news is that Cal did essentially whatever it wanted on offense, and it could have gotten out of hand early if not for an extremely fortunate offsides penalty on a kickoff that Texas didn't field. As it was, the Bears plowed through the Texas defense on the ground(!) for 6.8 yards per carry, as well as through the air for three touchdowns. In the third quarter, Cal ran roughshod over the Longhorns, racking up 3 straight touchdowns, but the Horns fought back with three straight scores of their own on the back of Jerrod Heard, who looked like every bit the dual threat that people were expecting Tyrone Swoopes to be, scoring 3 TDs on the ground and passing for over 300 yards. In the end, all the fight from the Longhorns were for naught, as they missed the potential game tying extra point with 40 seconds left in the game, a little bit of leftover karma from that 2004 Rose Bowl politicking, perhaps? The Texas defense is not going to be very good this year, but Jerrod Heard will be a monster as he continues to grow- this will be a fascinating team to watch as the season goes on.
Staff picks: Everyone got this one apart from Jamie, but HToadSwayze had the nearest margin of victory.
Burnt Orange Nation: Heartbreaker.
Next week: Vs. Oklahoma State
Toledo Rockets 30, Iowa State Cyclones 23 (2OT)
Without a major upset in this season, I'm comfortable calling it here- Paul Rhoads is done in Ames. Although both Toledo and Iowa may be pretty good teams this year, this was the winnable stretch for ISU, and they're coming out of it with just a single win to show for it- and with a rough Big 12 slate ahead of them. Despite their history, ISU isn't a bad job- they have an energetic fanbase, expectations aren't to high, you have a patient athletic director that will stand by you in the hard times- someone is going to turn that place around, but it's not going to be Paul Rhoads. ISU did well defensively, holding the Rockets to about 300 total yards (with 2 overtimes), but the offense lacked consistency and in the end they couldn't beat a MAC team. Again. It's time for a change.
Staff Picks: Melissa, Andrew, Warrior, Rusty, Samantha, Simone and Swayze picked the winner- My pick would've been almost perfect if ISU could make a 32 yard freakin' field goal though! Arrgh.
Wide Right & Natty Lite: ISU doing ISU things.
Next week: Bye
TCU Horned Frogs 56, SMU Mustangs 37
Pretty much the OU game recap, but with a lot more penalties and some potentially season changing injuries to the winning side. Have I mentioned that I absolutely loathe playing SMU? Next week we're playing what is essentially a better SMU team on the road- so hold onto your butts.
Staff Picks: Who would honestly pick SMU? Marshall had the margin perfectly, though.
Frogs O' War: Is great.
Next week: @ Texas Tech Red Raiders.
SPECIAL BONUS: Ole Miss Rebels 43, Alabama Crimson Tide 37
Not actually a Big 12 game, but I didn't have a great week in the picks otherwise. Let the record show that I was the only one who picked the Rebs!