TCU didn’t play on Saturday, but for my money, yesterday was the best day of the year for college football.
Notice my wording there — I don’t mean it was the best weekend of college football. I mean that it was 65 degrees in my neck of the woods, I had no responsibilities whatsoever, and there was a steady stream of entertaining games on my TV screen. It was the perfect storm, and not having to worry about the Horned Frogs only added to the enjoyment.
And a couple of those entertaining games just so happened to come from Big 12 teams! TCU, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Kansas all had byes this week, but the remaining six teams put on a show for us. Let’s go ahead and get started with the game everyone’s going to analyze to death:
Oklahoma (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) 34, Texas (4-2, 2-1) 27
The Sooners blew two early red zone opportunities that could’ve put them up 21-0 in a flash. When Texas managed to hang around and trail by just seven entering the half, I thought the Longhorns were going to pull this game out thanks to those red zone failures from Oklahoma.
But instead, the Sooners figured out how to finish drives and kept Texas from getting into a rhythm on offense. Sure, the Longhorns scored 27 points, but it felt like a miracle every time they managed to score.
Two particular things stand out in this game to me, the layman of all laymen (and laywomen!). One is that Texas had absolutely no idea what to do with Jalen Hurts. The Oklahoma quarterback was able to run for 131 yards on 17 carries. Most of those were scrambles — Texas sold out to stop the deep ball, leaving acres of space in front of the safeties. Hurts jogged into those spaces with ease, picking up first down after first down. TCU should watch this game to see how not to play defense against Oklahoma.
The second thing is that either Oklahoma’s pass rush is much better than I expected or Texas’ offensive line is really bad. Sam Ehlinger was sacked nine times on Saturday, and even that number feels low. He was never comfortable in the pocket and threw for just 210 yards on 38 attempts. It was a seven-point win for Oklahoma, but anyone watching that game came away feeling like the Sooners were much, much better than Texas.
Also, CeeDee Lamb is a human cheat code, and TCU should start planning on how to stop him now.
OU has a home game against West Virginia next week, while Texas hosts Kansas.
Baylor (6-0, 3-0) 33, Texas Tech (3-3, 1-2) 30
This game went to double overtime, and it was the Bears that were forced to stage a last minute comeback to force an extra period. Baylor went 89 yards in the final 1:37 of regulation and had a couple of cracks from the five yards line at a touchdown that would’ve won the game, but settled for a 19-yard field goal.
I don’t have a handle on why Baylor struggled so much against Tech. The Red Raiders proved they know how to play defense last week against Oklahoma State, and they harassed Charlie Brewer into three interceptions. Brewer didn’t throw a touchdown in this one, either, though he did run for three scores.
I think Baylor is a good team, so I’m willing to chalk this one up as an anomaly. If anything, this game is a sign that Matt Wells is bringing defense back to Lubbock. That’s refreshing to see.
Baylor travels to Oklahoma State next week, while the Red Raiders host Iowa State. Speaking of the Cyclones...
Iowa State (4-2, 2-1) 38, West Virginia (3-3, 1-2) 14
The final score belies how close this game was. West Virginia was tied at 14 with Iowa State at the half, and trailed 21-14 entering the third quarter before the Cyclones pulled away.
The offense just disappeared for the Mountaineers in the final two quarters, but — much like what I said earlier about Matt Wells — I think first-year WVU head coach Neal Brown is getting the most out of a depleted roster. He’s going to be very, very good in Morgantown.
Iowa State was....fine. They were supposed to win this game, they did, let’s move on. The Cyclones travel to Tech, as mentioned above, while West Virginia plays at Oklahoma.