Week one is in the books for the most part. Baylor plays SMU today but the other eight teams in action this weekend have gone through their opening games and we now have a small sample to evaluate the league. TCU doesn't play this weekend so we'll withhold any judgements for now but subtracting Baylor and TCU from the equation, how does the Big 12 landscape look the morning after?
Iowa State - The Cyclones were a home underdog against Tulsa and as usual everyone seemed prepared to write off Iowa State heading into the season. It seems to happen every year, but Paul Rhoades has done a nice job piecing together a competitive team every year. Saturday was no different. The Cyclones handles Tulsa at home and the offense looked better than anyone really expected. It's early, and this isn't to say that Iowa State is going to finish in the top tier of the Big 12, but they exceeded expectations in week one. This was a big win to start the year for the Cyclones and elevates the expectations in Ames.
Kansas State - Slow start for the Wildcats and Kansas State fans do have some concerns, but a huge second half at least provides some confidence heading into next weeks test against Miami. Nothing all that telling in this one as many of the deficiencies are in the areas that people were expecting. The passing game will continue to be a bit of an issue, but they more than make up for it running the football with Collin Klein. Next week will tell us a lot more about the Wildcats.
Texas - Texas handled business against a pretty respectable Wyoming team wrapping up a 20 point win behind an impressive running attack. The quarterback concerns haven't been completely answered but Ash did prove to be very efficient but the passing game definitely wasn't the strength. Texas will definitely establish a running identity until that changes but it was an effective identity.
- Oklahoma State - It was Savannah State, but Oklahoma State also scored 84 and gave up a big goose egg. Impressive opener given the personnel losses, even more impressive due to the fact that the Cowboys exploded for nearly 400 yards on the ground. Keep an eye on the Cowboys.
- Texas Tech - Tech controlled this by halftime. The offense was good, the defense was very good, the biggest question is the quality of the opponent. That said, they did what they were supposed to do and they did it in impressive fashion so it's a strong start in Lubbock.
West Virginia - The Mountaineers more than took care of business offensively, but you have to wonder a bit about their defensive ability. Giving up 400+ passing yards to Marshall and 500+ total yards leads to a few questions regarding their ability to hold back some of the more explosive Big 12 offenses. Of course that is assuming that the Big 12 still has explosive offenses. Something that seems to be less common than it was a few years ago.
- Oklahoma - The Sooners struggled out of the gates and never really buried their tune up opponent in UTEP. It was definitely a game of survival and Oklahoma did do that, but they didn't have the offensive punch that they've had in recent years. Defensively they were solid which makes the WVU v Oklahoma game in the future a very interesting matchup.
Work to Do?
- Kansas - It was probably optimistic to expect too much from Kansas coming off of a 2-10 season, but the opener probably still failed to live up to expectations under Charlie Weis. Yes it's the first game, yes this program has building to do, but there were plenty of aspects of the Jayhawk game that will require attention in order to compete in the Big 12. Everyone always preaches the dramatic improvement between weeks one and two, Kansas will need to show that improvement rather than talk about it because life isn't going to be easy from here on out.
Nobody is perfect in week one. Plenty of areas that need to be addressed across the board for the various teams around the league. Things will begin to settle in over the next couple of weeks and we'll get a better picture of where everyone stands. Early on most teams did what they needed to do. Some of the upper tier teams probably weren't as crisp as fans would have liked to see in some areas and Kansas, while showing improvement, was a bit underwhelming if anyone was looking for signs of dramatic improvement.