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CFB Big 12 Roundup: Week One

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Note: This story's comment section turned into an impromptu Open Game Thread for the absolutely aces (fantastic/awesome/incredible/super/sensational/awe-inspiring/etc,) game between Miami and Florida State. I highly recommend reading through the comments, if you have time, but just as a warning -- only the first five are actually about the (brilliantly written, I might add) story. The rest are all Canes-Noles. It starts roughly 5 minutes into the 4th quarter. And yes, we put up that many numbers. It is a future first ballot Hall of Famer in the sometime-to-be-created Rock Chalk Talk Hall of Fame, and is that good. Read it.

Everyone's favorite Big 12 weekly wrapup from college basketball is back, this time for college football!

(Applause)

Seriously, though, this should be a weekly feature, highlighting all of the Big 12 teams, and how they fared in their games. It will also take a brief look towards next week, along with providing some form of Power Rankings for the week. In a way, it's my own version of the Big 12 Roundtable.

So, let's get this started. We'll work through the teams based off of their preseason ranking according to me:

This Week's Games

Iowa State 34 North Dakota State 17 -- The 17-point margin of victory looks nice, as well it should, but I don't know exactly how it happened. Both teams had 2 turnovers, with the Clones only outgaining the Fighting Ben Woodsides by 54 yards. A scary note for the Block-I's: NDSU runningback Pat Paschall piled up 146 yards rushing on only 21 carries, which is 7 yards per. That isn't good. So, while Iowa State's offense certainly looked competent, the defense needs to take some serious steps forward or, uh, ouch.

Next Week -- vs. Iowa -- Clone Chronicles

Nebraska 49 Florida Atlantic 3 -- This was exactly the type of performance the Cornhuskers needed to open the season. A dominating victory, leaving no doubt about who the better team was or anything, against a solid, bowl-winning Florida Atlantic team. The key for the Huskers was the running game, as Roy Helu Jr. just got whatever he wanted, picking up 9.5 yards a carry. That is ridiculous.

Next Week -- vs. Arkansas State -- Corn Nation

Texas Tech 38 North Dakota 13 -- Unlike North Dakota State, the Fighting Sioux are a D-II school. Division II. And while the Red Raiders were never in danger of actually losing the game, it certainly wasn't the preposterous blowout that it easily could have been. Taylor Potts had a shiny 405 total yards passing, but he also threw three interceptions, which is obviously worrisome for the Techers. I'm assuming it had everything to do with getting Potts as many attempts as possible, but Mike Leach essentially abandoned the run altogether, calling only 14 runs all game long. 14. 53 passes were called, combining Potts' 48 attempts with 5 runs/sacks for negative yardage. That is a big disparity.

Next Week -- vs. Rice -- Double-T Nation

Kansas State 21 UMass 17 -- Uhhhhhh. I mean, I know Bill Snyder is famous for vanilla-izing his playbook against terrible opponents, and Carson Coffman is a true QB in nobody's eyes, but still -- they won by four against the Minutemen. A win is a win, and it counts the same, and may be more valuable in the long run than a total blowout would have been. But still, this can't be comforting to the Powercat faithful. What should ease the pain is K-State's 195 yard advantage, with only Carson Coffman mistakes (1 INT, 1 fumble) keeping the Minutemen alive. Their D was fabulous against the pass, holding UMass to only 3.2 yards per attempt, but were poor against the run, giving up more than 5 yards a run to UMass' starting runningback.

Next Week -- @ Louisiana Lafayette -- Bring On the Cats

Texas A&M 41 New Mexico 6 -- Really, of all of the Big 12 teams, this was almost assuredly the performance of the week. The Lobos have a brand new coaching staff, yes, and last year the Aggies made the trip to Mexico Nuevo as opposed to this year's matchup at Kyle Field, but still -- the Ampersands won 28-22 last year, and 41-6 this year. That is a big difference. Might Mike Sherman, to the surprise of the entire world, know what he's doing afterall? The score wasn't just garbage-time points, either. Texas A&M surged ahead to a 20-0 lead and was winning 34-6 by the end of the 3rd quarter. They outgained the Lobos by nearly 400 yards, and Jerrod Johnson looked absolutely fantastic. 349 yards passing plus another 50 running, paired with freshman Christine Michael's near 100-yard day was a large positive for the Ags. Now, maybe New Mexico is just way worse than everyone expected, so it's too early to really draw much. But, the Aggies looked like a bowl team on Saturday night.

Next Week -- BYE -- I Am the 12th Man

Texas 59 Louisiana Monroe 20 -- Was anyone surprised, at all, about this final score? Yeah, I didn't really think so. This is basically the performance everyone was expecting from the 'Horns -- absolute domination on the offensive side of the ball, with periodic struggles on defense. It should be noted, however, that the Warhawks scored 10 of their points in the 4th quarter, when the game was more than in hand the subs, I'm sure, were playing. So, periodic struggles is unfair. However, Colt McCoy did throw a pick, so I think it's definitely time for Bevo to panic.

Next Week -- @ Wyoming -- Burnt Orange Nation

Missouri 37 Illinois 9 -- What did I tell you? Missouri is going to be good this year, people -- really good. I'm not even positive they won't be better than last season. Of course, before I get too high up on a pedestal of genius, just remind me that I was just regurgitating the information that RMN's numbers told me to believe. Really, it is math that called Missouri, so score one for math. The mathless wonders in Champaign (I mean, who really thinks that Regis Benn has ever attended a calculus class?) were outclassed from the opening whistle, as Blaine Gabbert looked marvelous. Now, not marvelous enough to supercede Tom Brady in football history (I'm looking at you, Jason Whitlock), but still -- pretty damn good. I just hope our eerily similar transition next year is as seamless as the Tigers' will be*.

Next Week -- vs. Bowling Green State -- Rock M Nation

* Seriously, it's downright creepy the similarities between the 08-09 turnover for the Tigers and the 09-10 turnover for the Jayhawks. Another reason to watch the Tigers closely this season. I mean, Missouri lost Chase Daniel (Todd Reesing), Jeremy Maclin (Dezmon Briscoe), Chase Coffman (Kerry Meier) and William Moore (Darrell Stuckey). I mean, wow. We don't really have a Ziggy Hood, and there are a couple other minor places where the comparison falls off, but it isn't bad. We do lose our runningback, while they kept theirs. So, yeah, maybe not as good as I thought. Still.

Baylor 24 Wake Forest 21 -- Huh? Robert Griffin III, who is the Bears' lone good player, was held to a combined 177 yards, and the Bears won? On the road? Against a ACC bowl team? Damn. Maybe it isn't just the Robert Griffin show, after all. The Bears scored on a WR pass to give them the would-be game-winner, with runningback Jay Finley also taking on the brunt of the workload. And of course, the defense is quite good, led by Joe Pawalek at LB, and they did a good job against Riley Skinner and Company. I love Baylor.

Next Week -- BYE -- NO BLOG EXISTS

Colorado 17 Colorado State 23 -- Whoops. And let me just tell you, it wasn't really a 6-point loss. It was 23-3 at one point, and the Rams looked like they were just getting started. Obviously, that isn't true, and the Buffs stepped it up towards the end, but it was clear from play one who the better team was out there on the field. And a lot of the time, it wasn't really close. Cody Hawkins predictably looked quite awful back there at QB, and for reasons unknown to rational humans, Darrell Scott was handed off to once. One carry. That's it. Beginning to regret the decision to go to Boulder, there, Darrell? Of course, it wasn't just that Hawkins decided to focus on Rodney Stewart or Brian Lockridge, instead. Nah. Lockridge only had one carry himself (a 9-yard TD run) while Stewart only picked up 6 carries. That is a combined 8 for your three best runningbacks, Dan Hawkins. And your son, who is awful, threw the ball 40 times. Uh, wut?

Next Week -- @ Toledo -- The Ralphie Report

Oklahoma State 24 Georgia 10 -- The performance of the day for the Big 12, at least when it comes to national perception. With all of the hype that the Pokes have received this offseason, it was crucial they at least showed up against an SEC team considered to be the 4th best this season, and who lost their top QB, RB and WR over the offseason. After not showing up for much of the first half, they managed to hang around, then somehow take a 10-7 lead into halftime. Even now, I'm not sure how they did that. But then in the second half, they showed who really was the best team on the field. It is the lynchpin to the upcoming campaign, Big 12 > SEC. Also, Bill Young knows how to coach a little sumpin'-sumpin' on defense, huh? Dayum. Now, I think part of it may have been just a bad Georgia offense, but still -- last year's Oklahoma State defense gives up a lot more than 10 points.

Next Week -- vs. Houston -- NO BLOG EXISTS

Oklahoma 13 BYU 14 -- Sam Bradford or no Sam Bradford, this one wasn't good for Boomer Sooner. Even before Sam Bradford went out with a sprained shoulder, Oklahoma just looked bad. At times, really bad. Their offensive line was in shambles, with the Mormons consistently getting pressure on Sam. And, as everyone predicted last season, Sam isn't quite sure what to do with pressure. He never had less than 18 seconds last year to throw, so when he was only given 2 and 3 on Saturday, it wasn't pretty. Landry Jones, owner of the world's ugliest mustache (besides Trey Hillman, of course), looked even worse, predictably. It wasn't just worse, though -- Landry (can we call him Lance?) looked absolutely awful. No Jermaine Greshman couldn't have been positive, either. Of course, it isn't like Oklahoma's D was awesome, either -- Max Hall basically ripped them to shreds, and it could have been worse except for a pair of Max Hall mental mistakes. Not a good sign for Boomer Sooner.

Next Week -- vs. Idaho State -- Crimson and Cream Machine

What 2 Watch 4 (I Can Be Cool Too, ESPN)

Basically, this is what I want to see from every Big 12 team next week. It maybe as simple as just asking for a victory, or it may be as specific as getting Player X the ball more.

Iowa State -- Stop the running game. Iowa lost Shonn Greene, yes, but they still have a dangerous ground attack. If you can't improve on last week's putrid performance, no way you pull off the upset.

Nebraska -- Rinse and repeat. Arkansas State is about the same quality of team as the Owls, so I want to see an equally dominant performance.

Texas Tech -- Taylor Potts needs to improve. Obviously, the yardage totals look nice, but he needs to take better care of the ball.

Kansas State -- Don't lose. ULa-La is a good team, certainly a lot better than UMass, and plus it is on the road. More specifically, shore up the running defense, but as long as you come out of there with a W, be happy.

Texas -- Rinse and repeat. Same situation as Nebraska. Now, it doesn't have to be quite as dominant, as Wyoming is probably a step up and it is in Laramie, but you should still win by 24 points easily.

Missouri -- Don't get overconfident. Yes, you looked incredible on Saturday. But don't underestimate just how bad Illinois probably is. They are awful. They'll be lucky to make a bowl this year. Book it. And Bowling Green is an improved team who crushed Troy last Thursday night, the predicted winner of the Sun Belt. Not too much partying, Blaine. A loss to the Falcons erases all of the positive goodwill of a win over the Juices Benz.

Colorado -- Please, just win. Please. If you lose to Toledo, you aren't making a bowl. Just please, win. Please.

Oklahoma State -- Basically the same as Missouri, just take out the part about how bad the opponent was. Georgia actually is a pretty good team. Maybe really good, even. Still, Houston is pretty good, too, and Casey Keenum is a stud, so let's not go out partying or nothing. I had to speak in a double-negative, there, because that's how they speak. And I really want them to listen to me.

Oklahoma -- Coach the hell out of Landry (Lance?) this week. Idaho State shouldn't be an issue, but depending on how long Sammy is out, you might end up playing an opponent where Landry/Lance will have to play well. He better be up for the challenge. Oh, also -- shave his freaking mustache. It's a disgrace to the world.

Power Rankings

We are going explanation-less, as they are mostly self-explanatory. If you have a complaint, raise it in the comments section, and I'll get back to you. Unless you're KC.

  1. Texas (1-0)
  2. Oklahoma State (1-0)
  3. Missouri (1-0)
  4. Nebraska (1-0)
  5. Baylor (1-0)
  6. Kansas (1-0)
  7. Oklahoma (0-1)
  8. Texas A&M (1-0)
  9. Iowa State (1-0)
  10. Texas Tech (1-0)
  11. Kansas State (1-0)
  12. Colorado (0-1)

I know I changed things up a bunch. I'm expecting a bunch of criticism. It's okay. And just to nip it in the bud, Kansas is as low as it is because the three above them (assuming no one has an issue with Texas or OSU ahead of them) all had more impressive wins. All three played MUCH better teams than a 1-AA team with 3 wins combined in the last 3 years. I think we are better than all three teams, but we'll see.

That's all, for now. I'll be back next week.