Well the Big 12 had a pretty bummer week. It’s looking more and more like the Big 12 will be left out of the College Football playoff, conference title game or not. Let’s get caught up on what happened.
#21 Baylor 38 @ Rice 10
Baylor is likely the last remaining hope for the Big 12 in terms of the Playoff (ok maybe Texas if they win out and a lot of other stuff happens). Nobody expected this to go well for Rice, but they hung tough for just over a half of football. Baylor has problems, the least of which is their football team, but let’s see how Our Daily Bears handled the win:
Baylor is now 3-0 on the season for the sixth-straight year but will head into Big 12 play with a lot of questions that need answers. Neither the offensive line nor Seth Russell have been up to our usual standards for their respective positions, and that's not going to cut it in Big 12 play, at least not after the middle of October. The defense, which is at its best stringing plays wide so that their speed gives them the advantage, has shown some expected weakness up front that will have to be addressed through scheme, rather than players. The secondary has looked good, if prone to penalty, and our wide receivers need to hit the jugs machine hard in the coming weeks.
So that was the game. Baylor fans weren’t too happy with ESPN’s broadcast, though.
It was inevitable that ESPN would run the timeline graphic of the last year or so, and Baylor fans weren't happy about it, judging from the Twitter reactions. I would suggest you go back and listen, though, if you muted the TV. The announcers were actually fairly even-handed in discussing what Baylor has done since everything happened, and Mack Brown spoke glowingly of Grobe as the caretaker of the program.
I guess I missed it. What has Baylor done (aside from firing a whopping two people)?
Kansas 7 @ Memphis 43
Kansas has a defense?? Let Rock Chalk Talk fill you in:
The Jayhawk defense forced four 3-and-outs. They held the Tigers to four field goal attempts. They allowed fewer than 400 yards of total offense by Memphis. They forced a fumble (that Memphis recovered). They had 10 tackles for loss, five quarterback sacks, and two more QB hurries. Memphis was only 3/14 on third down.
Yes. Yes they do. But the offense?
The Jayhawks had 16 possessions. They turned it over six times, eight if you count the two turnovers-on-downs.
Due to all the turnovers, Memphis started with the ball in KU territory on seven of their 15 possessions. Not much more you can ask out of a defense than what KU got on Saturday.
How anybody goes to home games anymore is beyond me.
Iowa State 20 @ TCU 41
Another game not expected to be close was…. Kinda competitive? Cyclone fans are just as beaten down as Jayhawk fans. Wide Right Natty Lite explains:
I was looking, with a pathetic enthusiasm, for positive yardage, first downs and a coherent game plan. This is the sad tale of Iowa State football in its current state.
The Cyclones lost by three touchdowns and only briefly held their own against a TCU team that hasn’t been all that impressive. So it’s important to remember, this is all relative.
After rushing for just 177 yards in two games against UNI and Iowa, Iowa State was able to open some holes in Week 3.
The Cyclones ended the day with just 138 yards on the ground, but showed signs of life.
Not only was this progress for the offensive line, but also for offensive coordinator, Tom Manning, who executed a more focused game plan.
The Iowa State special teams unit enjoyed an all-around, solid day.
And finally, perhaps the most important progress we saw Saturday was the lack of self-inflicted wounds. The Cyclones had ZERO turnovers, which combined with the improved running game, allowed them to win the time-of-possession battle.
So, Iowa State is getting better?
Yesterday was an example of a team that was just more talented than Iowa State. The offense still needs to improve a lot, as does the defense. This week felt like progress, though. If Iowa State had played like this in week one against UNI, Iowa State would’ve won by two touchdowns. That’s a sign of improvement and it’s what this coaching staff needs to continue to do with this team. If they can consistently limit penalties and turnovers while winning the time of possession battle, they’ll force opponents to actually go out and beat them.
Florida Atlantic 7 @ Kansas State 63
The student section emptied out at halftime for this one (that sounds familiar) as the Wildcats romped to a 63-7 victory over a vastly inferior opponent (not so familiar).
K-State does have issues, though. Chief among them? Penalties. Bring on the Cats took notice:
Look away from the scoreline and the gaudy stats—the Wildcats amassed 495 yards while only allowing 211 yards—and a different game reveals itself. Kansas State had nearly 120 yards in penalties alone, and Jesse Ertz showed some speed in the running game but not much improvement in the passing game. The offensive line performed well, especially in Kansas State’s ground game, but appears to be a work in progress.
K-State followed up the Stanford game, where they were flagged 8 times, with an even higher number this week:
K-State committed 13 penalties — 13! — for a whopping 113 yards. The vast majority of those were in the first half, and only FAU’s incompetence prevented them from becoming a real issue.
And finally, some words of caution:
The problem, of course, is that potential shown against subpar competition often turns to disappointment against Big 12 foes. So while you should celebrate today’s win, be cautious. Because for all the good things we saw today, good things against a bad opponent tell you nothing.
Pittsburgh 38 @ Oklahoma State 45
Have the Cowboys recovered from that potentially devastating loss to Central Michigan last week? Cowboys Ride For Free thinks so:
Oklahoma State proved that they were ready to exercise the demons from last week’s debacle against Central Michigan. Luckily, a win tonight means that there likely won’t be lasting effects from last weekend.
This game was close pretty much throughout, as OSU blew every chance it had to run away with it.
Oklahoma State did everything they could to keep Pitt in that game. OSU was driving to go up three scores and an erred handoff attempt gave Pitt the ball at the OSU 40. The next play, Nathan Peterman found a wide open receiver to bring them back within a touchdown. That’s where this game went on a tilt. If OSU scores on that drive, I think we’re sitting here talking about a blowout win.
The Cowboys could be a tough out in conference play after this confidence-building win:
Oklahoma State has plenty of problems (all of which are correctable) but we learned a lot about this team tonight. We know they are going to struggle running the football (even though they ran it well against the best defensive line in the ACC), and we know that this team won’t quit. With everything going against them today, they could have folded. They didn’t.
Louisiana Tech 45 @ Texas Tech 59
The Red Raiders scored early, often, and throughout the game. Fortunately for them, LaTech only put up 3 in the first quarter, which allowed Texas Tech to keep the Bulldogs at arm’s length for the rest of the game.
Viva The Matadors has come full circle in regards to the defense:
Two weeks ago, I wrote on how improved Texas Tech’s defense has looked. I was wrong. Completely and totally wrong. There were things that happened tonight that should be unacceptable to any team with a pulse. When we had a chance to make big plays, we stood flat footed in the back field. We got burned deep. We got toasted on the ground.
The offense looked unstoppable as ever and with Demarcus Felton emerging as a threat, it looks like more of a balanced attack. This week the defense showed brief flashes of potential followed by even more long stretches of head-bashing-against-a-wall badness.
With a top 75 defense, this is a top 25 team, easily. However at its current state, the defense has quite a ways to go before it can achieve that lofty goal.
#3 Ohio State 45 @ #14 Choke-lahoma 24
Ok so maybe that’s a bit harsh, but don’t act like you didn’t chuckle (or at least smile). Oklahoma was beaten pretty soundly in this game from the beginning despite only being down two scores at halftime.
There’s probably plenty of blame to go around, right, Crimson And Cream Machine?
After tonight’s loss, there can be no real doubt: Mayfield isn’t living up to last season’s promise. With the weight of the world on his shoulders, Mayfield has failed to meet expectations and OU’s nightmare scenario came true: a 1-2 start with two overwhelming losses.
So... Kansas fans aren’t the only ones blaming their quarterback.
Obviously Mayfield is not the biggest problem with this team. Clearly there are many problems with the team, on both sides of the ball, and having a top-10 (Top 15? Top 20?) quarterback is not going to draw sympathy from a lot of quarters. But it has to be said. Mayfield and the Sooners are now 1-3 in his last four starts, his one win is against Louisiana-Monroe.
You’re right, we don’t feel sorry for you at all. But come on, I don’t really think the Sooner dynasty is coming to an end, do you?
Ultimately, though, this game is an indictment of the coaching staff. Lincoln Riley failed to get the ball to Joe Mixon often enough in the early stages, though after three carries he was averaging over ten yards. Mike Stoops consistently looks dumbfounded by talented offenses, failing to make adjustments and ceding the outside running game to Ohio State, which they accepted happily. Our defense was out of position and struggled to get set even though the Buckeyes operated at a leisurely offensive pace.
It’s not entirely unexpected when a team of four- and five-star recruits beats up on a team of three- and four-stars, but Oklahoma was thought to have the other important intangibles like experience, confidence, desperation. What this game shows is that the coaching staff’s recruiting failures will always matter in the biggest games. Even if Oklahoma can get through a generally mediocre Big 12 on top, like last season, Clemson showed OU just how far the gap had become. Now Ohio State has done the same, and they did it, ironically, in front of a bunch of recruits.
OU has settled snugly into the second tier of college football powers, capable of winning a conference title in any given season but not a serious championship threat. If the Sooners don’t turn things around soon, they may get even lower before this season is done with.
So is the season over already?
While a Big 12 Championship is technically up for grabs, the Sooners were exposed on several fronts today, and suffered some injuries to key players that could be a problem down the road. After today, hope for OU’s season is both limited and bleak, but OU should be thankful that they won’t face a foe like Ohio State again this season.
#11 Texas 43 @ California 50
That’s a lot of points for a Texas defense to give up, isn’t it, Burnt Orange Nation?
It was no secret that Cal was going to attack Texas through the air a lot, and it did, with virtually no resistance from the guys wearing white and burnt orange.
Busted coverages and arriving to plays a step too slow were commonplace for the 'Horns on a night in which the Golden Bears often appeared to be competing against a practice squad secondary.
Maybe Texas isn’t back after all. Maybe that big win over Notre Dame was built on #Motivation instead of being the better team. Maybe?
The 'Horns had opportunities to win this game, or at least put themselves in position to win down the stretch and just weren't able to capitalize. The seemingly countless defensive breakdowns after taking leads, crucial penalties throughout, the inability to recover a forced fumble on a kickoff during the final drive that could have essentially sealed the deal for Texas, along with being unable to even get a first down with an opportunity to regain the lead followed by giving way to Cal's offense once again.
Barking Carnival wasn’t any more kind:
The Longhorn secondary blew it about every way you can blow it against the Bear Raid. Missed tackles in the screen game? Check. Soft play on in-breaking slants and the like? Check. Blown assignments, utter lack of awareness and all-out refusal to compete on deep balls up the sideline? Check and mate.