T2 Contributor, Big 12 Football
The first week of college football is comparable to the actual first week of a college semester. In many ways, it consists of a slow walk through of what you will be expected to accomplish throughout the year. The first week of Big 12 play was anything but a slow walk through. The conference averaged 47 points per game in a weekend that featured the good, the bad, and the truly ugly. Let us start with the good on the heels of this holiday weekend.
Oklahoma State won 59-24 Saturday against an overmatched Tulsa squad and was dominant in doing so. Mason Rudolph was downright dominant and was simply unleashing the ball down field. He finished the day with 303 passing yards, 3 TDs and one rushing TD. Unsurprisingly, Rudolph’s favorite target was the talented wideout James Washington who looked like he should be playing on Sundays rather than Saturdays. Washington finished the day with six catches for 145 yards and a pair of touchdowns. It was business as usual for the Pokes however I found myself very impressed with the running game where they combined for 332 yards on the ground. If you haven’t watched this offense yet, please set a time next Saturday and watch this team because they might be the best offense in the nation.
Oklahoma was also dominant in their 56-7 win over UTEP. Baker Mayfield was nearly perfect and only had one incompletion all day. We also saw a number of wideouts step up in the passing game with three different receivers achieving 50 yards or more through the air. That is certainly a positive sign going into this week’s upcoming bout vs. Ohio State. TCU was also dominant this weekend with a 63-0 shutout performance against Jackson State. The Frogs were electric on offense as suspected but the warm sign here is the defense was stout. One can’t help but fantasize about the looming matchup between Oklahoma State and TCU in a few weeks. Texas Tech, Kansas, Kansas State, and Iowa State also won this weekend in convincing wins.
Now on to the bad. Texas losing to Maryland at home 51-41 is not a very encouraging sign for Tom Herman’s boys. This game was wildly entertaining and I will preface all of this with saying that the Terps looked excellent in Austin. But this is Texas and with that comes high expectations. This defense looked leaky and failed to stop Maryland even when the offense put itself in a position to take the lead. It’s concerning to see this team not be able to take advantage of this opportunity and it will only get harder from here. It’s fair to wonder how Herman will be able to bounce back and redirect the ship.
West Virginia was also disappointing against Virginia Tech in the lowest scoring contest for any team in the conference. The Mountaineers lost to the Hookies 31-24 in a game that went exactly how Virginia Tech would want. In my season preview, I touched on the fact that WVU was 4-0 in one score games last year and how they needed to replace a ton of production. This is one example of how the Mountaineers would not be as successful in those close contests. Will Grier was very good working in this offense and was connecting all night with Junior wideout Gary Jennings. The offense racked up 592 total yards and was moving the ball well but the problem was finishing drives. A loss to a neighboring rival is not a good start for Dana Holgorsen.
Now we finish with the ugly. The state of Texas witnessed three upsets this weekend with the worst being Baylor’s unforgivable 48-45 loss to Liberty. The fact that Baylor is giving up 48 points to Liberty is a truly scary sign of things to come. If we learned one thing this weekend, it is that this conference is going to score points and score them at will. If Baylor can’t stop a Big South program from putting up points then I don’t see how in the world they will stop the likes of Oklahoma State. Head coach Matt Rhule needs to get his defense on the right track and quick before this becomes a disaster season.
Games to keep an eye on this weekend:
Iowa State (1-0) vs. Iowa (1-0) 12:00 PM ESPN2
TCU (1-0) vs. Arkansas (1-0) 3:30 PM CBS
Oklahoma (1-0) vs. Ohio State (1-0) 7:30 PM ABC