Contributor, Big 12 College Football
As mentioned in our last recap, this week was to feature a lighter game slate of Big 12 games than we’ve experienced in the first few weeks. We are finally beginning conference play (as well as bye weeks) which provides us the opportunity to really dive into both sides of the games going forward. Three teams were on their bye this week and Big 12 teams were participating in only four combined games therefore it was certainly a condensed schedule. No matter, because this weekend had quite a lot of implications going forward. It’s fair to say that I have been talking up TCU vs. Oklahoma State for the last few weeks and was hoping that both would stay undefeated before their showdown in Stillwater. Luckily for us college football fans, we got our wish and boy did it not disappoint.
These types of early tests give us such a great opportunity to see what a team is made of and what we can expect going forward. It’s easy to get excited about say Oklahoma State and TCU given that they have taking care of their work load so far and have accomplished just that in relatively easy fashion. Honestly, I was a bit undecided on who would pull ahead in this matchup. The Pokes were home and riding a monster win last week against Pitt. TCU has been quietly taking care of business with their defense and efficient run game. TCU made the most of this opportunity by going on the road and winning 44-31 as well as making a massive statement to the league and nation. The Horned Frogs have one of the most experienced defenses in the conference and it showed up on Saturday afternoon. Giving up 33 points to your opponent generally isn’t ideal, but when your opponent is OSU, you have reason to celebrate. TCU found some luck picking up 4 lost fumbles in this game, but sometimes a big win like this takes a little bit of skill combined with good fortune. TCU has now jumped up to 9 in the AP Poll while Oklahoma State drops down to 15. A timely bye week for the frogs will lead them into a few more tests against Kansas State and Oklahoma down the road. As for the Pokes, this certainly is a tough blow but not the final one. As mentioned before, TCU is an experienced team that has shown that they are true contenders in the Big 12. It’s an uphill battle, but this team can get on the right track with another tough test against undefeated Texas Tech.
Speaking of said undefeated team, Texas Tech traveled down to Houston over the weekend to pull out a gutsy win over the Cougars 27-24. Houston was riding a 16-game home win streak that has included Louisville twice as well as a top ranked Oklahoma squad last year. The question this season with Tech was always all about the defense and whether they could even make strides towards competency. The Red Raiders’ defense forced two picks and recovered three fumbles which helped hold Houston to 24 points. A resume that includes out of conference wins against Houston and an Arizona State team (who just beat a surging Oregon Ducks squad) is not a bad way to start the season. Oklahoma State cannot afford to lose another game this season and will come prepared to Lubbock. A primetime game on Fox can easily open some eyes and convince the nation that Texas Tech is the real deal.
There were two other games around the conference this weekend and their outcomes came to no surprise. Oklahoma beat Baylor 49-41 which was probably not the dominate outing the Sooners were hoping for. Still, Baker Mayfield remains the front runner for the Heisman and a win is a win. They get a bye week to prepare for the impending Big 12 gauntlet. Additionally, West Virginia beat 56-34 where there was no question who was the better team. The Mountaineers have a bye week and then head to Fort Worth to face TCU.
Games to Keep an Eye on This Week:
15 Oklahoma State (2-1) vs. Texas Tech (3-0): 8:00 PM ET FOX, Lubbock, TX