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10 Things We Learned About the Big 12 in Week 4

T.J. McaloonContributorJanuary 3, 2015

10 Things We Learned About the Big 12 in Week 4

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    The Big 12 had a good number of its teams off this week. However, that doesn't mean that we couldn't learn anything from those teams who suited up this week and either dominated or suffered a tough defeat. 

    One thing we learned was that West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith is still great. However, unless you were living under a rock, you should have already known that. 

    But there were also other things that we found out after the week of Big 12 action. 

Geno Smith Is the Favorite to Win the Heisman Trophy

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    As I said in the opener, Geno Smith is good, really good. 

    Last week against Maryland, Smith had his first subpar game—if you compare it to his standards, that is. He only threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns with a quarterback rating of 158.8. Plus, Smith looked human, completing 30 of his 43 passing attempts for a  completion percentage of 69.8.

    If this is what we can expect to see from a bad game from Smith, then there should be nothing stopping him from holding up this year's Heisman Trophy in December. 

Oklahoma's Offense Will Be Its Downfall This Year

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    Oklahoma has been struggling to find an offensive rhythm this year, except for its game against Florida A&M. 

    Against UTEP, the Sooners had a problem finding the end zone, only putting up 24 points. They were able to move the ball, gaining 427 yards, but for some reason, their drives just kept on coming up short. 

    After what we saw against Kansas State, Oklahoma has a problem, as it does not have an explosive game-breaking player that can complement quarterback Landry Jones. 

    The Sooners have to find that type of player, wither it be wide receivers Sterling Shepard or Kenny Stills, or running backs Dominique Whaley or Damien Williams. If they don't, then the punishing defenses of Texas and Notre Dame will swallow this offense up when they play them later this season. 

Baylor's Offense Cannot Mask the Horrible Defense

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    Just like last year, the Baylor Bears offense can score a ton of points. And just like last year, their defense cannot keep a good offense out of their end zone. 

    This season, Baylor has scored a total of 154 points, but it's also given up 89, the third-most among its fellow teams in the Big 12. The 89 combined points have been surrendered to all non-BCS schools in SMU, Sam Houston State and UL-Monroe. 

    We learned this week that when Baylor goes up against a great defense that also has a good offense, it will get exposed for having an awful defense. 

Charlie Weiss Cannot Fix Kansas

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    Charlie Weiss came to Kansas with the hopes of the Jayhawks Nation that he could bring the program back to the level that Mark Mangino had it at in 2007. 

    Heck, Kansas fans thought Weiss would at least be better than the coach he took over for, Turner Gill. In Gill's short tenure with Kansas, he went 5-19. So the table was set for Weiss to come in and have success.

    However, through four games, Weiss is off to a 1-3 start with three straight losses. 

    Now, Kansas starts a very tough stretch, playing Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Texas. 

    Looks like Kansas will be 1-7 by Halloween. 

TCU Has a Great Defense

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    TCU made Virginia's offense look terrible on Saturday afternoon. 

    The Horned Frogs defense forced four Virginia turnovers and held Virginia's quarterbacks to under 50 percent completion percentage on 18-of-40 passing.

    Before its game against Virginia, TCU had held its first two opponents to six total points and no touchdowns.

    Now, through three weeks, TCU has allowed 13 total points and only one touchdown.  

Texas Is the Best Team in the Big 12

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    Texas didn't play this week, but it still separated itself as the best team in the conference. 

    Baylor has a terrible defense, West Virginia's defense hasn't impressed during its three victories, Oklahoma's offense isn't explosive and Kansas State can be stopped when Collin Klein is taken away as an option. 

    Texas has a tough game against Oklahoma State on the road next week. We will learn about Texas' depth on defense and in the running game that this is the best team in the conference. 

Kansas State Lives and Dies with Collin Klein

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    Kansas State has no semblance of a passing game, as its entire offense is built around the success of its rushing attack, led by quarterback Collin Klein. 

    If Klein struggles, then the Wildcats offense does nothing in that week's game. 

    However, if Klein is able to suck a defense in with the threat of him hitting a deep pass or breaking off a long run, then it opens up the offense for a player like John Hubert to have a huge game. 

    It will be interesting to see what Klein can do against TCU and Texas later in the season. If he struggles, then Kansas State will have no chance at winning the Big 12.

West Virginia's Tavon Austin Is the Conference's Best Receiver

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    You could credit this to the phenomenal play of Austin's quarterback, Geno Smith. But after Austin's 13-reception, 179-yard, three-touchdown game against Maryland, he has separated himself from the rest of the conference's receivers as the best. 

    Austin leads the conference in receptions with 34, is second in yards with 345 and is tied for first with teammate Stedman Bailey in touchdowns with five. 

    If Smith can continue his epic play, Austin will be the biggest beneficiary, as his stats will continue to inflate. 

West Virginia's Defense Is Its Only Weakness

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    If this Mountaineers team is going to get derailed from its national title aspirations, it will be because of the defense. 

    Now, the defense hasn't done anything yet to alert fans that there is a problem. However, through three games, it has given up 34 points to Marshall and 21 points to Maryland. 

    If there is a team in the Big 12 that can slow down this high-powered WVU offense and force the defense to stand on its own to win a game, it may result in the Mountaineers suffering a terrible loss. 

    It's not something that stood out last week, but next week, WVU fans have to be worried about the Mountaineers playing Baylor. 

Kansas May Not Wn a Game the Rest of This Season

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    I'm going to finish this list with something that I touched on in a previous slide: that Kansas is the worst team in the Big 12. 

    On top of its next four games against some the best teams in the conference, Kansas finishes its season against great offenses in Baylor, Texas Tech and West Virginia. 

    Kansas' only chance at sneaking a win during its final eight games is Nov. 17th, when Iowa State comes to town. 

    Aside from that, there looks to be no chance that Kansas finishes with more than two wins with its over-hyped new head coach, Charlie Weiss. 

     

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