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Big 12 Football: What We Learned in Week 8

Oct 19, 2013; Waco, TX, USA; Baylor Bears defensive end Shawn Oakman (2) celebrates the win over the Iowa State Cyclones at Floyd Casey Stadium. The Bears defeated the Cyclones 71-7. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Ben KerchevalCollege Football Lead WriterOctober 20, 2013

Week 8 was the craziest, most upset-minded weekend in college football this season. Unfortunately, the Big 12 wasn't as exciting. 

Texas Tech got a scare from West Virginia, which was trying to knock off its second Top 25 team at home. Oklahoma also fell behind at Kansas in the first quarter. Ultimately, though, the better teams prevailed.

But thanks to myriad upsets across the country, the Big 12 could realistically find itself with two teams (Baylor and Tech) in the Top 10 when the first BCS rankings are revealed Sunday night. 

Not bad for a conference with a perception problem. We're stoked, that's for sure. 

So what did we learn in the Big 12 in Week 8?

 

West Virginia May Have Finally Found Something Resembling an Offense

This is still bizarre to type, but WVU has had one of the worst scoring offenses in the Big 12 this year. However, the Mountaineers found some life in the second and third quarters of Saturday's 37-27 loss to Texas Tech by going on a 27-3 run. 

The Red Raiders helped with a pair of turnovers and multiple defensive penalties, but those two quarters were the best the Mountaineers have looked all year—against a team that ranked in the Top 25 of total defense and scoring defense, no less. 

Four of WVU's scoring drives started inside the Mountaineers' own 30-yard line—one began on the 1-yard line—and resulted in three touchdowns and a field goal. West Virginia still has a ways to go before the offense can be deemed reliable, but Saturday was a good place to start. 

 

TCU, on the Other Hand, Is in Major Trouble Offensively (and Has Been for Some Time)

According to David Ubben of Fox Sports Southwest, TCU coach Gary Patterson took away play-calling duties from co-offensive coordinator Jarrett Anderson at halftime and gave them to fellow co-OC Rusty Burns. To echo Ubben's thoughts, a switch made mid-game like that is a sign that things have to be shaken up. 

Oct 19, 2013; Stillwater, OK, USA; Texas Christian Horned Frogs quarterback Trevone Boykin (2) scrambles out of the pocket against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the first half at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Frogs quarterback Trevone Boykin has had his struggles this year, but his three interceptions during a 24-10 loss at Oklahoma State was a definite low point. Backup Tyler Matthews came in to relieve Boykin and immediately fumbled. 

TCU's offensive woes can't be placed solely on the shoulders of the quarterback, but that's extra worrisome in its own way. There's too much to fix—underperforming wide receivers, bad offensive line play and failing to capitalize on turnovers included—and it's unlikely it'll get done before the end of the season. 

The Frogs defense is good. It can't, however, realistically be asked to win three of the next five games if TCU's offense is going to play like it has been. 

 

Oklahoma State Is Back to the Drawing Board at Quarterback

Speaking of offensive offenses, and in the most unlikely of places, Oklahoma State didn't fare much better against TCU. Sophomore J.W. Walsh was benched in favor of Clint Chelf after throwing two first-half interceptions. But on his first pass attempt, Chelf was hit and threw an interception of his own. The two finished the day a combined 19-of-43. 

That simply shouldn't be happening with two guys who have starting experience. Oklahoma State's quarterback situation was a revolving door last year because of injuries. Still, then-offensive coordinator Todd Monken got the most out of that position. That hasn't been the case at all in 2013. 

Whose fault is that? Head coach Mike Gundy's? New OC Mike Yurcich? It's probably a combination of both and some hard questions need to be asked about how to fix what has become a sluggish offense. 

 

Texas Tech Can Win with Any Quarterback

It doesn't matter if they're freshmen, walk-ons or bothTexas Tech has been able to get production out of the quarterback spot with Baker Mayfield and Davis Webb. Webb had another game against West Virginia in which he threw for over 400 yards, giving him 877 yards and five touchdowns in two starts. 

Oct 19, 2013; Morgantown, WV, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders quarterback Davis Webb runs the football during the second quarter against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dan Friend-USA TODAY Sports
Dan Friend-USA TODAY Sports

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury said before the year on the Big 12 coaches teleconference that he won't treat his freshmen quarterbacks like freshmen. He's been a man of his word and his players have responded positively. Now, Kingsbury is the first coach in Big 12 history to start coaching career with 7-0 record. 

A tough final stretch of the season will test how good these young quarterbacks really are, but a win in a tough environment like the one Tech got in Week 8 shows this team is capable of making a run at a Big 12 title. 

 

Other Happenings in the Big 12 in Week 7

Best Offensive Performance:

Texas Tech quarterback Davis Webb. He threw for 462 yards and a pair of scores to tight end Jace Amaro against WVU.  That's the most by a Texas Tech quarterback playing on the road since Graham Harrell threw for 466 yards at Texas in 2007. 

 

Best Special Teams Play

Oklahoma State wide receiver Josh Stewart, who weaved 95 yards through traffic for this punt return for a touchdown. 

 

Best Trick Play

Oklahoma's reverse pass from wide receiver Lacoltan Bester to Sterling Shepard. Trickery! 

Best Quote

"West Virginia is playing without Jerry West this week."— Bill Murray on the set of ESPN's College GameDay making his Texas Tech-West Virginia prediction. 

Murray also tackled Lee Corso. It was the best GameDay segment it recent memory. 

 

Ben Kercheval is the lead writer for Big 12 football. All quotes obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise. You can follow Ben on Twitter @BenKercheval. 

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