Ranking The Big 12 Teams: After Week 1
After week one of college football, we have a better idea of how the Big 12 is going to do; even if most of them played cupcakes. Many of the teams were ushering in new eras. We saw Texas without McCoy, Nebraska without Suh, Kansas without Reesing, and Oklahoma without Bradford(even if he didn't play most of last season). Two new coaches roam the sidelines, in Gill and Tuberville, as Kansas and Tech move on from their respective winningest coaches. Hawkins and Sherman both might be out of a job if they do not deliver this season. While Pelini, Stoops and Brown are all looking to capture the crystal football. After waiting since January, we finally got to see what they could do. What resulted, was quite an interesting week for the Big 12. We had several blowouts, a shocking loss, a awesome upset, and two C-USA schools keeping up with top 10 teams. Week one is crucial in defining a season. So how do all the schools stand after week one?
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As the only Big 12 school to lose their season opener, were you really expecting someone else? Former Husker great Turner GIll's first game coaching at a BCS school could not have gone worse. Kansas is a basketball school, they are not expecting championships every year, but losing to North Dakota State? Whereas Ole Miss losing to Jacksonville State was funny and exciting, this was just depressing. Kansas out gained the Bison 293-168 but lost 6-3, three turnovers will do that to you (see Iowa State-NU 2009).This was not a good way to start a program that is starting over from the Mangino fiasco. FCS schools are supposed to be an easy win and a tune-up before bigger games. With #16 Georgia Tech coming in next week, things do not look good for Turner Gill and the Jayhawks.
Week 2: Georgia Tech
Prediction: Loss, unless there's a miracle, this could get ugly
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Scotty McKnight established himself as Colorado's all-time leading receptions leader against Colorado State. Dan Hawkins seems to have made a good decision in picking Tyler Hansen over his son to start at Quarterback. The defense was impressive in holding the Rams to 245 yards an more importantly picking off three passes. But lets not forget it was Colorado State. Colorado has several difficult games coming up including going to the University of California next week. Dan Hawkins seat has not at all moved from boiling hot.
Week 2: @ Cal
Prediction: Loss, they looked good against Colorado State, but Cal is in a whole different level
10. Iowa State
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Paul Rhoads and his Cyclones continue to impress us. Many analysts had the Cyclones dropping this game to Northern Illinois, a team that is supposed to compete for the Mid America Conference title. Instead they out gained the Huskies 403-249 and cruised to a 17-0 halftime lead; and coasting to a 27-10 win. Iowa State's defense picked off three passes and did a very impressive job considering they only returned three starters. The Cyclones need to limit their turnovers in the future, giving up a fumble and having two picks. Paul Rhoads seems to have been a great hire for Iowa State, however he'll be in for a fight for every win with one of the most difficult schedules in the country, including next week's opponent #9 Iowa.
Week 2: @ Iowa
Prediction: Loss, slight possibility of upsetting Iowa
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In one of the most talked about returns in college football, Robert Griffin III shined. Griffin threw for 242 yards and ran for 59 along with three total touchdowns. The Bears defense held Sam Houston State to 195 yards and had a fumble recovery. With Griffin at the helm of their offense, the Bears look to break their bowl drought. My one complaint with Art Briles and the Bears, is that when playing a team like Sam Houston State, its a good idea to get the backups some reps. When Griffin went down last year the offense fell into disarray. With next week's opponent being the Buffalo Bulls, they might want to look at playing the backups in the second half.
Week 2: Buffalo
Prediction: Win, Bears easily blow past the Bulls
8. Texas Tech
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The coaching debut of Tommy Tuberville at Texas Tech started off well, but fell once the defense let Southern Methodist back into the game. The Red Raiders won, but not in any convincing fashion. While many expected this game to be a shootout, but this game was way too close for comfort. The defense was able to come through when it needed to forcing four turnovers and stopping SMU on their final drive. Taylor Potts was impressive in throwing for 359 yards and 4 touchdowns. I would have figured that Baron Batch would have been used more considering Tommy said they would focus more on the run game. Tommy won his first game, but he better use the New Mexico game as a tuneup and fix the kinks in his team, considering they have #5 Texas the week after.
Week 2: New Mexico
Prediction: Win, considering New Mexico lost to Oregon 72-0, if Tommy loses he should resign right away
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Missouri was supposed to cruise to an easy victory over the Fighting Illini, but it turned into a dogfight and required a fourth quarter rally to pull of the win. Blaine Gabbert threw for 281 yards and two touchdowns, but it should have been more against a weak Illinois secondary. Moore looks to be the starter at running back for the Tigers, and he did an okay job for his first time not playing in mop-up duty. Missouri's biggest credit goes to its defense for forcing a freshman quarterback into mistakes and keeping the Illini from scoring in the second half. Missouri gets several cupcakes before their first test against a Miami(OH) that gave Florida all they could handle.
Week 2: McNesse State
Prediction: Win, FCS versus quality school should be an easy win
6. Oklahoma State
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Oklahoma State was impressive in a blowout against the worst team in a BCS conference, Washington State, now loser of 10 straight games. The Cowboys put up a very balanced offense using Weeden's arm and Hunter's legs for a grand total of 544 yards. The defense did give up 324 yards, but when you win by 48 points, it does not really matter. However they have to improve on that side of the ball if they want to compete in the Big 12. If they do that, plus their offense, this could (finally) be the year the Cowboys break out of the middle of the pack. They get another cupcake in Troy, before playing pass happy Tulsa and Texas A&M, after that, we'll know a lot more about this defense.
Week 2: Troy
Prediction: Win, Troy may put up more points than the Cougars, but no way the Cowboys lose
5. Texas A&M
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In what needs to be an impressive year for Mike Sherman, the Aggies completely dismantled the Lumberjacks. Johnson was impressive in throwing for 278, and Michael put up 105 rushing yards. However, the defense was what stood out to me. A FCS school should not be torching you for 235 yards, on the other hand, the Aggies only surrendered 31 yards on the ground, which is very impressive. It is week one, and the Aggies are switching to a 3-4 defense, so I am not holding that against them. They do get two more cupcakes before facing the Air Raid 2.0 at Okie St. and then playing Ryan Mallett and the Razorbacks at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas.
Week 2: Louisiana Tech
Prediction: Win, The Aggies keep on rolling and improving the "Wrecking Crew"
4. Kansas State
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Wow, the team everyone thought was going to lose this week managed to put on quite a thriller and made an impressive statement in their win over UCLA. While their quarterback leaves a lot to be desired, Daniel Thomas was amazing, and looks to be the Big 12's best back in 2010. The defense picked off two passes, including a game clincher in the final minute. While Thomas can break out into the open field, Coffman needs to step up his play, he threw for 66 yards and a touchdown, but was sacked five times. Snyder may want to look at the backup QB to start against Missouri State next week. If this team can improve their pass play and Thomas keeps doing what he is good at, this could be the surprise team of the Big 12.
Week 2: Missouri State
Prediction: Win, K-State did lose to Massachusetts last year, but this is a better team than last year
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Well it was a historic night for the Sooners, the 2000 national championship team was there and everyone was ready to see the Sooners join the prestigious 800 win club, which almost did not happen. Utah State surprised the Sooners as Diondre Borel looked absolutely awesome in throwing for 341 yards and two touchdowns, which is 124 more yards than Landry Jones threw for. The Sooners defense did pick off three passes including a game sealer. Jones threw two picks with a 47% completion rate, not good. Stoops needs to realize that Jones does not have the skills of Bradford, It really would not surprise me if Jones is replaced before or immediately after the Texas game as starter. Utah State should not have been competeing with Oklahoma. Oklahoma is very lucky they have one of the best running backs in the league in Murray, that can take some of the burden to score off Jones. I am not ready to say that the Sooners are going to do bad this year, but unless Stoops can rally the troops to play way better against Florida State, this could be another long year for the Sooners.
Week 2: Florida State
Prediction: Loss, This is my upset of the week, Jones will struggle and Florida State will do enough to escape Norman with a win
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Texas looked bad against Rice, whenever a team from C-USA is leading the #5 team in the nation at the end of the first quarter, it looks bad. It is the first week, but there is a reason the teams schedule cupcakes; you blow them out and you see what you need to work on. If Texas is thinking about getting another shot at the national title, they better step up their game. I will say this though, Mack Brown is a man of his word. The offense was very balanced with 172 passing and 197 rushing yards. Newton made a strong case for why he should be the starter scoring three touchdowns, and Gilbert looked decent in his first start as Texas's QB. If Texas wants to succeeded with a rookie quarterback this year, that is what they need to have. I am probably being way too hard on Texas, and I thoroughly expect them to improve against Wyoming next week that will set up an interesting battle against Texas Tech the week after.
Week 2: Wyoming
Prediction: Win, expect the Longhorns to rout the Cowboys in the first home game at D.K. Royal
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Out of the top three Big 12 teams, Nebraska seems to be the only one who got the memo about blowing out cupcakes. The big story of the game was that Taylor Martinez was named the starter over Zac Lee and Cody Green. T-Magic passed for 136 and rushed for 127 and three touchdowns. The other two quarterbacks saw limited action but still looked decent. It is obvious why Pelini picked Martinez, if you can find footage of the game, watch it. This guy can run. It was versus Western Kentucky, losers of 21 straight games, but still he is fast. The Offense totaled 526 yards for the night, racking up 49 points. While the scoreboard shows a blowout, the defense's effort left a lot to be desired. Bo puts it best when he said he was embarrassed by the performance of the D. Giving up 299 yards is bad, as well as only recording one sack and one interception, though one bright spot came out of it, Lavonte David who proved his hype by leading the team in tackles. Like with Texas, I expect the Cornhuskers D to make impressive strides from game 1 to game 2 on D.
Week 2: Idaho
Prediction: Win, Nebraska's offense continues to be impressive and the D smothers the Vandals