Week 3 has come and gone and we now know more about the teams from the Big 12 then we did last week. Nebraska and Texas both passed their first road test, while Oklahoma survived a scare against the very good Air Force Falcons. The teams that make up the middle of the Big 12, Kansas State, Missouri, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech, more or less underperformed this week; with the possible exception of Kansas State and Oklahoma State. The bottom of the Big 12, Iowa State, Baylor, Colorado, and Kansas, acted like they were the bottom of the Big 12 going 1-3 on Saturday with only Colorado picking up a win. So how do they rank after Week 3?
Welcome back to the bottom Jayhawks. After losing to FCS foe North Dakota State, the Jayhawks rebounded to pull off an upset of defending ACC champion Georgia Tech. On Friday, they looked nothing like the team that pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the season. Kansas's defense could not stop the Southern Miss Eagles as they lose 31-16. I stand by Gill's decision to bench pick and put in Webb, but they do be able to more effectively move the ball. Kansas had 138 threw the air and 136 on the ground for a total of 274, not very good numbers. The Jayhawks are the 103rd worse offensive team in the country in terms of yards per game, the worst in the Big 12, The special teams play was also bad as the Eagles blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown. The defense gave up 374 yards to the Eagles offense, with 202 yards coming on the ground. Considering that is the second game in a row that the Jayhawks defense has given up 200+ yards on the ground, 100th in the nation, the run defense obviously needs to improve.
Week 4: New Mexico State
Prediction: Win, Kansas faces equally bad New Mexico State, so far I have been wrong every week about the Jayhawks, so they'll probably lose just because I picked them to win.
Record: 1-2 (0-1)
Losing your opener in conference play is never a good thing, the Cyclones had a chance to win it, but wasted five minutes only going 17 yards and then fumbling it. I had no idea what Paul Rhoads was thinking at that point in the game. Iowa State ranks 73rd in yards per game, second worse in the Big 12. Iowa State's defense also ranks 75th in yards per game. If they want to make it back to a bowl game, they are going to have to improve on both sides of the ball. Iowa State is going to start off the season like they did last year, as the bottom of the Big 12 North. However, unlike last year, they have to travel to both Oklahoma and Texas, as well as hosting Texas Tech, Nebraska, and non-conference foe Utah. All of those teams have potent offenses and great defense. Iowa State needs every win that they can get, so no more screwups and no more wasting five minutes on a 17 yard drive with only seven minutes to go.
Week 4: University of Northern Iowa
Prediction: Win, the last game in which Iowa State will be favored to win, they are 1-2 right now and need every win they can get with a brutal conference schedule, so losing this one is not an option.
Well the Buffaloes surprised me by beating Hawaii, I seriously thought that the Warriors, who brought USC to the edge, would knock off the Buffaloes. Colorado started off slow, with a 10-0 halftime deficit. They came back on the arm of Hansen, as well as the legs of Stewart and new to the scene Brian Lockridge. While Lockridge is a junior, he has only had 258 yards his last two years, and one yard in the last two games. Against the Hawaii, Lockridge had a career day rushing for 109 yards. The Buffaloes racked up 452 yards of offense, 200 through the air and 252 on the ground. The Buffaloes have shown that they can move the ball on terrible defenses, but have struggled against better defenses. They did give up 337 yards to the Warriors with 330 of those yards coming through the air. Normally only giving up seven yards on the ground would be a huge accomplishment, but its Hawaii, how often do they run the ball? Colorado ranks 86th on offense, third worse in the Big 12 (anyone else see a pattern?), and 42nd on defense. If Colorado wants to get to a bowl game they will have to keep improving on both sides of the ball. They get two weeks to improve for a visiting Georgia team.
Week 4: BYE
Extra: So Colorado loses to California 52-7, and California loses to Nevada 52-31. Maybe the Pac-10 should have picked Nevada.
Did anyone outside of Waco actually think that Baylor would upset Texas Christian? #4 TCU was able to run over the Bears racking up 553 yards and holding them to 263. Horned Frogs QB Andy Dalton completed 21 of 23 of his passes for 267 yards and two touchdowns, very impressive. While TCU RB Ed Wesley did most of the damage on the ground for 165 yards. These are both things that Baylor needs to improve on to break their bowl drought. Griffin threw for 165 yards and a touchdown while running for 21 yards, but he cannot be a one man show. The other players on offense need to step up. The offensive line also gave up three sacks. Baylor has Rice next week before opening conference play against Kansas. They are more competitive than they have been in recent years, the Bears are 52nd on total offense and 72th on defense, but they still need four more wins to get to a bowl game for the first time since 1994.
Week 4: @ Rice
Prediction: Win, former SWC foe Rice remained competitive against Texas in the opener, but they are still a bad team.
Record 2-1 (0-1)
I said it earlier, its not good to start off conference play with a loss. And once again I am wrong about teams being upset. Texas Tech was very competitive against the Longhorns, but Taylor Potts threw two very costly interceptions. Texas Tech's run game was non-existent. After Potts got injured, the game went downhill and the Red Raiders only racked up 144 yards, 158 through the air and -14 on the ground. The Red Raiders do get credit for looking good no the defensive side of the ball, picking off three of Gilbert's passes, returning one for a touchdown. The Red Raiders could have won this game if Potts had not been injured, after that injury, Texas Tech's offense completely stalled, after last Saturday, they rank 78th in total offense. The defense also needs to improve from being 73rd in the country. Tommy Tuberville needs to improve on that, and possibly start working Sheffield into the game more often if Potts goes down again. Texas Tech gets two weeks to improve before traveling to conference foe Iowa State.
Week 4: BYE
Extra: Texas and Texas Tech play for the Chancellor's Spurs, a traveling trophy that Tech has only won four times since its creation in 1996.
If you are going to compete for the Big 12 title, you cannot be losing 20-6 in the 4th quarter to Sunbelt team Florida International. Sure the Aggies rallied, but for three quarters they played awful football. Quarterback Jerrod Johnson was 11 of 31 for 194 with one touchdown and four interceptions, including one pick-six. Christine Michael got another hundred yard performance with 119 yards. All-in-all Texas A&M should have lost this game. The offensive line gave up six sacks to Florida International in a terribel performance. The Aggies had 400 yards of total offense, but 218 of those yards came in their 4th quarter rally. The defense did hold the Panthers to 232 yards and had one interception. The Aggies cannot to play like this if they want to compete for the Big 12 title. They should have lost this game, and are very lucky they did not. The Aggies rank 12th on offense and 12th on defense, but it remains to see how they will do against BCS teams. They have a week and a half to improve before facing the Air Raid 2.0 of Oklahoma State on a Thursday night game, if they can shut down the potent Cowboys, then I would say that the Wrecking Crew is back.
Week 4: BYE
Extra: This is the second straight season that Texas A&M has started 3-0.
Really hard to move the Tigers up based on their last game, but A&M was worse. They crushed McNesse State, but struggled against teams that they were supposed to beat easily in Illinois and San Diego State, the latter came on a last minute touchdown pass. They should have easily beaten the Aztecs, but they struggled on both sides of the ball. The Tigers and Aztecs were dead even in total yardage with 440 a piece. Aztec Freshman Ronnie Hillman killed the Tigers on the ground with 228 yards rushing. SDSU QB Lindley had 190 yards through the air with one pick. Mizzou QB Blaine Gabbert threw for 28 of 51 for 351 yards with a touchdown and two picks. Henry Josey only had 36 yards on the ground. Missouri is 39th in total offense, and 46th in defense, but like the Aggies, have yet to play a BCS opponent. This was not an impressive game for the Tigers, the only reason that they are ranked this high is because A&M played worse and they still are 3-0, making it hard to rank them below teams that are not. They have a good Miami (OH) team this week that took Florida to the edge, if the Tigers have not improved then it could be an upset.
Week 4: Miami (OH)
Prediction: Win, Missouri seems to have trouble against teams that they are supposed to crush. Bowling Green, a fellow MAC team, took the Tigers to the wire last year, can the Red Hawks do it this year?
Record: 3-0 (1-0)
Kansas State was one of two Big 12 teams to win their Big 12 opener on Saturday. The biggest problem I have with Kansas State is that they are completely reliant on Daniel Thomas for getting yards. If Thomas goes down, what is Kansas State going to do? Of their 366 yards of total offense, Thomas accounted for 181 yards. Carson Coffman has shown time after time, that he is not a good quarterback. Coffman threw for 6 of 12 for 104 yards and a interception. If Thomas, their only game changer goes down, Kansas State will probably fall like a rock. That has not happened yet, and the Wildcats are still 3-0 knocking off Iowa State. Thomas is an amazing running back, and is currently leading the Nissan Heisman fan vote. He has racked up 552 yards on the ground already, 2nd best rusher in the nation, behind Michigan QB Robinson by seven yards. They needed a early fourth quarter rally and some defensive stops to win, it also helps if the opposing offense wastes five minutes on a terrible 17 yard drive. The Wildcats are 47th on offense and 67th on defense. They are also one of the few Big 12 teams to have a win over a non-conference BCS team. Kansas State gets the Knights of Central Florida next week in what should be a win. My favorite quote of the week happened during this game, I cannot remember which announcer was it but he called Bill Snyder a "Jedi Master".
Week 4: UCF
Prediction: Win, UCF could be a challenge for the Wildcats, but Kansas State wins this one.
Oklahoma State has been a team that has been on a few ups and downs this season. They destroyed Washington State, but then barely beat Troy. On Saturday, it looked like the Air Raid 2.0 was back as they manhandled Tulsa. So which team is going to show up against the Aggies in a week and a half? I was wrong about the Cowboys, they racked up 722 yards of offense while holding the 4th best offense to 428 yards of total offense. The numbers are very impressive, and the offense is 2nd in the nation, but the Cowboys still have not played anyone worth mentioning. We will see how the Air Raid 2.0 holds up when they play against quality defenses. Brandon Weeden threw for 409 yards and six touchdowns, while backup Clint Chelf threw for 165 yards for two touchdowns and a pick. Absent from the massive yardage was Hunter who only had 59 yards. The defense gave up 428 yards, but had three picks. However there is still room for improvement from the 79th ranked defense. Like I said earlier, the numbers are impressive, but they have not played any good defenses, which the Big 12 happens to have. It will be interesting to see if the offensive explosion that is almost on the level of Oregon continues throughout the year. They get a bye before playing Texas A&M in the friendly confines of Boone Pickens Stadium.
Week 4: BYE
Extra: Oklahoma State broke the single game total offense record that was set against Kansas back when Barry Sanders was playing.
I was thinking of putting Oklahoma a spot higher, but the fact that it was such a close game kept me from doing so. I am going to bet that most people were not expecting such a close win over Air Force. I knew it would be close, but not that close, I was thinking seven-ten point gap, not three. Statistically, Air Force owned the Sooners. The Falcons racked up 458 yards with 351 on the ground. The Sooners managed 367 with 254 from Landry Jones's arm. Air Force is a very good team, and it is fair to say that unless the Sooners meet up with the Huskers in the Big 12 title game, they will not see a running team that good for the rest of the year. DeMarco Murray has proven he is a capable running back, clipping the hundred yard mark again this season. Landry Jones, has looked good so far this season, but I am going to hold off on crowning him the next great Oklahoma QB. He struggled against good defenses last year, and while he was good against Air Force's defense, the other teams he has played are not good on defense. Oklahoma gets one last warmup game in Cincinnati before the Red River Rivalry. Oklahoma ranks 37th on offense and 89th on defense, if they want to beat the Longhorns for the Big 12 South, they need some improvement. Based on the opponents and the different offenses that the Sooners have played so far this year, they should be ready for anything that the Longhorns will throw at them.
Week 4: @ Cincinnati
Prediction: Win, at the beginning of the season, this looke like a great match up featuring two top 25 teams, now it looks like a Sooners blowout.
Record: 3-0 (1-0)
Texas took an early lead in the Big 12 South race by beating division foe Texas Tech. The defense played very well; the offense, not so much. The Longhorns had 322 yards of offense and held the Red Raiders to 144 yards of offense. Texas was able to take a lead early due to a bad snap that they recovered and scored a play later. They never fell behind after that, they scored on their next drive, and even though the Raiders tied it up at 14 at halftime, the Longhorns were able to take control of the game due to Potts injuring his throwing hand. Garrett Gilbert threw his first interception of the year, along with his second and third, with one them being a pick-six. He did throw for 227 yards and two touchdowns, but it was not that impressive of a performance. Gilbert had not played a good defense all year, and when he did he struggled. Mack Brown has given up on the run game, as only one back, Whittaker, broke 50 yards. Cody Johnson has become their short yardage back, and nothing more. Newton was taken out after an injury on his only run of the game. The offensive line was dominated by Texas Tech, giving up three sacks and forcing several incompletions. While Texas's defense ranks 2nd in the country, the offense is only 72nd. The Longhorns get one more game to work out any kinks before playing Oklahoma.
Week 4: UCLA
Prediction: Win, UCLA may have beaten Houston, but they got crushed by Kansas State and Stanford.
Out of the top three teams in the Big 12, Nebraska was the only one to dominate their opponent. In what was pegged as a possible upset game, the Cornhuskers proved they are deserving of their top ten ranking. For the fifth time in school history, Nebraska had three 100 yard rushers in the same game, Marinez (137 and three touchdowns), Helu (110 and two touchdowns) and Burkhead (104 and one touchdown). Martinez also threw 7 of 11 for 150 yards in the air and a touchdown. Martinez has shown he can read the defense, seeing that the Huskies defense had Niles Paul doubled covered most of the game, found Brandon Kinnie for 105 yards and Mike McNeill for his touchdown. The Blackshirts made life miserable for Jake Locker, who can forget about his Heisman campaign. Locker was limited to 4 of 20 for 71 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, one of which was a pick-six. In terms of yardage, Nebraska dominated 533 to 246. One area that Washington had success in, was the run game. The Huskies were able to get 175 yards on the ground, an area that Nebraska needs to improve on is definitely the rush defense. Nebraska limited their turnovers, with both of their fumbles coming from Cody Green. Green recovered one, but lost the other on the 20 and it led to a Washington touchdown on the next play. Nebraska is dominating so far, with 8th best offense, and the 22nd best defense. They showed why they should be number one last Saturday. They get a cupcake in South Dakota State, before opening conference play on a Thursday night game against Kansas State.
Week 4: South Dakota State
Prediction: Win, FCS teams may have upset quite a few teams so far, but that will not happen against the Cornhuskers.