Week 4 of football resulted in a lot of lackluster performances from the upper echelon of the Big 12. #7 Texas was upset at home by UCLA, Nebraska and Oklahoma both survived lesser opponents and Kansas State had a 4th quarter rally to beat UCF. Snyder, Brown, Pelini and Stoops acnnot be happy with how their teams played. The only team that performed well, was Missouri dominating Miami (OH). The lower teams, all pulled in dominating performances. Kansas creamed New Mexico State, Iowa State shut out Northern Iowa and Baylor crushed Rice. With that in mind, how do the Big 12 teams rank this week?
Record: 2-2 (0-1)
National Ranking: N/A
Iowa State becomes the new team to grace the bottom of the Big 12. They beat FCS Northern Iowa 27-0, but they probably should have lost. Iowa State Quarterback Austen Arnaud, who was injured during last week's Kansas State game, left after three plays and throwing Sophomore Jerome Tiller into the game. The offense basically stalled all night except for one 41 yard drive that resulted in a touchdown. What saved the Cyclones was the outstanding play of their defense and the Panthers mistakes. The Cyclones were held to 210 yards, 93 pass and 117 rush, and gave up 320 yards. The Iowa State defense returned two picks for touchdowns and had a total of five turnovers, three interceptions and two fumbles. Tiller passed for 93 yards on 11 of 22, and Alexander Robinson led with 74 rushing yards on 15 carries and one touchdown. Not exactly great. I was very impressed with the defense, but if the offense does not improve they can forget about about bowling.
Week 5: Texas Tech
Prediction: Loss, Iowa State's offense will not be able to compete in a shootout against Texas Tech's offense. Also Tech's defense is much better than Iowa State's.
National Ranking: N/A
Kansas moves up one spot in the Big 12. The Jayhawks pulled in a solid performance against the Aggies of New Mexico State, winning 42-16. They racked up 501, 264 passing yards and 237 rushing, yards of total offense while holding New Mexico State to 275 yards. Jordan Webb was 17 of 27 for 249 yards and one touchdown. James Sims led in rushing with 115 on 16 carries for two touchdowns. Sophomore D.J. Beshears also added two touchdowns on the ground along with 38 yards, along with a 98 yard kickoff return. While impressive, let's not forget that this was win-less New Mexico State, suffering blowout losses to San Diego State and UTEP. It was a good game for Kansas that let them get some work in before conference play begins.
Week 5: @ Baylor
Prediction: Loss, Kansas has improved from their North Dakota State debacle, but the Bears led by Griffin will win in Waco.
National Ranking: N/A
Colorado had the week off, so they are not going to move up or down. I have no doubt that Dan Hawkins was watching Georgia struggle against Mississippi State. In the coaching aspect, this game matches two coaches that are both on the hot seat. On paper, this is a matchup of about two equal offenses, but Georgia's defense is way better than Colorado's. The biggest problem Colorado is going to face is the return of star Georgia wide receiver AJ Green. Without him, Georgia has lost three straight, but all of them were against top defenses. Colorado needs to play like it did against Hawaii, where it got the offense rolling and the defense made key stops. It also helps that the game is being played at Folsom Field, the air up there has been known to mess with teams from lower elevations.
Week 5: Georgia
Prediction: Win, I am going to go with the upset here. Georgia has been struggling and playing at Folsom Field is not going to help.
National Ranking: N/A
After two lightning delays, Baylor cruised to a 30-13 victory. Baylor out gained the Owls 456-296 in total yards. Baylor's superstar Robert Griffin III had threw for 20 of 26 for 268 yards and three touchdowns with one interception, he also added another 50 on the ground. Junior Terrance Ganaway led in rushing for 79 yards on 8 carries. The Bears defense was good, in picking off two passes. Baylor has shown they can beat down lesser opponents, but has struggled against quality teams, see TCU game. Baylor starts conference play next week against Kansas. While Kansas has struggled against good teams, Kansas is not. IT will be a good judge of how Baylor does this year though.
Week 5: Kansas
Prediction: Win, Baylor's offense and defense will be too much for struggling Kansas.
Record: 2-1 (0-1)
National Ranking: Coaches' Poll #35
Texas Tech did not play last week, so nothing to really judge them on. The only thing that I can say, is that the Red Raiders were the first to expose Texas's poor offense, and lack of a run game. Speaking of no run game, that is what the Raiders need if they want to win the Big 12. Tuberville said he wanted a balanced offense, that has yet to develop. We saw what happened after Potts was injured, the offense died. Though the defense looks better than it did under Leach. Fortunately for the Red Raiders, they only play two of the top defenses in the Big 12, by not playing Nebraska. They still have Oklahoma, but the rest of the Big 12 has pretty weak defenses. If Potts can taken advantage of the weak secondaries, Texas Tech will shoot up in the rankings. They'll shoot up even more if the run game gets going.
Week 5: @ Iowa State
Prediction: Win, Iowa State's offense was bad on Saturday, and I do not expect them to survive if it turns into a shootout. Potts needs to make sure he does not make any costly interceptions, as the Cyclones returned two on Saturday.
National Ranking: N/A
Cannot really say anything about the Aggies since they did not play this week. We'll get a very fun shootout on Thursday night when the Aggies travel to Boone Pickens Stadium. Both have very good offenses, but the defensive edge goes to Texas A&M. However, if Texas A&M wants to win, Jerrod Johnson cannot play like he did against Florida International, for that matter the whole team cannot play like that. Everyone has bad games, and I am going to guess that the Aggies were looking past the Panthers. Johnson is a good quarterback and Christine Michael adds a great running back. They will not be favored to win, but I believe the Aggies have a great chance to win.
Week 5: @ Oklahoma State
Prediction: Win, Oklahoma State has only played one decent defense this year against Troy, and they almost lost. A&M's defense is way better than Troy's.
Record: 4-0 (1-0)
National Ranking: AP #30 Coaches' #31
I am going to brag, I called it. I mentioned last week what would happen if a defense found a way to contain Daniel Thomas, guess what Central Florida figured out? Thomas was held to 76 yards on 22 carries. UCF had the game in their hands and Kansas State's offense was dead. While I got that right, I did not get Carson Coffman being a game changer right. In the 4th quarter he decided that, hey maybe I should start throwing the ball. It worked out very well, as UCF had a lot of blown coverage. He had several long passes and then the game winning pass with 24 seconds left. The Kansas State defense, like last week, decided to show up in the final minutes and got the game ending interception. They get a week and a half to fix things before the conference opener against Nebraska. The Wildcats get knocked down a peg, because they were outgained 272-344. They move down a spot, but they do not fall any further, why? Because at the end of the day they are 4-0 and all of the teams below them would love to have that record.
Week 5: BYE
EXTRA: This is Kansas State's best start since 2003. Which is the year Kansas State won the Big 12, it was also the last time a Big 12 North team won the conference title.
National Ranking: AP #28 Coaches' #23
After Kansas State's performance this week, I think that Missouri moves into second in the Big 12 north race. The Tigers of Missouri crushed the Redhawks, 51-13. Blaine Gabbert was decent in throwing for 15 of 21 for 187 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The big story for the Tigers is that they finally got a run game. In the 469 yards of total offense they put up, 236 were on the ground. The defense did its job, but the secondaries gave up 246 yards through the air. That was a big weakness that Missouri had last year and need to improve on. The Tigers get a week off before hosting Colorado in the conference opener.
Week 5: BYE
Extra: This is Missouri's 5th straight 4-0 start. During that span they won the Big 12 North twice.
Record: 3-1 (1-0)
National Ranking: AP #21 Coaches' #16
Wow, that was shocking. Thirteen years after Rout 66, UCLA does it again, although to a smaller score. Texas loses its worst home game under Mack Brown 34-12. This all but eliminates Texas from the national title race, but not from the conference title race. Texas outgained UCLA 349-291 in total yardage. That did not matter as UCLA forced five turnovers, one interception and four fumbles. Texas, for the second straight week, had almost no run game. With Cody Johnson and Tre Newton both out with injuries, Texas relied on Whittaker and Sophomore D.J. Monroe, with Monroe having the better day. Whittaker had 14 yards on 7 carries and Monroe had 51 yards on 6 carries. Based on the last three games, I am going to guess that Monroe is named the starter for Oklahoma. Personally, I blame the O-line that also allowed Gilbert to be sacked twice. They still lead the Big 12 South, but Mack Brown and his Longhorns next week have the Sooners in the Red River Rivalry. Texas is good, but their offense and defense were not in sync. When they are, they are dangerous; when they are not, we get a lopsided loss.
Week 5: Oklahoma @Dallas
Prediction: Loss, both teams have issues, but Texas has more. Oklahoma's offense and defense are both better and it results in a Sooner victory.
National Ranking: AP #31
Cowboys did not play this week, so not much to talk about. They do have a very important Big 12 South game against the Aggies at home. The game is on Thursday night, a night known not to favor the home team. The Cowboys have the number one passing offense and make scoring look very easy. The Air Raid 2.0, does best against teams that do not have a good defense. They struggled and almost lost to Troy, needing a late fumble to win it. The game should be a good one. We will find out how good the Air Raid 2.0 is on Thursday. Along with whether the Cowboys are serious contendors for the Big 12 title.
Week 5: Texas A&M
Prediction: Loss, the edge on defense goes to the Aggies. The Cowboys have not played a good defense yet, and I think that they drop this one.
National Ranking: AP #6 Coaches' #6
Nebraska won, but it was ugly. In what was supposed to be a blowout, Nebraska only won by 14, in a 17-3 victory over South Dakota State. It was quite obvious that Nebraska was looking past the Jackrabbits. Martinez accounted for all three turnovers, and had 140 yards passing on 6 of 14, one td and two ints, and 75 on 13 carries with a fumble. Burkhead had 66 yards and Helu had 59. This from the same team that crushed Washington and had three 100 yard rushers. Bo Pelini said that he was embarrassed by the performance, and the Huskers should be. They won, but the biggest problem all season still has not been solved, the run defense. Once again, a rusher gashed Nebraska for 100 yards, quite a step back from last year. Nebraska has a week and a half before facing one of the most dangerous rushers in the country in Daniel Thomas. Overall, the Blackshirts played very well, getting two picks. Nebraska is the highest ranked team in the Big 12, and favored to win the conference by some national correspondent's. But this is a weekly power ranking and they did not play like a Big 12 champion. In the end, its a win and they move to 4-0, but they cannot play like that against their Big 12 foes.
Week 5: BYE
Extra: This is Nebraska's first 4-0 start since 2005.
National Ranking: AP #8 Coaches' #8
All three of the top teams in the Big 12 played terrible, but Oklahoma's was the best looking. Unlike Texas, they won; and unlike Nebraska they played a close game to Cincinnati on the road. While many were seeing a blowout, this game was not decided until the final minute. Cincinnati outgained the Sooners 461 to 452. DeMarco Murray only had 67 yards on 28 carries, he needs to get open more. Landry Jones had 370 yards on 36 of 51 with two touchdowns and one interception. What really saved the Sooners from the upset, is their defense that forced four turnovers. Oklahoma seems to do this against teams they are supposed to crush, ie. Utah State, Air Force and now Cincinnati. Oklahoma is a good team that played a bad game, I have no doubt that they were suffering from what both Texas and Nebraska were suffering from, looking ahead and not concentrating on the opponent. Next week, is the big one, the Red River Rivalry in Dallas, TX. Oklahoma has to be ready and play like they did against Florida State.
Week 5: Texas @Dallas
Prediction: Win, the Sooners offense and defense are better, and unlike the Longhorns, if the pass is taken away they can go to the run.