What a week in the Big 12. All of the teams competing this week played games that were fun to watch. The marquee game, The Red River Rivalry, resulted in Oklahoma beating Texas to win the Golden Hat. Oklahoma State beat Texas A&M on a field goal as time expired after a Johnson interception. Iowa State shocked the Red Raiders, Georgia fell to Colorado, and Baylor blew Kansas out of the water. With that in mind, where do the Big 12 teams stand after Week 5?
Record: 2-3 (0-1)
National Ranking: N/A
The Jayhawks of Kansas once again grace the bottom of the Big 12. The Jayhawks turned in an absolutely embarrassing performance against the Baylor Bears, losing 55-7. In total yardage Kansas was outgained 678 to 270.
Jordan Webb was 16 of 28 for 171 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions, and three fumbles, two of which the Jayhawks lost. D.J. Beshears led Kansas in rushing, posting 47 yards on 12 carries. The offensive line was horrendous, giving up three sacks.
The defense was equally bad, forcing no turnovers, never sacking Griffin, and getting crushed on the ground and through the air.
This was a terrible performance— the whole team needs to regroup and try to figure out how to salvage the rest of their season. They have until Oct. 14th, when in-state rival Kansas State comes to town.
Week 6: BYE
EXTRA: Kansas has never won in Waco.
Record: 2-2 (0-2)
National Ranking: N/A
I was right last week in saying that this game would be a shootout: I was just wrong about who would win.
Texas Tech is known for high scoring games, but they usually win them. Texas Tech has now dropped two conference games in a row, falling to Iowa State 38-52.
Taylor Potts was 42 of 62 for 377 yards with five touchdowns and one interception. Baron Batch and Eric Stephens had 58 and 57 yards rushing respectively. The special teams was bad, fumbling a punt and giving up a kickoff return in the final minutes of the game. The defense was also bad—after only giving up 320 yards to the Longhorns, the Red Raiders defense gave up 441 total yards: 190 through the air and 251 on the ground. The defense had two sacks but no turnovers.
So that begs the question, is Texas Tech's defense good, or was their great performance against the Longhorns offense a showing of how bad the Longhorns offense is? I am going to take the latter. This was not the way that Tommy Tuberville wanted to start off his first season. He needs to get his team together if he wants to go bowling this year.
Week 6: Baylor @ The Cotton Bowl
Prediction: Loss. Texas Tech has good offense, but the defense is lacking. It will be tough to beat the Bears and their superstar Robert Griffin III.
Record: 3-1 (0-1)
National Ranking: N/A
Texas A&M was supposed to challenge for the Big 12 South title, Jerrod Johnson was supposed to be a Heisman candidate, and Von Miller was supposed to have another outstanding year. Key here is "supposed to." After their 38-35 loss to the Cowboys, all of the hype seems to be gone.
Jerrod Johnson was 40 of 62 for 409 yards with five touchdowns and four interceptions, along with a fumble. Christine Michael led A&M in rushing for 97 yards on 24 carries. Johnson's terrible performances the last few weeks have cost him any shot at a Heisman. Von Miller, who wreaked havoc on opposing offenses last year, has not had a single sack and only has 12 tackles.
A&M almost lost to Florida International two weeks ago, requiring some late heroics to avoid the upset. Oklahoma State's secondary is not even ranked as one of the top units, yet they picked Johnson off four times, including the interception that led to a game-winning field goal for OSU.
A&M still has to play Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, and even Missouri—all have ball-hawking secondaries that allow very few passing yards. If Texas A&M wants to win games, Johnson needs to limit his turnovers. He already has as many interceptions as he had all last season. Mike Sherman's future is looking bleak.
Week 6: Arkansas @ Dallas Cowboys Stadium
Prediction: Loss. Arkansas' defense and offense are both way better than A&M's; remember this is the same team that really should have beaten Alabama last week.
National Ranking: N/A
One of the games I got right. Colorado was able to put together a balanced offensive attack and made key stops on their way to knocking off Georgia. Colorado had 393 total yards of offense. Tyler Hansen was 13 of 20 for 158 yards, one touchdown, and one interception, with 51 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
In contrast, Rodney Stewart had 149 yards on 19 carries and one touchdown. Even with the return of star A.J. Green, Georgia could not manage to win.
The Buffaloes defense gave up 409 total yards, with 221 through the air and 188 on the ground. Even though Colorado was outgained by 16 yards, they manged to get the win, mostly due to a late forced fumble.
Dan Hawkins has to be happy with his team going into conference play—not many people had them going 3-1 in non-conference play. Tyler Hansen has shown he was the right choice at quarterback over Cody Hawkins. The team needs to improve the defense though if they want to upset the Tigers at Farout Field, but they at least they are riding high on momentum going into the Missouri game.
Week 6: @ Missouri
Prediction: Loss. Colorado has improved but has struggled outside of the state; they will drop their conference opener.
Record: 3-2 (1-1)
National Ranking: N/A
Well, that was an impressive outing by the Cyclones. Iowa State was not supposed to win against the Red Raiders, but after a slow first quarter they ran up 24 unanswered points on their way to a 52-38 victory.
The offense played a near-perfect game, racking up 441 yards of total offense: 190 passing and 251 rushing with no turnovers. Austen Arnaud was 20 of 28 for 190 yards and four touchdowns. Alexander Robinson had 103 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown, while true freshman Shontrelle Johnson had 102 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown. Cornerback Jeremy Reeves also added a late game-sealing touchdown off a kickoff return. The defense still needs improvement, though, after giving up 508 yards.
It was a good win for the Cyclones, but they cannot get overconfident. They are heading into a very dangerous stretch, facing Utah at home and traveling to Oklahoma and then Texas.
Week 6: Utah
Prediction: Loss. Iowa State has gotten better, but they are not on the level that the Utes are playing.
Record: 4-1 (1-0)
National Ranking: AP #32, Coaches' #36
The Bears dominated early and then never let up in their rout of the Jayhawks, winning 55-7. Baylor had 678 yards of total offense and gave up only 271. Robert Griffin III accounted for 444 of those 678 yards, throwing for 26 of 36, 380 yards, and three touchdowns, and rushing for 64 on eight carries including a touchdown.
As we saw last season, Baylor lives and dies by Griffin. When he is out or having a bad day, they lose. When he is on, they tend to win. The defense held the Jayhawks to 271 total yards and had four turnovers. Tim Atchison returned his first ever interception 14 yards for a pick-six.
Not too much to say about the Bears—they played a great game. But they need to remember, this was a hapless Kansas; they will face much tougher opponents on their quest to become bowl eligible.
Week 6: Texas Tech @ The Cotton Bowl
Prediction: Win. Texas Tech's defense was bad against Iowa State, and I do not see it improving versus a Baylor offense that is better than Iowa State's.
Record: 3-2 (1-1)
National Ranking: AP #29, Coaches' #26
The Longhorns dropped their second in a row, this time to rival Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry. Garrett Gilbert was 27 of 41 with 266 yards and an interception. Sophomore D.J. Monroe led Texas in rushing with 65 yards on four carries and which included a 60-yard touchdown. The Longhorns totaled 373 yards of total offense, 13 more than their northern rivals.
Texas' biggest problem remains its offensive line. They gave up three sacks, and the pockets would diminish quickly, giving Gilbert no time to pass. The run offense also leaves a lot to be desired. Texas has running backs with tremendous speed (Monroe and Whittaker) and power (Johnson). Once again the offensive line diminished the effect of the run game.
Offensive coordinator Greg Davis likes to give up on the run game after a certain point in the game, and after he decides to do that they become very easy to defend. The defense held the Sooners to 360 yards but had no turnovers. The defense is definitely the strength of the Longhorns, but defense alone does not win games (see Nebraska last year). They may win some but not all. The Longhorns have two weeks before traveling to Nebraska.
Week 6: BYE
EXTRA: The last time Texas lost two in a row was in 2007.
Record: 4-0 (1-0)
National Ranking: AP #27, Coaches' #29
Kansas State did not play this week. They used the time to rest and prepare for the showdown with Nebraska in Manhattan on Thursday. If the Wildcats want to win on Thursday, they are going to need to shut down Nebraska's rushing attack, which currently ranks fourth in the nation and averages 309 yards per game. Combine that with their passing game, and they have the 14th best offense in the country in terms of yards per game.
On the flipside, Kansas State will be going against one the best defenses in the country, though it has shown weakness in the run game. Enter Daniel Thomas, Heisman darkhorse candidate and Kansas State's primary offensive weapon. The Huskers have had issues with the run, and if Daniel Thomas can exploit that the Wildcats have a great shot at winning.
If not, then Carson Coffman will have to start throwing against one of the best secondaries in the country. He has shown he can throw but mostly against weak secondaries. It will be a good game, as well as the last time we'll see these two rivals play as conference mates.
Week 6: Nebraska
Prediction: Loss. Nebraska's offense is better than Kansas State's, and so is their defense. Look for the Cornhuskers to win this.
National Ranking: AP #24, Coaches' #22
Missouri had a bye week this week, and no doubt Gary Pinkel was watching the Colorado-Georgia game. Missouri will need to be explosive on offense and continue to create turnovers like they have been.
Colorado's offense is not the greatest in the world, ranking 81st in the country in terms of total yardage. However, Colorado's Rodney Stewart has shown he can be explosive on the ground, and Missouri has had issues with the run defense, giving up 200-plus rushing yards to both Illinois and San Diego State.
Missouri was supposed to crush those teams but struggled, and both of those teams are very good at running the ball. If Missouri can take away the run, Hansen will have to throw against an improved ball-hawking Missouri secondary that already has eight interceptions.
Week 6: Colorado
Prediction: Win. Look for Missouri to key in on Stewart and the secondary to pick off some passes. Missouri will win in the friendly confines of Farout Field.
Record: 4-0 (1-0)
National Ranking: AP #22, Coaches' #21
Oklahoma State's video game numbers finally came down to a realistic level, but while their offense was not as potent, the defense made big plays. Oklahoma State forced five turnovers, all coming off Jerrod Johnson, as the Cowboys won 38-35.
The Cowboys finally played a good defense, and it showed. They can rack up yards against weak defenses, but when it comes to a good defense, the Air Raid 2.0 struggles. Brandon Weeden was 28 of 42 for 284 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions. Kendell Hunter had 101 yards on 22 carries for two touchdowns. All those numbers are way below what they have been racking up this year.
If not for their defense, the Cowboys might well have lost this game. They recovered one fumble which was returned for a touchdown, and caught four interceptions, including the game-sealer that led to a game- winning field goal. They also recorded four sacks in the game.
Oklahoma State will face better defenses this year against Texas, Nebraska, and instate rival Oklahoma, so the offense needs to improve and work to limit their turnovers. The Cowboys won and should be happy they knocked off A&M and took another step to winning their first Big 12 South title. The Cowboys have a cupcake this week before facing the previous home of the Air Raid at Texas Tech.
Week 6: @ Louisiana Lafayette
Prediction: Win. After an impressive win over the Aggies, the Cowboys for some reason are going to Louisiana-Lafayette and should come back as winners.
National Ranking: AP #7, Coaches' #6
Nebraska had a bye week but gained more from it than the other three teams who also had byes. Washington, a team Nebraska crushed, upset USC at USC by a last second field goal. This week the Cornhuskers travel to Manhattan for a Thursday night game against their rival Kansas State.
Nebraska brings a potent running offense that ranks fifth in the nation, combined with their 102nd-ranked passing game and the 15th-best offense in the country. The offense is led by explosive red-shirt freshman Taylor Martinez who can throw, but his biggest strength is his legs, who has racked up 496 on the ground. Roy Helu and Rex Burkhead are also dangerous running threats, with 305 and 304 yards respectively. The offense will face Kansas State's defense which ranks 56th-best in the country. Kansas State's offense is 65th in the nation, but will face the Blackshirts' that rank 11th-best in the country.
Nebraska has struggled against the run, but they have had a week-and-a-half to prepare for Daniel Thomas. They'll win the Thursday night thriller in Manhattan.
Week 6: Thursday @ Kansas State
Prediction: Win. Nebraska may have issues with Thomas, but Nebraska's offense and defense will be too much for the Wildcats.
Record: 5-0 (1-0)
National Ranking: AP #6, Coaches' #7
Boomer Sooner. Oklahoma dominated their southern rivals this weekend. While the scoreboard showed 28-20, the game was not even close till late in the fourth quarter; before that the Sooners were winning 28-10.
The Sooners offense improved in not giving up a single turnover but came awfully close before a Texas player knocked a fumble out of bounds. Oklahoma took advantage of what they saw last week when Texas played UCLA, having DeMarco Murrary gash them for 115 yards and two touchdowns. They then burned them through the air when they went to stop the run.
The Sooners defense did not have to do anything special to beat the Longhorns, as Texas has proven to be one-dimensional. The only gaffe they had was allowing D.J. Monroe to burn them for a 60-yard touchdown. The Sooners should be very happy with their win and their overall improvement from last year. They are off to a hot start at 5-0 and have a bye week this week to rest up before hosting the Cyclones in two weeks.
Week 6: BYE
Extra: Bob Stoops's record against the Longhorns improved to 7-5.