The 2011 Big 12 season opened with some historic changes: Nebraska and Colorado are not longer a part of the league. Nebraska departed for the Big Ten, while Colorado moved to the Pac-12. The lost of these two teams stings, especially with the recent rumors of Texas A&M's imminent departure, and possibly some other teams, too, but it has not stopped the level of play in the Big 12.
The Sooners open the season as the No. 1 team in America, and the Cowboys and Aggies are also in the top 10, with Missouri and Texas also in the top 25. In Week 1, some teams struggled with their opponents while others simply put them away with ease.
After one week of play, where do the Big 12 teams stand?
National Ranking: N/A
Why 10th?: Last-minute TD to beat an FCS school that outgained and outplayed them.
Iowa State opens the season at the bottom of the Big 12 pile, escaping Northern Iowa 20-19.
Iowa State had very poor play on both sides of the ball, more so on offense. Steele Jantz made his first start and was lousy, 18-of-40 for 187 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. On the plus side, he added 80 yards on the ground and two more scores.
Altogether Iowa State had 328 yards of total offense. As bad as Jantz played, he accounted for 267 of the total yards.
On defense, the Cyclones gave up 385 yards, with 181 passing and 204 yards on the ground. That is terrible. The only highlight is they managed to recover a fumble that sealed the game for Iowa State.
Iowa State MVP: Willie Scott recovered the fumble to win the game.
Week 2: Iowa
Iowa State barely got by an FCS school; how is it supposed to beat its in-state rival?
National Ranking: N/A
Why 9th?: Kansas State also needed last-minute heroics to beat an FCS school.
Kansas State joins Iowa State at the bottom of the Big 12, rallying in the fourth quarter to bare beat Eastern Kentucky 10-7.
Collin Klein took over as the new starter over Carson Coffman, and his first start in his era was bad. His stats were not too bad, going 13-of-21 for 128 yards with a touchdown and interception, and adding 78 yards on the ground. Highly touted Byrce Brown was bad, only gaining 16 yards and fumbling, while John Hubert led rushing with 91 yards.
Overall, the Wildcats had 303 total yards and five turnovers (four fumbles and a pick).
The Wildcats did much better on defense, only allowing 129 yards of total offense, including just 10 rushing yards and getting two interceptions. Yet Eastern Kentucky led for all but 1:39 of the game—maybe it had something to do with the five turnovers?
Kansas State MVP: Collin Klein: 13-of-21, 128 passing yards, one TD, one interception, 78 rushing yards
Week 2: Bye
Random Fact: This was Bill Snyder's 150th win. If this is a sign of things to come, maybe he should think of retiring again.
National Ranking: N/A
Why 8th?: Kansas did not excel against its FCS foe, but at least it won by double digits
Kansas is the third in a row of FCS-playing teams, only this time, Kansas actually beat the team it was playing.
Kansas racked up 447 total yards. Jordan Webb went 7-of-10 for 146 yards and three touchdowns, and added 27 yards on the ground with a score. James Sims led all rushers with 104 yards and a score, and Tony Pierson added 73 yards with a score. Solid offensive production by the Jayhawks.
That's where the praise ends.
The Jayhawks defense surrendered 420 total yards, with 325 yards passing and 95 yards rushing. That is not good when you play in a pass-happy conference and you now have to play Oklahoma, Okie State, Texas, Missouri, Baylor, Texas Tech and A&M in the same season.
This could be another bad year for Kansas.
Kansas MVP: Jordan Webb: 7-of-10, 146 passing yards, three touchdowns, 27 rushing yards rushing and a score
Week 2: Northern Illinois
I like Kansas and Turner Gill, but Northern Illinois is one the most underrated teams in a non-BCS conference.
National Ranking: N/A
Why 7th?: Trailed against an FCS team for an entire half, before blowing it out.
Oh Texas Tech, you are now the fourth team in a row to have issues with an FCS team,
Texas Tech trailed Texas State 10-9 for an entire half, then it finally got it together and crushed it 50-10.
Seth Doege is the new gunslinger in Lubbock, going 23-of-33 for 326 yards and three touchdowns. Eric Stephens led all rushers with 118 yards and two scores, and DeAndre Washington added 38 yards and a score. Altogether, the Red Raiders resembled the teams of the past with 505 total yards.
Once again, I have to point out that this is yet another team that trailed an FCS team for a large portion of the game. The Red Raiders gave up 331 total yards of offense, with 256 coming on the ground. Texas Tech will need to step up the run defense drastically if it expects to compete in the Big 12.
Then again, how often do you see the option in the Big 12? The highlight of the defense is the Red Raiders recovered four fumbles.
Texas Tech MVP: Seth Doege: 23-of-33, 326 passing yards, three scores
Week 2: Bye
Random: Tommy Tuberville did not think the Big 12 would last long in the current structure, and he might be right.
National Ranking: 21
Why 6th?: Struggled against Miami...of Ohio.
Missouri did not do well against the defending MAC champions and, thanks to two key turnovers and a missed field goal, won the game.
Missouri began the James Franklin era after Blaine Gabbert bolted early for the NFL. Franklin was 17-of-26 for 129 yards with a touchdown and an interception, and he also led all rushers with 71 yards and a score. Henry Josey led the running backs with 43 yards. So even early in the season, we are seeing the Missouri will possibly live and die by the quarterback. Altogether the Tigers gained 291 total yards of offense.
On defense the Tigers were somewhat better, allowing the Red Hawks to gain 270 total yards, with 194 yards coming through the air. They did manage to pick off the Red Hawks once and recover a fumble. I am not to impressed with this team so far, and many picked the Tigers to be a sleeper title team. They will need to clean up play on both sides of the ball if they want to win the Big 12.
Missouri MVP: James Franklin: 17-of-26, 129 yards, one TD, one interception, 71 yards rushing and a score
Week 2: at Arizona State (Friday game)
It's the battle of the title sleeper teams, as Arizona State battles Missouri. I think Arizona State is better on both sides of the ball and will win this one.
National Ranking: 26
Why 5th?: Texas is coming off a bad season, and while it won, it was against Rice, whom the Longhorns did not exactly put away early.
Texas starts a new season after not going bowling for the first time since Mack Brown came to Texas, and the Longhorns are just five games away from going bowling with a 34-9 win over Rice.
Two-year starter Garrett Gilbert was 13-of-23 for 239 yards and a score, and seems to have firm control over his destiny as Texas' starter. One of the bigger stories was highly touted running back recruit Malcolm Brown, who made a statement with 86 yards in his first game, leading all rushers. Fozzy Whittaker had 33 yards and a score, and Cody Johnson had nine yards and a score. All in all, the Longhorns racked up 506 yards of offense, though most came in the second half, as the first half was sluggish.
On defense, the Longhorns were their typical selves, holding the Owls to 224 total yards of offense, including just 94 passing yards. They also managed to recover two fumbles. Impressive defensive showing, and if they can keep up the secondary play, they might have a shot at the Big 12 title.
Texas MVP: Malcolm Brown: 86 rushing yards (showed Texas is actually committed to a run game again)
Week 2: BYU
BYU did not look that great against Ole Miss, and Ole Miss is bad—like bottom-of-conference bad. Plus it's at home.
National Ranking: N/A as of 9/4
Why 4th?: Baylor upset No. 14 TCU and showed it can score some points, but not too crazy about the D.
Baylor shocked the college football world by upsetting the defending Mountain West and Rose Bowl champs 50-48.
Robert Griffin III had some unbelievable stats, and he has definitely entered Heisman contention. Griffin was 21-of-27 for 359 yards passing with five touchdowns, plus 38 yards rushing and 15 yards receiving. That is 412 total yards from Griffin. Terrance Ganaway added 120 yards rushing with a score, and I have to mention Kendall Wright, who caught 189 yards with two scores. The Bears' potent offense racked up 564 total yards of offense. Just amazing.
While the offense was terrific, the defense left something to be desired. The defense gave up 466 total yards of offense, 251 through the air and 215 on the ground. The biggest play on defense was the interception that sealed the game for the Bears. Also worthy of being mentioned is the abysmal kickoff coverage team which gave up huge returns and allowed the Frogs to get great field position.
The Bears need to fix both the defense and special teams if they are going to be a great team in the Big 12.
Baylor MVP: Robert Griffin III: 21-of-27, 359 yards, five scores, 38 rushing yards, 15 receiving yards
Week 2: Stephen F. Austin
I would be shocked if the Bears lost this game after their showing last week; that being said, I doubt it will happen.
National Ranking: 8
Why 3rd?: Good offense and defense, just not as good as the Cowboys and Sooners.
The Aggies announced early last week that they will seek to leave the Big 12, while the Mustangs want in. The Aggies showed just how tough the Big 12 is, routing SMU 46-14.
Ryan Tannehill in his second year starting showed how good of a quarterback he is, going 21-of-26 for 246 yards and two scores. Cyrus Gray led the rushers with 132 yards and two scores and Christine Michael had 85 yards rushing with two scores. Altogether the Aggies racked up 458 yards of total offense and did not have a single turnover.
The Aggies defense did not resemble the Wrecking Crew too much at times. It gave up 347 total yards, with 268 yards passing and 79 yards rushing. The Aggies did manage to pick off the Mustangs twice, taking one 51 yards and the other 30 yards.
A lot of the yardage came in the first quarter when SMU was scoring and somewhat on a roll, but in the second quarter the Aggies stepped it up and owned. While the Mustangs did manage to get yards on the Aggies, Texas A&M managed to force them off the field before the Mustangs could score.
Texas A&M: Cyrus Gray: 132 rushing yards, two scores
Week 2: Bye
Random: This was Mike Sherman's 20th win as the Aggies' head coach.
National Ranking: 9
Why 2nd?: Best offense in the Big 12, and had best defensive showing of the top three, though it was a Sunbelt team.
The Cowboys land at second in the Big 12 because of their terrific offense led by Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon, cruising over Louisiana-Lafayette 61-34.
The Cowboys racked up 666 yards of total offense with Weeden throwing 24-of-39 for 388 yards, three scores and three picks. He really needs to cut down those mistakes, especially against a not-so-great defense. Joseph Randle led all rushers with129 yards and two scores and Dave Smith added 19 yards and a score. Blackmon had 144 yards but no scores.
Just an outstanding offense that you could argue as the best in the nation.
On defense the Cowboys played an overmatched Louisiana-Lafayette offense and held it to 320 total yards of offense. The Cajuns had 212 yards passing and 108 yards rushing. The Cowboys managed to get both an interception and a fumble recovery.
Quite honestly the score would be more lopsided if not for a touchdown in the final seconds by ULL. Good showing by the Cowboys.
Oklahoma State MVP: Joseph Randle: 129 yards rushing, two scores
Week 2: Arizona (Thursday)
Two teams that really like to throw the ball will meet on Thursday, but I give Okie State the edge due to more offensive playmakers.
National Ranking: 1
Why 1st?: The Sooners did pretty much everything right and are still best in the nation.
The Sooners continued their home winning streak in Norman as they cruise by Tulsa 47-14.
Landry Jones had a good day, going 35-of-47 for 375 yards and a score. That is a lot of yards. Dominique Whaley, who is replacing graduated DeMarco Murray, had a great day with 131 yards rushing and four scores. Brennan Clay added 64 yards and a score. Ryan Broyles was Jones's favorite target, catching 158 yards and a score. In total the Sooners racked up 663 yards of total offense.
On defense the Sooners gave up 400 yards of offense, but they limited Tulsa to just two scores. The Hurricanes had 271 yards passing and 129 yards rushing, but when you can't get in the end zone it almost does not matter how much yardage you get. The Sooners defense was also able to force three turnovers, one interception and two fumbles.
I would like to give a shout-out to Tom Wort, who wore the No. 12 jersey in honor of Austin Box, who tragically died. Wort had a good game and was awarded the game ball.
Oklahoma MVP: Dominique Whaley: 131 yards, four scores
Week 2: Bye
Random: The Sooners extended their home win streak to 37.