We didn’t find out so much about the Big 12 this week, well, because not so much happened in the Big 12 this week. One high-profile game, delayed by lightning, took place Saturday night. Other than that, we didn’t see many games, which is okay. The lack of learning much about the league tells us plenty about the league.
5. Iowa State won’t go winless
With Kansas on the schedule, 0-12 was probably never a truly serious concern. Still, 0-9 heading into that trip to Kansas was a definite possibility. Moreover, the way Iowa State won, against a team that pushed Utah a week ago, has to be encouraging. There may just be more than one conference win in the cards for this Cyclones team.
4. West Virginia will be a contender
No one really saw this coming, but the Mountaineers have come out of nowhere as a serious contender. Don’t be fooled by BYU’s 1-3 record; this team pushed both Utah and UCLA to their absolute limits. TCU and Oklahoma State seem underwhelming, and West Virginia gets both Oklahoma and Baylor at home. It might be too early to start thinking Playoff for this team, but 12-0 isn’t crazy to start thinking about and 11-1 is starting to feel not too unlikely.
3. TCU’s defense is getting better
Yes, it was just against SMU, who looks to be worse on offense this year than last year. But after giving up 41 points to both South Dakota State and Arkansas to start the season, and holding Iowa State to 20 last week, this is a definite step in the right direction. The defense looked inspired and swarmed to the ball, not missing tackles too often in the process. These are little things that the TCU defense couldn’t do in the first few weeks. We’ll see just where it’s really at when the competition picks up against Oklahoma next week.
2. Baylor is for real
The Bears had more questions than any team coming into the season. How would they react to the coaching change; how would the team handle the current questions and situation of the football program in particular and university in general? Baylor met its first challenge of the year and took Oklahoma State head-on. The defense was stout, bending but not breaking. The offense was explosive, though not quite up to previous years’ expectations. Then again, Oklahoma State’s defense would rank as well above-average compared to the Big 12 of the past few years. Regardless of potential ways to deflect the meaning, this game showed that the college football world was very wrong to write Baylor off before this season started.
1. The league needs Texas and Oklahoma
Yeah, Texas Tech and Kansas were on byes too, so only 60% of the league played. That’s not why no one paid attention to the Big 12 this week, though. It’s all about Texas and Oklahoma. The Longhorns and Sooners are the flagship teams in this conference for a reason. When they don’t play, no one gives particular attention to the conference. Maybe if it was late in the season, and the Big 12 had a true Playoff contender, it would be different. When Texas and Oklahoma take the same week off early in the year, though, the entire conference falls off the radar.