Football is back, y'all, and the story lines are already approaching mid-season form. This past weekend saw nine of the ten Big 12 teams play, coming away with a 6-3 conference record. However, two of those loses came against the top two teams in the country. I'll get to those two games in their respective section, but I just want to say, excellent job West Virginia and Oklahoma State. Y'all did the Big 12 proud.
Now, onto the rankings. I will start from the bottom this go-round; put in the comments if you like the 10-1 format or the 1-10 format better. A note: As you might imagine, I was not able to watch every game, but I did catch bits and pieces of every game except for Kansas State, TCU, and Iowa State, which I could not find broadcasts for and was watching Chelsea destroy Everton during, respectively.
10. Iowa St. Cyclones (+0)
Oh Iowa State... The Cyclones looked decent, if not good, through the first quarter or so. The much talked-about Mark Mangino offense gave the Cyclones a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter. Then redshirt senior center Tom Farniok and redshirt junior wide receiver Quenton Bundrage fell to the injury bug and ISU never recovered. The Bison took it to the ISU defense, who were missing FS Kamari Cotton-Moya (targeting ejection), and never looked back. Yes, North Dakota State are a dang good FCS team that could compete with a good number of FBS teams, but Iowa State just looked awful after the injuries hit. If you want to feel sorry for them or are just a fan of Schadenfreude, go read WRNL's thoughts on the game as well as their recap.
9. Kansas Jayhawks (+0)
The 'Hawks didn't play this week but there is no reason to move them up or down.
8. Texas Tech Red Raiders (-2)
Eesh. This one was ugly. Texas Tech is, and should be, a much better team than Central Arkansas. The Bears are not a bad team, but they aren't a NDSU-caliber FCS program and Tech should have blown them out of the water. Texas Tech was clicking on offense - by the second half, that is - but was absolutely horrendous on defense. So, typical Texas Tech. Like Baylor, Tech was also plagued by stupid penalties, but there is not getting over the fact that they gave up 35 to Central Arkansas and only beat them by a touchdown. We'll see how they do next go-round at UTEP, but I would not be surprised to see the Miners win that one. In the meantime, read the recap and thoughts over on Viva The Matadors.
7. TCU Horned Frogs (0)
Had West Virginia not played so well against Alabama, the Frogs would be moving up in the rankings. TCU's defense was their normal self, mauling the poor Samford offense. The big surprise was that their new hurry-up offense actually worked and worked quite well. Granted, it is against Samford, but the reaction I am getting from the gents over at Frogs O' War is that this offense moves fast - almost Baylor fast. Now, I will have to see that to believe it, but it looks like the Frogs might have found themselves an offense. An offense led by Trevone Boykin, it appears. We shall see how the Frogs do against Minnesota in two weeks, but until then, things are looking up for Patterson and co. Read the post-game analysis, thoughts, and more thoughts over on Frogs O' War.
6. West Virginia Mountaineers (+2)
The favorite player of one Amy Pagitt, Clint Trickett showed what he could do when he was not injured: 365 yards and a touchdown pass. Trickett and the 'Eers did not beat Alabama, but they certainly exposed the defense. Although the front seven held WVU to just 28 yards on 24 attempts, the cornerbacks and safeties were thoroughly exposed, even looking weak at time. A&M is going to torch them through the air; Bama simply has not figured out how to counter the HUNH offenses yet. I think the biggest takeaway from this game is that Oklahoma's victory last year was not a fluke, but Alabama probably were not as good as we thought they were. Still, a consensus No. 8 finisher in the Big 12 took the "mighty" Tide deep into the fourth before the bruising running game of Bammer wore down WVU's front seven. Heck, if WVU's receivers could have caught half the balls they dropped, we may have seen the Elephants falling. I would be remiss if I did not mention Mario Alford, who took a kick return 100 yards to the house to tie the game at 17. You'd think Bama would've worked on those... Read The Smoking Musket's recap for more.
5. Texas Longhorns (+0)
The Stronghorns had a strong debut (sorry, not sorry) against a decent UNT outfit. As one might expect, the defense was the talk of the game; they held UNT to seven points and overall dominated the Mean Green offense. Offensively, David Ash played a solid game, going 19-for-34 for 190 yards and a TD. However, the main concern (and the reason that the Horns aren't fourth on the list) is the loss, likely for the season, of senior center Dominic Espinosa, who broke his right ankle. You always hate seeing those senior leaders go out with injury. Nonetheless, the recap and observations from Burnt Orange Nation are positive. We'll see how Texas does against a BYU team that handled UConn easily, 35-10.
4. Oklahoma State Cowboys (+0)
Although it looked that the Cowboys would go the way of the Dallas Cowboysagainst defending champions Florida State in Jerry World, the Okies refused to give up and showed that the Seminoles are indeed mortal. Quarterback J.W. Walsh had an impressive game, but the real star for the Pokes was all-around player Tyreek Hill. This guy is FAST. He rushed for 44 yards on 8 carries, had 6 receptions for 62 yards, 6 kickoff returns for 140 yards (long of 46), and 2 punt returns for 32 yards. All in all, Hill earned 278 all-purpose yards. This guy is going to be a weapon. While the Pokes ultimately could not fell the Seminoles, they certainly gave it a good showing and impressed a lot of people. Although we won't know how they stack up against the better Big 12 teams until late in the season, this Oklahoma State team should prove to be a tough out. Read the recap from Seminole Nation here (Note: On principle, I refuse to link to anything on SB Nation's OSU site as a result of events that transpired last year).
3. Kansas State Wildcats (+0)
The Snydercats took care of business as they rolled over SFA, 55-16. I didn't get to watch this game, so I cannot comment too much on it, but it sounds like the Cats had no trouble with the Lumberjacks. Not much else to say on this, so go read the intoxicated ramblings of Bring On The Cats.
2. Baylor Bears (-1)
That defense though. That stadium though. That crowd though. Last night was magical, but I still cannot help but drop the Bears down a slot. Now, does this mean I think that Baylor will lose to Oklahoma? No. But based on this weekend's games, Baylor looked worse. Injuries, wind, and penalties all stymied the potent Baylor attack, but they still put up 45; that's encouraging. The biggest talking point is definitely the defense. SMU's poor quarterbacks had no chance against our front seven (EVEN WHEN WE RUSHED THREE :D ). Nine sacks and 67 total yards. That is unbelievable. The offense will figure itself out; Bryce said he is fine this morning and I'm optimistic about Goodley. Improvements need to be made, obviously, but that was still a good showing from the offense and an otherworldly showing from the defense. Special teams...well, they're special teams.
1. Oklahoma Sooners (+1)
The Okies rolled over Louisiana Tech, 48-16. The defense and running game showed up to play as the Sooners manhandled the Bulldogs. Not much else to say; the Sooners are a quality quad and they did what they were supposed to do against a lesser opponent.
What say you? Post below in the comments.