With the non-conference season wrapped up, it’s time to look at how the Big 12 has fared early in the college football season.
And the report, for the most part, is pretty positive. Oklahoma scored a decisive win at Ohio State. Oklahoma State’s offense is scoring in bunches, and TCU went into SEC country to take down Arkansas by three touchdowns. Plus, Texas had as good of a loss as a team could ever have, taking powerful USC to double overtime before a road loss last week, perhaps signaling that Tom Herman has the Longhorns ready to roll.
We took a look at each team in the preseason, and for the most part, those thoughts still stand. But here are a few developments that early-season play has brought to light.
Where There’s a Will …
The questions at the quarterback position for West Virginia have been answered pretty decisively by transfer Will Grier. His numbers are strong – already more than 1,000 yards passing, 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions.
And the Mountaineers are off to a 2-1 start, losing only a close game to Virginia Tech. Grier may already be an upgrade over multi-year starter Skylar Howard, and with as tough a place as Morgantown can be to play, WVU figures to make some noise, even if the Mountaineers don’t win the league title.
OU Newcomers Shining
Even with a talented corps back from last season, Oklahoma still needed a few new faces to step in and make things happen. And that most certainly has been the case.
Parnell Motley has shored things up at one cornerback spot, with multiple interceptions, including a big play in the Ohio State win. CeeDee Lamb has impressed at wide receiver, Trey Sermon has taken the reins as the top running back, and freshman Kenneth Murray is the first true freshman middle linebacker starter in decades. It’s all clicking so far.
Baylor is Horrible
Pretty much, the Bears have been a dumpster fire. The good news (if this can be such) is their three losses have come against progressively better opponents (Liberty, UTSA, then Duke). But the Bears are in huge trouble this year. And this week, it will be ugly, as the aforementioned Sooners roll into Waco and a stadium sure to be filled with many of their own fans.
Iowa State Impressing
Nobody expected a lot from Iowa State (and probably haven’t since the Seneca Wallace days) but the Cyclones have done some nice things.
Following a 42-24 victory against Northern Iowa, ISU was in a battle against in-state rival Iowa, ultimately falling short 44-41 in overtime. It was one of those “moral victory” results, if ever there’s been one, against a solid Big 10 foe. The following week, ISU went on the road and pounded Akron.
The Cyclones may not be as easy an out as they’ve been a lot of years (And we’re writing this prior to a Thursday night home game against Texas that could be a big swing game for each).
Not that we didn’t already know it, but Oklahoma State’s receiving corps is good. Really good.
And they’ve made Mason Rudolph into a Heisman contender with eye-popping early-season statistics. He’s tossed 11 touchdowns against just one interception and the Cowboys are averaging 54 points a game.
Kansas State remains a mystery. The Wildcats seemed on a good trajectory toward the top half projection that most had for them until an ugly offensive effort in a 14-7 loss at Vanderbilt last week.
Now the ageless Bill Snyder will need to conjure up some more magic to get the Cats going in the right direction.