Baylor – “California Dreamin’” by The Mamas & The Papas
This year’s Baylor team seems to be a little bit different than those of the past. The Bears are in the driver’s seat in the Big 12 title race, but their biggest tests are yet to come. They do get OU, Texas Tech, and Texas at home, but must travel to Stillwater in the midst of a brutal five-game stretch (OU, Tech, @OSU, @TCU, Texas). Bryce Petty and Co. are putting up ridiculous offensive numbers, averaging over 700 yards per game while scoring over 60 points per. The big question is, would an undefeated Big 12 team get in over a 1-loss Pac-12 or SEC team? I think a lot of it will have to do with whether or not they can continue to put up these ridiculous numbers, and beat teams like they have been. In their biggest test to date at K-State, they seemed to struggle a bit at times. Nevertheless, this team undoubtedly has dreams of a little trip to Pasadena in early January.
Iowa State – “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins
To put it kindly, this Iowa State team is not very good. Yet, they have managed to play every team close in Ames. There is just something about Jack Trice Stadium that magically gives the Cyclones extra powers, or something like that. Needless to say, OSU fans know plenty about that. Their three losses at home this year have come by a combined fifteen points, and they just gave Tech all they could handle in Lubbock. The Pokes travel to Ames on October 26th, and honestly, this game worries me quite a bit (although every game worries me at this point). Putting away the Cyclones early will be key, because the longer you let them hang around the more insane things can get at Jack Trice.
Kansas – “Yearnin’” by The Black Keys
Oh Kansas, what can I say? Another year, another finish at the bottom of the Big 12. What in the world even happened to KU football? Orange Bowl to a 1-7 finish in the Big 12 only two seasons later. You gotta feel for KU fans, from my experience they seem like a solid and loyal fan base. The Jayhawks are 2-3 on the year with wins over South Dakota and Louisiana Tech. They got spanked by Tech at home, 54-16, but only lost to TCU by 10 on the road, so maybe they can steadily improve as the year goes on. There is good news, however, basketball season is fast approaching and Andrew Wiggins is the savior of mankind (so they say)!
Kansas State – “Heartache Tonight” by the Eagles
Despite being 2-4 on the year, this K-State team has been in every ballgame they’ve played. Losing to North Dakota State is not acceptable, I know, even though they are the best FCS team in all the land. But still, can’t happen. Their four losses this year have been by a whopping 27 points combined, and two late interceptions sealed their fate against both Oklahoma State and Baylor. QB Daniel Sams does seem to bring a spark when he is in the game, making plays with both his feet and arm, but it’s the mistakes late that have cost the team. It will be tough for the Wildcats just to get bowl-eligible, but I wouldn’t mind seeing them during bowl season.
Oklahoma – “What Is Life” by George Harrison
What is life, along with a couple other four letter words, filled the minds of Sooner fans everywhere after their loss to rival Texas in the Red River
Rivalry Shootout. OU entered the game as a two-touchdown favorite, but the gurus in Vegas couldn’t have looked more incompetent. The Sooners looked flat, confused, and just plain overmatched. If this is any sign of things to come for OU, Blake Bell might need a protective order by the end of the season. Luckily for Sooner fans, I think this was just a fluke. I think the OU takes care of Tech at home, but they must travel to both Waco and Stillwater to close out the season. Both sides of the ball need to get rolling for OU to have any chance of taking down the Bears and Pokes on the road.
Oklahoma State – “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by U2
I think this song title is the most appropriate one of them all. Cowboy fans, coaches, and players (I hope) have not found what they were looking for entering the season. I, along with many other fans, expected another year of prolific offense and points for everyone (Oprah voice)!!! Although the offense hasn’t been quite as bad as we make it out to be, this current state will not get it done. Play-calling has certainly been suspect at times (I need not mention the goal-to-go series at West Virginia), and the mental mistakes by players have been numerous. When asked why the offense has been struggling so mightily, Coach Gundy responded with, “I don’t have a clue.” If this doesn’t tell you everything you need to know, I don’t know what will. Yet, I am still holding out hope that things will get figured out. It’s hard to put a finger on any one thing, but it seems to me that we are close in all aspects, just not there yet. This weekend against the stout TCU defense will be a good gauge as to where exactly this offense is, and if they are gaining any ground. I have faith in Mr. Shippensburg!!!
Texas – “The Times They Are a-Changin’” by Bob Dylan
I think you can take this song title one of two ways, or both I guess. Mack Brown was sitting on the hottest of seats before last week’s upset over the Sooners. What about now? I’m obviously not a Texas fan, so I don’t have much stock in the program and everything that Mack Brown has done for it. He led them to a national title, I do know that. From an outside perspective, Mack Brown seems like the classiest of guys and one that would be a joy to play for. Problem is, he isn’t producing, and producing at UT means titles. It was pretty much a given that Texas had to beat the Sooners in order for Mack to have any chance of retaining his job. Not only did they win, but they thoroughly whipped OU in every aspect of the game (besides highest blood pressure, the Stoops bros had that on lockdown). So what if Mack does keep his job? Could this win be the turning point in UT football? It’s tough to say, but I think we’ll have a pretty good idea after the Longhorns travel to Fort Worth on October 26th.
TCU – “So Close” by Hall and Oates
TCU was “so close” to having a great season, but close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and thermonuclear war. TCU opened up the season with a close loss to LSU, 37-27. The Horned Frogs were in that game until the end, and had their fair share of chances to win. Since then they have lost on the road to both Texas Tech and OU, by a combined thirteen points. Starting QB Casey Pachall went down in week 2 with a broken arm and the offense has struggled ever since, averaging only 331.5 yards per game since. The TCU defense has looked like its usual self, allowing only 328 yards and 21.3 yards per contest. Trevone Boykin, Pachall’s replacement and last year’s starter, needs to get the offense rolling if the Horned Frogs are to have any chance of turning this ship around. This team has talent all over the field, but they must start utilizing it or it will be just another average season. The Pokes take on TCU this week for homecoming, and it figures to be a good one.
Texas Tech – “Got My Mojo Working” by Muddy Waters
I must admit that I had never listened to this song before stumbling upon it on iTunes, but could it be more fitting? With new uniforms, a new coach, and an overall new feel about the program, I would say that Kliff Kingsbury has his mojo working in Lubbock. Kingsbury has brought the offensive swagger back to Lubbock, and honestly, I’m kind of jealous. The Red Raiders are 6-0 on the year, but like Texas, their biggest challenges are yet to come. They must travel to Norman, Waco, and Austin, while they get Oklahoma State and K-State in Lubbock. With walk-on true freshman Baker Mayfield (who did get banged up against Kansas and sat out last week against Iowa State, no timetable for return) leading the offense, they are averaging 544 yards and 41.8 points per game. The Pokes travel to Lubbock on November 2nd, in a matchup of the most prolific heads of hair among Big 12 head coaches.
West Virginia – “I Can’t Explain” by The Who
What is going on in Morgantown? Are they a good team or not? Well, let’s look at their results thus far; loss at Oklahoma by nine (ok, not a bad loss by any means), loss at Maryland by 37 (uhhh…..), beat Oklahoma State by nine at home (solid win), loss at Baylor (while giving up 73 points). I’m going to say that this team is very average, at best. Their offense has been lackluster, granted that they have had major QB troubles, and their defense is certainly below-average. It’s almost like this should be a good team, but they don’t realize it. The Mountaineers do have some winnable games left (K-State, Kansas, Iowa State), but it will take some Dana-ish (like the pastry) magic to get them to a bowl game.