The Big 12 did not have a great weekend. It actually had an epic meltdown of a weekend. If expansion was ever in question, the quality of football coming out of the conference right now certainly works in favor of expansion. That’s for a different time, though.
Two ranked Big 12 teams lost to unranked teams at home, and Texas Tech played well on offense and opted out of defense. Texas and OU took care of business at home against far inferior opponents, but both have challenges facing them this week. The conference is now wide open, and as Clay Travis put it, the conference’s playoff hopes are already on life support after two weeks of football.
Let’s jump into some things we learned in the Big 12 in Week 2.
1. Oklahoma State’s issues run deeper than incompetent officials.
Yes, the Cowboys absolutely should have won Saturday’s game against Central Michigan. The officials actually did blow this game for Oklahoma State. As the clock read 0:00, the officials had other ideas. The worst officiating error since the Colorado-Mizzou 5th Down in 1994 allowed a miraculous Hail Mary/Hook and Ladder Mason from Central Michigan. Every goal is still attainable for Oklahoma State, but their problems were not just ten people who were not good at their job.
Rudolph unquestionably played his worst game as a Cowboy, and it came at an awful time. The defense had trouble getting off the field on 3rd down. Mike Yurcich didn’t trust the running game even when it was working.
This is a concerning concoction of problems for OSU. They’ll need a fix quickly, too. Pittsburgh comes to town Saturday, then they hit the road for Baylor and welcome Texas to town the next week. This will be a big test for Mike Gundy and his staff.
2. Texas Tech has experienced no improvement on defense.
Holy cow, Texas Tech. That was brutal. If any Red Raider fans want to keep telling me that the defense is going to be improved, you know where to find me. They gave up a staggering 68 points to Arizona State. The Sun Devils have a pretty good offense, but not to the level of what Tech will see in the Big 12.
They gave up 652 total yards, and over 300 on the ground. Karen Ballage, the Sun Devil running back, lit up the Red Raider defensive line to the tune of 8 touchdowns, which tied the FBS record.
I’ve talked with some Tech fans (anonymity guaranteed), and they wonder about Kliff Kingsbury’s job security if the defense doesn’t shore up quickly. While the offense is as explosive as ever, their defense will lose them more games than their offense will win them. It’s that bad.
3. TCU has problems on defense too, but Kenny Hill was the issue on Saturday.
Arkansas is not exactly an offense-first football team. While they have had explosive offenses in the past, the Hogs brought an inexperienced quarterback to Fort Worth and they squeaked out a victory. They probably wouldn’t have, though, if Kenny Hill hadn’t been flagged for a throat slash late in the 4th quarter.
While there is some debate as to whether or not it was actually a throat slash, the point remains that Kenny Hill needs to be smarter. The penalty allowed Arkansas to execute a last-minute touchdown drive to send the game to overtime, where the Hogs eventually came out on top.
TCU looks to have improved slightly on defense from week one, and Kenny Hill was explosive again on Saturday. He will keep them in plenty of games, but much like Texas Tech’s defense, you have to wonder how many he will play them out of.
4. Kansas is still really bad.
You knew this was coming. The Jayhawks were fresh off their first victory in over a year after thumping Rhode Island in week one.
KU fell to Ohio at home on Saturday by a score of 37-21. Even more concerning, the Jayhawks were held to 232 total yards of offense and just nine first downs. You have to feel bad for KU and David Beaty who seems like he really wants to turn the program around. I just wonder if there is any hope for that. They have been historically awful for the last decade, and it doesn’t look like it’s changing any time soon.
5. Baylor won’t get through this last offseason without consequence.
While Baylor lost a lot on the field, it seems like they’ve lost a lot in terms of swagger, too. The atmosphere isn’t the same, and it looks like the scandal over the offseason will have a lingering effect for the immediate future. This may be just a personal observation, but I didn’t see the same team I saw for the last few seasons on Saturday. The Bears allowed SMU to hang around for three quarters until they finally pulled away.
While some pieces are the same, Baylor needs Seth Russell to be an All-World quarterback, and by the looks of things, he might not be that. Russell was 26-47 for 261 yards and two touchdowns to pair with two interceptions.
Baylor has dark times in front of them as a program, with only two commitments currently in the 2017 class. They need a successful 2016 season to build off of, but they have some problems to fix in order to make that happen.