What a fun weekend of college football we’ve had. It certainly lived up to the billing of the best opening weekend in college football history.
Empires fell, contenders were made pretenders, and Alabama is still really good. That’s on the national scale, however. There is a lot to talk about in the Big 12 after a weekend that gave us a glimpse of what the conference could be like this year and beyond. Here are some of my top stories of the weekend. If your team didn’t make the cut here, consider it a good thing.
Oklahoma State played well in their home opener.
There’s not a lot to say here that wasn’t said in the recap that went up on Saturday. Oklahoma State looks to have improved on the offensive line, but it is difficult to tell against Southeastern Louisiana. Mason Rudolph looks primed to lead this team to a great season, but the offensive line will be the determining factor for the Pokes.
Oklahoma looked average.
Baker Mayfield looked mortal. Mortal and wounded. His final stat line was pretty solid (24/33, 323 yards, 2 TD’s), but his two fumbles in crunch time proved costly for the Sooners. Mayfield took a massive hit in the first quarter and didn’t seem like the same Baker Mayfield we’ve come to know after that. Mayfield will be fine, but the Sooners have some burning questions. The offensive line got destroyed by a Group-of-5 team (and a really good one, at that), and the secondary gave up big play after big play. In the Big 12, OU can not afford the same type of play they got from those groups if they want to contend for the conference title.
OU looked shell shocked and average. They haven’t looked like that in a long time.
Texas knocks off Notre Dame, but are they back?
The Longhorns just played the game of the week last night, pulling off a stunning upset of 10th-ranked Notre Dame in Austin. The 18-wheeler package is legit and is going to be a problem for Big 12 defenses. Shane Beuchele looked good, but wasn’t perfect in his freshman debut. Texas certainly looked improved from last season, but I still have some questions as to whether or not they’re “back.” Notre Dame’s secondary played awful all night, and didn’t look prepared for Texas’ up-tempo offense. Brian Kelly went to Deshone Kizer full time about four series too late, and they went conservative too early in the 4th quarter and gave Texas a chance to tie the game up.
But last night was more about the Longhorns being good than it was about Notre Dame being bad, though. Tyrone Swoopes looks comfortable in his new role as Blake Bell, and D’Onta Foreman ran like a man possessed. We will learn more about Texas as the year goes on, but it will be fun (and terrifying) if Texas can be competitive in the Big 12 again.
TCU has some big problems, and they might be hard to fix.
TCU escaped the upset of the weekend on Saturday. The South Dakota State Jackrabbits gave the Horned Frogs all they could handle for three and a half quarters and had the opportunity to shock the world, but couldn’t capitalize on opportunities late in the game.
Kenny Hill looked sharp at times, and reckless at times. He’s got some ability, but he stares receivers down, and in the Big 12, that will result in disaster. KaVontae Turpin saved TCU’s bacon in the first half with an electrifying punt return, and it is no doubt that he is the best player on the field for the Horned Frogs. It was going to be tough to replace the production of Boykin, Doctson, Green and Listenbee, and it looks like the transition won’t be seamless.
The story here isn’t that TCU escaped, it’s how badly they got exposed by an FCS team. I was hesitant about TCU all offseason, and my suspicions were realized. The strength of TCU’s defense is now called into question. The secondary looked lost all night and allowed over 460 total yards of offense. They had trouble with Jake Weineke, allowing big play after big play on his way to 196 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
Iowa State gonna Iowa State.
The Matt Campbell era in Ames is off to a rocky start, as Iowa State was knocked off by FCS Northern Iowa at home. The Cyclones were outgained, turned the ball over four times, and couldn’t get off the field as UNI dominated the time of possession. Allen Lazard and Joel Lanning have a legitimate connection but they’re going to need some help. Mike Warren, the sophomore sensation at running back, was held to a meager 30 yards on 12 carries. Iowa State needs more production there if they are going to have any shot of being competitive in conference play.
We are going to learn a lot about some important teams in the conference in the upcoming weeks. Oklahoma has a week to tune up against ULM before Ohio State comes calling. Texas has Cal, OU and Oklahoma State coming up in the next five weeks. TCU hosts Arkansas. Oklahoma State hosts James Conner and Pittsburgh in two weeks.
If this weekend was an example, you might want to get ahold of your loved ones. Buckle up, folks. This is going to be fun.