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Updated Big 12 Predictions and Superlatives After Week Four

I’ll attempt to figure out the Big 12 in this weeks updated predictions and superlatives post.

NCAA Football: Texas Tech at Oklahoma State Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone’s reaction while watching Big 12 football last weekend:

That’s it. That’s the whole post. Thanks for reading!

Just kidding....

West Virginia was the only team at the top that looked good over the weekend. Even though Texas and Texas Tech both put up good performances, both teams have glaring weaknesses to consider moving forward. The first full week of conference play didn’t disappoint (shoutout OSU and TCU) in what was a crazy weekend. I’ve got a lot to consider this week and plenty to talk about, so I’ll go ahead and start things off.

Standings

1. West Virginia Mountaineers (3-0)

2. Oklahoma Sooners (4-0)

3. Texas Longhorns (3-1)

4. TCU Horned Frogs (2-2)

5. Texas Tech Red Raiders (3-1)

6. Oklahoma State Cowboys (3-1)

7. Baylor Bears (3-1)

8. Iowa State Cyclones (1-2)

9. Kansas State Wildcats (2-2)

10. Kansas Jayhawks (2-2)

There was a lot of shuffling in my power rankings after a wild weekend. Texas and Texas Tech are winners while Oklahoma State and Kansas both fell a few spots. West Virginia topped Oklahoma for the #1 spot after the Sooners barely survived their home tilt with Army in a 7-point overtime victory. Let’s take a look at the recap of the weekend and the preview for the upcoming weekend.

West Virginia Mountaineers

Like I said at the top, West Virginia put up the only half decent performance from the top teams in the conference. It was a slow start for the Mountaineers, but after Will Grier’s early interception, WVU settled down for the most part. They would go on to roll Kansas State 35-6 in what was a somewhat impressive performance. They probably should have played better against a bad KSU team, and the turnovers are concerning, but their performance was much better than the other top teams in the conference.

West Virginia goes on the road for their first test of the season against Texas Tech. This game will be a shootout between Will Grier and Alan Bowman. These are two offenses that love to throw the football. The better defense will likely win this game. West Virginia is favored by a field goal at the moment, and this game will probably be determined by 14 points or less. If West Virginia’s defense can hold up this weekend, this team might be the real deal.

Oklahoma Sooners

I didn’t get to watch this game because I was busy watching OSU do that thing they always do in conference openers (lose) but I can tell from looking at the box score that Army dominated the flow of this game. The Golden Knights only COMPLETED 3 PASSES IN A GAME AGAINST A BIG 12 TEAM. Absolutely buck wild. Kenneth Murray had 28 total tackles, which I suppose is possible against a team that ran the ball 78 times. Kyler Murray wasn’t great but he wasn’t bad either. Take away his interception and there’s nothing to complain about his day. Army kept themselves in the game by controlling the ball (44:41 minutes to 15:19 minutes for OU). You can’t score if you aren’t on the field.

The Sooners get Baylor at home this weekend in what should be an easy win. Baylor should take a page out of Army’s playbook and try to control the time of possession. Either way, it should be an easy game for Oklahoma. This one won’t mean much for either school, unless OU losses. Oklahoma should roll Baylor and move to 2-0 in conference play.

Texas Longhorns

TEXAS IS....ok I won’t go there. However, the Horns are back in the AP top 25 at #18. The offense still doesn’t look great. Sam Ehlinger looks aggressively average, along with the Texas running game. Collin Johnson had a big day receiving, so at least we know Ehlinger has guys to get the ball to. The defense looked fantastic. They forced four turnovers, including three from TCU’s Freshman quarterback Shawn Robinson. Caden Sterns came up with two interceptions and the Horns swarmed the TCU offense. If this team is going anywhere this season, this is how it’s going to have to be.

Texas gets Kansas State (layup) on the road this week. If the Wildcats offense didn’t already look inept enough, the Texas defense should embarrass them this weekend. If Sam Ehlinger can protect the ball and finish some drives, this should be a quick one in Manhattan. Nobody saw it coming, but Texas could be well on their way to 2-0 in conference and a top 15 ranking after losing their opener to Maryland.

TCU Horned Frogs

I’m sure a lot of you expected to see Texas Tech here. Tech will be far above TCU, and Texas for that matter, if they can get a win this weekend. I’ll talk about that one in a minute though. The TCU offense looked....young. And they are young. Shawn Robinson threw two interceptions and lost a fumble en route to a 31-16 loss in his first Big 12 game. The world is not ending in Fort Worth and this is still one of the most talented teams in the Big 12. They are young and they need experience. Fortunately for Robinson, he’s faced the best Big 12 defense already, it should only get easier from here. The bad news is, his afternoon couldn’t have been much worse. He will bounce back and TCU will be fine.

The Horned Frogs return to their friendly confines at Amon G. Carter Stadium this weekend to face Iowa State. The Cyclones lost their conference opener at home to OU and looked shaky at best in their win over Akron last weekend. TCU should have no problem beating ISU at home. As long as the defense can contain Zeb Noland and David Montgomery, Shawn Robinson shouldn’t have much to pressure on him like he did last weekend. Expect TCU to bounce back in a big way this weekend.

Texas Tech Red Raiders

Texas Tech finally ended Oklahoma State’s nine game win streak over the Red Raiders over the weekend. It was a dominating performance from Texas Tech from start to finish. The offense looked good in the win. Alan Bowman made his Freshman mistakes, but bounced back every time and was certainly the better quarterback in this game. The defense looked good against OSU, but don’t let that fool you. When Taylor Cornelius wasn’t running for his life, Justice Hill was running for almost 10 yards a carry. We may never know why Mike Yurcich didn’t run him more. This is more about the OSU offensive line and Taylor Cornelius being bad than it was about Texas Tech’s defense being good.

The Red Raiders welcome in West Virginia to Tortilla Town this weekend in a matchup of ranked teams. This game will be far more telling as to how good the Texas Tech defense is. Although we didn’t get it last week, expect this one to be a shootout with West Virginia coming out on top. For that to happen, the Mountaineers are going to have to execute and play their best football. Texas Tech is a lot better than we all initially thought, and if their defense can keep them in this one, they might hang around long enough to pull an upset.

Oklahoma State Cowboys

Well that game wasn’t what any of us expected. The defense looked pretty good despite giving up 41 points. It’s hard to keep an offense like Texas Tech off the board, especially when the OSU offense couldn’t stay on the field. Taylor Cornelius looked horrible and his inability to make reads fast enough showed on Saturday night. His poor performance wasn’t entirely his fault, however, as the offensive line didn’t make his job any easier. If the Cowboys want to make a bowl game this season, they’re going to have to figure things out on the offensive line and at quarterback. If Gundy is rocking with Corndog, the team really needs to get behind it.

OSU gets their auto dub for the year against Kansas this weekend. While the Cowboys should win this one, it might be a lot closer than many of us expect. Oklahoma State has struggled in their past few contests in Lawrence. With all the question marks on offense, and maybe the best Kansas team in years, watch this one closely because Kansas might hang around pretty late in this one.

Baylor Bears

Baylor beat Kansas 26-7 at home last weekend. Charlie Brewer had a great game and spread the ball around to more than a handful of receivers. There’s also only so much Big 12 teams can normally take away from their game with Kansas every year. The Bears limited Pooka Williams Jr. to less than 100 yards yards rushing, and that’s including his 72 yard run. It was an impressive showing from the defense, and suddenly the lose to Duke doesn’t look so bad.

Baylor is going to need everything they’ve got and more to pull off an upset in Norman this weekend. As I mentioned above, the Bears should install a lot of runs and short passes to help control the time of possession and keep Kyler Murray and the lethal OU offense off the field. It almost worked for Army, maybe it’ll work for Baylor this weekend.

Iowa State Cyclones

Zeb Noland and David Montgomery looked good but not great against Akron over the weekend. After a great showing against OU, the Cyclones put up less points against Akron than they did against the Sooners. The 26-13 win is troubling for Iowa State after they looked like they might be as good as last year’s squad that upset both OU and TCU.

Iowa State has to travel to Fort Worth this weekend to take on the other squad they upset last year. OU avenged their loss to ISU two weeks ago and now it’s TCU’s turn. The Horned Frogs have this date circled on their calendar and Iowa State will get TCU’s best shot. It might be a long day for the Cyclones if they don’t figure out how to put some points up on the board. The defense should be pouring over the film from the Texas-TCU game last weekend to figure out how to force Shawn Robinson into more turnovers.

Kansas State Wildcats

Kansas State took a beating in Morgantown on Saturday. The offense didn’t look very good at all. The defense forced several turnovers and looked serviceable against a loaded West Virginia offense. KSU needs to figure it out on offense if they want a chance to win a few games in conference play this year.

If Kansas State can force Texas into a few turnovers like they did against West Virginia, they might actually have a chance this weekend against the Longhorns. The problem for Kansas State is Texas has one of the best defenses in the conference. This could be an abysmal week for the Wildcat offense, but they will be the key to victory for Kansas State. Texas probably won’t score more than 35, so if KSU can reach 40 points (I have a better shot at winning the lottery) then it should be a win in Manhattan. If not, the Wildcats will have to rely on a sloppy, slow scoring game.

Kansas Jayhawks

Kansas lost to Baylor 26-7 in Waco. Breakout star Pooka Williams Jr. had one explosive carry but was shut down other than that one long run. It was a bad game for Kansas all around, the kind of game were used to seeing from the Jayhawks over the years. The offensive line is going to have to create more room for Williams Jr. to run and the Jayhawks are going to have to pass the ball more efficiently to keep from being too one dimensional.

Kansas gets Oklahoma State at home this weekend. Now is the time for Kansas to act if they want a surprise upset Big 12 win. The Cowboys are reeling after being run out of their own stadium by a team that hadn’t beaten them there in 17 years. There’s quarterback controversy, and the offensive line looks horrible. Joe Dineen Jr. should take full advantage of this. The OSU secondary looked good against Tech (or as good as they could have, at least) but the front seven failed to get much pressure in the backfield. It could be a big day for Pooka Williams Jr. OSU should win this one, but it could be a lot closer than many people might expect.

Big 12 Championship Game:

Oklahoma Sooners (4-0) vs West Virginia Mountaineers (3-0)

I still have OU winning a close one in the Big 12 Championship Game. The Sooners close game with Army was solely attributed to Army dominating the time of possession. West Virginia absolutely will not play that type of a ballgame. They’ll get into a track meet with Oklahoma, and I still like the Sooners by a touchdown in this one.

Offensive Player of the Year:

Kyler Murray: Oklahoma University

Even though OU almost lost to Army, Kyler looked great (for 15 minutes, anyway). Will Grier had a good afternoon as well, although he turned the ball over multiple times. It’s still a close race between these two, but I have Murray by the slimmest of margins after week four.

Defensive Player of the Year:

Joe Dineen Jr: Kansas University

Some of you expect to see Kenneth Murray here? Dineen Jr. means far more to the Kansas defense, and he’s had a more impressive overall performance this season. Like I said, it’s possible to record 28 tackles against a team that runs it 78 times. This pick might not change all season.

Big 12 Newcomer of the Year:

Jalen Hurd: Baylor University

Jalen Hurd continues to be a go to option in the Baylor offense. He’s a big target that Charlie Brewer can trust. Hurd is one of those guys who makes a quarterback’s life much easier with his ability to go up and get the football.

Freshman of the Year:

Caden Sterns: University of Texas

Baby Sterns came down with two interceptions in the Longhorns upset win over TCU. Without those picks, TCU could have won that game. He’s another one of those playmakers that makes the Texas defense so good. If the Horns are really going to be back this time, Sterns will be a big reason why.

Coach of the Year:

Lincoln Riley: Oklahoma University

Playing Army isn’t as easy as it sounds. Could there have been a better game plan on the Sooners sideline? Sure. They came out with a win though and Lincoln Riley remains my Coach of the Year.

Breakout Player of the Year:

Tylan Wallace: Oklahoma State University

This one isn’t likely to change as long as Taylor Cornelius is under center. The one that they call Corndog has targeted Wallace so many times it forced a top 10 receiver in Cowboy history (shoutout Jalen McCleskey) to up and leave the team in search of greener pastures. Tylan is really good at jump balls, but the dude just has great hands in general. As long as Corndog can put the ball in the general area of the latest star to wear #2 in Stillwater, he’s going to come down with it.