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Big 12 football: Predictions, superlatives after Week 1

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College football is back, baby.

NCAA Football: Houston at Oklahoma Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Big 12 teams kicked off Week 1 with an uninspiring lineup. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State took on the toughest opponents, Houston and Oregon State, respectively. That doesn’t necessarily mean it was an easy week for Big 12 teams though. I’ll have a recap and look-ahead below along with my first Big 12 power rankings and season superlative predictions below.

Standings

#4 Oklahoma Sooners (1-0)

#9 Texas Longhorns (1-0)

#25 Iowa State Cyclones (1-0)

Oklahoma State Cowboys (1-0)

Texas Tech Red Raiders (1-0)

Baylor Bears (1-0)

TCU Horned Frogs (1-0)

Kansas State Wildcats (1-0)

West Virginia Mountaineers (1-0)

Kansas Jayhawks (1-0)

Everyone made it through week one in the fun fort! It was hard for me to sort out and differentiate between different teams because of the level of competition the Big 12 faced this week. Iowa State could certainly be lower in this poll, but I am giving the Cyclones the benefit of the doubt for now. We will know more about all these teams in a few weeks.

Oklahoma Sooners

Jalen Hurts made his debut for Oklahoma and he was dominate. Plain and simple. He completed 20 of his 23 passes for 332 yards and three touchdowns. Oh and he led the Sooners in rushing with 176 yards and three more touchdowns. That’s absolutely sick.

The Sooners receiving corps looked good as well. CeeDee Lamb only caught two balls for 46 yards and a score. Charleston Rambo led the team in receiving with 105 yards and a touchdown. No receiver had more than 3 receptions as Hurts spread the ball around to everyone.

The big question going into the season for Oklahoma was the defense and how they responded to new defensive coordinator Alex Grinch. Kenneth Murray is back to lead the defense and had 13 tackles in the opener. Early on the OU defense looked good, flying to the ball and forcing Houston to punt the ball. The front seven had D’Eriq King running for his life. The good performance dropped off in the second half after the Sooners had built a comfortable lead.

Next week Oklahoma gets South Dakota at home. Not much needs to be said about this game, but I am interested to see backup quarterback Tanner Mordecai get some more snaps though.

Prediction: Oklahoma wins big.

Texas Longhorns

Texas cruised to a 45-14 win over Louisiana Tech in its opener. Sam Ehlinger passed for 276 yards and four touchdowns, looking good in his season debut. The run game is still a bit of a question mark for Texas. Keaontay Ingram was the leading rusher with 78 yards and a score. The running back depth took a hit when freshman Jordan Whittington suffered a groin injury that will keep him sidelined for the next six weeks.

Much like Hurts, Ehlinger spread the ball around. Brennan Eagles led the way with 59 yards and two touchdowns, and was one of three receivers with at least 50 receiving yards. The Horns defense came up with two interceptions and recovered a fumble. At the end of the day, this game doesn’t tell us too much about Texas. We’ll find out about the character and talent of this team when it faces #6 LSU at home this weekend.

LSU put away Georgia Southern early last week and won 55-3. Joe Burrow threw five touchdown passes. Like Texas, we’ll find out a lot more about this LSU team this weekend when they travel to Austin to take on Texas. The Longhorns might want to get off to a better start this week, but this should be a close game either way.

Prediction: Texas edges LSU.

Iowa State Cyclones

The nation had its eyes on Iowa State last Saturday afternoon for the wrong reasons. The Cyclones decided it would be cool to flirt with disaster in week one against Northern Iowa. Iowa State should have won big against Northern Iowa, but barely survived in overtime instead. Brock Purdy passed for 278 yards and two scores in the game and established a rapport with Deshaunte Jones, who caught 14 balls for 126 yards.

Iowa State did return Purdy, but it lost its leading rusher in David Montgomery and its best receiver in Hakeem Butler. The Cyclones defeated Northern Iowa 29-26 in triple overtime and I really don’t know what to think. I didn’t tune in until overtime just like most everyone else. I have no idea why Iowa State struggled to move the ball and score in this game.

All that matters in Ames is that the Cyclones won the game. Iowa State can make everyone forget this happened by going on a winning streak. That would be much harder to do had they lost the game. Good news for coach Matt Campbell is, Iowa State has a bye week this week to prepare for #20 Iowa.

Prediction: Iowa State edges the bye week.

Oklahoma State Cowboys

Oklahoma State’s offense looked impressive in week one, however, the same can’t be said for the defense. Spencer Sanders debut as QB1 went far better than expected. Sanders completed 19 of his 24 passes for 203 yards and three touchdowns. Sanders also rushed for 109 yards. Speaking of rushing, Chuba Hubbard dominated, rushing for 221 yards and three scores. Hubbard helped make Sanders job easier, and definitely helped Sanders ease into the game.

Tylan Wallace led in receiving with 92 yards and two touchdowns, but the group behind him impressed as well. Jordan McCray and C.J. Moore looked good in limited action. Landon Wolf and Dillon Stoner picked up where they left off from last season.

The defense got absolutely whipped in the first quarter. The line struggled to get pressure on quarterback Jake Luton, and in turn made the secondary’s job harder. Oregon State has a few playmakers on offense, but the performance was concerning. The good news is, the defense looked better as the night went on. They will need to improve more each week throughout the season.

Oklahoma State gets McNeese State in its home opener next week. Fans will get their first chance to Sanders live, and should also to get to see Dru Brown as well. I would like to see the offense continue the momentum and the defense to play with confidence and take strides against a bad team.

Prediction: Oklahoma State wins.

Texas Tech Red Raiders

Matt Wells started his tenure at Texas Tech with a big win over Montana State. Alan Bowman passed for 436 yards and two touchdowns. Wells might have a new talent at running back in Armand Shyne, who rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown. Xavier White led the Red Raiders in receiving with 107 yards and a score and T.J. Vasher added 72 yards. Texas Tech put this game away early and won 45-10.

As has been the theme in the Big 12 this week, another team beat up on a lesser opponent. There isn’t much to take from this game. Texas Tech will get UTEP at home in week two. It’s a step up from Montana State, sure, but Tech should boat race UTEP in this one. We’ll stay tuned for Big 12 play to see how the Red Raiders really look this year.

Prediction: Texas Tech wins big.

Baylor Bears

The first week of the season didn’t get off to a great start for the Baylor Bears when news dropped that their top recruit, Peyton Powell, was putting his name in the transfer portal. The news didn’t stop Baylor from dominating Stephen F. Austin 56-17. Charlie Brewer passed for 199 yards and three touchdowns and running back John Lovett rushed for 108 yards and a touchdown as Baylor scored the most points of any team in the Big 12 this week.

Next week Baylor will get UTSA at home in a game that shouldn’t be much different from its game against SFA last week. Much like nearly every other team in the Big 12, Baylor won’t get a true test until conference play when it opens with Iowa State at home.

Prediction: Baylor wins big.

TCU Horned Frogs

TCU opened with a 39-7 win over Arkansas- Pine Bluff at home. The Horned Frogs played two quarterbacks in the game. Max Duggan had the better showing, completing 16 of his 23 attempts for 165 yards and a touchdown. Kansas State transfer Alex Delton also played, completing 10 of his 22 attempts for 199 yards.

Duggan separated himself from Delton in the game, but that doesn’t mean TCU has their guy. At times Duggan looked wild, but it wasn’t a bad performance overall. Sewo Olonilua rushed for 50 yards but Delton led the team in rushing. TCU fumbled the ball seven times but only lost two. By all means it was a sloppy game from the Horned Frogs and Gary Patterson has a lot to figure out before conference play starts.

The good news for Patterson is he will have two weeks to work with his squad before they have to travel north to play Purdue. He will undoubtedly work on some ball security and also try to figure out a starting quarterback. Duggan should have the edge for now, but we will see how this team responds to playing a power five opponent on the road in two weeks.

Kansas State Wildcats

Kansas State wasted no time putting away Nicholls in its season opener. The Wildcats defeated Nicholls 49-14 as Skylar Thompson passed for 212 yards and a touchdown. James Gilbert led the team in rushing with 115 yards and a score and four different players had at least 10 attempts on the ground.

I keep repeating myself, but there’s only so much that can be taken from a game against Nicholls. It won’t get any better for Kansas State next when they take on Bowling Green at home. The Wildcats get Mississippi State on the road as a tune up for Big 12 play in two weeks, and that should be the first game when we get to know this team a little better.

Prediction: Kansas State wins.

West Virginia Mountaineers

West Virginia pulled out a win over James Madison 20-13 after trailing 7-3 at halftime. Oklahoma transfer Austin Kendall started at quarterback for the Mountaineers, passing for 260 yards and two touchdowns. Martell Pettaway led the team in rushing with 20 yards on nine carries. That is a major concern.

The offense was only able to hang 20 points on FCS James Madison. West Virginia trailed for the majority of this game and very well could have lost. Again, I was not able to watch this one, nor would I want to torture myself like that, but I can’t fathom how West Virginia couldn’t move the ball against JMU. West Virginia punted EIGHT times!! James Madison only punted five times! It’s looking like fans are in for a long season in Morgantown.

West Virginia travels to Missouri to take on the Tigers, who lost their opening game to Wyoming. Even still, Missouri should win this game. Wyoming might not be great, but West Virginia almost lost to James Madison.

Prediction: Missouri beats West Virginia.

Kansas Jayhawks

Kansas took down Indiana State, who hasn’t been relevant since Larry Bird, 24-17 at home. Carter Stanley passed for 241 yards and two touchdowns in the win. Andrew Parchment had 121 receiving yards.

At least the Les Miles era started with a win, but he has a lot of work to do in order to bring the program back from the dead. A seven point win over Indiana State isn’t much more inspiring than West Virginia’s seven point win over James Madison. At least the Jayhawks led the entire game.

Kansas will play Coastal Carolina at home this week in another game they should win. Just because they should win doesn’t mean they will win though.

Prediction: Kansas wins.

For those of you keeping score, West Virginia is the only team I have losing next week. Iowa State and TCU are both on a bye week. Though I didn’t write about, I had all 10 Big 12 teams winning last week. I’ll keep an updated season record right here.

Season record: 10-0

Big 12 Championship Game:

Oklahoma vs. Texas

Right now the best two teams in the conference are Texas and Oklahoma. There is still plenty of time for a few dark horse candidates to emerge, but we won’t know much more until conference play begins. I wouldn’t mind seeing a rematch of the Red River Rivalry in the Big 12 Championship Game for a second straight season. For now, I have OU winning and going back to the College Football Playoff.

Offensive Player of the Year:

Jalen Hurts: Oklahoma

The Heisman candidate put ridiculous numbers in his Oklahoma debut. What would be even more sweet than winning the Heisman would be beating his former team in the College Football Playoff. If OU gets a rematch with Alabama in the CFP, Hurts has the chance to finish the story of a lifetime.

Defensive Player of the Year:

Garret Wallow: TCU

Wallow started his junior campaign with 13 tackles and a sack to go with 3.5 tackles for loss after a stellar year last season. It can be tough to pick this award so early in the year, but Wallow should at least be on the short list of players contending for this award at the end of the season.

Big 12 Newcomer of the Year:

Jalen Hurts: Oklahoma

I hate giving two different awards to the same player, but if we’re being honest, Hurts will be the newcomer of the year. As the season progresses and if another deserving candidate becomes obvious, I will chose that player for this award. Spencer Sanders could very well be that guy, but Hurts is the obvious choice, so I am choosing him for at least one week to win the award.

Big 12 Freshman of the Year:

Jadon Haselwood: Oklahoma

The older receivers impressed and kept the top ranked freshman off the field for most of the night in Oklahoma’s season opener. Haselwood saw a little bit of action, catching two balls for 46 yards. As the season goes on, I suspect Haselwood will have a larger role in the Sooners offense.

Coach of the Year:

Lincoln Riley: Oklahoma

Once again I am going with the safe and obvious pick in week one. I could see a handful of other coaches winning this award. If Texas has a good year and wins the Big 12, Tom Herman could certainly be deserving. If Matt Campbell can help Iowa State recover from a poor week one performance, he would be another good choice, If any of the dark horse teams make the Big 12 Championship Game, Mike Gundy, Gary Patterson or Matt Rhule could all have a shot. At the end of the day, it’s probably going to Riley yet again.

Breakout Player of the Year:

Chuba Hubbard: Oklahoma State

Everyone knew Hubbard could play based on his performance at the end of last season, but after rushing for 221 yards and three touchdowns in week one, Hubbard looks like the best back in the Big 12, and one of the top backs in the nation. Expect big things out of Hubbard the rest of the season.