The Big 12 is arguably, in my opinion, the most interesting conference in the country (after the SEC of course). After Week 1 of College Football being back, there is no clear-cut candidate for the best team in the Big 12. You have 3 teams that could all be vying for the conference. With an elite talent at QB and 2 of the best RBs in the nation, its sure to be an interesting season.
*Rankings are as per fellow Undrafted writer, Alex’s, Top 25
5. Oklahoma 1-0 (-3)
Oklahoma made a meal out of what should have been a walk in the park against Tulane. Oklahoma walked into the locker room at Halftime with a commanding lead of 37-14. This soon changed as Oklahoma could only muster a single field goal in the 2nd half while Tulane led an inspiring charge to bring the games outcome to only being separated by 5 points in Oklahoma’s favor.
One of the most worrying things I noticed with the Oklahoma performance is their offenses efficiency on 3rd down. With one of the nations top QBs, in Spencer Rattler (who many will remember from the Netflix series “QB1: Beyond the Lights”) and a collection of great receivers, one would think that the offence would be able to complete more than 3/12 on 3rd down. The Sooners running game could only gain 27 yards on 19 carries in the 2nd half which is also another worrying sign.
Oklahoma Key Player- QB Spencer Rattler
Heisman candidate Spencer Rattler’s performance is a tricky one. On paper, if you can look past the 2 interceptions, his performance doesn’t look all too bad. Stats show that Rattler completed 30/39 pass attempts, a 77% completion rate. He threw for 304 yards, threw 1 touchdown and also ran one himself into the endzone. What the stats don’t show is that on the 2nd play of the game Rattler launched a ball into double coverage looking for his receiver Mims which was picked out by Tulane’s Jadon Candy. All while Oklahoma RB Eric Gray was wide open! This was a problem last season for Rattler, making silly decisions like this, many had hoped that he had matured and learned over the offseason to overcome this. Although it doesn’t seem all too likely, but only time will tell.
Oklahoma’s MVP- Brkic (Kicker)
It’s a tad embarrassing when your best player in the game was your kicker, but such was the game for the Sooners. In fairness to the rest of the Oklahoma team, Brkic had himself the game of his career. He put away all 4 of his extra point attempts. He also smashed all 4 of his field goal attempts through the upright. 3 of those field goals were over 50 yards making Brkic the first Oklahoma kicker in history to make more than one field goal of 50+ yards in a game. Brkic came in clutch big time for the Sooners as if you take away those 3 50+ yard field goals, which could have easily been missed, then Oklahoma lose in their first game of the season.
Oklahoma’s Next Opponent- Western Carolina
The Sooners next game is at Home against the minnows of Western Carolina. This should prove an easy game for Oklahoma, a good thrashing of the Catamounts should be a great morale boost to the Oklahoma players after that shaky start to Tulane. It should also see Oklahoma keep their position in the Top 25.
13. Iowa State 1-0 (-6)
Much like Oklahoma, Iowa had a very shaky start to the season against a team they were expected to beat comfortably. Seems to be a theme within the Big 12. Although it wasn’t the best of games for the Cyclones they still prevailed against their in-state opponents, Northern Iowa, to a score of 16-10. Iowa State walked into the locker room at halftime with a lead of 13-10, thanks to two field goals and a TD by their star player, Breece Hall.
Much to the joy of Cyclone fans, the Northern Iowa offense wasn’t able to get going in the 2nd half. The Iowa State defense stood firm, culminating in the Panthers not scoring any more points. Although the game did go right down to the wire as Iowa State themselves could only muster a single field goal in the 2nd half. Northern Iowa had two possessions of the ball within the last 6 minutes, but couldn’t challenge the Iowa State defense to cause a huge upset.
Iowa State Key Player- RB Breece Hall
It was a fairly quiet game for the Iowa State running back. Hall was the Cyclones leading player last season with 1,572 yards and averaged 5.6 yards per carry. Breece Hall who has received preseason Heisman mentions was only able to rush for 69 yards on 23 carry’s against a team he was expected to torment with his ability. The versatility of Hall will be useful for the Cyclones as Hall can also be a threat as a receiver. He caught 4/4 of QB Purdys passes for a return of 31 yards. Hall continued his streak of 13 straight games with a TD by running home an all important Iowa State TD from 2 yards out.
Iowa States MVP- QB Brock Purdy
The pick for Iowa States MVP was a difficult one. There was no standout candidate, I was close to choosing their defense. I pondered on the question a while longer and came to the conclusion that the correct decision was Brock Purdy, the Iowa State QB. Purdy barely put a foot wrong in the game. Yes, his stats aren’t awe-shocking, but he done what was needed. He completed 21/26 passes for 199 yards and had 9 carries for 58 yards on the ground. Purdy had one impressive deep ball in the game to his receiver, Hutchinson, in the 1st Quarter for a nice 39 yard gain.
Iowa States Next Opponent- Iowa
Yet another in-state opponent for the Cyclones, but this time its against a much fiercer opponent in Iowa. This is a hugely important game for two teams that have playoff ambitions. The game for the Cy-Hawk Bowl should be a low scoring one with both teams having strong defenses. Breece Hall needs to show up for the Cyclones this week and I have a feeling that he will. Forget Ohio vs Oregon, this is the game to watch this week.
15. Texas 1-0 (+6)
It would be fair to say that Texas had the best game out of all of the Big 12 teams. They comfortably beat Louisiana-Lafayette, a team who went 10-1 last season, to a scoreline of 38-18. The Longhorns controlled the game throughout, scoring at least one TD in every quarter. The Texas defense was also able to hold the Rajun Cajuns to only two field goals in the 1st half.
The Texas offense really impressed me, being able to gain sizeable yards in the air and on the ground. The Longhorn offense was able to gain 435 yards, an impressive feat for any team. 265 of those yards was passing and 170 of them was rushing yards . The only stat you need to see that shows how good the Longhorns offense was their number of punts throughout the game.Texas only punted the ball 2 times. 2 TIMES! This is due in part to their efficiency on 3rd down, the Longhorn offense completed 66% of its attempts.
Texas Key Player- RB Bijan Robinson
The Longhorn star player, Robinson, had himself a great start to the season. Robinson much like his fellow Big 12 RB, Breece Hall, has been subject to early preseason Heisman talk. He is a very versatile player and can be utilized in the passing game just as much as the run game. The Texas RB was able to get 176 yards past the Rajun Cajun defense. In the run game he gained 103 yards on 20 carry’s. In the passing game Robinson caught 4 passes from Texas QB Hudson Card for a gain of 73 yards. One of the passes led to a Longhorn TD, which Robinson ran into the end zone from 18 yards out.
Texas MVP- RB Bijan Robinson
It was hard to look past the Longhorns star player as the main candidate for MVP. He was just an all round threat to the Louisiana-Lafayette defense as the above mentions. Robinson for his fantastic effort against Louisiana was able to snag Big 12 offense player of the week. If he has much more games like this he could be the leading RB in country come the end of the season
Texas Next Opponent- Arkansas
The Longhorns next game is on the road to Arkansas who compete in the SEC. Although Texas are favorites to win the match, Arkansas could spring a surprise on them if they’re not careful. Arkansas won their first game of the season against Rice with a comfortable score of 38-17 and scored 3 TDs in the 4th quarter. The key player that the Longhorns should look out for is Razorback QB, KJ Jefferson. Jefferson is a threat in his passing ability but also on the ground. He ran home 2 TDs against Rice.