Big 12 Football: What We Learned in October


Oct 13, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Kenny Stills (4) holds up the golden hat after the game against the Texas Longhorns during the red river rivalry at the Cotton Bowl. Oklahoma beat Texas 63-21. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE

Two months, people. Two months. October has come and gone, and what a month for the Big 12. It is absolutely astonishing how fast things can change and people’s perceptions of teams can be altered in four weeks.

Let’s start with Oklahoma. The team that looked like it was on a downward spiral following the Kansas State loss. However, the Sooners bounced back from that defeat and Kansas State turned out to be really good, but we will get to that later.

Oklahoma was an intriguing team in October. They responded to their 24-19 loss to the Snydercats by winning in a place they haven’t done so in nearly a decade.

The Sooners went in to Lubbock, Texas and beat the Red Raiders. No, they just didn’t beat the Red Raiders, they destroyed them. Texas Tech, also, turned out to be somewhat better than people thought, but once again, I’ll save them for later.

The next week OU faced a Texas team that supposedly had one of the better defenses in the Big 12. 63 points later, the Sooners were once again a winner in Dallas.

Oklahoma would play their best game of the season against a mediocre Kansas team, but then had to battle the fifth-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish. College Gameday was on hand and the crowd was simply amazing. However, OU was beaten by a better team.

The Sooners showed us a lot in October. They looked like they were Buffalo Wild Wing bound, but Stoops’ team really turned it around. The offense started to click. The defense was getting valuable stops and forcing turnovers. Oklahoma was playing balanced football.

However, something went wrong against Notre Dame. Whether it was the play-calling, officiating, Manti Te’o, or the high pressure of impressing in front of a national audience, OU could not get the job done. Notre Dame seems to be the better team, and OU fans should not throw a fit over that.

Oklahoma has a lot to build on for the future and a national championship may have been too lofty of a goal. The Sooners did lack a lot of things this year. Including, but not limited to, depth at offensive line, experience at receiver, and a solid run defense.

All in all, we learned OU is a lot better than we thought they were in October. Not better than a Notre Dame team that is rolling. And not as tough as a Kansas State team that is still perfect.

October 20, 2012; Morgantown, WV, USA; Kansas State Wildcats quarterback Collin Klein (7) leaps over West Virginia Mountaineers safety Karl Joseph (bottom) on his way to scoring a touchdown during the second quarter at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

The Wildcats are really impressing. They slaughtered both West Virginia and Texas Tech and are still in the title hunt. Also, Collin Klein is at the top of everyone’s Heisman list. Who would have thought Kansas State would be this good? I mean I was one of the few people to put them as my second-ranked team in the Big 12 before the season, but Snyder has outdone himself so far.

Another coach that is doing big things is Tommy Tuberville. Kansas State ate Texas Tech’s lunch, but the Red Raiders appear to be the third-best team in the conference. Their defense shut down Geno Smith and West Virginia, and have one of the best defenses in the Big 12. They caught OU at a bad time and could not stack up with Kansas State, but Tech proved themselves this past month.

As for West Virginia. We learned they are a fraud. The Mountaineers looked cool putting up 70 on Baylor, but this team just does not have a defense. West Virginia was embarrassed by K-State in Morgantown, and I am sure it will not be the last loss for WVU. Geno Smith is a nice quarterback, and their offense contains many weapons, but life in the Big 12 is turning out to be tougher than expected for the Mountaineers.

As for the rest of the league, there isn’t much to say. Texas is not back. Oklahoma State has taken a big step back from their BCS bowl win last season. TCU finally had an identity at quarterback, but still struggling in their new conference. Baylor’s defense is horrible. Kansas, in general, is horrible. And Sooner fans will see how good Iowa State is this Saturday.

So with October in the books, the Big 12 title is practically in the hands of the Wildcats. Oklahoma still has an outside shot, but we will have to wait and see how November plays out. Should be a fun sprint to the finish line.