As crazy as it sounds, the Jayhawks may have the third toughest game in the league this week. As you know, I didn't bother to predict the league games last week, because it was a foregone conclusion that the league would go 11-1, with Baylor losing to Wake Forest. Only no one told Mike Sherman, so Texas A&M went ahead and lost to Arkansas State (Thanks for the lift, Ags). Unless something similar happens this week, there is truly no reason the conference should not go 12-0. Here's a look at the games, organized by difficulty of opponent:
OU v. Cincinnati
OSU v. Houston
KU v. Louisiana Tech
Texas @ UTEP
Texas A&M @ New Mexico
Texas Tech v. Nevada
ISU v. Kent State
Nebraska v. San Jose St.
Colorado v. Eastern Washington
KSU v. Montana St.
Baylor v. Kent State
Methzou v. SEMO State.
So there you have it, the BCS day and age of out of conference scheduling. I understand it – and I'm fine with it to an extent – but this is just ridiculous. The ratio of FCS:BCS opponents is 4:1.
As for this past week, with the overall opponent's strength not much great, it was pretty tough to find out much more than we already knew. However, we did learn some things, both good and bad.
First, the good:
Oklahoma – This is not a surprise to anyone and we still know almost nothing more than we did a week ago. But whenever a team scores touchdowns on 7 straight drives and only gives up 36 yards in an entire game, one tends to take notice. Consider me notified, Bob.
Texas – Again, no one expected them to be beaten by FAU, but I'm not sure anyone saw 52-10 coming. Since the day they hired Muschamp I've anticipated a whole new Texas team and if Colt can play half that well against a legitimate opponent, this team is going to be much tougher than imagined. Consider me excited for October 11th.
Oklahoma State - Of course I didn't see a second of this game and that is something I absolutely do not regret. Wazzu could have been absolutely pitiful. But I think we'll all be surprised if OSU doesn't have a good offense this year, so it's worth taking notice when they play a Pac-10 school on the road and only give up 13 points on 196 yards.
Now, for the bad…
Methzou – Look, that was a good win for them. Kudos to them for not only playing a legitimate, but also a ranked (even if it's not deserved) opponent in week 1. However, when you're season is set up to be a failure without a Big XII championship and has national title aspirations, you hold yourself to a higher standard. And when that higher standard is predicated on your improved defense (returning 10 starters)and said defense gives up 451 passing yards and 5 TDs to a running QB whose previous career high was 227, some red flags go up. If they can fix it, more power to them, but they've got some major work to do. William Moore may be a specimen, but blitzing rarely works when the offense knows its coming – and everyone in the building (as well as those in telespace) knew when he was coming.
Texas Tech – See above. Actually, they were even worse. I have not believed for one second that we'll see a good defense out of Tech and they did nothing Saturday to dissuade me. Aside from their usual offensive prowess (639 yards) this game was only 28-17 through most of the 3rd quarter and Tech threw in 18 penalties as well, so consider me unimpressed for at least one more week.
Texas A&M – I don't think I need to justify this one.
Baylor – More of the same.
And the ordinary…
Kansas – As with every first game of the season, you're bound to find out some things. But considering the opponent and the (presumed) game plan, we really didn't learn much here.
Nebraska – Well it was certainly a better start than Mike Sherman or Dick Rod, but allowing 24 to Western Michigan has to make the Husker fans worry. It was about this time last year that they were beating Nevada 52-7, so only time (and a legitimate offense) will tell.
Colorado – Yes, it's a "rivalry" game, but when said rival is Colorado State you really shouldn't have any trouble with them. And after halftime (21-14) the Buffs did not.
KSU – Obviously it wasn't a great win, but they knew that going in. What the purple should be happy with is Josh Freeman's line (18/24 for 246, 3 TD (2 more running), 0 INT).
ISU – This actually should probably fall under the 'good' category as it wasn't long ago that they were losing to teams not much better than South Dakota State. But I simply can't reward that win, especially when they only out-gained the Jackrabbits (awesome!) by 38 yards (388:350).
All in all, it was a pretty good week for the league. We didn't see anything spectacular, but aside from A&M, nothing went horribly wrong either. After a week of play I still believe there are: 4 or 5 teams that could play in and win a BCS game, and a solid 8 or maybe 9 that could compete in a bowl. I can't complain about that.
By the way, HAPPY MULLET WEDNESDAY!