Your “Big 12 is the best football conference” stat of the week: Nine of the 10 conference schools were either ranked or received votes in this week’s two national polls. Coaches AND media can’t both be wrong, can they? (Don’t answer that…)
1. West Virginia - The competition hasn’t been great, or average really, but keep this stat in mind as the high-flyin’ Mountaineers begin setting their sights on Big 12 opponents after taking on Scott Van Pelt’s terrible, but well-dressed, Maryland Terrapins this weekend: Since 2000, WVU is 77-3 when scoring 30 or more points. Also, when folks are bored because you don’t play anybody, they have to come up with full, in-season stories on Heisman hype.
“It’s off the charts. Even Pat White wasn’t given this kind of deference.” — WVU athletic director Oliver Luck, who watched his son, Andrew, finish second last year.
2. Oklahoma - My overall enthusiasm for K-State v. Oklahoma is tempered by: 1) It’s in Norman, where Bob Stoops has lost just three times in his career dating back to 1999; 2) It’s in Norman, where K-State hasn’t won since I was a college freshman (1997); 3) It’s in Norman, where ranked teams’ winning aspirations go to die.
“You’d like to see them like that every Saturday, but if you can’t be every Saturday, hopefully you will be this Saturday.” — OU head coach Bob Stoops, on the OU home crowd being ridiculously loud for K-State.
3. Kansas State - This is a nice, sometimes very nice football team. It will make fans happy most of this year. However, it’s not elite, and it’s not going to win in Norman. Show well in order to keep close to your current rankings spot, and get into the bye week before KU comes to Manhattan.
““I don’t know that we’ve been as competitive as I’d have liked.” — K-State head coach Bill Snyder on facing Oklahoma in the past.
4. Oklahoma State - Wes Lunt’s knee cap did its best to make watchers want to throw up, but while he works on getting the dislocation back together, it appears the Cowboys will be just fine (I feel like I’ve said that before…). OSU set a school record with 742 yards of total offense against La.-Lafayette with freshman J.W. Walsh. Talk about first-world problems.
”Well, I don’t know. ‘He took about 10 snaps all week. I don’t know what to tell you.” — OSU offensive coordinator Todd Monken responding to Mike Gundy’s question on what plays to call for Walsh.
5. Texas - I feel like I’m sitting on the edge of an Austin pool, legs in the water, but not yet wanting to get in completely. David Ash continues to impress, and he’ll get his first gigantic test against Oklahoma State after this week’s bye.
“We’ve got confidence. We’re not a great team, but we feel better about ourselves.” - Texas head coach Mack Brown
6. TCU - Well, jeez, Gary Patterson. That win against Kansas wasn’t very inspiring. TCU racked up almost 500 yards on KU, but fumbles and other various miscues left more points on the field than the 20 the Horned Frogs put on the scoreboard. I’m willing to call it nerves, and I’m also willing to call it pretty terrible. Regardless, the Frogs now get back-to-back weeks against Virginia and SMU to figure out an extremely thin running back situation before their Big 12 conference gauntlet truly begins.
“We’re down to one guy who has really played, so I’m not sure I can say I have confidence in that.” - TCU head coach Gary Patterson
7. Baylor - On the road for a Friday night game to take on a La.-Monroe team that has already beaten Arkansas and barely lost to Auburn? I think Baylor is head-and-shoulders better than either of those other teams, but still, careful, Baylor. Careful.
“You’re going to see two teams that are going to go out there and lay it on the line every snap. It’s going to be fast-break football like you’ve never seen before in terms of the speed of the game.” – La.-Monroe head coach Todd Berry
8. Iowa State - Take a week off, Cyclones. You’ve earned it, having started 3-0 in consecutive season for just the sixth time in school history and first time since 2000-01.
“We just have the confidence that I don’t think we ever had before, and that confidence, you are going to be playing faster, hitting harder and making more plays.” - ISU linebacker Jake Knott
9. Texas Tech - Quarterback Seth Doege leads the nation with 12 touchdown passes. See? That terrible non-conference schedule actually was good for something.
“I really don’t think we’ve been tested.” – Texas Tech senior cornerback Eugene Neboh, on the Red Raiders’ No. 2 nationally ranked pass defense.
10. Kansas - I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’m the only one not glowingly optimistic about KU after a scoreboard-close 20-6 loss to TCU. The defense was better, somewhat, but in the conversation of whether the defense is good because it got turnovers or it was opportunistic after TCU failed to hold on to the ball, I’m still of the opinion that the Horned Frogs were just uncharacteristically bad for a day. Moving forward, the Jayhawks get James Sims back, but if your head coach doesn’t like to run the ball, how much will that matter?
“A lot of times, when a player leaves, it’s, ‘Well, they need me, they need me.’ Well, he’s sitting in the stands those games watching those guys run the ball pretty well then he’s starting to question, ‘I wonder if they need me.’” – KU head coach Charlie Weis, on Sims having to earn snaps over KU’s other running backs