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Around CFB: Big 12 makes statement with Week Two victories

September 11, 2017
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It’s fun to ridicule the Big 12 because…well, because it’s the Big 12. It’s the league that boasted it crowns one-true football champion then named co-champs. It’s the 10-team conference that paid consultants to help identify expansion candidates and then decided not to expand.

It’s been dismissed as the least powerful of the Power Five conferences. But like it or not, the Big 12 is fighting back.

Oh sure, detractors can chuckle at Baylor’s 0-2 start with losses to Liberty and Texas-San Antonio. And Kansas football, in general, typically inspires guffaws.

But last week the lowly Big 12 made a statement that it must be taken seriously. Oklahoma beat No. 2 Ohio State in Columbus. TCU throttled SEC member Arkansas in Fayetteville. Hell, lowly Iowa State even took Iowa into overtime.

And here’s the really crazy part of it: For at least one week, the usually wide-open Big 12 played sound defense.
And here’s the really crazy part of it: For at least one week, the usually wide-open Big 12 played sound defense. TCU, Kansas State, Texas and Oklahoma State all allowed seven points or less last week. Oklahoma surrendered 16 to Ohio State. West Virginia gave up 20 to East Carolina.

Go ahead and question (most) of the competition, but any signs of defense are somewhat unusual in Big 12 country.

“We’ve been knowing we could play like this. We just had to put it all together,” Oklahoma cornerback Ogbonnia Okoronkwo told the Daily Oklahoman after the win over Ohio State. “We’re just going to use this as a template for what we can do every week.”

Perhaps, but the Sooners will play excellent defense all year. But the suggestion other Big 12 teams will continue to play effective defense might draw laughter.

But don’t laugh right now. The Big 12 currently has more teams (No. 2 OU and No. 9 Oklahoma State) ranked among the AP Top 10 than the SEC, which only has No. 1 Alabama. The Big 12 also has as many teams in the Top 20 (four) as the SEC.

Heisman Leaders


Here are the weekly Heisman ratings based on how I’d vote if the ballot was due this week:

1. Josh Rosen, UCLA, QB: Rosen followed up the amazing fourth-quarter rally he led against Texas A&M with a career showing against Hawaii. He passed for 329 yards and a career-high five touchdowns against the Rainbow Warriors. Through two games, he’s thrown for 820 yards and nine touchdowns.

2. Lamar Jackson, Louisville, QB: The ’16 Heisman recipient leads the nation with 1,010 yards of total offense. He was excellent, as usual, in a 47-35 victory over North Carolina in which he passed for 393 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 132 yards and three touchdowns.

Orchestrating the most impressive victory of the young season, Mayfield passed for 386 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-16 victory over No. 2 Ohio State.
3. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma, QB: Orchestrating the most impressive victory of the young season, Mayfield passed for 386 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-16 victory over No. 2 Ohio State. Mayfield has completed 46-of-55 attempts for 715 yards and six touchdowns.

4. Sam Darnold, USC, QB: Somewhat shaky in a season-opening victory over Western Michigan, he came back strong in a 42-24 victory over Stanford. Darnold passed for 316 yards and four touchdowns in the Trojans’ second victory.

5. Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State, QB: Rudolph has passed more than 300 yards and three touchdowns in victories over Tulsa and South Alabama. He needs a big performance against better competition. That comes this week against Pittsburgh.

Predicted College Football Playoff Participants

(After week 2)

1. Alabama: The defense has allowed 17 points in two games and ranks among the nation's top 10 in points allowed. So, what else is new?

2. Oklahoma: An impressive victory on the road against Ohio State demands the Sooners be included.

3. Clemson: The Tigers have not yet allowed a touchdown.

4. USC: The Trojans played like the team they were projected to be in a decisive victory over Stanford.

Week Two notes


John Reed/USA Today Sports Images Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham was sacked more than 10 times by the stout Clemson defense in Week Two. The Tigers allowed just 6 points.
• The old "irresistible force and the immovable object" scenario takes place in Louisville on Saturday. Clemson is second in the nation in total defense and fifth in scoring defense. The Tigers' strength will be tested by Louisville, which is fifth in the nation in total offense behind quarterback Lamar Jackson. Jackson is fifth in the nation in passing and 24th in rushing. Clemson sacked Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham seven times. The Tigers will have more difficulty chasing Jackson.

• Poor Fresno State…or more accurately, unfortunate Fresno State. The Bulldogs surely pulled in a pile of money for their 41-10 blowout loss to No. 1 Alabama last week. This week they’ll grab another pile for another blowout loss at No. 6 Washington.

• There is a real chance Baylor could go winless after opening with losses to Liberty and UTSA. This week’s opponent, Duke, is 2-0 and crushed Northwestern last week. Baylor’s best chance to win may be against Kansas. Or a team that has recently lost to Kansas.

• How many times does a defensive lineman get to score a touchdown? Once a season? Once a career? Don’t tell that to Mississippi State’s Jeffery Simmons, who scored two in last week’s game against Louisiana Tech. He recovered a blocked punt in the end zone and later rumbled 90 yards with a fumble for a TD.

• Two words of advice when facing South Carolina: Squib kick. Deebo Samuel has returned kickoffs for touchdowns in both of the Gamecocks’ games against North Carolina State and Missouri.

• Notre Dame struggles in close games. The Irish, which lost 20-19 to Georgia, lost seven games by eight points or less last season.
Discussion from...

Around CFB: Big 12 makes statement with Week Two victories

W
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AG
will be interesting to see which P5 conference gets left out of the playoff. It's not going to be the Big 12 this year
rgleml
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AG
There is a lot of football left to play. I am sure everyone remembers that we were in the BCS top 4 a little less than a year ago.
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