Week three is in the books, and what a week it was. Teams who I thought had no shot made it interesting and Oklahoma proved why they are the top dogs in this conference. I have been impressed early on this year by the performances of the underclassmen who have shined despite some of the bright lights turned their way. I believe the Big XII is headed back towards it place as a top tier NCAA conference and it may come sooner than expected. Bold prediction of the week: OU will be number 1 nationally by the end of the year. Without further ado:
1. #4 Oklahoma Sooners (3-0)
I would like to start off with a soft boast regarding their game versus Tennessee. Amongst friends (and I have proof), I predicted a 34-17 victory for the Sooners. I knew OU was good and I felt they would win this game much easier than I think was expected, but they just absolutely reminded me of the dominate days of the early 2000’s. The defensive and offensive lines on this team may be the best in the nation and they have a sophomore at QB. They play defense and have an offense that can hang and will hang numbers on people. Of course this is the NCAA and anything can happen, but I expect this team to dominate all year. Next week could be that scare as they travel to Morgantown to face an up and coming WVU team playing with all sorts of confidence.
Next Game: @ West Virginia (2-1)
2. #7 Baylor Bears
I had heard some people state that Buffalo would be close early then Baylor would pull away late. We do realize by now that these aren’t your father’s bears right? This isn’t the same team that used to have to score 50 to win by 3. This team plays defense and then put 60 on you. 35-0 and Byrce Petty wasn’t even a concern in Bear Nation by halftime. Next week Baylor travels to Ames to open up their Big XII campaign. ISU has shown some great heart the last two weeks, but Baylor will enter and win with some ease. I do sense though this will be the best team Baylor will have played up to this point as the competition stiffens over the next few weeks and this will be a good opening test on the road.
Next Game: @ Iowa State (1-2)
3. #20 Kansas State Wildcats
Bye week and it is welcomed as they prepare to host #5 Auburn this Thursday night in Manhattan, KS. This will be an extremely tough test for a gritty team and I would like to believe they will keep it close, but that is up to the play of Jake Waters and the KSU offense. If they play like they did for 3/4 of the game at ISU, they will lose this game by 20. If they play consistent, then watch out…it wouldn’t be their first stunner.
Next Game: vs #5 Auburn (2-0)
4. #25 Oklahoma State Cowboys (2-1)
Rebuilding year what? Not in Stillwater as these cowpokes continue to show why they will be a force to be reckoned with this year. They demolished a UTSA team that has beaten a good Houston team and lost to a good Arizona team. They will continue the steam roller next week vs TT as the team in Lubbock look to be falling apart at the seams. My only concern about the Cowboys thus far is the injuries that are starting to pile up. That could effect them down the road as they play the stronger teams in the conference. I expect them to be healthier though by that time. Watch out Big XII, Gundy and his crew are coming.
Next Game: vs Texas Tech (2-1)
5. TCU Horned Frogs (2-0)
Wow. That is pretty much all I can say after watching TCU dismantle Minnesota this past weekend. Of course it is the Big 10 and we all know the direction they are heading this year. Treyvon Boykin is legitimate and has shown incredible strides in maturity as a QB. He can throw lasers and most likely is faster than a laser. If TCU continues to win and put up numbers, it wouldn’t shock me if he crept into the Heisman conversation. They get one more softie after their bye week before they embark on the Big XII season.
Next Game: Bye
6. West Virginia Mountaineers (2-1)
500 + passing and 40 points versus a rival and it’s only the second prolific day in school history for WVU. After going up big on Maryland (Big 10), they slowly allowed the Terrapins to creep back in and make this a much closer game than needed. If they played as well as they did versus Alabama, then they win by 24, but they rather win on a last second field goal instead. Holgorsen and WV will need to tidy up their defense if they hope to upset OU this weekend at home. If they can score and put real pressure on their visitors then WVU has a legitimate chance of upsetting my Playoff representative Oklahoma.
Next Game: vs #4 Oklahoma (3-0)
7. Texas Longhorns (1-2)
If only the game was 2:00 shorter then Texas would of pulled off the improbable upset of the year in taking out National favorite UCLA. This team grew up mightily and quickly Saturday night and it was evident that this program is heading in the right direction. After last week’s undressing at the hands of BYU, Texas showed why they could win in the Big XII over the next few years and be legitimate NC title contenders. Strong has his handprints everywhere and that is a good thing Austin…trust me. They should handily (I say that cautiously) beat KU in two weeks and start their conference play off on the right foot.
Next Game: Bye
8. Texas Tech Red Raiders (2-1)
“Can you please tackle somebody?!” I heard that phrase far too often regarding the Texas Longhorns the past year and now it seems the staff has been passed to their rivals Northwest. My source inside Lubbock has spoken of displeasure with Kliff and the direction this program is heading in. From my vantage point—it doesn’t look good. I will pull the reins in a bit given he only has one recruiting class under his belt, but it has to be worrisome to the fans of TT that they do not look like they are improving. Now they have to head to Stillwater and face another great rushing attack in OSU, who can also sling the ball whenever they please. I hate to say this, but this will be a long year in Lubbock.
Next Game: @ #25 Oklahoma State (2-1)
9. Iowa State Cyclones (1-2)
Have I mentioned how much I love Paul Rhodes? This guy gets his team to play harder and heartier than many teams across the nation. He is beloved in Ames and I believe he will have a winning program there one day. They went to Iowa and beat the Big 10’s dark horse. They beat their biggest rival and continued to look improved doing so. I believe that ISU will be a tough win all year for the conference, and they may even pull off an upset or two. Unfortunately they host Baylor this week, and it will be tough for this group to hang with one of the nations best programs at the moment.
Next Game: vs #7 Baylor (3-0)
10. Kansas Jayhawks (1-1)
Kansas fans must be rolling their eyes. Duke is good, but are they 41-3 better than Kansas? Apparently so and I don’t see the future getting any brighter in Lawrence. Charlie Weis is not the answer and he hasn’t been at any program thus far. They host a smaller school this week, and if they don’t win, then they may not win another game this year. Bleak is an understatement for Jayhawk fans.
Next Game: vs Central Michigan (2-1)
Follow Justin on Twitter: @JustinNeely