Big 12 Football Notes and Picks: Week Six
Baylor and Oklahoma State get the final open date of the Big 12 regular season this week. Beginning next week, there will be seven consecutive weekends with a full conference slate of five games. At least two teams will get their first league losses of the season on Saturday, as TCU – West Virginia and Texas – Kansas State meet with 1-0 conference records.
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There have been only 28 blocked punts in the FBs this year. Texas Tech is the only Big 12 team to suffer a rejection so far. Iowa State is one of just eight teams nationally, and the only Big 12 squad, to have not lost a fumble so this season.
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The Big 12’s average margin of victory in conference games of 12.2 is the smallest among the Power Five conferences. Whether that speaks to parity or mediocrity is likely up to the viewpoint of the reader.
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Oklahoma has not thrown an interception so far this year. The Sooners have attempted 120 passes to date, and have completed more than 76% of them, all to the correctly colored jerseys. Only four other FBS teams have not tossed a pick to date, including N.C. State, Alabama, Appalachian State and Georgia Tech.
The zero in the stat column contributes mightily to OU’s passing efficiency rating. The Sooners have an off-the-charts mark of 229.8, which is first nationally and 49 points clear of Oklahoma State’s 180.69 rating.
Iowa State (2-2 / 0-1) at Oklahoma (4-0 / 1-0)
Sat Oct 7 12:00 PM* FOX
Iowa State is showing better defensive chops, but until it decides to use its best players in featured roles on offense, it has little hope of springing upsets against teams above it in the Big 12 standings. Or in this case, far above it. OU might be looking ahead to the Red River Shootout next week, but even a lack of attention won’t be enough to give the Cyclones a reasonable shot at a road win. The Sooners methodically roll up another victory before heading to Dallas next week.
Texas Tech (3-1 / 0-1) at Kansas (1-3 / 0-1)
Sat Oct 7 12:00 PM FS1
Even with a respectable defensive line, Kansas doesn’t have the chops on that side of the ball to slow another prolific Red Raider offense. KU may try to slow the game some with its running attack, but are the gains it showed there against West Virginia due to improvement, or to WVU deficiencies? Even given the former, the Jayhawks will need 50 mph winds to slow Tech’s passing game. The Red Raiders get a double-digit win.
West Virginia (3-1 / 1-0) at TCU (4-0 / 1-0)
Sat Oct 7 3:30 PM FS1
Both teams are coming off bye weeks, providing chances to heal and retool, or regroup, in areas of concern. Number 23 West Virginia has a few more of those than the eighth-rnaked Horned Frogs, so the home team gets the nod in what has been an evenly-matched (3-3) series since the two teams joined the league.
Kansas State (3-1 / 1-0) at Texas (2-2 / 1-0)
Sat Oct 7 7:00 PM ESPN
The two toughest teams to get a handle on in the league so far meet up in Austin to provide some separation in evaluation, if not in the standings. Kansas looks like it can dominate time of possession and frustrate foes as usual, but might not be as stout defensively as it usually is. Texas was stymied a good deal of the time in its Thursday night win over Iowa State, but it was tough to pinpoint just one reason for the lack of points. First team to 24 wins? Texas sells out defensively to stop the run, and K-State can’t muster enough through the air to make the Horns pay. That result leaves each team with a 3-2 record, contributing more to the logjam in the middle of the league pack.
* All Times Eastern