An unscheduled off weekend made for some Big 12 football-watching in realtime. Here are my takeaways after Saturday:
— Is that Lincoln Riley or Billy Tubbs coaching Oklahoma? The Sooners can score with anybody yet the defense remains problematic. The secondary yielded 360 yards passing to a kid named Zeb and appeared almost allergic to tackling Hakeem Butler on a 51-yard touchdown.
At least the Sooners know they can rely upon Kyler Murray. Though not standing much taller than the Heisman Trophy, he features a dynamic arm and jets that turn every scramble into an Olympic sprint.
It’s a long way from now until Nov. 23, but that game in Morgantown against Will Grier portends something legendary.
— Does the Big 12 regret not inviting BYU yet?
— The league certainly regrets the replay crew missing an obvious safety during USC-Texas. Sam Ehlinger’s knee and elbow clearly were down before he stretched the ball out of the end zone in what could have been a momentum-changer before the half. (Then again, the way Ehlinger and Texas assumed control in the second half, maybe the Trojans were beyond help.)
— TCU’s third-quarter lead on No. 4 Ohio State vanished in a four-minute flurry during the third quarter. Nice effort by the Frogs, who ultimately were undone by a minus-3 turnover ratio. We’ll see how Gary Patterson gets his team revved up for next week’s Big 12 opener against the Longhorns.
— Oklahoma State has a 3-0 start behind new quarterback Taylor Cornelius, but it’s the new defensive coordinator who deserved Saturday’s game ball. Jim Knowles’ crew held Boise State to 1.1 yards per carry and registered seven sacks in a 44-21 victory.
Knowles came over from Duke after Cowboys coach Mike Gundy made the uncomfortable decision to fire longtime assistant Glenn Spencer. As offseason moves go, that’s been a peach. And Oklahoma State gets to enjoy Stillwater for yet another week before playing its first road game Sept. 29.
— Just another day in Lubbock as Texas Tech and Houston combined for 1,339 yards. The Red Raiders’ No. 2 QB Alan Bowman accounted for 605 passing yards, the most ever by a Big 12 freshman.
Said Kliff Kingsbury: “There’s an expectation at Texas Tech that started a long time ago that we’re going to play really good at quarterback and play really good on offense.”
That expectation works opposite for Texas Tech defenses, which is giving up an average of 590 yards in two games against FBS competition.
— Baylor dipped a toe into the pool of real-world scheduling by hosting its first noncoference Power Five opponent since 2008. The result was brutal — a 40-27 loss despite the fact Duke used its backup quarterback and endured a difficult travel schedule while fleeing Hurricane Florence.
— Kansas still resides at the bottom of the league, but we learned the Big 12’s worst program is 41 points better than the Big Ten’s worst. (Hey, Rutgers, it’s Jim Delany calling on Line 1.) By the way, lunch is on David Beaty, who nabbed a $100,000 bonus simply for beating a Power Five team.