You can’t always judge a book by its cover, and you certainly can’t form a final opinion on the outcome of a football season on the basis of a single game, especially if its the opening game on the schedule.
There were six winners and three losers in Week 1 of the 2013 Big 12 football season, and even the teams that won their season openers displayed some flaws in their attack that should cause the coaches of those teams some grave concern should the same problems exist when conference play begins. And for Oklahoma and West Virginia, who play Saturday in the first conference game of the new season, there isn’t much time to get the opening-game bugs worked out.
From the small sample provided in the Week 1 action, it would appear that Texas, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma are as solid as the prognosticators and college football pundits forecast in their plentiful preseason analyses, and Baylor may be even better than first thought – that is, if you consider tiny Wofford College to be a worthy football opponent. On the other side of the scale, Kansas State and Iowa State lost to FCS schools that compete in a division a cut below teams from Football Bowl Subdivision conferences such as the Big 12.
While both the K-State and Iowa State losses would have to be termed upsets, the reality is that North Dakota State, Kansas State’s opponent in the Wildcats’ home opener last Friday night, is the two-time defending FCS national champion, and most likely could defeat a number of schools who play at the next level of college ball. Ironically, the Bison of North Dakota State beat Kansas State at the Wildcats’ own game: controlling the ball and shortening the game. The winning drive came on an 18-play possession late in the fourth quarter that covered 80 yards and took eight minutes off of the game clock.
TCU, projected to be one of the top four teams in the conference this season in its second year in the Big 12, was one of the three conference teams that found themselves on the losing end of the score last weekend. But the Horned Frogs also were going up against a much more formidable opponent that the other two Big 12 teams that suffered defeat on opening weekend. Despite falling by 10 points to 12th-ranked LSU, one of the better football teams out of the always tough Southeaster Conference, TCU did not go down easily and looked worthy of all the preseason hype that places them among the Big 12 top teams this season.
First week 0r not, numbers always seem to tell a true story and often provide a very good perspective of what to expect down the line. Here is a dirty-dozen numerical assessment from the Big 12, reflecting on the opening week of action in the new college football season:
5 – Five of the nine games last weekend involving Big 12 teams featured quarterbacks from the conference making their first career start (Baylor, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Texas Tech and West Virginia).
8 – The number of wins Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops needs to become the winningest OU football coach in history, surpassing Barry Switzer.
19 – Big 12 teams scored 38 touchdowns in Week 1 of the 2013 season: 19 passing and 19 rushing.
20 – Under coach Bill Snyder, Kansas State had won 20 consecutive home openers in football before last Friday.
40 - Baylor has scored 40 or more points in 15 of its last 15 games, going back three seasons.
43 – Walk-on, true freshman quarterback Baker Mayfield of Texas Tech became the first QB in school history to complete 43 passes in his first game as a collegian. Mayfield was 43 of 60 for 413 yards and four touchdowns in his Big 12 debut last Saturday.
50 – The percent of Big 12 teams ranked in the top 30 of the national polls. The Big 12 is the only conference with 50 percent of its teams ranked in both major national polls.
71 – Demonstrating balanced offensive attacks, conference teams ran 324 running plays and 322 passing plays last weekend, an average of 71 offensive plays per team.
92 – The temperature reading at kickoff of the Iowa State- Northern Iowa game. That is the highest temp for a football game at ISU’s Jack Trice Stadium.
100 – B.J. Catalon, a sophomore running back for TCU, returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown against LSU. That is the second longest in TCU history.
125 – The leading rusher in the Big 12 after the opening week of action is a quarterback. J.W. Walsh of Oklahoma State rushed for 125 yard in 13 running attempts last Saturday in the Cowboys’ 21-3 win over Mississippi State.
715 – Total yards on offense produced by Texas in its 56-7 victory over New Mexico State last weekend. That is a school record, and is the fourth time in history the Longhorns have had over 300 yards rushing and 300 yards passing in the same game.