Five weeks into the 2013 college football season, three Big 12 teams remain undefeated. The quartet of teams at the top of the Big 12 standings entering play last weekend became a trio this week, as Oklahoma State fell victim to surprising West Virginia on Saturday, which left the Cowboys with their first loss of the season after three nonconference wins.
While the Cowboys found the going extremely tough and not to their liking at host West Virginia, the other Big 12 school from Oklahoma, the Sooners, snapped a seven-game losing string to the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame that spanned 56 years, with a 35-21 win at Notre Dame, site of OU’s only previous victory over the Irish, which came back in 1956. The following year, in 1957, Notre Dame defeated Bud Wilkinson’s Oklahoma team 7-0 in Norman, which ended the the Sooners’ unprecedented and still unmatched 47-game winning streak.
Oklahoma’s win at Notre Dame raised the Sooners’ record to 4-0 and moved them up two spots to No. 10 in this week’s USA Today poll. They are 11th in the current AP poll. The Sooners share the top spot in the conference with 3-0 Baylor and 4-0 Texas Tech. Of the top four teams in the 2013 Big 12 football preseason coaches’ poll, defending co-champion Oklahoma is the only one with an unblemished record after the first five weeks of the season. Preseason favorite Oklahoma State has one loss, while, TCU and Texas have already suffered two defeats.
Baylor, which is averaging right at 70 points a game in its three wins, is the biggest surprise so far, not so much because they are 3-0, but the offensive dominance they have displayed in rolling up those three victories. Baylor’s explosive offense is scoring points at a record pace this season, averaging a touchdown every six minutes, or a point every 51 seconds, in its three wins.
This coming weekend, the Baylor offensive machine hosts West Virginia, which comes to Waco with a 3-2 record overall and a 1-1 mark in the conference after upseting nationally ranked Oklahoma State this past weekend.
Baylor head coach Art Briles had this to say after his team’s 70-7 rout of Louisiana-Monroe the weekend before last: “When you score defensive touchdowns, and you have the ability to score from an offensive standpoint (which they have aplenty this season), and you combine these two things, you’ve got a chance to put some points on the board.”
We should see some more separation between the contenders and the pretenders the next couple of weeks, with Oklahoma playing TCU and Texas the next two weeks and Kansas State visiting Oklahoma State this weekend and hosting Baylor the following weekend. Three weeks from now, Oklahoma State hosts TCU.
That brings us back to Week 6 and this week’s Big 12 Power Rankings:
Big 12 Football Power Rankings – Week 6
- Baylor Bears – Through the first three games, this team looks as if it can outscore anybody it goes up against. The Big 12 gauntlet will test that theory.
- Oklahoma Sooners – Notre Dame is not the same team it was a year ago, but warning to the rest of the Big 12: either are the Sooners.
- Oklahoma State Cowboys – Hard to count these guys out, even with an early loss. A more-focused Cowboys team could spell double trouble for the rest of the league the remainder of the way, especially with most of the big games at home.
- Texas Tech Red Raiders – With a favorable schedule the next three weeks, the Red Raiders could be 7-0 when it visits Oklahoma in late October.
- TCU Horned Frogs – The Frogs visit both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in two of the next three weeks. Their title chances will squarely rest on the outcome of those two difficult road games.
- Texas Longhorns – Not really sure which Longhorn team is going to show up from game to game. But if he doesn’t beat Oklahoma in two weeks, it is fairly clear that will be final nail in the coffin for the Mack Brown era in Austin.
- Kansas State Wildcats – The schedule has not been K-State’s friend this season, but history tells us that coach Bill Snyder will find a way to get things headed in the right direction before season’s end
- West Virginia Mountaineers – Saturday’s suprise win over a very goof Oklahoma State team showed us that the Mountaineers have a lot of life left in them and play with much determination at home.
- Iowa State Cyclones – The Cyclones won their first game of the season last week at Tulsa. The rest of the schedule won’t be nearly as enjoyable.
- Kansas Jayhawks – Charlie Weis’ bunch has already surpassed its win total for all 0f last season, when the Jayhawks were 1-11. The big question is: Can they win a conference game, or two, this season for the first time in three years? One, maybe.