There is a lot of talk these days about the parity in college football. A prime example of that is apparent in the current Big 12 standings. Texas Tech is already bowl-eligible with six straight wins to start the season, and Baylor, which just a few years back was considered the doormat of the league in football, is just a half-step behind, at 5-0, and leads the nation in scoring and total 0ffense.
Flipping things around, perhaps an even better example of the balance that exists this season in the Big 12 is to see Kansas State, the defending co-champions, at the bottom of the standings, still seeking its first conference win after three losses. The Wildcats’ three league losses in as many games this season equals their total losses in Big 12 play over the previous two years, when they went a combined 15-3.
Baylor didn’t reach its 70-point scoring average in defeating K-State on Saturday, but 35 points was enough to secure a 10-point victory and preserve the Bears’ undefeated season thus far. The Bears’ produced 451 yards of total offense against the Wildcats, an impressive total for any team, but this was 300 yards under their 790 yards-per-game average.
The Las Vegas oddsmakers had 12th-ranked Oklahoma as a two-touchdown favorite over Texas on Saturday in the annual Red River Rivalry. The Vegas brain trusts had the margin of victory correct, just not the right team. Texas dominated the Sooners and pulled off a 36-20 upset win that should save coach Mack Brown’s job at least until the end of the season.
One of the statistical oddities that stood out in the OU-Texas matchup was in time of possession. The Sooners lead the Big 12 in possession time, averaging 32 minutes a game through six contests. On Saturday, Texas held the ball for 10 and a half more minutes than Oklahoma and ran 23 more plays (82 to 59).
While Kansas State fans are no doubt commiserating over the Wildcats’ three conference losses in as many games, you can imagine what the feeling is among the Kansas faithful, who haven’t experienced a conference win in three seasons – or 23 consecutive games, if you are actually counting. The Jayhawks’ last win against a conference opponent was a 52-45 victory over Colorado, which is no longer in the Big 12, on Nov. 6, 2010.
Here are a dozen more fun facts and figures reflecting on Big 12 football seven weeks into the 2013 season:
4 – Number of Big 12 teams ranked in the top 25 nationally this week, according to the AP poll (Baylor 12, Texas Tech 16, Oklahoma 18, Oklahoma State 21).
10 – Oklahoma’s consecutive-games winning streak over Big 12 teams before losing to Texas on Saturday.
17.0 – Kickoff-return average by Baylor. The Bears are leading the Big 12 in most every major offensive statistic, but they are last in the league in average kickoff-return yardage.
20 – Number of times Texas Tech has been bowl eligible (at least 6 wins) in the last 21 seasons. The Red Raiders are already bowl eligible this season.
22 – Iowa State is 1-4 on the season following a 42-35 loss to Texas Tech on Saturday. Those four losses are by a combined 22 points
28.2 – Opponents’ third-down-conversion rate vs, the Texas Tech defense this season (29 of 103), best in the Big 12.
31 – TCU has won 31 of the last 36 home games at newly remodeled Amon G. Carter Stadium, but last Saturday’s win over Kansas was its first home victory as a member of the Big 12
32 – Interception return yardage by Kansas junior JaCorey Shepherd, in returning his first career interception for a touchdown against TCU.
52 – Career field goals by Oklahoma junior Michael Hunnicutt in 60 attempts, an OU school record.
85 – Texas’ Daje Johnson returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown Saturday against Oklahoma, the longest punt return for a TD by the Longhorns since 2005.
53.4 – Average length in yards of 22 career touchdown catches by Baylor wide-receiver Tevin Reese, who caught two TD passes on Saturday vs. Kansas State.
1991 – The last time Baylor started the season 5-0.