The Big 12’s week was supposed to be pretty dull, having just five teams in action, and only one conference game. With ISU romping on Thursday, TCU dominating a rivalry game, and OU winning easily in South Bend, everything was be going according to plan. That is, until Oklahoma State took the field. Yes, the Pokes dropped a stunner to a West Virginia club starting their third-string quarterback. Un-freaking-believable. Mike Gundy’s teams have a game like this every year, and it’s why no one takes Okie State seriously.
Hopefully this isn’t your first time checking out our stock report, but if it is, the above chart represents the league’s power rankings. Buying/holding/selling stock in a team is relative to preseason expectations, making a better bowl, or surprising the league and competing for a division title. Just because I’m buying a lot of stock in a program doesn’t mean I think they are better than the first-place school. It means the team is playing better than previously expected. Now that we are all in sync, let’s get after it!
Baylor – Idle
Oklahoma – The Sooners ticked off 450 yards; won the turnover margin three to zero; dominated time of possession by 11:30; balanced 31 passes to 42 rushes; and recorded a defensive score. Not a bad day at all. If you want to nitpick you could say the chip-shot field goals deep in Irish territory kept the game closer than it should have been. Still, it was a very impressive road win against a good (not great) Notre Dame team. Week five grade: A-
Texas Tech – Idle
Kansas State – Idle
Oklahoma State – For a team expected to compete for a league title and, if things broke their way, a national title, the Cowboys picked an interesting way to drop a game. Against WVU, who had been downright ugly all season, the Boys chose to shoot themselves in the foot. OSU outgained the Mountaineers and forced two turnovers, but it was all undone by sloppy play. 100 penalty yards, three turnovers (including one pick-six), and a lousy third down completion rate leave the Cowboys a lot to work on in the coming weeks. Week five grade: F
Texas – Idle
TCU – A nice win according to the scoreboard, but there are still some issues to work out. The Horned Frogs had two more turnovers and an uneven day rushing the rock. They were only 17% on third downs, and were held under 350 yards of total offense. TCU doesn’t need to win the Oklahoma game, but it needs to show me something convincing to prove it can impact the Big 12 race, if not live up to the preseason ranking. Week five grade: C+
Iowa State – The Tulsa win was nice since it got them into the win column, but let’s not kid ourselves. Four forced fumbles (three recovered) was a fluke occurrence. With a nine-game league slate the Cyclones won’t be able to dodge anyone. They travel to Tech, Baylor and Oklahoma. I don’t think a veteran-laden team could handle that, let alone a team breaking in as many underclassmen as ISU. Week five grade: B+
Kansas – Idle
West Virginia – You’re crazy if you think that the win over OK State signifies West Virginia’s triumphant return to relevancy. It was a nice win, but by no means did WVU out play their opponents. Their third starter of the season, Clint Trickett, was okay, but no revelation. The rushing attack was still atrocious and the schedule is still torturous. A road game against no. 17 Baylor and home contest against no. 20 Texas Tech represent the next two dates. Those games are then followed by long road trips to K-State and TCU. I could see the Mountaineers dropping all four of those games. As hard as it is to do, especially for the folks in Morgantown, let’s pump the brakes a little bit. Week five grade: A
Buy That Kid Dinner (if the NCAA allowed it)
Aaron Wimberly (RB, Iowa State) – This is going to be controversial, especially with the day Blake Bell had for the Sooners, but I really liked Wimberly’s game against Tulsa. ISU is one of the worst rushing teams in the nation, and was desperate for balance and Aaron delivered. He had 137 yards on 19 carries for a healthy 7.2 avg, with a long of 35. I’m not sure you can impact a game any more without scoring. What a day for the seldom-used junior. Well he won’t remain seldom-used for much longer if he keeps putting up those kind of stats.
Darwin Cook (S, West Virginia) – All due respect to Ishmael Banks, who had the 58 yard pick-six, but I am going with Cook. He, too, had an interception, but also recorded 8 tackles and broke up another pass. What a day.
Josh Lambert (K, West Virginia) – In a day with very few special team standouts, I will take Lambert’s timely kicks. He may have only been three for five on field goals, but they came at important times. His first kick of the day, the longest of the trio at 45, pushed the lead to 10. Then in the fourth, when it was a three-point game, he gave WVU a little breathing room with a 27 yarder. Finally, with 90 seconds remaining, he hit a 34 yarder to seal the victory.
Dunce of the Week
One of the many reasons Okie State dropped their game was a horrible day by their special teams. Kicker Ben Grogan and punter Kip Smith were terrible. Grogan missed both of his field goal tries, one of which was a 23-yard chip shot to tie the game. That’s inexcusable.
On paper, Kip Smith appeared to have a good day (10 punts, 379 yards, 4 inside the 20). But he had a ton of lost yardage for his team and put the defense in a hole. A 16-yard stinker that went out at the OSU 30 led to seven points on the short field. Smith also had a 13 yard punt, which went out at the OSU 43 again lead to seven points.
Plenty goes into kicking – the snap, the hold, the blocking, the kick coverage, etc. so this dunce cap goes to the units and not just the kickers. Their lackadaisical play could keep OSU from winning the league title, and most certainly will keep them from a national title. It’s a shame too, since this is the best OSU defense in the Mike Gundy era. You don’t have to be fantastic at special teams, but you must be proficient. Bad special teams will burn a team at some point in the year. Oklahoma State just got burned.