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Tag:Kansas
Posted on: November 5, 2011 3:34 pm
Edited on: November 5, 2011 3:35 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Texas 52 Texas Tech 20

Posted by Tom Fornelli

TEXAS WON. For the second week in a row the Longhorns looked dominant against an opponent. Last week it was Kansas on the other end of a beatdown, and this week it was Texas Tech's turn. The trio pictured to the right -- Fozzy Whittaker, Joe Bergeron, and D.J. Monroe -- did most of the damage for Texas on Saturday, as the Longhorns rushed for 416 yards and 6 touchdowns, averaging 8.2 yards per carry on the day. 

WHY TEXAS WON. Simply put, Texas Tech just couldn't stop the Texas rushing attack. Bergeron finished with 191 yards and 3 touchdowns, and Whittaker had 83 yards and 2 touchdowns. Hell, even wide receiver Marquis Goodwin picked up 45 yards rushing on 2 carries, as he just wanted to get his hands on the ball considering Texas only threw 9 times in 63 plays on offense.

WHEN TEXAS WON. When Joe Bergeron scored his first touchdown of the day with 1:46 left in the first half to give Texas a 31-6 lead, there was no reason to believe the Red Raiders would mount any kind of comeback in the second half considering they hadn't stopped Texas once in the entire first half.

WHAT TEXAS WON. The respect is coming back. While Texas is not on the same level as either of the Oklahoma schools in the Big 12 -- which their two losses showed -- there's a chance that Texas may be the third best team in the Big 12 conference. In fact, if the Longhorns play like they have the last two weeks on both sides of the ball for the rest of the year, then I wouldn't be shocked to see the Longhorns finish third in the conference and go to the Holiday Bowl. Not a terrible end to the season after what took place in 2010.

WHAT TEXAS TECH LOST. What isn't Texas Tech losing at this point? The program was on a high two weeks ago after beating Oklahoma, but even in that game it had to hold on to dear life after blowing a 31-7 lead. Since then it's been blown out at home by Iowa State and now was manhandled by Texas. Tech is now 5-4 on the season and needs another win to get to a bowl game, but with Oklahoma State, Missouri and Baylor left on the schedule, there's no guarantee they'll get it.

THAT WAS CRAZY. The Texas offense had 10 possessions on Saturday, and scored on 8 of them. The only 2 possessions that Texas didn't score on? Those were stopped by halftime and the end of the game.
Posted on: October 31, 2011 4:54 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 10:08 am
 

In defense of the Oklahoma State defense



Posted by Tom Fornelli

When you look at the top three teams in the BCS rankings right now, LSU, Alabama and Oklahoma State, most people would tell you that the difference between those three teams is that LSU and Alabama have impenetrable defenses, which would make either one a favorite against Oklahoma State in a title game, should it come to that.

Well, that's not entirely fair to the Oklahoma State defense, because it's a unit that is a lot stronger than it looks. On the surface people will see a unit that is giving up 26.5 points a game, which is good for 62nd best in the country. Compare that to Alabama's 6.1 points against per game -- best in the nation -- and LSU's third-best 11.5 points against per game, and the comparison just seems silly.

Here's what you might not know, though. Yes, you've probably heard that the Oklahoma State defense leads the nation in takeaways (29) and turnover margin (+19). That's played a huge role in Oklahoma State's success this season, but the Cowboys defense does more than just take the ball away from you. Believe it or not, it keeps you off the scoreboard as well.

On the whole, Oklahoma State has given up 212 points this season. Which is quite a bit, but did you know that 110 of those points have come after Oklahoma State has already built a lead of 25 points or more?

That means 52% of the points the Cowboys have allowed this season have come after the outcome was essentially decided.

In the season opener, 31 of Louisiana-Lafayette's 34 points came after Oklahoma State had already built a 31-3 lead. Tulsa scored 27 points after Oklahoma State had built a 45-6 lead, and the Cowboys had a 35-7 lead against Kansas before the Jayhawks tacked on another 21 meaningless points in a 70-28 loss. This past weekend Oklahoma State was up 42-0 on Baylor before the Bears finished the day with 24 points.

So the majority of the points scored against Oklahoma State's defense has been when the Cowboys have called off the dogs and starting substituting for players on defense. In fact, there's only been two games this season in which a team scored more points against Oklahoma State in the first half than it did in the second half. Those two games were the epic comeback against Texas A&M and the win over Missouri.

In the first half of games opposing quarterbacks are completing 56.4% of their passes with 3 touchdowns and 7 interceptions for a QB rating of 103.96. In the second half those numbers grow to a 63.1% completion rate with 6 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a rating of 126.38.

So, yes, the Oklahoma State defense does give up a lot of points. It's just too bad that most of those points have come after the game was already over. So you might want to reconsider the notion that this weekend's game between LSU and Alabama is a default national championship, because Oklahoma State isn't going to just step out of the way.
Posted on: October 31, 2011 12:19 pm
Edited on: October 31, 2011 1:01 pm
 

Surveying the Field: Reviewing Week 9



Posted by Bryan Fischer


As much as Saturday's classic battle between Stanford and USC was about Andrew Luck's Heisman hopes and the Cardinal's national title dreams, it was hugely important for the man pacing the home sideline with a laminated playcard.

Yes, USC lost, there's no denying what really matters and what the game will represent in the media guide years for now. But, when combined with the way the Trojans beat Notre Dame last week and their inspired-but-not-quite-good-enough play against Stanford, I think we can finally come to one conclusion about Lane Kiffin that we couldn't beforehand: he can coach. We're still not sure if he can win quite yet, but the question marks about his coaching abilities have been answered.

Given his record, 12-21 with the Oakland Raiders and at Tennessee, it was easy to be skeptical about Kiffin. His resume had an impressive collection of jobs before he turned 34 but he still couldn't shake the label that he was riding on the coattails of his father Monte and Pete Carroll. The NCAA violations and brash nature while with the Vols only enhanced negativity. Last season's 8-5, 5-4 in the Pac-10, record didn't answer any questions. He was blown out by Oregon at home and lost to a lowly Oregon State team in Corvallis on top of three losses by seven points. His offensive unit was good but struggled at times. Jokes about him firing his father for the Trojans' defensive woes had some truth behind them.

2011 wasn't a make or break year but it was important to Kiffin and the USC program as a whole to take another step back to where they were under Carroll despite being under the cloud of NCAA sanctions. The disrespect was evident when the Trojans were a nine point underdog in South Bend despite the Irish's penchant for turning the ball over in big games.

As celebrated as Brian Kelly was in his first season, he came into the game with a 12-7 record while Kiffin was one game better at 13-6 at USC. The tone was set early last week with an impressive opening drive to quiet the Notre Dame crowd and the Irish were never really back in the game after that.

Afterward, Kiffin was elated in the locker room and was extra happy to ruin a game Kelly had built up to be the Super Bowl for his team. He acknowledged it was the biggest win since he arrived in Los Angeles and he was right, in his second season he finally had a marquee victory.

Coaches and players vehemently dislike the term 'moral victory' because they understand the bottom line: you still lost. Still, there are plenty of positives in defeat and we learned a few about USC this week after the three overtime loss to Luck and the Cardinal.

The defense is not terrible like we thought it was. It's not great by any stretch but the defensive line can put pressure on the quarterback, the linebackers are quick enough to make plays in space and the secondary is young but rounding into form. On offense, Matt Barkley and Robert Woods have something special going on, the offensive line has exceeded expectations and the running game has come into its own the past few weeks.

USC didn't win on Saturday but they came close and that counts for something against a team that had reeled off 10 straight wins by 25 or more points. Luck, the best quarterback in the country by far, looked human at times and the USC offense looked like it was on the cusp of being great.

Lane Kiffin will still be thought of negatively, especially in the South, but he's answered a few of his critics' questions this season. He can coach and he can coach offenses that put up points. Now is the time to win the big, big game that his predecessor was known for. Kiffin's insistence after the game about calling out the referees for the final play of regulation - "They lied to me," he said Sunday - knowing that a reprimand from the Pac-12 was coming was taken by some to be whiny but I saw what some of his players did - that he'd fight for them until the battle could no longer be won, and even a little more. Even in retrospect, his play call of a tunnel screen to Woods doesn't look as terrible as it was when you consider he had two timeouts and the play was designed to go up field.

The last time USC lost a triple overtime game to a Bay area team they went on a historic run. No one is saying the same will happen under Kiffin, especially as the program begins scholarship reductions this season, but it's a good omen.

Last Saturday the Coliseum was rocking, the team was playing well and the coach wasn't a question mark. Kiffin can coach, now it's time to see if he can win big games.

Stat of the week

Via the Associated Press, Texas Tech is second team since 1989 (when the AP Poll expanded to 25), to go from no votes to ranked to no votes in three weeks. The other was Washington after they beat USC in 2009.

Stats of the week

- Five Big 12 teams are ranked 90th or worse in total defense, complete with Kansas being the worst in the country giving up 555 yards and 49.5 points per game. That might explain why three of the top five passers in the country are from the conference. The Jayhawks also only had 46 yards of total offense this week.

- Two candidates for most disappointing team of they year, Texas A&M and Notre Dame, are 110th and 118th respectively in turnover margin.

- Despite running so much, Georgia Tech is a third-down machine. They have the fifth-most third down attempts in the country yet are converting on 57.6% of them, best mark in the country by nearly 2%.

- The much maligned Michigan defense has taken a leap in several categories under Greg Matison but perhaps the most important: they lead the country in red zone defense. The Wolverines have only allowed 13 scores all year from inside the 20.

- If you had to guess who leads the country in time of possession, you'd probably start with a Georgia Tech or an Army. It's actually Texas, who holds onto the ball for over 35 minutes per game.

- After facing Oklahoma State, Baylor's defense dropped from 97th in total defense and 101st in scoring defense to 108th and 115th. Missouri went from 29th and 25th in the two categories to 51st and 46th. Texas went from 24th and 47th to 30th and 56th. Bottom line, your defense won't look too good in the stats after facing the Cowboys.

- Auburn is 289-4 all time when scoring 30-plus points. One reason why Gus Malzahn is being paid $1.3 million a year.

- This is the first time Georgia has beaten Florida and Tennessee in the same year since 1988. There are only three players on the Bulldogs' roster that were born before then. The Gators' four game skid is the first of any kind at the school since 1988 and first in the SEC since 1979, when head coach Will Muschamp was eight.

Yard-by-yard

- It was only a matter of time before the Manhattan Miracle came to an end. Oklahoma had been shocked the week before by Texas Tech and Kansas State was the unwitting opponent they took it out on. Landry Jones threw for a school-record 505 yards and five touchdowns, impressive considering the quarterbacks that have been churned out under Bob Stoops recently. His favorite target, Ryan Broyles, also moved into first place on the Big 12 career receiving list. Not all was crimson Saturday however, as running back Dominique Whaley fractured his ankle on the very first play of the game. Though overwhelmingly a passing team, the balance that the running game had with Whaley will be missed unless the Sooners find someone to step up. Kansas State will have to regroup after the Big 12's previously top-ranked defense was shredded by Jones. They rallied in the second quarter but that was about the only time the Wildcats could get something going.

- Say what you want about Oklahoma State's 111th ranked defense but they bottled up Robert Griffin III, shutting Baylor out in the first half and allowing just one score in the red zone all game. The 622 yards allowed is concerning but they allowed a good chuck of the yards when the game was well out of hand. It seemed like the Cowboys were going to be locked in a tough one once the Bears drove down to the one-yard line on their first drive but the defense held and the offense drove 99-yards for a touchdown to set the tone early. After that, it was like Mike Gundy's squad was shot out of a cannon. Particularly impressive was running back Joseph Randle, who had 152 yards and four touchdowns to lead a rushing attack that rolled up over 300 yards for the first time in over two years. It's hard to look at the Cowboys and see anybody but Oklahoma stopping them from booking a trip to New Orleans.

- It seems to happen every game but it does seem concerning that Oregon led Washington State by only five points before taking care of business in the second half in a 43-28 win. The big news was the return of LaMichael James and Darron Thomas, who both started. James ran for 53 yards and wore a brace after dislocating his elbow a few weeks ago. Thomas was a little shakier, tossing two interceptions before being pulled for backup Bryan Bennett. Was it rust? Hard to say but you can't say it wasn't a factor after being limited in practices the week before. There's likely not much of a quarterback controversy but there's no question the Ducks need Thomas at 100% if they want to beat Washington, Stanford or USC. Freshman De'Anthony Thomas was a bright spot, perhaps extra bright in Oregon's yellow "bumblebee" uniforms, taking a kickoff 93-yards for a touchdown and scoring on a 45-yard pass.

- People joke about Case Keenum putting up video game numbers in Houston's offense but that's exactly what he did Thursday, throwing NINE touchdown passes as the Cougars routed Rice 73-34 despite the rainy conditions. It wasn't the start Keenum and the offense wanted, with an interception and having a fumble returned for a touchdown to put themselves in an early hole. But then the rain seemed to lighten up and the record-setting quarterback took over from there. His fifth touchdown toss moved him past former Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell to set the FBS-record for career TD passes and he proceeded to throw four more just for good measure. "Those are video game numbers, something we couldn't get stopped," Rice linebacker Justin Allen said. "The rain slowed down a little bit ... I wished it would have rained all game. It stopped, and they got things cranked up. There was no looking back for them." Keenum should set another record next week with 267 yards to become the FBS leader in career passing yards. Undefeated and somewhat untested, it looks like Houston is on their way to a special season. They have serious issues on defense but the offense will continue to put up eye-popping numbers.

- Tom O'Brien's hot seat status is fiery hot right now after losing to Florida State 34-0. The Wolfpack managed only 166 yards on offense and were shutout for the first time in three years. They weren't just beat by FSU, they were pushed around like they were Duke. T.J. Graham, one of the few bright spots for N.C. State this year, was bottled up and held to just 116 all-purpose yards. Given the way he handled the Russell Wilson situation and the way the season has gone, don't be surprised when there's a second coaching search going on in the triangle during the offseason (UNC being the other).

- It's time to give JoePa props for coaching Penn State to an 8-1 record. The defense, of course, is the story and the backbone of the team, shutting out Illinois for three quarters but the Nittany Lions had just enough on offense to get by with a 10-7 win. It was a sloppy affair for both teams but Joe Paterno picked up win No. 409 to move become the winningest coach in Division I. They are the ultimate Rodney Dangerfield "No respect" team right now.

- Is there a team more bipolar than Syracuse? A week after throttling West Virginia at home, the Orangemen looked terrible against Louisville, losing 27-10. They beat Toledo thanks to an officiating error, barely lost to Rutgers and barely beat Tulane, then have alternated between great and horrible the last two weeks. They certainly look like they're going to another bowl game this year but if you're Doug Marrone, you have to be concerned with the lack of consistency. On the other side, Louisville posted back-to-back Big East wins for the first time since 2006 and are still in the thick of things in the muddled conference race. Teddy Bridgewater continues to progress and this young team is making steady progress.

- As a few people joked on Twitter, Missouri proved that an SEC East team can beat an SEC West team with the Tigers 38-31 overtime win against Texas A&M. Any joy Aggie fans have over the move to a new conference is being ruined by their team's play on the field, blowing a 14 point lead at home this time around after doing the same against Arkansas and Oklahoma State. Missouri is better than their .500 record suggests and Henry Josey has been a revelation at the running back spot - so much so that he looks like the all-Big 12 pick at his position. James Franklin still makes a bone-headed play from time to time but the offense is still better than expected with the first-time starter running the show. Still, what once was a season of promise for Texas A&M has been anything but and doesn't get better with a trip to Norman.

- Impressive game by the Blackshirts as Nebraska muzzled Michigan State's offense in a 24-3 win in Lincoln. NU defensive backs turned in their best game of the season, being physical off of the line and forcing Kirk Cousins into missing all but four of his first 16 passes. He finished the day with just 86 yards a week after a 290 yard, three TD performance. Taylor Martinez and Rex Burkhead paced the Cornhuskers' offense and looked like they are finally earning their ranking with a dominating win.

- Iowa, really? Minnesota is one of the worst teams in the country and you lose 22-21? There's not much to explain really. The same goes for Texas Tech, getting trounced at home by Iowa State. CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman was in a state of disbelief everytime he checked the score of either game and that pretty much sums up what everybody else was thinking.

- Late in the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party (which the politically correct will know is Georgia-Florida), SI.com's Andy Staples and I both turned to each other and said that the Bulldog's four point lead would be insurmountable for the Gators offense to overcome. Special teams was another story but the offense? It just couldn't move the ball for their life. The personnel just isn't there to give them any schematic advantage. Hats off to Mark Richt though, who has won six straight and certainly helped his cause.

- Was shocked to see that Texas ended a FIVE game losing streak at home against Kansas this week. It's not saying much against that Jayhawks defense but the Longhorns still rushed for an impressive 441 yards in a game that few people saw on the Longhorn Network.

- Welcome to the Pac-12 win column Utah, who beat Oregon State at home 27-8.

- Clemson finally pulled a Clemson against Georgia Tech. Tevin Washington, after a string of bad games, rushed for 176 yards and was the triggerman for the option offense that jumped out to a 24-3 lead thanks to several Tigers turnovers. It was an impressive showing by Georgia Tech's defense against the explosive Clemson offense, which had come into the game scoring points at will. Considering how shaky the Yellow Jackets had looked on that side of the ball coming in, only a few believed they could pull off the upset which ended any hope of the ACC putting a team in the BCS championship game.

- Go ahead Braxton Miller, take a bow. The true freshman sparked a last-second win that gives Ohio State some life after upsetting Wisconsin. According to reporters after the game, Miller apparently winked at head coach Luke Fickell before the final drive and said "We're all right." That's special. Coming out of high school, Miller showed he had enough talent and moxie that many people compared him to former Heisman winner Troy Smith. The 40 yard pass to Devin Smith with 20 seconds left had to be the play of the year for a Buckeyes team that had been through so much. One has to wonder if they had held on against Nebraska what our view of this team would be.

Tweet of the week

"How impressive was Texas vs. KU? UT had more total yards (590) than current subscribers to Longhorn Network."

- CBSSports.com Senior Writer Brett McMurphy.

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Fisch's Finest

1. LSU

2. Alabama

3. Oklahoma State

4. Stanford

5. Boise State

6. Oklahoma

7. Oregon

8. Clemson

9. Arkansas

10. Nebraska

Where we'll be this week

Brett McMurphy will be in Stillwater to see BCS contender Oklahoma State host previously undefeated Kansas State. Dennis Dodd and Bruce Feldman will both be in Tuscaloosa for the game of the season, LSU-Alabama.

Leaning this way

Kansas State at Oklahoma State

It's almost unfair for one of the great stories in the first half of the season, Bill Snyder's Wildcats, to face the Big 12's two best teams on back-to-back weeks so all we'll say is good luck trying to stop the Cowboys offense. We have a feeling that Kansas State, which dropped 31 spots in total defense after facing Oklahoma, will struggle unless the offense plays keep away and doesn't turn the ball over.

South Carolina at Arkansas

On paper this is a top 10 match up but in reality both teams a bit overrated. Arkansas' defensive issues, especially in the first half, have contributed to closer than expected wins over Ole Miss and Vanderbilt. South Carolina has a good defense but the offense has struggled to score for six week outside of the Kentucky game. It's at home so the edge goes to the Hogs unless Alshon Jeffrey (finally) has a breakout game.

LSU at Alabama (CBS, 8 PM ET)

The showdown of the season is what everybody will have their eyes on Saturday night. The strength of both teams is clearly their defenses so this will come down to who can break open a big play on offense or special teams. There are more home run threats on the Tide and it's in Tuscaloosa but anybody picking against LSU has to know that doing so means going against Les Miles. Should be a great one.

Posted on: October 30, 2011 2:22 pm
 

Big 12 Poll Reactions, Week 9

Posted by Tom Fornelli

This week's polls have been released. Here's how the Big 12 fared, from the top of the polls to the bottom, and what it means.


(AP/Coaches)

3/4. Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State doesn't budge an inch in either poll this week following a blowout win against Baylor. I can't help but think there were a lot of Oklahoma State fans staying up late to watch Stanford last night and rooting as hard as possible for USC to pull off the win. It didn't happen, so the Cowboys still have another team to compete with as they try and make their way to the top two of the BCS rankings, but as long as they keep winning, they should get there.

7/7. Oklahoma

I said last week that as long as Oklahoma got back on a winning track, with their remaining schedule, each win would push them right back up the rankings. Well, after destroying an undefeated top-ten team in Kansas State, that's exactly what the Sooners did, moving up four spots in the AP poll and two in the Coaches. This is right where Oklahoma should be, though I might have them ahead of Oregon, but Oklahoma's loss is fresher in the minds of voters. Still, if the Sooners beat Texas A&M this weekend and finish the year by beating Oklahoma State, they'll remain a darkhorse candidate to be a 1-loss entry in the title game.

17/19. Kansas State

Remember the days when the Big 12 had three teams in the top ten and four in the top fifteen? Yeah, well those days are over, as there's quite the gap between the two Oklahoma schools and Kansas State in the polls. Which seems fitting considering Kansas State lost to Oklahoma by 41 points at home. Considering how bad things looked in the second half on Sunday, I have a hard time arguing with where the Wildcats are placed this week. Should there be a repeat performance against Oklahoma State next week then Kansas State may find itself out of the polls altogether.

NR/25 Texas

Texas fell 8 points short of making the cut in the AP poll, but squeezed in on the bottom of the Coaches poll. I have no problem with Texas being ranked at this point, as it is now 5-2 on the season and both of its losses came against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Those aren't losses to be ashamed of. Combine that with the destruction of Kansas on Saturday, and it's easy to see why the Longhorns were on the minds of so many voters this week.

Others Receiving Votes

Texas A&M (25 AP/30 Coaches), Missouri (0 AP/1 Coaches) 
Posted on: October 30, 2011 12:22 am
 

Big 12 Winners and Losers: Week 9



Posted by Tom Fornelli


A handy recap of who really won and who really lost that you won't find in the box score.

WINNER: Oklahoma State's title chances

Coming into Saturday's action, Oklahoma State joined LSU, Alabama, Stanford, Clemson, Kansas State, Boise State and Houston as the only unbeaten teams remaining in the country. It was also ranked third in the BCS. Well, after a full day of action, you can scratch both Clemson and Kansas State off the list. With LSU and Alabama playing again next week, one more unbeaten will fall and should Oklahoma State beat Kansas State, it's going to move into the top two of the BCS rankings.

There's a long way to go in this season still, but things are lining up nicely for Mike Gundy's team, especially since Oklahoma State won't have to play in a conference title game (like Alabama, LSU or Stanford) and it'd certainly be ranked ahead of Boise State and Houston if all three of those schools finish unbeaten. So all Oklahoma State has to do is keep winning. That shouldn't be that hard, right?

LOSER: The Kansas State mystique

Did I ever really feel that Kansas State was a legitimate contender for the Big 12 title this season? No, not really, but I wanted to. It was just such a great story for the program and Bill Snyder in his second stint in Manhattan, and I wanted it to last as long as possible. If for nothing more than the story. Unfortunately Oklahoma closed the book on Kansas State in the second half on Saturday, taking what had been a close game in the first half and turning it into a laugher with 35 unanswered second half points. Considering that Kansas State has to travel to Stillwater next week, I don't think things will get much better.

WINNER: James Franklin

Admittedly, I've been a bit rough on the Missouri quarterback this season. Though, in my defense, he's been tough on himself too, pinning the blame for last week's loss against Oklahoma State on himself thanks to turnovers. Well, Franklin can still be a bit up and down at times for my taste, but he's only a sophomore and he showed us all how good things can be when he's on an upswing against Texas A&M. Franklin finished the day with 295 yards and 4 total touchdowns in Missouri's comeback overtime win against the Aggies. Most importantly, Franklin didn't turn the ball over a single time.

LOSER: Texas A&M's chances in the SEC

You know, following the loss against Missouri on Saturday and including the loss against Arkansas earlier this season, Texas A&M is 0-2 in the SEC this season. It's 3-1 in the Big 12. Might want to reconsider that move, Aggies.

WINNER: Freshman running backs in Austin

Texas didn't exactly have much trouble against Kansas on Saturday night, and a big reason why was the combination of two of Texas' freshman running backs. Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron combined to carry the ball 41 times for 255 yards and 4 touchdowns. Yes, it was against Kansas, but that kind of performance has to make Mack Brown and Bryan Harsin feel pretty good about the future of the Longhorn backfield.

LOSER: Kansas football fans

It has not been a fun season to be a fan of Kansas football in 2011. In fact, it's been pretty horrific for the most part. Still, even though the Jayhawks defense has been terrible, the Kansas offense has played pretty well. The Jayhawks came into Saturday night's game averaging 30 points and 400 yards of offense per game. Those numbers are going to drop after Saturday night's game. The Kansas offense didn't record a single point against Texas, though in its defense, it's really hard to score points when you only manage 46 yards of total offense. No, I didn't miss a number there, it was 46 yards. In the entire game. Sorry, Kansas fans, but basketball season starts soon enough. Until then, I suggest whiskey.

WINNER: Jared Barnett

He took a vicious blow to the head in his first career start, and I didn't think he should return to the game, but it will still be hard for Jared Barnett to forget his first career start at Iowa State. He wasn't the most efficient quarterback throwing the ball, completing 14 of his 26 passes for 155 yards and a score, but he kept the chains moving plenty of times with his legs. Barnett rushed for 92 yards and another score, as Iowa State pulled off one of the biggest surprises I've seen in the Big 12 this season, knocking off Texas Tech 41-7 in Lubbock. I think it's safe to say that the QB job is Barnett's to keep.

LOSER: Sam Bradford

I don't think the former Oklahoma quarterback will be all that upset about it, but Sam Bradford saw his name erased from the Oklahoma record books on Saturday afternoon. Landry Jones shattered Bradford's record for most passing yards in a single game by an Oklahoma quarterback. Bradford's mark of 468 yards fell to Bradford's 505-yard performance, and it wasn't the only record Jones broke on the day. His five touchdown passes on Saturday gave Jones 90 career touchdown passes, more than any Oklahoma quarterback in history.
Posted on: October 25, 2011 12:02 pm
Edited on: October 25, 2011 12:03 pm
 

Keys to the Game: Kansas State vs. Oklahoma

Posted by Tom Fornelli

KANSAS STATE WILL WIN IF: It can continue to dominate games with its rushing attack. The Wildcats have shown an ability to put a lot of points on the board the last few weeks against Texas Tech and Kansas with their rushing game, and currently Kansas State's rushing attack is 19th in the country. Collin Klein, Kansas State's starting quarterback, may also be the team's best running back as well. He leads the Wildcats with 670 yards rushing this season and has also rushed for 14 touchdowns. Though the best way for Klein and the Wildcats to sustain the rushing attack this weekend may be if Klein presents more of a threat through the air. Oklahoma's front seven is stronger and more athletic than any defense Kansas State has seen this season, and it's only allowing 3.14 yards per carry this season. So if Kansas State's offense is one dimensional, it probably won't find consistent success on Saturday.

OKLAHOMA WILL WIN IF: As I alluded to above, it needs to keep the Kansas State offense one-dimensional. Collin Klein has proven multiple times this season that he can beat teams with his legs, but he's yet to prove he can do it with his arm. So even though the Oklahoma defense is coming off a performance in which it saw its secondary get torched by Texas Tech and Seth Doege, Klein isn't quite the passer that Doege is. On the season Klein has thrown for 934 yards and 8 touchdowns, but is only completing 59% of his passes. On offense the Sooners can't afford another slow start. They were able to overcome it against Kansas because, well, it's Kansas. Against Texas Tech it just didn't happen. The problem here is that Kansas State's defense has been much better than that of Texas Tech this season and is the best one the Sooners will have seen since the Florida State game.

X-FACTOR: Landry Jones. It may seem strange to call a quarterback who was being hyped for the Heisman before the season started an X-Factor, but the truth is that Jones just hasn't been the quarterback we've expected for the last month. He struggled in Oklahoma's win over Florida State, but ever since his 5 touchdown performance against Ball State, he hasn't been stellar. In the last three games Jones has thrown for 1,142 yards and 11 touchdowns, but he's completing only 59% of his passes. Plus, a lot of those yards and touchdowns came in Oklahoma's comeback attempt against Texas Tech. This Sooners offense needs Jones to be the efficient passer we were all used to the last couple of seasons. If he can do that against Kansas State, then Oklahoma should win the game.
Posted on: October 23, 2011 7:52 pm
Edited on: October 23, 2011 9:17 pm
 

SEC poll reactions, Week 8

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

This week's polls have been released. Here's how the SEC fared, from the top of the polls to the bottom, and what it means.


(AP/Coaches)

1/1. LSU

We'd like to think that even if Oklahoma had completed their failed comeback against Texas Tech, the Bayou Bengals' annihilation of a top-20 Auburn team (as opposed to a mighty struggle at home vs. an unranked team with two home losses) would finally resulted in their taking over as a consensus No. 1. But fortunately for clarity's sake, the Red Raiders finished the job. And even if Alabama wasn't on a bye themselves, that consensus wasn't going to change during LSU's off-week--the Tigers have a 49-10 advantage in first place votes in the AP, and a 41-18 edge in the Coaches.

2/2. ALABAMA

The Crimson Tide should have passed the decisively less-impressive Sooners weeks back, but there's no doubt plenty of thanks being sent Lubbockward after the Red Raiders made the Tide's consensus move to No. 2 it official. (Then again, knowing the relationship between the Tide fanbase and Tommy Tuberville, maybe not.) What's interesting is that the Tide have enough support for a short fall in the event of a loss to LSU--the 122-point margin between the Tide and No. 3 Oklahoma State is wider than the margin between the Cowboys and No. 6 Clemson.

8/8. ARKANSAS

The Razorbacks move up two spots in both polls but find themselves in the same broad position as last week: the second-highest one-loss team behind Oregon. It's a strong show of support for the Hogs that even after an unimpressive win over Ole Miss -- one that required overcoming a 17-0 first-half deficit and a last-minute interception to preserve the victory -- Arkansas still moved past plummeting Oklahoma and Wisconsin. But as we said last week, if forced to pick between the Hogs and Ducks in a one-loss head-to-head, we think the Hogs deserve the nod.
14/14. SOUTH CAROLINA

Oh, Coaches poll. We wish there was a better explanation for jumping Kansas State past the Gamecocks on the basis of a win over Kansas and Carolina's bye week than "Oops, we kind of messed up by having that undefeated team so low last week, better fix it" ... but we know there isn't. At least Michigan State's leapfrog past the Gamecocks makes more sense. The Spartans jumped the Gamecocks in the AP, too, but Carolina stayed put thanks to West Virginia's freefall. Given that the Gamecocks' loss came to a now three-loss team at home and that their signature win is a three-point escape at Georgia, they can't have any complaints about sticking at 14th.

22/21. GEORGIA

The Bulldogs didn't play this week, but still got a two-slot bump in the AP and leapt into the Coaches at No. 21. Guess it helps when so many bottom-rung top-25 teams -- Auburn, Illinois, Washington, Georiga Tech -- absorbed lopsided and/or embarrassing losses. But the Dawgs can't gripe about not being higher, not when their best win is still over 3-4 Tennessee.
Posted on: October 23, 2011 2:47 am
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