Welcome to the weekly recap of Big 12 games. For the most part, the conference displayed its depth and coaching skills over the Labor Day weekend by going toe-to-toe with the top ranked teams in America and by stomping teams that were supposed to get stomped (here's looking at you, Paul Rhoads and Kliff Kingsbury).
Respect rankings are derived from who and how each team played. The rankings will vary week to week and should eventually transform into something similar to a power poll.
This article is simply one college football fan's opinion. Read on and share your thoughts.
Respect Rankings: Week One
1. Baylor (45-0 over SMU)
Critics will argue that Baylor beat a middle of the pack AAC team to christen McLane Stadium. True. But it's how Baylor beat June Jones' club that puts Baylor first on this list. This game was a rout. A beatdown. Baylor took the game over after its second possession and never looked back. Art Briles' defense was phenomenal, garnering eight sacks and allowing only seven first downs and four third down conversions. Baylor's defensive line, led by 6-9 defensive end Shawn Oakman, lived in the SMU backfield. Special teams play needs some work, as Baylor missed three field goal attempts. It was obvious that Bryce Petty was injured early in the first half. He gutted out a solid performance, but probably would have been more accurate without the injury. It will be interesting to see how quickly he heals. If Baylor's defense can sustain its level of play from Saturday, then Petty may not be needed much until an October 4th matchup at Texas.
2. Oklahoma (48-16 over Louisiana Tech)
The Sooners came into this season with national playoff contention talk surrounding the program. They did not disappoint on Saturday (unlike UCLA, who barely beat lowly Virginia). The Sooners pounded Louisiana Tech, a potential contender in the Conference USA west division. Tech should win eight or nine games this season, but couldn't compete with Oklahoma. Sooner running backs averaged almost five yards per carry and scored five touchdowns. The defense held Skip Holtz' team to 54 yards rushing on 29 attempts. OU's defense gave up just a field goal until the fourth quarter. Special teams blocked a punt and an extra point. Trevor Knight played an average game, completing only 19 of 34 pass attempts with one TD and one INT. With Tulsa on the schedule this week, the Sooners will not get tested again until they play Tennessee at home on the 13th.
3. Oklahoma State (37-31 loss to #1 Florida State)
This game was a testament to the stellar coaching and recruiting skills of Mike Gundy and his staff. With only eight total returning starters (four on offense and four on defense), college football fans wrote off the Cowboys. Nobody told Oklahoma State, particularly the defense. Despite giving up 30 points (FSU scored on a pick six of OSU quarterback JW Walsh early in the first half), the Cowboy defense recorded two sacks and five tackles for loss against a veteran FSU offensive line. The Cowboys held FSU to only 106 yards rushing. Defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah was a beast, as he recorded both sacks and broke up two other passes from Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. Winston also threw two interceptions. The Seminoles managed to convert only four of 14 third down plays. Offensively, JW Walsh struggled somewhat against one of the nation's top defenses. His fumble at midfield late in the fourth quarter led to the final FSU touchdown. However, Walsh never gave up and led OSU to a quick touchdown for the game's final score. The Cowboys have an offensive playmaker in Tyreek Hill, who combined for 106 yards rushing and receiving. Oklahoma State will have to work on its special teams, as a botched kickoff return pinned OSU deep on its own three yard line early in the game. "Adventures in punting" caused Cowboys fans to hold their breath. The punt team botched two snaps, leading to advantageous field position for FSU, which converted both series into ten points. We'll see how Oklahoma State reacts to this close loss in two weeks, as a solid UTSA squad comes to Stillwater. The Cowboys host Missouri State this Saturday.
4. Texas (38-7 over North Texas)
The Longhorn defense played exceptionally well in Charlie Strong's coaching debut. You just knew that Strong, a former defensive coordinator, would bring sound principles to Austin. At least for this game, the Texas defense applied Strong's philosophy. The Longhorns overwhelmed an inexperienced North Texas quarterback, who completed more passes to Longhorns (four, one for a pick six) than to his teammates (three). Texas routed the Mean Green with four sacks and seven tackles for loss. The Longhorns only allowed 79 yards rushing on 43 attempts to a North Texas team that returned four starters on the offensive line and who had 123 career starts. This is a North Texas squad that won nine games last season, crushed UNLV 36-14 in its bowl game and is picked to contend for the Conference USA west division crown. Offensively, Texas took advantage of the opportunities given to it by the defense. David Ash wasn't stellar (19 of 34 for 190 yards), but he did pass for a touchdown and ran for another. Unfortunately for Texas, David Ash got hurt again and will not play against BYU this weekend. Backup QB Tyronne Swoopes will get the start against a tough Cougars squad that dismantled the Longhorns last year in Provo. BYU defeated UConn 35-10 in East Hartford. A Texas win will definitely earn respect.
5. WVU (33-23 loss to #2 Alabama)
This is another matchup where no one (but Mountaineer faithful) thought WVU would be in the game. The Mountaineers, particularly Clint Trickett, proved the doubters wrong. Trickett threw for 365 yards (29 of 45) and would have had more if not for numerous dropped passes by his receivers. Trickett diced up the Alabama secondary. He threw 17 completions of ten or more yards on the day. One receiver who really stepped up was Kevin White. White caught nine passes for 143 yards, including a touchdown where he out jumped the Bama defender in the end zone. Unfortunately, WVU's offense couldn't finish drives, going only 5 of 15 on third down conversions. WVU had to settle for three field goals. Special teams also played well, particularly Mario Alford, who torched Bama for a 100 yard kickoff return touchdown. Tony Gibson's debut as defensive coordinator (the fourth coordinator in four years) was highlighted by allowing the Tide to convert seven of nine third downs in the first half. The defense settled down in the second half, forced an interception, and gave up only 13 points. WVU must continue to grow from this close loss. They can't let Alabama beat them twice. Holgorsen's team can't be caught looking ahead to the Maryland game in two weeks. The Mountaineers must take care of business at home against Towson, who lost to Central Connecticut State 31-27.
6. Kansas State (55-16 over SF Austin)
Bill Snyder's squad dominated the Lumberjacks despite having no breakout performances from the offense or defense. Kansas State overwhelmed SF Austin with efficiency. Wildcat quarterback Jake Waters went 19 of 28 for 223 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 55 yards and scored twice on the ground. The offense converted eight of 14 third downs and committed only one turnover. Star receiver Tyler Lockett caught only one pass for nine yards and a touchdown. However, the starting offensive line did give up three sacks. The Wildcat defense held SF Austin to only five of 14 conversions on third down and only 69 yards rushing on 21 attempts. However, the defense did give up 225 passing yards. Like WVU, this is a team that can't overlook its next opponent. The Wildcats go to Iowa State prior to greeting #6 Auburn in Manhattan.
7. TCU (48-14 over Samford)
Gary Patterson's squad dominated a Samford team that went 8-5 last season and made the FCS playoffs. Both TCU's offense and defense looked good. Trevone Boykin rewarded Patterson's decision to start him with a stellar performance, going 29 of 41 for 320 yards and two TDs. Backup QB Matt Joeckel went 4 of 8 in mop up duty with a TD pass and a pick six interception. Boykin received the Big 12 offensive player of the week award for his performance. For now, there is no quarterback competition in Fort Worth. Defensively, TCU held the Bulldogs to nine first downs and 143 yards of total offense. The Horned Frogs recorded two sacks and 13 tackles for loss. Both teams committed two turnovers. TCU hosts a quality Minnesota (1-0) squad at Amon G. Carter Stadium this Saturday.
8. Texas Tech (42-35 over Central Arkansas)
Kliff Kingsbury knew going into this season that his team had to clean up its issues with turnovers and penalties. Tech did neither, committing 15 penalties and two turnovers. Kingsbury also knew that his defense would be a work in progress. Kingsbury was right. Tech's defense allowed 406 yards of total offense to a decent FCS club that went 7-5 last season. The Red Raiders also gave up six fourth down conversions to the Bears, who simply would not go away. They made it a seven point game with three minutes remaining to cause anxiety amongst the Tech faithful. Offensively, Tech's Davis Webb went 39 of 52 for 452 yards and four TDs. Unfortunately, Webb also threw two interceptions despite rarely being harassed by the Bears defense. While a win is a win, this game was a disappointment for the program. Kingsbury said as much in his post-game press conference. Tech can't afford to play like this at UTEP (a 31-24 winner at New Mexico) next Saturday or against Arkansas the following week.
9. Iowa State (34-14 loss to North Dakota State)
How in the world do the Cyclones get humiliated by the Bisons after scoring on two of their first three possessions? Lack of both continuity and depth plagued Iowa State on Saturday. This is what happens when six new coaches come on board. This is what happens when Iowa State's starting center and star receiver go down with injuries (Mountaineer fans can sympathize with the Iowa State faithful after last season). Mangino's offense went three and out four times, gained only 150 yards after the second touchdown and committed two turnovers. The Cyclone defense was gashed for 506 yards and allowed North Dakota State to convert nine of 16 third downs. You can't do that against an FCS powerhouse without getting crushed. The schedule doesn't get any easier for Paul Rhoads' team. The Cyclones host #20 Kansas State this Saturday.
10. Kansas (open date)
Why do FBS schools refuse to play on week one? No team is fully prepared to play its first game. Charlie Weis should not have allowed this travesty to happen. It's like an expectant mother having to wait an extra week to deliver her first child. It's frustrating and potentially fraught with danger. Kansas now has to play seven consecutive weeks. Only Texas and TCU have to play more consecutive weeks (eight). Kansas could use any break that it gets during the season. They just wasted their first one. The Jayhawks play at home against SE Missouri State this Saturday. For now, a first week open date places Kansas at the bottom of this list.