By Andrew Sheridan
Image Credit: KU Football
Football finally returned this past weekend for the Big 12, and well, it was a bit underwhelming for those schools who played against a Sun Belt team. All three Sun Belt opponents upset their Big 12 opponents, including a win over #23 Iowa State. The Red Raiders of Texas Tech narrowly avoided what would have been the worst upset of the day after holding on against Houston Baptist by a score of 35-33. West Virginia rolled against a sad Eastern Kentucky team as expected, and the typical Big 12 powerhouses rolled against their opponents.
So after one weekend of play, let’s take a look at how our Sidelines writers ranked the Big 12 teams:
NOTE: This ranking list will only include teams who have played so far this season.
7) Kansas Jayhawks | 0-1
Image Credit: KU Football
Last Game: vs. Coastal Carolina, 23-38 L
For the second straight season, the Jayhawks fell to Coastal Carolina in Lawrence. The Jayhawks looked abysmal in the first half after entering the break trailing 28-3. Quarterback still remains a huge question mark for the Jayhawks after Thomas MacVittie started the game only to throw an interception on the first drive and then fail to produce anything for the Jayhawks. Miles Kendrick was a big improvement when he replaced MacVittie, but the question is can Kendrick be consistent in his play and throw the ball with accuracy. KU Offensive Coordinator Brent Dearmon needs to find a way to use Pooka Williams more in his offense. Pooka is the best player on the Jayhawk offense and it isn’t particularly close, but Williams only saw 12 carries yesterday. Overall, Kansas looked like the Kansas team we have known for the past decade which has salvaged just 21 wins since 2010.
Next Game: @ Baylor, 9/26
6) Texas Tech Red Raiders | 1-0
Image Credit: Jason Davis
Last Game: vs. Houston Baptist, 35-33 W
The Red Raiders won their opening contest which may be enough to make you think they should be ahead of the teams that lost, but Texas Tech beat Houston Baptist by only 2 points. Houston Baptist… the team that has existed for 8 seasons while only winning 18 games throughout. In the record books, this game goes down as a win for the Red Raiders, but to anybody who watched, this game was a loss. Texas Tech’s defensive secondary was absolutely atrocious. HBU quarterback Bailey Zappe threw for 567 yards and 4 touchdowns against the Texas Tech secondary. Texas Tech quarterback Alan Bowman looked decent yesterday as he threw for 430 yards and 2 touchdowns, but that is also the Red Raiders’ play style of airing the ball out with Bowman, so he should be having these types of numbers. A two-point win over a bad FCS team is inexcusable for what should be a young and improving Big 12 team. If the Red Raiders continue to play like they did yesterday, they will find themselves at the bottom of the Big 12 come December.
Next Game: vs. Texas, 9/26
5) Iowa State Cyclones | 0-1
Image Credit: USATSI
Last Game: vs. Louisiana, 14-31 L
The Cyclones were the first Big 12 team to fall victim to the Sun Belt. The Cyclones gave up two special teams touchdowns to the Ragin’ Cajuns after Louisiana returned both a punt and a kick return for touchdowns. Brock Purdy had very high expectations coming into the season and yesterday, he did anything but live up to them. Purdy threw for only 145 yards and 0 touchdowns against the UL defense. On top of that, his accuracy was very poor as he went 16/35 with 1 interception. Simply put, it wasn’t close to being good enough. If Purdy continues to struggle this season like he did yesterday, the Cyclones could be in for a very long 2020 (as if it hasn’t been long enough as is). On the bright side for Iowa State, running back Breece Hall continues to look promising as he ran for 103 yards and a touchdown yesterday. The Cyclones have lots of work to do if they are hoping to compete in the Big 12 this season.
Next Game: @ TCU, 9/26
4) Kansas State Wildcats | 0-1
Image Credit: Charlie Riedel | AP
Last Game: vs. Arkansas State, 31-35 L
Moments after Iowa State fell to Louisiana, fellow Sun Belt member Arkansas State scored the go-ahead touchdown to take the lead over the Wildcats of Kansas State. K-State looked like they were going to dominate the game based on the first minute and a half after forcing a three-and-out, blocking a punt, and then scoring two plays later. However, Arkansas State didn’t stop pursuing the win and found themselves back in the game soon after. K-State’s defensive secondary was pummeled by the Arkansas State receivers. Arkansas State WR Jonathan Adams Jr. had himself a day bringing in 3 touchdown catches and going for 98 yards. Offensively, the Wildcats seemed very unprepared and ineffective. Normally their strong-suit, the rushing attack for K-State struggled badly. Kansas State totaled only 91 rushing yards on 39 attempts, averaging only 2.33 yards per carry. In the passing game, Skylar Thompson seemed off his rhythm after taking a very awkward hit during the first quarter in which he landed on his head. Overall, the passing game wasn’t outwardly bad, but it wasn’t great either. Thompson went 17/29 for 259 yards and 2 touchdowns, but still had several important throws that were just off the mark. Kansas State’s run blocking will need to vastly improve throughout the season if they expect to be able to make a difference in the ground game.
Next Game: @ Oklahoma, 9/26