What is going on in the Big 12?
The Big 12 is one of the premier conferences in all of college football. The Oklahoma Sooners, Texas Longhorns, Oklahoma State Cowboys, and Iowa State Cyclones all represented the conference in the preseason top 25 poll. Few could have predicted what we’ve seen from those teams about a month into Big 12 play. What should we expect from those teams for the rest of the season?
The Oklahoma Sooners have made the college football playoff three seasons in a row and were ranked 3rd in the country just a few weeks ago. Now, the Sooners are unranked with a 1-2 record. To put that in perspective, the Sooners lost just three regular games over the previous three seasons combined. Why have they struggled so far this season? Normally, Lincoln Riley’s offenses have a dominant running attack. Last season, the Sooners averaged 6.0 yards per carry. This season, they are only averaging 3.6 yards per carry. With a poor running game and a struggling defense, Quarterback Spencer Rattler, who has never started a game before this season, is forced to carry the team which has led to the teams 1-2 record.
After a miracle victory against Texas Tech, the Longhorns lost at home to TCU, a team that has gone just 12-13 the past two seasons combined. If not for a 15 point comeback in the final 3:13 against the Red Raiders, the Longhorns would have two losses right now. Tom Herman is already in his fourth year as the Longhorns head coach and his team is still inconsistent. If things don't turn around quickly, Herman may lose his job.
Oklahoma State Cowboys:
The Oklahoma State Cowboys entered the season with high expectations because of their high powered offense. The Cowboys struggled in their first game of the season, only scoring 16 points against Tulsa. However, Mike Gundy's squad had scored 74 points over the past two games combined as his team has an undefeated record. Oklahoma State might be the favorites to win the big 12 right now.
Iowa State Cyclones:
The Iowa State Cyclones entered the season with high expectations largely because of Quarterback Brock Purdy, who will likely be playing in the NFL a year from now. After a shocking 31-14 season-opening loss to Louisiana, the Cyclones have won their past two games, including a 37-30 win over the five-time defending big 12 champions, the Oklahoma Sooners. If they didn't get upset by Louisiana, the Cyclones would be a legitimate college football playoff contender right now.
Despite only being about a month into the season, the Big 12 has already had a handful of noteworthy games. This Saturday's Red River Showdown between the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners will be another noteworthy game. A Texas loss on Saturday would be their 3rd consecutive against their rival Oklahoma and would increase the chance that Tom Herman loses his job. A loss for Oklahoma would give Lincoln Riley the same amount of big 12 losses through the first three conference games of this campaign than he had during his first three seasons combined.