Keeping Up With the Surprisingly Competitive Big 12

 

Adam McKay, Contributor Big 12 College Football

Another week goes by and the Big 12 continues to be the highest scoring Power 5 conference in the country. The conference perennially shoots off fireworks in every game and yet is still one of the more overlooked conferences in terms of playoff expectations. In a year in which the SEC has seen a downturn in play, you could make the argument that the Big 12 has the most talented football in the country. What I particularly enjoy in the 2017 year is the amount of parity throughout the Big 12. I predicted that teams such as Iowa State would take steps in the right direction and contend in most games this year, however I did not expect this level of offensive power. Taking it to Kansas is nothing to get excited over, but Iowa State absolutely dominated in this one Saturday. This game was strangely all about the defense for the Cyclones. I looked at the stat line during Saturday’s games and had to squint to make sure that the 106 total yards for Kansas wasn’t a typo. Field position led to Iowa State taking advantage of short fields, with David Montgomery rushing for a career high 3 touchdowns. ISU is now 4-2 (2-1 in conference play) and is well on their way to bowling. This is a team that has already tripped up Oklahoma in a well-deserved shootout and will be a tough out week to week. I was cautiously optimistic this team would be competent this season, however they have certainly exceeded expectations. I’m excited to see how they look going forward against the meat of the Big 12 schedule.

Elsewhere, TCU continues to roll through the season looking exceptional. A convincing win against Kansas State this week showed that this defense is simply not getting enough attention nationally. They are an experienced unit that has a propensity for consistency on a play by play basis. They elect to play stifling, aggressive defense to get offenses off the field quickly. Bill Connelly of SB Nation has TCU ranked 2nd in defensive S&P+ success rate, which determines whether every play of a given game was successful or not. They are simply getting the job done a per play basis and its becoming evident they have playoff aspirations. Next up is a walk in the park against the aforementioned lowly Kansas Jayhawks

I feel obliged that we must touch upon the Red River Rivalry which was not short of action. This had disaster written all over it, with Oklahoma coming off a loss to Iowa State. I will give credit to the Sooners for putting this one away against an underrated and inspired Texas team. Oklahoma needs to run the table at this point to have a shot at a playoff berth. Looking down the schedule, we are staring down two must watch games for the Sooners. Oklahoma State vs. Oklahoma will include a lot of points so make sure to mark that down on your calendar. And don’t look now OU fans because you have TCU waiting around the corner, who quite possibly could be undefeated. November college football is actually the best.
Game of the week:

#10 Oklahoma State vs. Texas: 12:00 PM Austin, TX    ABC

(I also might encourage you not to sleep on Iowa State at Texas Tech at 12:00 on FS1, where there might be 200 combined points scored)

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About Matt Hicks

Matt’s writing at Top2 is focused on dynasty fantasy football. He loves blending his experience writing research in the field of education with fantasy football stats. Matt currently lives in Baltimore, MD and graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. You can follow Matt on Twitter: @Top2Matt

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