The week four takeaways from the Big 12 are not filled with statements that define the season. However, the picture is starting to clear up a bit between the genuine contenders and pretenders in the conference. As it stands, it appears there are only three teams that can challenge Texas for conference supremacy. But what other results show how this conference will shake out this season?
Week Four Takeaways From The Big 12
Rough Opening Scene For New Members
Non-conference play for BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF had been respectable. But all four of the newest Big 12 members are now 0-1 in conference play. Houston was throttled last week by TCU and the other three lost this week. UCF and BYU were competitive in their games for the first three quarters before Kansas State and Kansas pulled away from both of them. Cincinnati now has had Redzone woe rear its ugly head for the second consecutive week against Oklahoma. At one point, Cincinnati (in two combined games) had driven inside the opponent’s 25-yard line 12 times. Only two of those trips resulted in touchdowns (and they both came against Miami OH). The Bearcats could be in real trouble in Big 12 play as Emory Jones does not appear to be the answer at quarterback we might have thought he was after the Pitt game.
Next week does present some good opportunities for these four schools to get their first Big 12 win. Cincinnati and BYU square off on Friday. Houston travels to Lubbock to take on a wounded Red Raider team in the Dana Holgorsen Bowl. The Bounce House in Orlando gets to set a nice bear trap for the visiting Baylor Bears. When it comes to the week four takeaways, the results from this past Saturday were just a reminder that these teams are still making a significant jump in competition on a weekly basis.
Last Place Loses Its Hand Signal
Waco, Stillwater, and Lubbock were preseason locations in which all three had compelling cases to be the next flag bearer of the Big 12 conference. And now they all have combined losses to Texas State, Wyoming, and South Alabama. Texas Tech looked sloppy and uninspired in their latest loss to West Virginia. In addition to the loss on the field, the Red Raiders appeared to have lost their starting quarterback for the rest of the season with a broken fibula. This is the seventh consecutive season in which Texas Tech will not have their week one starting quarterback start every game in the season. The last quarterback to do so was some guy named Patrick Mahomes. Baylor got boat raced by Texas in Waco. Oklahoma State gave Iowa State a game on the road in Ames before ultimately falling by a score of 34-27.
Baylor head coach Dave Aranda and Oklahoma State Mike Gundy must be asking each other if their seat is as warm as they might think it is. Meanwhile, Texas Tech head coach Joey McGuire, who is very clearly making historic headway on the recruiting trail, has officially seen the honeymoon phase of his hiring now come to an abrupt end. All three of these teams now are in real trouble of missing bowl season. Baylor, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech now have a combined record of 4-8 and 0-3 in Big 12 play. Meanwhile, West Virginia head coach Neal Brown just continues to surprise everyone with his Mountaineers sitting at 3-1. The team that was picked to finish last in the Big 12 media poll hasn’t played the prettiest football. But the way things are trending, West Virginia is positioned well to finish well above preseason expectations.
Texas Is So Good It’s…Boring?
A 38-6 smackdown of a bad Baylor team is hardly an earth-shattering week four takeaway out of the Big 12. But is this more evidence that Texas is in a tier of its own? Oklahoma couldn’t put away a Cincaniti that has become allergic to getting the ball into the endzone. Oklahoma has essentially played three games against the 2022 AAC. In two of those games, they couldn’t score more than four touchdowns. Brent Venables has his team looking better, but there is still plenty of fool’s gold in them thar “hills” of Norman to consider them true contenders to the Longhorns. Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian, who has never won 10 games as a head coach in his career, has his team playing very poised early in the season.