Print RSS Writer Notes Some Big 12 Openers
September 01, 2013
Wendell Barnhouse is a nationally-known and respected columnist who has spent over 20 years covering collegiate athletics. He has reported from 25 Final Fours and more than three dozen bowl games and has written about the Big 12 and its schools since the conference's beginning. Barnhouse will be updating the Big 12 Insider on happenings and behind-the-scenes information about the conference.

Travis Haney of in his Week One Takeaways from the opening weekend had some thoughts on some Big 12 teams.

• It remains to be seen if Oklahoma State is going to make a habit of low-scoring, grind-it-out wins this season, like the one the Cowboys earned Saturday over Mississippi State, but the fact that it held any FBS opponent to three points -- let alone one from the SEC -- demonstrates it could be a different kind of season for a team that’s used to having to outscore everyone. 

A couple of Big 12 coaches told me they thought new defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer would have a stabilizing effect on the group, and that appeared evident in the opener. There is nothing sexy about winning 21-3, and sexy has been Oklahoma State’s way, but it didn’t change the Pokes’ status among the Big 12 favorites. 

• At least one team knew what to do with a highly ranked FCS opponent. Baylor smoked FCS No. 5 Wofford, leading 38-0 at the half on the way to a 69-3 victory against the Terriers, a team with a reputation for being a tough out. 

The offense averaged 9.6 yards per play, and QB Bryce Petty had an impressive debut line: 19-of-24, 312 yards and two scores, for a tidy QBR of 92.8. 

Two coaches I talked with during August said that they think Baylor has the most difficult offense to plan for in the entire country. 

Look what’s ahead for the Bears through October: Buffalo, Louisiana-Monroe, West Virginia, Kansas State, Iowa State and Kansas. For a team that finished 2012 on a roll, a 7-0 start looks like a possibility. 

I’m talking Baylor football now. Everyone else will be soon enough. 

• I didn’t know what to make of Ole Miss going into its opener Thursday against Vanderbilt. I still don’t after the Rebels’ last-minute win over the Commodores. There is unmistakable talent on the Ole Miss roster, but it’s so young that it’s difficult to know how it will perform from week to week. 

“Dangerous” is the word I suggested to a coach over the weekend, and he agreed. 

“I’m glad we don’t play them,” the coach said. 

(The Rebels play at Texas Sept. 14.)

Laquon Treadwell, the true freshman receiver who I included in my breakout players list, looked like Dez Bryant on Thursday. He has scary potential. 

• As I watched Texas Tech run away Friday night from SMU for its 41-23 victory, I kept telling myself, "it’s just SMU, it’s just SMU.” But this Baker Mayfield fellow, the walk-on QB from Austin who had five touchdowns versus the Mustangs, has some spunk -- enough to make you wonder what happens when Michael Brewer recovers from his back ailment. 

File this away: First-year coach Kliff Kingsbury texted a friend of mine the following on Friday afternoon, “Fortune favors the bold.”

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