Week one for the Big 12 went almost exactly as planned. The conference will go into week two at 9-0, making it the only league that has yet to have a team lose.
I say "almost" exactly as planned because some teams got more of a challenge than they were probably expecting for the opener, but every one of the teams still won their games by double digits.
One of those teams was #4 Oklahoma, who played a late one in El Paso Saturday night. The Sooners defense looked dominant, shutting the Miner offense out for the entire game. UTEP did block a punt and return it for a touchdown in the first quarter, though, and that score was enough to keep them in the game through three quarters. Oklahoma went into the fourth quarter with just a 10-7 lead, but scored twice to win, 24-7.
Another one of the league's ranked teams, #15 Texas, found itself trailing at home to Wyoming after one quarter of play. The Longhorns gave up an 82-yard touchdown pass that probably should have been nothing more than a 10-yard pass, and the Cowboys took a 9-7 lead with that play. Texas would score 24 unanswered points, though, and took control of the game.
The good news for the Longhorns was the steady play of quarterback David Ash. He wasn't outstanding, but he isn't expected to be, and he went 20-for-27 with a touchdown and no turnovers in the 37-17 win. If he can protect the ball that well throughout the season, Texas is one of the favorites to win this league.
Kansas State entered the week ranked 22nd, but the Wildcats had trouble pulling away from Missouri State for a large portion of the game. They led the game just 16-9 against the FCS opponent at the start of the fourth quarter, but outscored the Bears 35-0 in the final period to win convincingly, 51-9.
Their in-state rival, Kansas, was looking for its first win since beating Northern Illinois by three in the second game of the year last season. This year, the team has a different look with Charlie Weis taking over as head coach and Notre Dame transfer Dayne Crist playing quarterback. They too, had their hands full.
The Jayhawks took a lead in the second quarter and never gave it up, but FCS South Dakota State pulled within a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Kansas would, however, hold on to win, 31-17.
Then, there were teams that played lesser opponents and fully took advantage of the so-called tune-ups.
Nobody in college football scored as much as #19 Oklahoma State did this weekend, and there's a very good chance no one will for the rest of the season.
The Cowboys were playing Savannah State which is, in all honesty, one of the worst football programs in Division I, if not the worst . The game broke the all-time record for a spread at 67.5 points, and it was covered by Oklahoma State- comfortably.
After one quarter of play, the score was 35-0 and all of those touchdowns were on the ground. It would only get worse. By the time the final whistle blew, the Cowboys had won 84-0, and put up nine rushing touchdowns.
Starting quarterback Wes Lunt only stayed in the game for eleven passes, but he hit all eleven of them. The stats put up in the game were just unbelievable, but we'll learn a lot more about Oklahoma State next week, when they travel to Tucson to take on Arizona.
The Friends of Coal Bowl between #11 West Virginia and Marshall turned into a rout, as well. Geno Smith did nothing to hurt his early season hype, completing 89 percent of his passes, accumulating 323 yards and four touchdowns, and running for 65 yards and another score.
One of the most encouraging things for the Mountaineers in their 69-34 win was the emergence of a running game, which was lacking for most of the 2011 season. Four players rushed for more than 60 yards, and Shawne Alston totaled 123 with two touchdowns.
Texas Tech also took care of its business, beating Northwestern State 44-6. Even though it was an FCS opponent, it was encouraging to see the defense hold an opponent to single digits in points for the first time since a 43-7 win over SMU in 2008. They'll get two more chances to warm up for Big 12 play, too, with Texas State and New Mexico up next on the schedule.
It appeared that Iowa State and Baylor would have the two toughest games coming into the week, as they each played teams that are favorites to win the C-USA West Division.
Iowa State took on Tulsa at home on Saturday, and had a fight on its hands for most of the game. Tulsa jumped out to a 16-7 lead, but the Cyclones took over the game in the second quarter, scored 24 unanswered points, and held on to win 38-23.
Steele Jantz had a big day for Iowa State, throwing for 281 yards and two touchdowns. Shontrelle Johnson helped compliment the passing game with 120 rushing yards and a score. Now, the Cyclones will get ready for a game with its rival, Iowa, this coming weekend.
Finally, Baylor wrapped up the action for Big 12 teams this weekend, beating SMU convincingly Sunday evening. The post-RGIII era got off to a very nice start for the Bears, as they dominated the Mustangs from the start, and had what was arguably the most impressive performance of any Big 12 team this week.
New starter Nick Florence had a nice debut, throwing for 341 yards and four touchdowns, and the defense forced three turnovers, one of which was returned for a touchdown. SMU did score two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but never threatened Baylor, who ended up winning 59-24.
The Big 12 couldn't have asked for a much better start, but there weren't very many tests on the opening weekend schedule.
Week two has the potential to be another undefeated week for the conference, but it won't be nearly as easy this time around. If nothing else, we should learn a little more about some of the teams as the competition level starts to rise.