Big 12 teams did exactly what they needed to on Saturday. All of them were able to avoid upsets in a week in which the slate of opponents was less than impressive.
Someone was bound to lose since TCU and Kansas played the first conference game of the year, but the Big 12 did go undefeated in all of its non-conference games.
It was TCU's Big 12 debut, and the Horned Frogs (2-0) were able to get out of it with a 20-6 win over the Jayhawks (1-2). That probably wasn't the score that their fans were expecting, though. Kansas was coming off of a loss at home to Rice and appears to be the weakest of the Big 12 teams, but this game was never out of hand. It was just 10-6 at the half, and the ten points TCU put up in the third quarter would end the scoring for the day.
The Horned Frogs were able to move the ball, and Casey Pachall had a nice day, throwing for 335 yards and two touchdowns, but the team lost four fumbles, which allowed Kansas to keep the score close throughout the game. Each team will go back to out-of-conference games next week before getting back into their conference games.
Other schools wrapped up their non-conference schedules on Saturday and will be stepping into Big 12 play now.
Texas (3-0) is one of those teams, as the Longhorns went on the road and took care of Mississippi (2-1). This game was also close for a large part of the first half, but a David Ash touchdown pass with twelve seconds left made it a three-touchdown lead at the half.
It was one of four touchdowns Ash threw in the 66-31 win, which is very encouraging for Texas. Once again, he held on to the ball, but this time he put up some big numbers to go along with the ball security, which will only make the Longhorns that much better. They'll have a bye week before going on the road to face Oklahoma State.
The Cowboys (2-1) were able to get themselves back on track with a 65-24 drubbing of Louisiana (2-1) at home. That's the good news for Oklahoma State. The bad news is that starting quarterback Wes Lunt came out with an injury after just four pass attempts. J.W. Walsh filled in nicely, throwing for 347 yards and four touchdowns, but the Cowboys will still want to get Lunt back as soon as possible.
Reports are saying that this may have been a dislocated knee for Lunt, which would likely keep him sidelined of the next game. Unfortunately, though there is a bye week between now and then, that next game is at home against Texas, which is shaping up to be a big-time matchup.
Kansas State (3-0) also finished up its non-conference schedule on Saturday with a 35-21 win over North Texas (1-2), but the performance resembled week one more than week two. The Wildcats found themselves in a battle for much longer than they likely anticipated, as the lead was just 14-13 at one point in the third quarter. Collin Klein's 305 yards were once again enough to produce a win, though, and Kansas State will enter its matchup with Oklahoma undefeated.
The Sooners were the only team in the conference to have a bye week this week, and that extra week to prepare for Klein and the Kansas State offense certainly can't hurt.
Texas Tech (3-0) was the only other team in the Big 12 to play another FBS team, and the Red Raiders had no trouble with New Mexico (1-2). It was the second week in a row that the Lobos lost to a Big 12 team, losing to Texas in week two. Texas Tech once again lit up the scoreboard while limiting the Lobo offense in the 49-14 win.
The Red Raiders will now go into their bye week with a road trip to Iowa State on deck. This team has looked pretty good so far this season, but Iowa State will easily be the best team that Texas Tech has played. That will be a better barometer of where this team stands.
The Cyclones (3-0) did what they had to do, beating Western Illinois, 37-3. Iowa State actually had a tougher non-conference schedule compared to a lot of other teams in the conference. With wins over Tulsa and Iowa early in the season, it looks like Iowa State could be a pretty tough win this season. The Cyclones will also get a bye week before meeting with Texas Tech.
The West Virginia offense continued to move the ball with ease, earning a 42-12 win over James Madison. The game was played in Landover, Md., and the Mountaineers (2-0) jumped out to a 21-0 first quarter lead to cruise to the comfortable victory. Geno Smith became the school's all-time leading passer with his 411 yards. He also threw five touchdowns, three of which went to Stedman Bailey. That gave Smith nine touchdown passes on the season, to go along with just nine incompletions.
Baylor (2-0) also took on an FCS school, but it was certainly a tale of two halves for the Bears. Sam Houston State took a 20-10 lead into the half, but the second half belonged to the Bears, and they escaped with a 48-23 win. Baylor will now go on the road to play a ULM team that has received a lot of attention for its performances against Arkansas and Auburn the last two weeks.
For the most part, the Big 12 got through these first three weeks without any major upsets, so the conference matchups that are looming look even bigger with so many undefeated teams. That series of games will start this coming weekend when Oklahoma and Kansas State meet.