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    Everything posted by stormstopper

    1. Interface bugged out

      Did you scroll down and click on Update before you changed pages?
    2. [2021] Week #5 - TNF

      Correct, and breaks the Navy academy record by 17 points.
    3. [2021] Week #5 - TNF

      Dang, sucks to see Cobb go down like that. Such a promising talent. On the plus side, we've matched last season's win total, neither of our injuries will have any effect after the bye week, and everything looked more like the first three games than they looked like the Tampa Bay game. And Donnie Allen stays winning.
    4. Thursday Night Marshall (2-1) at Texas Tech (1-2) Five days after tearing up Boise State's defense to the tune of 246 yards and 4 touchdowns on the ground in Texas Tech's first win of the season, Solomon McLaughlin will look to make it two in a row as the Red Raiders welcome Marshall to Lubbock. Marshall has had experience facing run-heavy teams before. New Mexico State's Shane Walker and Fred Hankins ran it 31 times for 128 yards and a touchdown; Florida International's Mayer Ewing and Gavin Copeland combined for 26 carries for 127 yards and a touchdown; only UTSA (15 carries for 60 yards, 1 TD) didn't make a serious effort at running it. How will the Thundering Herd adjust to that? Probably not well. They have a pair of solid defensive tackles named Watts (Bradley Watts and Jermon Watts), but not much of an edge rush and certainly not a good set of linebackers. Texas Tech has a great interior offensive line, and they should be able to impose their will on the Marshall front. The secondary is much stronger thanks to safeties Riley Goldberg and Kevin Faulkner, but Texas Tech doesn't really test opposing safeties basically ever. And if they can establish the run, why start now? On defense, Texas Tech will have to continue making an impact up front. Curtis Jones has been a wrecking ball, leading the Big XII with 4.5 sacks; the biggest challenge, though, will be Kahau Tupa'i lining up across from star center (and likely future NFL player) Shawn Cortez. Marshall's offense has operated in fits and starts. Cayden Gipson's been crucial, rushing for 111 against NMSU and 140 against UTSA. When he plays well, Marshall scores and Marshall wins; however, he also netted 44 yards on 18 carries in Marshall's loss to FIU. Brandon Adler's been a mixed bag: he was a total nonfactor against FIU with no scores and 2 picks on 13-26 passing; however, he's thrown 4 touchdowns to 1 interception in Marshall's two wins. The offense has tended to rise and fall in sync, and facing a defense like Texas Tech's will strain it across the board. I don't expect Texas Tech to have much trouble here. Texas Tech 38, Marshall 7
    5. [2021] Week 4 Headlines

      PLUNDERED Buccaneers raid Bears for 5 turnovers, Gaines hurt as Bears forced to walk plank The Bucs had plenty of reason to celebrate on Sunday during their second straight blowout win--and their second win over the Bears in as many years.
    6. Lesson learned: football teams don't reach their final form after two games, and they're capable of shocking swerves this early in the season. That said, this was a particularly expectation-shattering week in the nation's most exciting conference. Not only did two ranked teams go down, but they went down hard. Not only did players like Christian Graham, Maurice White, and (especially) Kofi McCullough put up incredible performances, but they all got overshadowed by Solomon McLaughlin's Heismanesque day. Somehow, we exit the week knowing only that all we knew before was wrong. So let's talk about the games. Thursday Night Kansas 41, California 21 Kick, Push, Kick, Push, Kick, Push, Kick, Push, Coast: A week after a fiasco of a first half cost them any shot of beating Missouri, Kansas wasted no time jumping all over the Golden Bears. The offense fired on all cylinders, with red-hot Christian Graham throwing for a pair of scores and Rod Fulton rushing for a pair of scores before the half. The defense was stifling, with safeties Richard Clemons and Noel Barfield picking off Leonard Norris one apiece. Kansas took a 28-0 lead into halftime and never looked back. The Boys from Basehor: High-school teammates Jamari Callahan and Noel Barfield were all over the place on defense for the Jayhawks. Reigning Big XII Defensive Player of the Year Jamari Callahan sacked Leonard Norris twice and dragged Zachary McFadden down in the backfield once. He also pressured Norris into bad throws, which Barfield took full advantage of. The sophomore safety batted down a pair of passes and intercepted one. Laundry Day: The officiating crew wasn't happy with either team, throwing a total of 22 flags over the course of the game. Kansas got tagged for 10 penalties that cost the team 102 yards, the second-highest penalty yardage Kansas has racked up in a single game since the Big XII Network began tracking that stat (it trailed the 2019 Alamo Bowl, also a Kansas win). Cal's 110 penalty yards, though, are the most that any opponent has incurred against a Big XII team. Graves Out for Season: Kansas's depth crisis somehow managed to get even worse. Chris Burgos missed this game with a hamstring injury, and true freshman Bronson Graves had to be helped off the field after what appeared to be a knee injury. MRI confirmed that Graves had torn his ACL; he'll miss the season, and the school will apply for a medical redshirt for him. Next up: The banged-up Jayhawks will get a much-needed rest next week before playing host to a tough, tough TCU. Saturday Morning Kansas State 24, North Carolina 14 Ricky's Rules: The Tar Heels had no answer for Ricky Seau, who blasted off to a new career high in receiving yardage for the second straight game. He torched the Carolina secondary to the tune of 135 yards--the highest single-game total by any Big XII receiver this season to date. He caught both touchdown passes that Rahim Murrell threw, and his steady hands hauled in 7 receptions for the game. The oldest of the Basehor Boys couldn't ask for a much better start to his senior year. Le Petit de Poteet: True freshman Sammy Schuler made his presence known against the pass-heavy UNC attack. The 5-10 cornerback from Poteet, Texas, showed why Kansas State made him their #1 priority in his class: he intercepted Sebastian Norwood once, batted down another pass, and was a hound dog in man coverage throughout the game. His presence is going to give opposing quarterbacks pause when they try to throw to the boundaries. Greatest Streak: Rahim Murrell's had some issues with turnovers--his interception and fumble (recovered by the offense) being the latest examples. But he's been reliable as they get at making sure the ball gets into the endzone at least once. In 15 games, Murrell has never failed to throw a touchdown pass. Only four other Big XII quarterbacks can truthfully say the same: national champions Norris Brooksheer and Brad Davis, Oklahoma State legend Chester Brenner, and rising star Kyler Tackett. The Greatest is in good company. Parham Concussed: Strong safety Matthew Parham took a hit to the head while making a tackle and was immediately escorted to the sideline. He would not return to the game and was quickly diagnosed with a concussion. His status for next week is in question, but the team is optimistic about getting him back soon. Next up: Kansas State opens up conference play at home against Texas, and they'll look to get revenge after last year's 48-41 shootout loss. Saturday Afternoon Iowa State 38, #22 Baylor 7 Kofi McCullough Is Really Good: We've seen three games from the redshirt freshman that Iowa State's bet their season on, and so far that's been a pretty dang good bet. After rushing for 200 yards and two scores in his debut, he had a pedestrian second game. All that did was lull the haters (and perhaps the Big XII Network) into a false sense of security, and McCullough unloaded in his first conference game. He ripped off a 45-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter, scored three times overall, and totaled up 166 yards on the ground on 26 carries. He was the best player on the field (on offense), and with his offensive line paving the way there was no way he was going to be stopped. The damage he's done through three games: 76 carries, 458 yards, 6 touchdowns, and 6.03 yards per carry--which all rank 2nd in the Big XII, but we'll get to why later. Top Dog Tolliver: David Tolliver and Kyle Cunningham have had a friendly rivalry since they both broke onto the scene as freshmen in days of yore. Now as seniors, both rank among the top four in Big XII history in career interceptions. Cunningham is the conference's all-time leader with 21, but Tolliver got the last laugh head-to-head on Saturday. He made Caleb Olmsted's life miserable with a pair of pass defenses and a pick-six. He didn't blank Lamont Wilder, but he prevented the star wideout from having an outsized impact on the game. Dazed and Confused: After a two-game offensive start that left fans breathless with delight and opponents breathless with exhausting, Baylor came crashing down to earth. Hard. Miles Street earned just 70 yards on 21 carries. Caleb Olmsted completed half his passes for just 140 yards, throwing 2 picks in the process. They struggled on third down, in large part because their poor showing on first and second down set them up to fail. Outside of Lamont Wilder (8 for 82 yards) and a 31-yard Street run, the offense was in full gridlock mode. Poking the Bear: And while Baylor's offense was gridlocked, the defense was unable to figure out how to put the Cyclones back on their heels. Andrew Newton and Garrett Powers each had a tackle for loss, but apart from that the defense was largely playing catch-up and triage. You could point to Vaughn Sheppard's 119 yards on 13-23 passing as something the defense did well, but it's just not relevant when Iowa State ran the ball so well. One loss doesn't erase the progress that Baylor's made, but it sure does seem familiar given the course of last season's roller-coaster ride. Next up: Iowa State finally comes home to Ames for their home opener against Oklahoma State, where they'll look to cool down another red-hot offense. Baylor stays home (they won't leave Waco until week 10) and plays host to West Virginia in the Country Roads Clash. Warm up your vocal cords! #23 Oklahoma 27, Fresno State 17 If I Hit 'Em High, Hit 'Em High, Hit 'Em High: Oklahoma's defense did their best to rock Ryan Harris's world on Saturday, sacking the star senior four times on the day. Max Abel, David Kaiser, and Jeremy Green each had a solo sack, and Abel and Kaiser decided to team up on another one. Given that he dropped back 43 times some pressure was certainly inevitable, but a sack on 8.5% of dropbacks sure ain't nothin' to sneeze at. The pressure didn't lead to turnovers, but it did lead to Harris having to rush some throws and lower his completion percentage. Unfortunately, it also led to a thumb injury for him--though he's not expected to miss any time. The Usual Suspects: Maurice White and Eric Pope put together a couple of trademark performances. White rolled up 127 yards and 2 touchdowns on 26 carries, his 16th straight 100-yard game. (Note: there are a total of 10 Big XII runningbacks with 16 total 100-yard games, let alone consecutively.) Pope, meanwhile, stayed efficient through the air with an 11-15, 182-yard day that came with a touchdown pass to Ty Royal. His 182 yards were the third-highest single-game total of his career, and his 12.1 yards per pass attempt were by far a career-best. He also ripped off a 31-yard carry in the fourth quarter that set up the go-ahead field goal. In the Clutch: Tied entering the 4th quarter, Oklahoma locked in on both sides of the ball to make sure they came away with the win. A 28-yard field goal from Louis Dwyer put them ahead, a touchdown run from Maurice White extended the lead, and the defense kept Fresno State off the board for the entirety of the final frame. And that's just what Oklahoma does in the 4th quarter. When they enter the final frame tied, Oklahoma is 9-2 all-time; overall, they now boast 17 wins in which the entered the fourth quarter tied or trailing. Next up: Oklahoma's earned themselves some rest before they embark on a tough road-road-neutral swing: their travels will take them to West Virginia and Fort Worth before going down south for the Red River Shootout. Texas Tech 42, Boise State 17 Solomon McLaughlin for Heisman: Solomon McLaughlin's been a stud from the day that he stepped onto Texas Tech's campus. But what he did to Boise State's defense was beyond jaw-dropping; it was record-setting. The true sophomore set a career-high for rushing yards in a single game with 246. It's the highest single-game rushing total by a Big XII runningback since Arturo Pacheco put 290 down on Florida Atlantic in 2018; before that, you'd have to rewind to Sterling Brown's 294 against Texas A&M. Overall, it ranks 6th by any Big XII ballcarrier, and he scored 4 touchdowns on the ground for emphasis. On top of that, he also caught 3 passes for 32 yards, and one of his receptions was a screen pass that went for a touchdown. He's the first Big XII player to rush for 4 scores and catch a 5th in a single game. He's rushed for 34 touchdowns in 16 career games, which is already 12th in Big XII history--and he's on pace to break Sterling Brown's record of 75 by the end of 2022. He's also at 2277 rushing yards for his career, which only ranks 20th but is still a fast enough pace to pass Brown by the end of 2022. With Regard to All the Records He Can Break By 2022: Solomon McLaughlin's eligibility doesn't run out until 2023. Defensive Gadget: Curtis Jones got some experience playing just about everywhere last year, but he's settled quite well into his role as the starting right end as a redshirt sophomore. Through 3 games he's already recorded 12 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and (not to undersell it) a Big XII-leading 4.5 sacks. In other words, the 1.5 sacks he had today "only" matched his season average. Jones led a hard-nosed defensive effort that would have held Boise State to 10 points for the day if it weren't for special teams. Next up: No rest for the wicked, as Texas Tech will have to get right back up and get going against Marshall at home on Thursday night. Saturday Evening Virginia Tech 30, #13 Texas 10 What Happened to Simeon Wells: Texas's junior tailback looked like he'd made a star turn at the beginning of the season. He torched Houston for 184 yards and 3 scores, followed it up with a stellar 148 and 2 against New Mexico, and then...this. He toted the rock 21 times in Blacksburg, and absolutely nothing went right for him. He managed 76 yards, the third-lowest yardage total and second-lowest yards-per-carry average of his career. (Yes, Texas lost the games where he fared worse.) But just as bad as his inability to move the chains was his inability to secure the ball. He fumbled twice, losing both of them. Kyler Tackett's interception made it three Texas turnovers, and that alone put the Longhorns behind the 8-ball to begin with. High-Risk, High-Reward, High Burn Rate: Texas's defense made a point of getting after Beckett Morrison and the Virginia Tech offense. Tristan Priest and Jabari Fletcher each sacked Morrison, Samir Sneed picked off a pass, and Jaylin Dickens flew in to bat down another. But outside of that, Texas's defense was leaking yards and leaking points. Morrison completed 21 of his 26 attempts--over 80%--averaged 11.6 yards per attempt, and had a passer rating of 178.3 for the game. The run defense was better 95.8% of the time. That's not an arbitrarily picked number; Texas did well in stopping 23 of Virginia Tech's 24 rush attempts. However, it also gave up a back-breaking 33-yard touchdown run to Julius Whitaker that kept them from even thinking about just sitting on the pass. Yeah, But How Did Kyler Do: Texas needs to get a good game out of either Kyler Tackett or Simeon Wells every single game, or the offense is going to struggle. The verdict for Tackett: he did okay but not above-average. He was 13-20 through the air for 192 yards, threw a touchdown and a pick, took 3 sacks, and rushed for 33 yards. None of his receivers outside of Shaun Lyles were of much relief, and that combination's just not enough to overcome the toxic cocktail of bad running and bad defense. Credit to the Hokies, Of Course: This is the second time this season that Virginia Tech's taken down a Big XII team after their rally to beat Oklahoma State a couple of weeks back. This team came out to send a message, and that message was that Virginia Tech is a team to be taken seriously. It's one thing to edge a team that was in a coaching transition, and it's one thing to punch out the worst team Florida State's ever fielded. But to knock out a talented and nationally ranked team like Texas? That'll turn heads...as long as Texas doesn't turn out to be overrated themselves. Texas Doesn't Lose Like This Often: You can count on your hands the number of times Texas has lost a game by 20 points or more. But for the first time, you now need both hands. This was the sixth 20-point beatdown Texas has suffered in its history and the fourth since the start of the 2019 season. It's also the eighth time they've been held to 10 points or fewer in a game (though only the second time since the end of the 2015 season). This is the type of game that Texas isn't used to, and it'll be a test of this team's character to see how they bounce back from it. Gaines Will Miss 2-3 Months: Redshirt freshman Zion Gaines struggled to get off the field after missing a tackle, visibly pained and holding onto his upper arm. The team has announced that it was an injury to his rotator cuff and indicated a timetable of 2-3 months. The Longhorns' first backup is Jamal Robinson, who started as a freshman last year. He's more of a 1-gap guy, though, so Texas will have to decide if they want to go with him or go with top backup 2-gapper Evan Muniz. Next up: Texas will head up to Manhattan for their conference opener against Kansas State. The Longhorns lead the Wildcats 4-0 in the series and have outscored them 136-55--though Kansas State came awful close last year in a 48-41 shootout in Austin. Byes: West Virginia (1-2), Oklahoma State (2-1), #4 TCU (3-0)
    7. 2017 National Championship Predictions

      Alabama 21, Georgia 17. And we all agree to forget that this season happened.
    8. Whoops, good catch. Fixed that and a couple others in the week 4 evening slot.
    9. Bumping to make sure people are aware this exists. Fully updated through week 4.
    10. [2021] Week #4 - 1 PM

      The Pipe answers to Ares, to Demeter, and to Hades; hatred of the Titans comes natural to it.
    11. [2021] Week #4 - Saturday Afternoon

      Solomon McLaughlin is the fourth Big XII runningback to account for five offensive touchdowns in a game, joining Trace Buchanan (2013 week 8 vs. TCU), Sterling Brown (2014 week 12 at Texas Tech), and Dylan Stewart (2017 week 12 at Baylor). He's the only one of the four to do so with a receiving touchdown. National Player of the Week barring something truly crazy in the evening. I'm liking what Curtis Jones has been doing this year, too. I guessed way wrong on Iowa State-Baylor. Wasn't sure which of McCullough's first two games was the fluke, but what a game. And that Iowa State defense is no joke either. Nothing insightful comes to mind for the Oklahoma game, they did what they were supposed to do.
    12. [2021] Week #4 - Saturday Morning

      Obscure stat of the day: Rahim Murrell is now the 5th quarterback in Big XII history to throw a touchdown pass in the first 15 games of his career, joining Norris Brooksheer (threw a TD pass in all 33 games), Brad Davis (streak snapped after first 18 games), Chester Brenner (streak snapped after first 19 games), and Kyler Tackett (streak active at 15 as well).
    13. Saturday Morning Kansas State (1-1) at North Carolina (0-2) The Wildcats and the Tar Heels enter this game in need of a big bounceback. Kansas State's coming off of a bye after a shocking 44-25 loss at home to Akron, but North Carolina's been somewhere between dead and lifeless in their two games so far. LSU and Nebraska outscored them by a combined margin of 76-17, and virtually nothing's gone right for them. They average 25 yards per game on the ground. Quarterback Sebastian Norwood's thrown 2 touchdowns and 5 interceptions on 57.3% passing. The defense made Elias Allen-Hollis work for it back in week 1, only for Sean Connell and Franklin Riggins to get whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, however they wanted. For Kansas State, the key to replicating Nebraska's offensive success against North Carolina will be through the air. The Wildcats haven't really established a ground game yet, with Jaiden Givens coming off of 26 yards on 12 carries. Rahim Murrell has to be able to manage the game, plain and simple. So far this season, he's 40 of 68 through the air (58.8%) for 452 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. That's very much the same story as last year: he can put up big numbers, but it's going to come with turnovers attached. The turnover battle can be a turning point, but neither defense has forced them at a particularly high rate. Cornerback Nasir Greer has an interception for Carolina, linebacker Joshua Turner has one for Kansas State, and that's it. Carolina's going to try and put pressure on Murrell thanks to two NFL-quality defensive linemen (seniors Daniel Simpson and Mohamed Caldwell), and Kansas State's going to try and put Ricky Seau, Damani Askew, Jhonny Palacios, and company in a position to take advantage of a Tar Heel defense that's so-so in most spots. I think they'll be able to do that. Kansas State is going to be the more talented team on the field, they've shown some ability to fight even when they're down, and with a tight bowl picture they know that they need this game heading into conference play. They'll find a way to get it done. Kansas State 31, North Carolina 17 Saturday Afternoon Iowa State (0-2) at #22 Baylor (2-0)* Who needs an experienced backfield anyway? The Cyclones and Bears have aimed to prove that it's overrated, though they've come up with varying results so far. True freshman Vaughn Sheppard and redshirt freshman Kofi McCullough have helmed the Iowa State offense, which performed surprisingly well against Wisconsin in their opener thanks to McCullough's 200 yards on the ground before the whole thing regressed to the mean in a loss to Iowa. The result is a pair of losses where they've showed signs of what the team needs to grow into: an offense that can be explosive at times and a defense that needs to be the team's greatest strength. Baylor, in the meantime, wasted no time getting their offense going. Redshirt freshmen Caleb Olmsted and Miles Street wasted no time getting started, and the offense has looked as strong as usual. They dropped 45 points on California in the opener, they followed it up with 30 points in a blowout of Minnesota in Kansas City, and they've earned themselves a ranking. And like Iowa State, the offense isn't even supposed to be the biggest strength of the team. The defense is flush with talent on all levels, and the strength of the Baylor linebackers--Zachary McHale, Thomas Morton, Garrett Powers, Maxim Hillman--is especially important against such a run-heavy team with such a good offensive line like Iowa State. The Bears did give up 110 yards on 22 carries to Zachary McFadden in the Cal game, but buckled down to 60 yards allowed on 15 carries to Minnesota. Bottom line: if Baylor stops the run, they're going to win this game. But on the other hand, Iowa State's got a talented defense of their own. Between Jalen Pittman, Kai Voss, and Mekhi Tolbert, their defensive line should be able to challenge Baylor's offensive line. Tolbert against Baylor left tackle Brian Chavez is a particularly juicy matchup. Baylor wide receiver Lamont Wilder against Iowa State corner David Tolliver should be just as interesting. Iowa State's defense is experienced and they're not simply going to let Baylor's offense walk all over them--and I'm not sure that it'll matter. I think Baylor can still win a low-scoring game because of their defense, and if it turns into a shootout then I flat-out expect the Bears to win. #22 Baylor 24, Iowa State 20 Fresno State (0-2) at #23 Oklahoma (1-1) After falling on the road to Nebraska, Oklahoma's ground attack comes back home to face off against Ryan Harris and the flyin' Fresno air attack. The Bulldogs are off to a rough start this season, having suffered a 38-20 loss to Texas A&M and a 30-22 defeat to Louisville--both at home. Both games had the same overarching theme: Harris alone isn't enough to overcome a lot of other trouble spots on the team. Given the scorelines of those games, defense is obviously one of those trouble spots. They couldn't stop Texas A&M from throwing all over them, and they couldn't stop DeSean Dockery from running all over them. With the caveat that defensive tackle Omar Adcock will be playing on Sundays and defensive end Vince Walls has that potential as well, the rest of the front seven hasn't shown much. That's good news for a Sooner team that relies so heavily on the run. Maurice White is third in the Big XII with 135 rushing yards per game, and that's included three touchdown runs. Eric Pope and backup runningback Leon Finley have complemented with another 28.0 yards per game and one Pope touchdown run. The question for the Sooners isn't whether they'll be able to run the ball successfully so much as how successfully they'll be able to run it. On defense, they don't need to concern themselves with the run; Fresno State averages 24 yards on the ground per game. But Ryan Harris is going to sling the ball around. He spreads it out to a variety of receivers, but tight end Frank Moffett is his go-to target in the red zone with all three of the team's touchdown receptions. The Sooner linebackers and safeties will need to keep tabs on him, but the linebackers specialize in coverage. Meanwhile, their secondary is a strength. Elijah Williams and Jaiden Witherspoon are young but have found a rhythm in tandem with each other, and safeties Julian Foster and Andrew Reaves bring the experience. Harris is dangerous, but Oklahoma will make him have to win the game pretty much by himself. That alone will ensure that he can't. #23 Oklahoma 38, Fresno State 14 Texas Tech (0-2) at Boise State (1-1) Continuing with the theme of running the ball, Texas Tech will look to do just that against a Boise State team they've become very familiar with over the years. This is the third straight year that these two programs will have met, and the previous two were defense-first affairs. The Red Raiders won 25-6 in Boise two years ago, then came home to Lubbock last year and took a 17-3 decision. So far this year, though, Boise State's offense looks improved enough to perhaps find the endzone. They opened with a 41-14 win over Kent State, then scored 28 points in the first half against Miami before collapsing in the second half of a 33-31 loss. Roman Green has completed exactly 19 of 27 passes (70.3%) in both games so far, averaging 222.5 yards per game through the air. He's thrown for three scores, rushed for another, and like every other Boise State player this season he has not turned the ball over. Devon Cannon's also been surprisingly effective on the ground, averaging 117.5 yards and a touchdown on 23.0 carries per game. Texas Tech's defense has had inconclusive results so far this season. They slowed down a balanced Arizona attack and held them to 17 points, only to be taken apart by the Felix Luck-led Horned Frogs of TCU. Their offense has been less of a mystery: they're going to run the ball. A team that can slow down the run can jam up the works entirely, but it's really hard to stop the run. Arizona could, TCU couldn't, and I don't really expect Boise State to do so. There's a lot of inexperience up front for them, and that's particularly true on the perimeter. McLaughlin likes to go between the tackles, but if he can get to the outside then he's going to be gone. I think Texas Tech is going to get their first win today. Texas Tech 31, Boise State 17 Saturday Evening #13 Texas (2-0) at Virginia Tech (2-0) Nothing's been able to slow down the dynamic duo of Kyler Tackett and Simeon Wells so far. The pair of juniors have each taken a huge stride forward, and the jolt that they can put into the Texas offense has carried them through their first two games so far. Combine that with a defense that is as good as they come on paper, and there's a good reason that Texas is a top-15 team so far. That said, Virginia Tech hasn't been messing around for their own part. They're 2-0 with road wins over Oklahoma State (via huge second-half rally) and Florida State; for the first time this season, they'll enjoy home-field advantage. Hokie quarterback Beckett Morrison's been on his game to start the season, completing 42 of 63 passes for 576 yards, 5 touchdowns, and no interceptions in two games. He's capable of running the ball, too, but he loves to find Isiah Rainey (13 for 186 yards, 3 TD) running deep as well. Julius Whitaker's a threat on the ground and has hit exactly 100 yards twice, but Morrison is their main playmaker. The Hokies also have a pretty solid offensive line, particularly on the left side. But Texas's defensive line is strong all across, and that's going to leave emerging star left end Tristan Priest matched up against redshirt freshman right tackle Max Elmore. Get Elmore on his heels, and the Texas defense has a path to success. And if Virginia Tech's path to success goes through Morrison's arm (which it has so far), then they'll have to contend with a strong Texas secondary. Damani Jeffries and Devon Braxton are in their third year starting together, and they've only gotten better and better with time. Virginia Tech won't beat them one-on-one consistently, and they don't go all that deep either. But if they can get the ball moving on the ground, take some of the pressure off the passing game, and keep Texas honest, then they can put up points like Houston did. Texas's defense is 1-for-2 so far, but their offense is batting 1.000, averaging 39.5 points per game this season. Tacket is completing 79.2% of his passes with 4 touchdowns and no interceptions and a passer rating exceeding 200; Wells is averaging 6.6 yards per carry and 166.0 yards per game. He's scored 5 times on the ground in just 2 games. Look for Wells to get a lot of action, because Virginia Tech is built to stop the pass much more than they're built to stop the run. They've been able to limit both so far, but Texas's offense can strain those limits. Lucas Freeman and Trevor McKinney are dangerous corners, and the Longhorn receivers aren't going to blow by them one-on-one. But I think Texas has more options on offense (see: Wells, Simeon) and they'll parlay that into an advantage on Saturday evening. I think the Longhorns will be tested thoroughly, but pass the test. #13 Texas 27, Virginia Tech 24 Byes: West Virginia (1-2), Oklahoma State (2-1), #4 TCU (3-0)
    14. [2021] Week #4 - FNF

      Trace the Ace Buchanan nods with a smile.
    15. [2021] Week #4 - TNF

      The good news is that Christian and Christy both balled, my tight ends made plays, and the Boys from Basehor (Callahan and Barfield) were awesome. The bad news is that the Pipe's favorite meal is Jayhawk receivers
    16. [2021] Week #4 - TNF

      Bet the Patriots are glad they got Weldon with their #4 pick. Sure would suck if he played for a division opponent.
    17. Thursday Night Kansas (1-1) at California (0-2) Kansas concludes their non-conference slate on Thursday night with a road trip out to Berkeley, their first trip out to the Golden State since a 2016 matchup with UCLA. The Jayhawks come into this one knowing that a win here would be a great chance to bounce back from last Saturday's loss to Missouri, and the Golden Bears know that a third straight loss to open their season would be disastrous. Nothing brings out a team's best like desperation (other than just being great in the first place), so we're in for an intense matchup. Cal's offense has been slow to start the season. They couldn't find the endzone until garbage time against Baylor, and they couldn't find the endzone at all against Oregon. Things have come in fits and starts for them: Leonard Norris had an efficient 200 yards on 14 of 18 passing with two scores and a pick in the opener, only to be held to 139 yards on 14 of 26 with an interception against Oregon. Redshirt sophomore runningback Zachary McFadden reached 110 yards in the opener and was held to 80 against Oregon. But they're going up against a Kansas defense that's coming off of a Missouri game in which it gave up 49 points and more than 600 yards to the Tucker Dowden-led offense, which means that both sides of that matchup have a lot of work to do. Cal will need junior wide receiver Calvin Levesque to get open with regularity, as his 122 receiving yards lead the team by a wide margin so far. Kansas prides itself on its secondary, particularly cornerback Bradley Spurlock--but if that secondary's forced to help defend the run due to a set of linebackers that's looked entirely discombobulated so far against opposing ground attacks, that's going to leave the defense vulnerable downfield. California also prides itself on its secondary led by Blaine Lewis-Thompson. BLT clogs up passing lines like a BLT clogs your arteries, and he'll be particularly ready to feast on a Kansas receiving corps short Chris Burgos. That leaves true freshmen Bronson Graves and Sebastian Christy as the only healthy wide receivers on the Jayhawk roster, and it means that sophomore quarterback Christian Graham will have to rely on his tight ends and runningback almost exclusively. The good news is that Cal's most talented linemen and linebackers aren't as experienced (outside of will linebacker Ethan McIntyre and left end Leon Maimoana), so the Armani Bello-less offensive line should be able to at least be serviceable. Even with those limitations, Graham's been effective so far. He's completed 72.2% of his passes so far for 249.5 yards per game, 5 touchdowns, and 1 interception--that's good for a 176.7 passer rating. He probably won't hit those marks against BLT and company, but if senior runningback Rod Fulton can find room to run then Kansas's offense like Miles Street and Trevon Yeldon did, then Kansas's offense will be in good shape. That said, there's too many ifs there. Kansas's team was already thinner than they needed to be, and two of their least replaceable players are out. I think the Golden Bears will have a successful balanced attack on offense, Lewis-Thompson will be too much to overcome on the other side, and Cal will get their first win of the season. California 23, Kansas 16