Big 12 newcomers start strong


The Associated Press

TCU quarterback Casey Pachall (4) throws during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Grambling State in Fort Worth, Texas, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012.

Matt Warden

TCU starting off strong
Change is hard. TCU will surely realize this while acclimating to the Big 12. The Horned Frogs will be tested every week as they step onto the field.

In the match against Kansas, however, TCU sent a message to the rest of the conference in a game that didn’t showcase everything it has in the tank.

TCU’s 20-6 win over the Jayhawks allowed for the usually prolific Gary Patterson offense to take shape. Quarterback Casey Pachall was impressive with a 24-for-30 and 335-passing-yard performance.

However, the Horned Frogs amassed four turnovers.

“We just have to get our minds right,” Pachall said. “We know how well we can perform, and that wasn’t our normal way of performing.”

However you look at the first conference game of the year, TCU officially sits at the top of the Big 12 after three weeks of football.

Mountaineers flaunt their weapons
Another new addition to the Big 12 is West Virginia. A perennial Top 25 team, the Mountaineers are loaded again and look poised for big things after three weeks of the season.

West Virginia currently ranks as the No. 8 team in the nation and it ranks No. 3 in total offense. The Mountaineers haven’t faced equal opponents yet, but the numbers speak for themselves.

Quarterback Geno Smith is the player every other Big 12 team should make a note of, as he has already compiled 734 yards passing with nine touchdowns through two games. The Mountaineers are averaging 55.5 points per contest, which means that Smith accounts for nearly half of the team’s total points on the year.

Even though the defense ranks 60th in points against, West Virginia has all the firepower it needs to run the table in its first season in the Big 12.

Oklahoma State still a powerhouse
Oklahoma State has put up numbers through Week 3 that would make video game statistics seem real. The Cowboys are currently ranked No. 1 in scoring nationally with just over 62 points per game. If that isn’t enough, their offense ranks No. 4 in passing and No. 6 in rushing yards.

Nothing appears to be wrong with the offense, but Arizona State found a weakness in the No. 37 defense in the nation and derailed the Cowboys’ quest for a national title, defeating them 59-38 in Week 2.

With Big 12 play starting for the Cowboys when they face Texas in Week 4, the team still looks to stake its claim as a conference force with one of the most balanced offensive attacks in the nation.

The Cowboys feature two quarterbacks who have each amassed at least 450 yards passing, two backs with at least four touchdowns each and two receivers with at least 10 catches and 200 yards each.

Expect to see fireworks any time Oklahoma State takes the field during Big 12 play this season.

Printed on Wednesday, September 19, 2012 as: Sloppy TCU nabs win, WVU's Smith shines