Big 12 Football: What We Learned in Week 5

Ben Kercheval@@BenKerchevalCollege Football Lead WriterSeptember 29, 2013

Another week of Big 12 football in the books. Finally, we'll start getting into some serious conference play in Week 6. 

But Week 5 provided a few firsts for the Big 12. Iowa State got its first win of the season over Tulsa Thursday night; Oklahoma won the first major non-conference game for a Big 12 team this season (with all due respect to Mississippi State); and West Virginia pulled the first upset in the conference this year by beating Oklahoma State at home. 

What did we learn from the Big 12 in Week 5? Let's take a look. 

Oklahoma State Was the First Big 12 Team to Be Upset, But It Probably Won't Be the Last.

Oklahoma State was the preseason media favorite to win the Big 12 this year. After losing to West Virginia 30-21 on Saturday, those conference title hopes took a bit of a hit. The Pokes had their worst offensive performance of the season by a mile and were sloppy in special teams. Three turnovers also led to 13 of the Mountaineers' points. 

Sep 28, 2013; Morgantown, WV, USA; The Oklahoma State Cowboys walk back to the locker room before the game their game against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

WVU's defense deserves a lot of credit for the way it played Saturday, but it's not like the 'Eers put together a top-notch game on all three sides of the ball, either. Point being, that loss was on the Cowboys. The good news, I would think, is that it's doubtful OSU will be the last favorite in the Big 12 to be upset this year. The conference still appears to be wide open. 

As high as I am on Baylor, the fact is the Bears have yet to be challenged. And Oklahoma is the only team in the Big 12 with any kind of signature win after beating Notre Dame on the road Saturday. There's simply not a lot any of us know about these teams yet. More upsets could be on the way. 

So while Saturday's loss was tough for OSU, it's too early to discard them from the Big 12 title race. 

Slowly, Playmakers Are Emerging for Iowa State on Offense. 

Maybe it's just Tulsa's defense, which is, shall we say, not too good, but Iowa State finally started to get some things going on offense in Thursday night's 38-21 win over the Golden Hurricane. Getting starting center Tom Farniok back provides a big boost, but there are two skill guys beginning to emerge for the Cyclones. 

Running back Aaron Wimberly became the first ISU player to top 100 yards on the ground since Shontrelle Johnson gained 120 yards against, of all teams, Tulsa in the 2012 season opener. Wimberly had his touchdowns vultured by Jeff Woody, but he had 137 yards on 19 carries. 

Quarterback Sam Richardson desperately needs help in the running game, and Wimberly looks like a guy who can provide it. We'll have to wait and see if ISU can put it all together against better defenses in the Big 12, but there are signs of life. 

TCU is the Big 12's Best and Worst Team All at the Same Time and Now My Head Hurts.

I'll say this for TCU: You're never really sure what you're going to get out of the Horned Frogs. That provides a level of intrigue on one hand and a heart attack for TCU fans on the other. 

Case in point: TCU trails SMU 10-7 at halftime, then sprints to a 48-17 win over the Mustangs with the help of 31 fourth-quarter points.

Trevone Boykin went from looking like the uncomfortable quarterback who tried too hard against Texas Tech to being unable to miss a wide receiver if he tried. Meanwhile, the defense and special teams began converting plays into points, something more along the lines of what you'd expect from a Gary Patterson team. 

The talent is clearly there in Fort Worth. If TCU could put it all together for 60 minutes, it'd be a Big 12 title contender without a doubt. The problem is this team hasn't been able to do that. With each passing week, I'm less convinced they will. 

Oklahoma Has Proved It Can Win on the Road, Which Should Help Later in the Season. 

Unless Notre Dame fails to win another game in 2013, beating the Irish in South Bend will be the best non-conference win for the Big 12 this season. But if there's really a big-picture angle to take away from Oklahoma's 35-21 win over Notre Dame on Saturday, it is that the Sooners are capable of winning on the road. 

Why is that important? Baylor (Nov. 7), Kansas State (Nov. 23) and Oklahoma State (Dec. 7) are all road games for OU this season. Those will be some potentially tough environments, and Oklahoma will again need the confidence it showed on Saturday. 

Other Week 4 Big 12 Happenings

Best offensive performance: Iowa State running back Aaron Wimberly, who had 137 yards on the ground for the Cyclones on Thursday. He didn't have any touchdowns, and this probably says more about the games in Week 5 than anything else, but Wimberly was a workhorse for ISU. 

Best defensive performance: TCU safety Sam Carter. I feel like West Virginia's defense should share in this award as a group, but Carter had two interceptions for 91 return yards and a score against SMU. It's tough to overlook that kind of individual effort. 

Best HOLGOSMASH moment: West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen was upset about something (probably the offense or the officiating), so he expressed his anger in the only way he knew how. #RIPheadset 

Best proof that Gary Patterson is literally coming apart at the seams: I mean, what else do you need? Via SB Nation:

Ben Kercheval is the lead writer for Big 12 football. You can follow Ben on Twitter @BenKercheval


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