1. Oregon is not for real. While they have a very fast-paced offense that can put up a load of points on you in a hurry, they are a finesse team that has trouble taking a punch in the mouth as demonstrated last night by Stanford. The Trees rolled out and shut down the Ducks offense holding them scoreless until the 10 minute mark of the 4th quarter. By that time they had built a 26-0 lead on the strength of a smash-mouth running game that amassed 274 yards rushing against Oregon’s defense that seemed completely unable to stop the juggernaut. Stanford has to be the favorite to win the PAC 12 right now.
2. Baylor is for real. The Bears got punched in the mouth by Oklahoma’s defense out of the gate in Waco, but held their ground against the Sooner running game. Oklahoma lead 5-3 at the 8:16 mark of the 2nd quarter. It’s worth mentioning that Oklahoma was inside the 5 yard line on two different drives in the first half and came away with only 3 points. At that 8:16 mark, the walls collapsed for OU. Baylor scored on their next three possessions and lead 24-5 at the half. It didn’t get any better in the second half where Oklahoma’s offense, led by Blake Bell was only able to muster a single touchdown and the subsequent defeat to the Bears 41-14. The Bears’ schedule doesn’t get any easier down the stretch with matchups against Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, TCU & Texas. They should at this point be considered the favorite to win the Big XII championship. As for a shot at the national title, they’ll need help from teams playing against Alabama, Florida State and Ohio State. Unless two of those three teams lose at least one game, the Bears could likely be left out of the BCS Championship.
3. There is liable to be a shake-up in Norman. Thought Bob Stoops said after the game that the loss last night wasn’t Blake Bell’s fault, I would expect a shift over the next couple of games to work Trevor Knight back in as the starting quarterback. Based on the last couple of games, it has become clear that Bell has issues with the vertical passing game. He seems to have trouble with accuracy on downfield throws and is much more comfortable with timing routes no more than 10-15 yards where the receiver is on a button-hook (stops and turns around) route. Another possible shake-up coming, but not before the end of the season, could be co-Offensive Coordinator Josh Heupel and his future with the team. His play calling has become predictable and his ability to adjust when the game plan isn’t working is a question mark right now.
4. Marcus Mariota lost some ground in the Heisman Race last night. Though he passed for 250 yards and 2 touchdowns in the Ducks’ loss to Stanford last night, his scoring came after the game was decided. Per ESPN’s stat tracker had his lowest adjusted QB rating performance of the season at 76.7. In today’s slam-bang Heisman world, the top prospects have to take the bull by the horns against the toughest opponents on their schedule. He was unable to do this last night on the national stage and voters tend to take major stock in that.