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Oklahoma emerging as top team in Big 12

While the ACC had a weekend they would like to forget, the Big 12 was having a fine day for the most part. The conference went 10-2 on Saturday, including a pair of victories over the ACC. The losses were bad with Colorado getting smashed by their future conference rivals Cal from the Pac 10 and Iowa State getting steam rolled by the in-state rival Iowa Hawkeyes from the Big Ten, but the wins by the conference were worth noting. Nobody from the Big 12 though was more impressive than Oklahoma.

After struggling out of the gate this season against Utah State the Sooners woke up on Saturday with a dominating victory against Florida State and their Heisman hopeful quarterback, Christian Ponder. The Sooners were named the National Team of the Week by the Fiesta Bowl, for whatever that is worth, to reward their performance. The Sooners are already off to a much better start than they had last season, which saw Oklahoma taken out of the BCS championship hunt with a season opening loss to BYU in Cowboys Stadium and losing Sam Bradford in the process.

Landry Jones received a good amount of playing time last season stepping in for the injured Bradford, and that experience will go a long way to telling Oklahoma’s success this season. The sophomore quarterback enters week three ranked third in the Big 12 in passing yards (597) and second in touchdown passes (6). Comparing him with a pair of sophomore quarterbacks in the conference, Jones ranks first in each category and Jones has more touchdowns than both Robert Griffin III (Baylor, 4) and Garret Gilbert (Texas, 1) combined.

Jones took some criticism after the Sooners’ season opening victory against Utah State. He completed less than half of his passes against the Aggies and was intercepted twice. He answered his critics with a strong performance against Florida State, throwing for 380 yards and a quartet of touchdowns. The next two weeks will be important for Jones, and Oklahoma.

The Sooners welcome Air Force, always a tough match-up for any program, to Norman this week and travel to Cincinnati next week to take on the two-time defending Big East champions. After that the Sooners take on Texas in the Red River Shootout to open up Big 12 play. A win against Texas would help certify that Oklahoma is the team to beat in the Big 12 this season and if Oklahoma gets through the next three weeks unscathed they could start to become a name to be considered strongly in the BCS Championship hunt. The Sooners have an extra advantage by not having to play Nebraska in the regular season. Any meeting with their old rivals would not come until a possible Big 12 championship game.

About the Author

Kevin McGuire
Contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Also a contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Member of Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow on Twitter @KevinOnCFB.
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