• How did Oklahoma perform in its first game as the nation's No. 1 team in nearly five years? Well, it was a tale of two third-and-fives.
In the opening drive of the game, Baylor immediately faced a third-and-five from its own 25-yard line. Freshman QB Robert Griffin delivered a perfect pass, but Brad Taylor couldn't hold on. Three-and-out -- time to punt. Less than 30 game seconds later, the Sooners faced a third-and-five of their own. Sam Bradford dropped back into the impenetrable Oklahoma pocket, scanned the field and found a wide-open Manny Johnson, who cruised into the end zone for a 53-yard touchdown. (Side question: Does anyone cover that guy? Ever?)
The Sooners proceeded to rack up 28 points in the first quarter and never looked back, winning 49-17. Bradford enjoyed another prolific day behind center, completing 23 of 31 passes for 371 yards and two touchdowns (to one interception), while DeMarco Murray ran for 95 yards and two scores. The Sooners outgained the Bears by over 300 yards of total offense (592-276).
All in all, it was an impressive start to OU's Big 12 season and a successful tune-up before next week's season-defining showdown with Texas.
• And now to the Big 12 North ... What are we supposed to think of Kansas? Dare I say overrated? Yes, the Jayhawks stormed back from a 20-0 halftime deficit to earn a gutty, 35-33 win over Iowa State. And yes, Todd Reesing (320 passing yards, 3 TDs) once again looked pretty darn impressive. But the bottom line is KU eeked out a win over a very underwhelming Cyclones squad.
Earlier this week, the Jayhawks' resume took a big hit, as USF (Kansas' lone defeat) lost at home to a seemingly mediocre Pitt team. At this point, it looks like there's a massive gap between Missouri and the rest of the Big 12 North.
• We've heard plenty about Penn State's new Spread HD offense, but the defense carried Joe Paterno's team in today's 20-6 win at Purdue. The Boilermakers averaged 30.25 points over their first four games, but they couldn't get much of anything going against a stout Nittany Lions defense. Penn State completely stifled Purdue's record-setting quarterback Curtis Painter (13-22, 112 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT) and held the Boilers to 241 yards of offense. (Though it must be noted that the Nittany Lions received some help from Purdue kicker Chris Summers, who missed a pair of first-half FG attempts.)
It certainly wasn't the flashiest win of the season for the Nittany Lions, but the game was never in question and PSU improved to 6-0. Now JoePa and Co. enter the meat of their schedule. Over the next three weeks, Penn State plays at Wisconsin, home vs. Michigan and at Ohio State. It's a tall order, but if the Nittany Lions can get through this stretch unblemished, their national-title hopes increase exponentially. Just take a look at Penn State's final three games of the regular season: at Iowa, vs. Indiana, vs. Michigan State.
• Georgia Tech has been "grounded" under new coach Paul Johnson, converting to the run-heavy triple-option offense. But the offensive story of today's 27-0 defeat of Duke was actually an aerial connection between Jaybo Shaw and Demaryius Thomas. Shaw, a true freshman making his first career start in place of injured Josh Nesbitt, hooked up with Thomas nine times for 230 yards and a touchdown. Considering Shaw completed nine passes -- total -- I think it's safe to say he found a favorite target. Nesbitt will probably return to action next week, but Johnson learned something about his quarterback depth today.
• Boston College beat N.C. State 38-31 in the second annual Tom O'Brien Bowl. The Eagles improved to 2-0 against their former coach. O'Brien stunned many folks by leaving B.C. for N.C. State in December of 2006, but the Eagles have gone 16-4 since his departure. On the other hand, the Wolfpack are now 7-11 with O'Brien at the helm.