Kansas State's Bill Snyder considers it good luck that one of his players wasn't seriously hurt while fielding a punt against Southern California. He also thinks it's wrong that the rule governing such vicious hits wasn't fully enforced.
In the third quarter of Saturday's 10-6 victory, Aaron Lockett was hit helmet-to-helmet by USC's Troy Polamalu. The play resulted in a 15-yard penalty, which had Snyder peeved after the game and still on Monday.
"The rule book specifically defines what the penalty is," he said on the weekly Big 12 coaches conference call. "The penalty includes ejection from a ball game. Ejection also carries over into the next ball game as well. So it can be a stringent penalty.
"The problem is, no one had the courage to enforce it. That's unfortunate."
Lockett, who led the nation in punt returns last year and is the Wildcats' top receiver, re-entered the game once after he was hit, although offensive coordinator Ron Hudson said afterward that Lockett didn't know where he was or who won the game. Snyder said Lockett did not suffer a concussion and seemed to be fine Sunday.
Polamalu said it wasn't intended to be a cheap shot.
"Aaron is going to be OK, but young people can get maimed under these circumstances," Snyder said. "If you don't enforce it, then it makes it a very minor penalty."
Penalties were a concern for Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops after the Sooners beat North Texas 37-10. Oklahoma was flagged 13 times, including one that wiped out an interception return for a touchdown and others that cost the Sooners scoring chances on offense.
Oklahoma also had two turnovers, missed two field goals, had one field goal try blocked, and muffed a punt.
"That's basic discipline and basic play. We just need to play smarter," Stoops said. "With a little more discipline, we might have a chance to be a pretty good team."
If last weekend was any indication, then the Big 12 has a chance to be a pretty good conference. The league went 11-1, with the marquee victories belonging to Kansas State and Nebraska. The Cornhuskers dominated from the start in a 27-10 victory over Notre Dame.
"How about an 11-1 record with our conference this week?" said Iowa State coach Dan McCarney, whose team beat Northern Iowa 45-0. "Those two wins were just major league."
Texas coach Mack Brown said the Big 12 is the best league in the country.
"I'm from the South, and for years people were talking about the Southeastern Conference, that they all beat each other up," Brown said. "I think that's what's happening now in this league. There's not a team that you cannot get beat by if you don't get yourself prepared to play."
Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum agreed. Slocum's Aggies beat Wyoming 28-20 last Thursday.
"From school to school, every team in this league is well coached," he said. "There's a lot of football players that reside in the Big 12 area. I think it's a great league and is only going to get better."
Quote of the week: "I figured he probably lost where he was. Then I figured he's fast enough he could probably get to the 20, or I wished he would. Once he got to 20, I knew he was going to score. He's just really fast." Texas Tech coach Mike Leach, about freshman Ivory McCann fielding a kickoff 8 yards deep in the end zone and returning it for a touchdown.
Extra points: Baylor coach Kevin Steele liked what he saw in a 24-3 victory over Arkansas State. "This is a much more focused, unified team and one of the best I've been around in a long time, in terms of that just being focused and being unified and feeding off of each other," he said. "It was like that the whole game." Iowa State's McCarney said he was surprised by his team's six interceptions last week. "We've gone seasons around here where we couldn't get six interceptions in a season." Texas A&M receiver Bethel Johnson is out indefinitely with a spleen injury. Coach R.C. Slocum said it will likely take six to eight weeks to heal, and that the Aggies are not expecting him back this year. Nebraska nose tackle Jason Lohr underwent surgery for a knee injury and is lost for the season, defensive coordinator Craig Bohl said.