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Pete’s 12 Thoughts on Week 11 in the Big 12

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1. Barring some kind of disaster, TCU is in the College Football Playoff. They were the #6 team in the rankings, just beat #7, have one loss to Auburn, and the rest of their schedule… Kansas, Texas (a little worrisome), and Iowa State. Who predicted this before the season? Gary Patterson should win College Football Coach of the Year. Amazing turnaround.

2. B. J. Who?? TCU running back B.J. Catalon was out Saturday with an upper body injury. I said on Friday the loss would hurt the TCU running game, as Aaron Green would get worn out with the extra load on his shoulders. That’s what they call a “bad prediction”. Aaron Green racked up 171 yards on 18 carries, and as a team TCU rushed for 334 yards, an average of 7 YPC.

3. It was once considered an incredibly tough environment to play in. But, Memorial Stadium in Norman is no longer feared by opponents. The Sooners just lost a second straight home game for the first time in the Bob Stoops era. Stoops had a home winning streak of 39 games from 2005 to 2011. But, I’ll never forget, when I was working in Oklahoma in 2011, the streak was snapped. After an hour and a half delay following strong storms, the #3 Sooners lost to Texas Tech 41-38. The program’s home field advantage hasn’t been the same since. Also, I was at their next home loss to Kansas State in September 2012. Another shocker. Including that Tech loss, the Sooners are 8-5 at Gaylor Family Stadium vs. Big 12 opponents since 2011.

4. When combining impressive wins for Baylor and TCU, they proved themselves as the class of the Big 12 Conference. It seems that wild 61-58 Baylor win a few weeks ago was the de-facto Big 12 Championship game. It’s strange that Baylor could win the Big 12 (head-to-head), but TCU is more likely to be in the College Football Playoff. I agree with the decision taking TCU over Baylor, but it’s still odd.

5. After Auburn lost, and TCU/Baylor wins … I believe the Big 12 has the best chance to have two teams in the College Football Playoff. Both teams have gotten through the toughest part of their schedules, and it’s entirely likely they both finish the season as 1-loss teams. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think they will both get into the CFB Playoff. Not having a Conference Championship game hurts the Big 12. And, rightfully so, the committee has no respect for Baylor’s non-Conference schedule (nor should they).

6. Speaking of which … if Baylor does finish the season 11-1 and misses the College Football Playoff, Art Briles should have his AD Ian McCaw on the phone ASAP to try and find someone to play in 2015’s non-conference slate. Next season they currently have SMU … Lamar … and Rice.

7. I couldn’t be happier for Clint Bowen picking up his first win with the Jayhawks. If he wanted to have any chance of removing the interim tag, he had to win this game against Iowa State. With the committee and search for a head coach that appears to be in the early stages in Lawrence, I still think Bowen is a long shot. But, it was a big step for him.

8. I always enjoying seeing clueless fans cheering into the cameras. Exhibit A: following E.J. Bibbs touchdown catch for Iowa State late in the first half, the Cyclones still trailed Kansas 24-7. Yet, there were a group of fans cheering into the camera and raising their pointer fingers implying “number 1”. They were right, their team was the “1st” win for the Jayhawks in the Big 12 in 357 days.

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But hey …. that’s better than being THIS Ben Affleck look-a-like guy … maybe he thought he was at a basketball game?

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9. I know the adage that West Virginia is a better team home than on the road, but my goodness, I was stunned by the dud they put up in Austin. They looked like a team that came off a 72-hour binge in Vegas. With the week-long hype surrounding College GameDay two weeks ago, and the heartbreaking loss to TCU, I suppose it could have been expected. Hence the the 3 ½ point spread… that I got wrong!

10. As for the Longhorns, they are just a different team than they were in September. The very early growing pains under Charlie Strong will pay off in a big way down the line. But, we are already seeing some of the early returns. The pass defense remains strong, the o-line and running game improve every week, and Tyrone Swoopes continues to show more glimpses that he can QB a conference contender. By the way? You think this team loves their new head coach? Check out this video:

11. Here is our anti-SEC/pro-Big 12 tweet of the week!

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12. It was, by far, my worst week of picks going 1-3. It’s the second losing week of the season. I must say I felt really good after crushing that Baylor pick … but it was all downhill from there.

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