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12 Thoughts on This Week in the Big 12: Boykin for Heisman, Texas Troubles, + OU’s Playoff Hopes

1. Trevone Boykin made himself the Heisman front runner on Thursday night against West Virginia. I believe he opened the eyes of the national pundits that haven’t yet watched much of the Horned Frogs this season. His pocket presence, running ability, and passing ability were all on display.

Yes, LSU RB Leonard Fournette has been outstanding, but I believe the QB will always get the nod over a running back for the Heisman. Right now, Boykin has the edge. But, November will be the deciding factor for both players. TCU and LSU are both undefeated, but have a very tough November slate. TCU has three ranked opponents in their final four games starting with Oklahoma State, then Oklahoma and Baylor. Also, LSU wraps up with three ranked opponents, at Alabama, at Ole Miss, and vs. Texas A&M. While I give Boykin the nod today, the next month will ultimately be the deciding factor.

2. Speaking of Trevone Boykin … how about that high five he received from WVU coach Dana Holgorsen? After a great running play where it looked like Boykin slipped around 11 WVU defenders for a first down, Holgorsen gave Boykin a high five on the sidelines. That was a horrible look by the Mountaineers head coach. WVU was about to lose their 4th game in a row by a wide margin and he’s high fiving the opposing QB that his defense can stop? I realize it was well intentioned, but if I’m a Mountaineers fan, I’m furious. You want to give him a high five after the game, be my guest. But, mid-game it’s embarrassing for the WVU defensive players. It’s another one of those small things that great leaders don’t do. Can you envision Nick Saban ever doing that? Hence, my belief that Dana Holgorsen is a great offensive mind and coordinator, but hasn’t shown the chops to be a great head coach.

3. Remember early in the season when the Mountaineers were shutting out their crappy opponents and everyone said, “Wow, that WVU defense is tremendous!” That’s why we don’t take the nonconference seriously when you play Georgia Southern, Liberty, and Maryland. Sure, the loss of safety Karl Joseph was a big one. But, this defense would still be struggling mightily, even with Joseph. This season is proving to me that the Mountaineers still don’t have the depth needed to compete at the highest level in the Big 12. WVU’s second teamers are still Big East caliber players, not Big 12. Holgorsen can recruit top end guys, but getting that depth has to be his next goal.

4. Meantime, in Lawrence, Kansas, the Oklahoma Sooners proved that they are still a legitimate threat to make the CFB Playoff. The Longhorns loss really hurt their chances (OU fans should be rooting for UT), but it hasn’t totally counted them out of the Playoff just yet. If they can get through a brutal November slate, including Baylor, TCU and OSU, they have a real shot. They’re also playing as well as they have all season long. OU is going to be a tough out for both TCU and Baylor.

5. Staying in Lawrence, KS, Saturday was embarrassing as it gets for the Jayhawks … and that’s saying something. It was homecoming at KU, and by the second half there was just a smattering of fans still in the stadium; those that were still there, appeared to be OU fans. KU allowed over 700 yards of offense, while rushing for just 35 yards on 36 carries. If David Beaty can get this program back to being ‘decent’ in the next 3-4 years, he would be a miracle worker. It’s also a damn shame that Charlie Weis still gets paid his millions, despite the dumpster fire he caused. Then again, those KU administrators who hired him get blame as well. It’s just a sad state of affairs.

6. Here is our tweet of the week. If you recall, a couple weeks back ESPN tweeted the new “Top 11” in the AP Poll. Why? Because Florida (SEC team) was #11. Now? They go with the “Top 7” to squeeze in Alabama. What a joke!

11-1-15 tweet of week

 

7. You want to see a fascinating stat? Here are your national rushing leaders since Week 3: 1. Fournette, LSU, 198.8 2. McCaffrey, Stanford, 156 Mike Warren, Iowa State, 154.3. Iowa State’s offense should be in good hands going forward with QB Joel Lanning, RB Mike Warren, and WR’s Allen Lazard and D’Vario Montgomery. Meantime, with Iowa State’s defense getting one more year with Nigel Tribune, we saw what it was capable of yesterday against the Longhorns. I’m not predicting ISU to be in the top-half of the Big 12, but yesterday was small validation for Paul Rhoads. My concern was that this team had quit on Rhoads. That clearly hasn’t happened. If it doesn’t and they finish strong, he’s the guy in Ames.

8. Speaking of Paul Rhoads, I loved this honest comment from him in the postgame: “But, I’ll say this anyway. We shouldn’t beat Texas probably. We shouldn’t beat Texas probably. Every kid that they recruit, if I go recruit them, I’m not going to get them. I’m not going to get them. OK? But, we did and we have twice because the program’s moving in the right direction.”

That’s something you rarely hear coaches admit, basically saying, “there are certain kids I just can’t recruit.” But, Rhoads honesty and passion is a breath of fresh air. I respect him more after reading that. Rhoads believes if he can recruit the right guys to fit his style and scheme, this team can be a bowl team year in, year out. And he’s right, it can be.

9. Talk about a flat performance from the Longhorns! In three true road games this season, the UT has scored 10 points. My goodness. All the momentum they built up from their wins over Oklahoma and Kansas State are gone. Getting shut out by a team that has won one Big 12 game the past year and a half? Inexcusable.

There were several different Longhorns who said after the game, “This isn’t Texas football.” Here’s the problem, it is! And it has been for a number of years now. Texas is 3-5 overall, needing to win 2 of their next 4 games to make a bowl game (KU, WVU, TTU and Baylor). They should be able to get there … unless they keep playing like they did on Saturday.

10. Texas Tech’s defense is … well, still pretty bad. Against the top-4 teams in the Big 12, the Red Raiders have given up 55, 63, 63, and 70 points. On Saturday against Oklahoma State, the Red Raiders defense blew three different 17-point leads. Are you kidding me? That’s just too much pressure to put on an offense, even one as good as Tech’s.

Kliff Kingsbury still needs that breakout win over a ranked opponent. Unfortunately, he’s played all the ranked teams in the Big 12, and lost to all of them. Tech is 5-4, with games left against WVU, K-State and Texas. They’ll make a bowl game, but still don’t feel like much more than a middle of the pack team in the conference. But, a 3-0 finish with a nice bowl win would do wonders for Kingsbury heading into the offseason recruiting season.

11. Oklahoma State just keeps getting it done. It’s really impressive and a credit to Mike Gundy and his staff. The Mason Rudolph-J.W. Walsh combo is starting to remind me more and more of the Chris Leak-Tim Tebow at Florida in 2006. Their skills complement each other quite well and there doesn’t appear to be any ego or team division caused by it. Now comes the November slate that we all knew Oklahoma State would have to get through to potentially win the Big 12: TCU, Iowa State, Baylor and Oklahoma. I’ve said each and every week I don’t think Oklahoma State is a top 10 team, but they keep winning and proving me wrong. I think that ends on Saturday.

12. It was a really solid week for the picks, going 3-1, with the Texas-Iowa State game as the lone loss. The irony is I first tried to convince myself to back Rhoads and the Cyclones, but I couldn’t pull the trigger. Oh well. For the season, I’m 28-16-2 on the season. We have had winning weeks in 5 of the past 6 weeks!

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