1) So, the Oklahoma Sooners are in the College Football Playoff. The Big 12 look like a bunch of geniuses by avoiding having a Conference Championship game. But, as we noted in last week’s podcast, this does not mean the Big 12 gets the last laugh. Everything had to break right for the Sooners to land the fourth and final spot, most notably Notre Dame losing to Stanford, and the Pac-12 having only a 2-loss champion. It’s still time for the Big 12 to add a Conference Championship game, although it looks like the Big 10 is trying to put an end to that… more coming up in this week’s podcast on this topic.
2) As for the Sooners falling from #3 to #4, I did not mind it because Michigan State picked up their second Top-5 win of the season in the process. Also, let’s be honest, it creates much more interesting match ups. Oklahoma faces Clemson in a repeat of last year’s Russell Athletic Bowl when the Tigers rolled the Sooners 40-6. Nick Saban takes his Crimson Tide up against his former team, Michigan State. Also, this keeps the Sooners away from the Cotton Bowl for an essential home game. Most importantly, it allows the most intriguing potential Championship match up to remain in Alabama vs. Oklahoma. There’s not question that is what ESPN wants to draw the most viewers to the screen on Monday, January 11th.
3) Overall, the bowl match ups are really intriguing for the Big 12. There are a handful of Big 12-SEC match ups (LSU/Tech, OK State/Ole Miss, K-State/Arkansas). It’ll be an enormous chance for the conference to help put to rest the idea that the SEC is head and shoulders above the other Power 5 Conferences. Granted, much of their cache has gone away these past two seasons, but a big bowl season will have the SEC faithful chirping once again. Frankly, I don’t think any of the above mentioned match ups favor the Big 12, as K-State isn’t very good, OK State is banged up at QB, and I wonder if Tech will have any chance at stopping Leonard Fournette. Either way, I’m already counting down to the start of bowl season!
4) As for this past Saturday, the Baylor Bears appeared to be lacking energy and enthusiasm in their game against Texas. The Bears appeared to be a team that figured this game would be an essential play-in for the College Football Playoff. Instead, it was for a chance to make the Sugar Bowl. Sure, that’s nothing to scoff at, but the Bears had bigger goals this season. Some might point to the fact that they were on a 4th string QB. I point to Corey Coleman, who at times, was acting like a petulant child on the field, rather than being the leader. It was a bad look all around for Art Briles’ squad.
5) That being said, Baylor isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it will be quite interesting to see how the quarterback race plays out in Waco. If Seth Russell comes back healthy, then he is the guy under center. But, what does that mean for Jarrett Stidham? Will he be happy waiting a year? I suppose so, since if he transfers he’ll have to sit out a year anyway. But, remember that one of the reasons Stidham flipped from Texas Tech to Baylor is because he felt he had a better shot to play sooner. It’s all worth monitoring heading into 2016.
6) As for Texas, this is a team that was not going to go to a bowl game, so Saturday’s game became their bowl game. And it sure was a nice way to end the season. The Longhorns have so much to look forward to with the amount of youth and talent. The defense is going to be stout next season. As for the offense? Well, Charlie Strong reportedly offered TCU co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie the offensive coordinator job. If Cumbie takes it, that changes the entire landscape of the Big 12. By the way, who would have ever thought that TEXAS would be trying to convince the TCU OC to leave Fort Worth? My, how times have changed!
7) Here is our tweet of the week. I totally agree with it. In fact, imagine Baker Mayfield in the SEC? He would be hyped near Johnny Manziel levels, but he’ll likely come in 4th place. Although, I think Mayfield should win, as he made the biggest impact on his team of any of the contenders.
8) So Bill Snyder really is a wizard, huh? How he got this team to 6-6 is beyond me, because honestly, they stink. It’s a testament to Snyder and to his players who never gave up or quit. Halfway through this season I admittedly wondered whether or not it was time for Snyder to move on into retirement, after all coaching in today’s world is a young man’s game. But, I’ve been proven wrong. Snyder is the guy, this team was beyond banged up this season, and he still has the pulse and the respect of his players.
9) Meantime, the team K-State beat, the Mountaineers, should be embarrassed by Saturday’s performance. At the top of the embarrassment list should be head coach Dana Holgorsen who made some absolutely head scratching decisions when the game was on the line. Twice on a key third and fourth down Holgorsen ran a keeper with QB Skyler Howard, who was on a bum ankle, while RB Wendell Smallwood was having his day on the ground, finishing with 25 carries for over 140 yards. It’s stuff like this that drives WVU fans nuts. I’m right there with ’em …
10) So, after 4 years in the Big 12 under Holgorsen, the Mountaineers are 7-6, 4-8, 7-6, and now 7-5. I still don’t think WVU can or should make a change. Frankly, I think this is just kind of where the Mountaineers will continue to be in the Big 12 conference. They’ll be a consistent 7-5 team with the occasional 4-8 season, and the occasional 10-2 season. But, I have a hard time figuring out how WVU will end up being a perennial contender in this conference. “Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in the Big East anymore.”
11) Mike Gundy was named the Region 4 FBS Coach of the Year. You wonder if Gundy feels that this is the ceiling for Oklahoma State football. Sure, there are no really big jobs left to fill, as USC, South Carolina, Rutgers (just kidding about this one) and others are locked up. Gundy has apparently mended all his fences with T. Boone and others involved with Oklahoma State this past summer. But, as he keeps racking up personal accolades, OSU keeps winning, but maybe not reaching the promise land … it makes you wonder, when might he jump? I hope the answer is never, but I can’t say for sure.
12) My picks went 1-1 in the final week of the regular season. That puts me at 37-28-2 on the season. We will have a full breakdown and picks for the pending bowl games later this month with all picks against the spread. Can’t wait!
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