As we gear up for Week 11 of the college football season (where is this season going?!), the Big 12 has come down to four teams: Oklahoma, West Virginia, Iowa State and Texas. How does Saturday shake up the conference championship race? Here are the top five storylines I’m watching in the Big 12 Conference heading into Week 11.
1. Which Kansas team has quit on its coach?
David Beaty was fired earlier this week by Kansas. Bill Snyder is in a precarious and somewhat awkward situation with Kansas State. Neither team has been good this season, but both coaches are still running the program through this season. Will the Jayhawks play their tails off for a coach who is not going to be with the program in three weeks? Does Bill Snyder still have the pulse of his team or have they mailed it in in a lost season? We’ll learn this and much more in Manhattan this week.
2. Does West Virginia have a hangover?
The Mountaineers are coming off a thrilling victory in Austin against the Longhorns to stay tied atop the Big 12 Conference with the Sooners. But now they face a TCU Horned Frogs team that isn’t having a good season, but also has absolutely nothing to lose. That’s a scary combination, especially when Gary Patterson is the head coach of the team. On paper, it should be a relatively easy wins for West Virginia, but we know better than to chalk this one up to quickly.
3. Iowa State’s flawlessness
The Cyclones have played as well as any team in the Big 12 over the past month of the season. But because of two early season conference losses, there is no room for error if Iowa State wants to play in the Big 12 Championship game in early December. Now the Cyclones face Baylor, who is coming off a somewhat surprising home win over the Oklahoma State Cowboys last week, but now they go into a much tougher situation into a frigid Ames, Iowa against the top defense in the conference.
4. Does Mike Gundy have another rabbit to pull out of his hat?
Oklahoma State has had an incredibly strange season. They lost to a bad Kansas State team by 19, then beat No. 6 Texas and followed that up with a loss at Baylor. There isn’t a ton for Oklahoma State, although with one more win they are bowl eligible, but knocking the Sooners out of the College Football Playoff race might be enough to motivate Mike Gundy’s guys.
5. Hook ‘Em bounce back?
Texas was in the driver’s seat in the Big 12 race two weeks ago, but after two-straight losses to Oklahoma State and West Virginia, the Longhorns are now on the outside looking in and have a tough test on the road in Lubbock against the Red Raiders. Last year, these two teams played a classic in Austin, where the Red Raiders came back to win, became bowl eligible, and may have saved Kliff Kingsbury’s job. Are the Longhorns looking for revenge? If they lose this game, the Texas haters will be out in full force, saying that Texas is, once again, “not back.”
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