I hear it all the time, “Who has the best conference in college football?” SEC? Big 10? ACC? What about the Pac-12? Very rarely are you going to hear the words “Big 12” coming out of someone’s mouth in that conversation. Whether you do it or not, there are plenty of folks out there who love to bash the Big 12 conference (cough, Paul Finebaum, cough). Another week of football is in the books. In the Big 12, there is never just a normal weekend and that once again proved to be true this past weekend. From good games, to eye sores, there was some good, some bad and some downright ugly.
TCU (Beat Baylor 16-9)
Um, I will be the first one to tell you that I did not see this one coming at all. Somehow, someway the Horned Frogs were able to pull it off. While the offense didn’t do a ton, it was the defense that won this game for TCU. Offensively, WR Jalen Reagor was the entire offense on the day as he scored both TCU touchdowns by way of a pass and a reverse. Other than that, there was basically nothing for this offense. Meanwhile the defense was able to get 3 turnovers on the day and the bend but don’t break approach worked perfectly in their favor. They held Baylor to just 9 points on the road. What more could you ask for from this defense? Didn’t matter how hard it was to watch this game, TCU found a way to win and keep their bowl hopes alive.
Kansas State (Beat Texas Tech 21-6)
Much like the TCU/Baylor game, this one was strange to watch to say the least. Kansas State didn’t do anything special in this game. They simply played harder and wanted it more in my opinion. I thought QB Skylar Thompson was just ok, but the difference was RB Alex Barnes from an offensive standpoint. He rushed for 136 yards and by far was the best running option for the offense. However, the defense was what won this game for Kansas State. Oh yeah, the special teams came up big too blocking a punt for a safety in the game as well. They never let Texas Tech get in a rhythm offensively and were able to get some turnovers in key situations. How about this stat? Texas Tech had a measly 31 rushing yards on 26 carries. Most importantly the defense only allowed 6 points, and, in this conference, you will win 100% of the time if you can do that defensively.
Oklahoma State (Beat West Virginia 45-41)
Let’s get the not so great out of the way and that was the defense. Other than the final two drives, this defense struggled all game long. They gave up way too many yards and points to begin with. If not for the offense bailing them out, this outcome would be different. But of course, how fitting was it for the defense to get the last second stop? That’s the way the season has gone for this team. I thought QB Taylor Cornelius stepped up his game in the second half after a messy first half where he threw 2 picks. However, his arm and his legs really came up big in key moments in the second half to help win the game. Believe it or not, Taylor rushed for 106 yards and threw for over 300. RB Chuba Hubbard had a solid day as well rushing for 134 and averaged 5.2 yards per carry. This team was down 31-14 at halftime and were able to come back and outscore West Virginia 31-10 in the final two quarters. Even though it has been a roller coaster season for the Cowboys, they have beaten two top 10 teams at home this season. I’m still trying to process that in my head. And yes, the Cowboys are going bowling this season.
Texas (Beat Iowa State 24-10)
Right before the game started, Texas knew just how much bigger this game had gotten when the West Virginia/Oklahoma State game ended. Instead of a game where a possible Big 12 title birth was at stake, it become more of a game where the winner would make it there considering the opponents for next week. I will give Texas credit here because they played an excellent first half of football. The defense stuffed the Cyclone offense and held them to just 3 points in the first half. How about the offense in that first half? They played smart, physical football with QB Sam Ehlinger leading the charge as he threw and ran for scores. Sam winded up taking a big hit and sat out the second half with his team leading 17-3. When I saw backup QB Shane Buechele start the second half, I wasn’t sure if Texas could manage the game and by the look of my Twitter mentions, I WAS WRONG. Shane went 10 for 10 and threw a touchdown pass to Lil’Jordan Humphrey in the third quarter. The Longhorn defense took care of the rest allowing just one score in the second half. The defense got 6 sacks and frustrated ISU QB Brock Purdy all game long. Even when the Cyclone’s star RB David Montgomery entered the game in the second half, they kept him in check. With a win over Kansas next week, Texas will make their first conference championship appearance since 2009.
Oklahoma (Beat Kansas 55-40)
Before I rant on about the you know what let me explain myself here. Oklahoma won the game and no matter how hard it was to watch (Trust me it was rough), they got the important thing which was a win. The offense played lights out for the most part and Kyler Murray was well, Kyler Murray the Heisman contending quarterback. Also, RB Kennedy Brooks was a beast rushing for 171 yards and 2 scores. The offense (As usual) did their job in this game. Now, for my short and calm rant here. THE DEFENSE WAS HORRIBLE. Tackling seemed optional for the defense and with 16 missed tackles, I think they chose to stay in the locker room while the game was going on. How do you give up 348 rushing yards to Kansas? It’s almost like you must try and be that bad and to be honest, this defense has gotten even worse since Mike Stoops left. Kansas hasn’t scored this many points in a conference game since 2010. Now that I got that out of the way, this team still controls their own destiny to reach the Big 12 title game. See? That was calm.
West Virginia (Lost 45-41 to Oklahoma State)
This team scored 41 points on the road and still lost the game. I think you know where to point the finger at in this one. The defense gave up 31 in the second half and made OSU QB Taylor Cornelius look like a Heisman contending quarterback. They struggled to stop the run and gave up 3 fourth quarter touchdowns. I mean they gave up over 600 yards of offense. You can’t do that and expect to win the game, especially on the road. QB Will Grier played well but the offense wasn’t in sync in the second half. RB Kennedy McKoy had a hell of a game rushing for 148 yards but like I said, the offense couldn’t run as well in the second half. I am not sure what exactly happened at halftime, but I guess it wasn’t good. The offense had a chance to win the game late but ultimately fell short and most likely their hopes of reaching a Big 12 title game could fall short if they don’t beat Oklahoma this coming Friday.
Iowa State (Lost 24-10 to Texas)
There’s not much to say about this game besides Iowa State didn’t look ready to play this game on the road. QB Brock Purdy looked rattled all game long due to the pressure Texas was able to create and the ground game never got going even with David Montgomery in the second half. With the offense not moving the ball, the defense was on the field for over 35 minutes of the game and while they held Texas in check in the second half, the offense couldn’t help. Playing on the road isn’t easy with a freshman quarterback and I think that showed some in this ball game. I don’t think Iowa State played that poorly, but I think it was clear that Texas was ready for the big stage and the Cyclones weren’t just yet. Even though this team won’t win a conference title, they have a chance to win 8 games this season and possibly 9 with a bowl win. Don’t hang your heads Cyclone fans.
Kansas (Lost 55-40 to Oklahoma)
Look, there was no way in hell that this team would beat the Sooners. But I must say they did give outstanding effort in this one. Defensively, they simply just gave up too much to really have a shot. Of course, RB Pooka Williams will have plenty to talk about considering he rushed for a career high 252 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Sooners in Norman. Kansas fought hard but, in the end, they fell short. I don’t think anyone should be disappointed in the way the game turned out for Kansas fans. That was some of the best football they played all season long, especially on offense. On to the Les Mile era am I right?
Baylor (Lost 16-9 to TCU)
This game was a huge disappointment for Baylor. It was their final home game of the season and they had a chance to clinch a bowl birth against their rival TCU. Then the game started, and I am not sure Baylor was aware the game started. The defense didn’t give up anything all game long, but two bad plays really hurt the defense. They let TCU WR Jalen Reagor take a short screen pass for a long touchdown and missed several opportunities to bring him down and let him score on a reverse. Those two plays proved costly but considering the fact that TCU only scored 16 points, the offense should have stepped up to win the game, but they couldn’t. They were too busy turning the football over and getting sacked in crucial situations. Outside of QB Charlie Brewer and RB John Lovett running the football, Baylor didn’t have much of an offense in the game considering how badly the Bears passing attack was. There were just way too many mistakes offensively and it came back to bite this team in the rear and ultimately cost them the game. Now they must beat Tech next week to reach a bowl game or else they will fall to 5-7 on the season.
Texas Tech (Lost 21-6 to Kansas State)
This was by far the ugliest offensive performance I saw this past weekend. The defense was put in some bad spots throughout the game and giving up 21 points in this conference isn’t bad at all, especially on the road. Once again you didn’t even have to watch this game (Unfortunately I did) to get the whole story here. The offense was pathetic and that’s putting it lightly here. They had just 31 rushing yards on 26 carries and 150 passing yards by QB Jett Duffey. Even Kansas State threw for more yards and that should be embarrassing if you are Texas Tech. Jett had 2 bad turnovers and I don’t think I have ever seen Texas Tech this bad on offense under Kliff Kingsbury. Right now, some fans are already calling for his head. I am not on that train just yet but this was downright ugly to watch if you are a Tech fan.
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