There was plenty of excitement in the Big 12 last week. My blood pressure spiked at times watching the games, but that’s all part of the college football experience, is it not?. Three games in particular helped provide some clarity to the league race.
1) Baylor at Iowa State. Iowa State was down 14 points to Baylor in the second quarter before coming back and winning 38-31 to remain in first place in the league.
2) Oklahoma State at Kansas State. Oklahoma State came back from a 12 point first-half deficit to beat Kansas State 20-18 and remain a half-game behind Iowa State.
3) West Virginia at Texas. In a clash of second-place teams, Texas and West Virginia had quite a defensive battle that the Longhorns won 17-13.
Is there a clear favorite in the Big 12? Not quite yet. There are still five teams within a game of first place with three or four games remaining. (Baylor and Oklahoma State have four games left)
Who has the best shot to get to the Big 12 Championship game? Let’s take a look at the contenders.
Iowa State (5-1)
November 21 – Kansas State
November 27 – at Texas
December 5th – West Virginia
The Cyclones have a pretty tough schedule remaining. K-State gave Oklahoma State all they could handle on Saturday and West Virginia has the best defense in the Big 12 and one of the top-ranked defenses in the country. A trip to Austin in between those home games will not be easy. I’ve got Iowa State taking care of business at home and losing to Texas, finishing at 7-2.
Oklahoma State (4-1)
November 21 – at Oklahoma
November 28 – Texas Tech
December 5 – at TCU
December 12 – at Baylor
The Oklahoma game in Norman is the biggest game of this bunch and I think the Sooners have what it takes to beat the Cowboys. That being said, Oklahoma State should take care of business the rest of the way to finish at 7-2.
November 21 – Oklahoma State
November 28 – at West Virginia
December 5 – Baylor
The Sooners are playing great right now with quarterback Spencer Rattler leading the top-ranked offense in the league. The game at West Virginia will be fun to watch since we’ll get to see the top offense in the Big 12 going against the league’s best defense. The Sooners probably have enough firepower to get the victory over the Mountaineers. I also have them beating Oklahoma State and taking care of business against Baylor to finish at 7-2.
November 21 – at Kansas
November 27 – Iowa State
December 5th – at Kansas State
The Longhorns should take care of business against Kansas and I also think they’ll beat Iowa State. I see them losing the last game of the season at Kansas State to finish at 6-3.
Kansas State (4-2)
November 21 – at Iowa State
November 28 – at Baylor
December 6 – Texas
Chris Klieman’s Wildcats had a real shot at the Big 12 championship if Skylar Thompson had not suffered a season-ending injury on October 3rd against Texas Tech. Watching backup quarterback Will Howard has been quite the roller coaster ride. Howard has done some good things, but he had a brutal fumble in the Oklahoma State game that was returned for a touchdown and then followed that up by throwing an interception to end the game. The Wildcats will continue to play tough defense and do enough on offense to stay in most games. I’ve got them losing to Iowa State and beating Baylor and Texas to finish at 6-3.
West Virginia (3-3)
November 14 – TCU
November 28 – Oklahoma
December 5th – at Iowa State
It’s going to be tough for West Virginia to get back into the race. They have been an interesting team to watch. I think they are better than their record indicates but I still can’t explain the loss to Texas Tech. Losses to Oklahoma State and Texas are not bad losses by any means, but they needed two overtimes to beat Baylor. They’ll probably beat TCU but lose their final two games to finish at 4-5.
November 14 – at West Virginia
November 28 – at Kansas
December 5 – Oklahoma State
I don’t see a path to the title game for TCU. West Virginia and Oklahoma State are likely losses and I have them finishing at 4-5.
Baylor, Texas Tech, and Kansas are out of the hunt at this point. If my predictions play out, Iowa State, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma would all be tied for the league lead at 7-2. Tiebreakers would decide the two teams to play in the Big 12 championship game. Oklahoma State could knock Oklahoma out of contention with a victory against them, but I don’t see that happening. As of today, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma have the best shot to make it to Dallas to play for the championship. It’s going to be fun to watch this play out!
*If you like what you’ve read from Joe Mathieu, find more on his personal K-State site: http://www.kstatejoe.com/*