Week 11 of the 2021 Big 12 football season saw two double-digit upsets take place, including one of historic proportions as Kansas upended Texas as 30-point underdogs. Also, Baylor ended Oklahoma’s 17-game winning streak, which then resulted in some postgame drama. The two games with the least amount of storylines coming out of them were Oklahoma State stomping TCU and Kansas State rolling West Virginia.
So while there’s plenty to recap after Saturday’s action, here are my top five takeaways from Week 11 in the Big 12 Conference.
1. Steve Sarkisian has to be Feeling the Heat
I’m not predicting Sarkisian is going anywhere, at least not yet, but Texas has now lost five games in a row and there hasn’t been a more embarrassing loss in decades (?) for the Texas Longhorns than Saturday’s game against Kansas, which Texas was favored in by more than 30 points.
Also, here is some historical perspective on this loss.
Then, off the field, you’ve got players leaking videos of assistant coaches ripping into them after losing games. You’ve got other coaches with their wife’s pet monkey allegedly attacking kids on Halloween. It’s just a complete mess in Austin and this season couldn’t be going any worse for Sarkisian.
2. Oklahoma State Looks like the Only Playoff-Worthy Big 12 Team
The Oklahoma State Cowboys demolished TCU on Saturday night and the Pokes look like the only Big 12 team capable and worthy of making the College Football Playoff. First off, every team other than the Oklahoma schools have more than one loss. But OU is finally playing the tough part of their schedule, which was backloaded this season, and it got off to a bad start on Saturday with a loss to Baylor.
Oh, and if you don’t want to take our word for it on just how good this Cowboys team is looking, take it from TCU interim head coach Jerry Kill.
And TCU has already played Oklahoma.
It still feels like Oklahoma State isn’t getting the credit it deserves this season from the national pundits. If OU or Texas were playing this kind of defense, you think there’d be some more love for this team? Oklahoma State is ranked third in the national in total defense behind Wisconsin and Georgia, and head of Alabama, Cincinnati, Iowa and Clemson, just to name a few.
But I’m sure Mike Gundy is just fine with his team being underappreciated.
3. Lincoln Riley Came Off So Petty
Lincoln Riley spent plenty of time complaining about the end of the Baylor game on Saturday when Dave Aranda chose to kick a field goal as time expired with his team up by 10 points. Why did Aranda do this? He wanted to get additional points in case there was a tie among two-loss teams in the Big 12 title race, because point differential between teams is the third tiebreaker in the league’s rules.
But Riley did not like it, and he brought up a “code of sportsmanship”.
As I wrote about more extensively here, Riley has a very short-term memory to be bringing up other team’s code of sportsmanship. Riley scored an unnecessary garbage touchdown against Kansas this season in the final seconds. He scored 14 points in the fourth quarter against Western Carolina when OU was already up 62-0. Oh, and if you’re Oklahoma or Texas, and your University is jus months removed from secretly soliciting membership into to the SEC behind the Big 12’s back … maybe talking about sportsmanship is something that you should hold off on right now.
It was all just a bad look for Riley, and I expect better from him.
4. How About Them Jayhawks?!
The Kansas Jayhawks pulled off the unthinkable by beating the Texas Longhorns 57-56 in overtime on Saturday night in Austin. As noted above, no Big 12 team had ever won a conference game as a 30-point underdog, but that’s exactly what KU did. Lance Leipold has now taken Oklahoma down to the wire, while also beating Texas. This is still a huge rebuild for Leipold, but this guy has these players fighting like crazy for him, this staff and this program. That’s a testament to who Lance Leipold is what he is steadily building in Lawrence. It’s really becoming fun to watch.
5. Iowa State’s Season is Officially a Disappointment
The Cyclones lost to Texas Tech on Saturday as a 10-point favorite and fell to 6-4 on the season and 4-3 in Big 12 play. For a team that started the season in the Top 10 in the country and was projected to play for the Big 12 Championship, with College Football Playoff hopes, there’s no way to spin this season as anything but a disappointment. Iowa State returned 19 of 22 starters from last year’s team that played for a Big 12 Championship. But now, they’re looking at a middle-tier bowl game.
For all the talk about Matt Campbell as one of the elite coaches in the sport, which I do believe he is, it’s fair to also point out that this season has been a let down, and a large portion of that should fall on the coaching staff.