Thanksgiving is a time where friends and family gather round to share a meal, memories and laughs. But it is also a time to be thankful for the things we have.
Besides being thankful for your plate full of delicious holiday food, you should be thankful that you are able to read this because it means you are still alive to enjoy all the wonderful things Thanksgiving has to offer.
No matter if you are team ham or turkey, we here at Heartland College Sports are very thankful for one thing in particular which of course is college football. It is a joy that keeps on giving and to me, is the best sport on the planet. From the fans, the traditions and trash talk, I love it all.
During this time of thanks, I would like to share with you one thing I am thankful for from each Big 12 football team this season.
Texas: The Laughs
This year has been a complete comedy show for Texas. From the crazy Jeff Banks monkey/stripper story (thank you pole assassin) the famous Bo Davis speech after Iowa State, this program has made my day on more than one occasion. Just when I am thinking I am having a bad day, I remind myself how dreadful things are for Texas football. The Longhorns are on a six-game losing streak and after each loss, Steve Sarkisian stands in front of a microphone trying to explain what just happened. While I would love to have a bank account like his, I am not envious of the job he is trying to do. Good luck Sark and thank you for never having a dull moment during a bad season.
Baylor: Running Back Abram Smith
Coming into this season, I had no idea who Abram Smith was. It didn’t take long for me to know his name this year because he has been a joy to watch carry the football. Smith is averaging an eye popping 6.8 yards per carry and is the leading rusher in the Big 12 with 1,249 yards. He isn’t going to do anything flashy but his old school style of running the football is something I truly appreciate.
TCU: Gary Patterson
I know he is not the head coach at TCU anymore but after over two decades in Fort Worth, he truly is a living legend. Gary Patterson put TCU football on the map and led them to places many thought weren’t possible. When you think of TCU football, you think of Gary Patterson. The man has a statue outside the stadium and no matter who the next head coach is they should be thankful of what Gary Patterson has built over the years to make TCU football what it is today.
Texas Tech: Change
Sometimes change can be a bad thing but sometimes it can also be a good thing. I never felt like Matt Wells was the right man to turn around Texas Tech football and neither did athletic director Kirby Hocutt this year. With Wells out, the Red Raiders were able to get one of the best college football assistant coaches in the country with Joey McGuire. He brings great energy and was an outstanding Texas high school football coach who was countless ties within the Lone Star State. Joey has paid his college dues and now gets to lead a program that needs great leadership.
Oklahoma: Keeping Things Interesting
Despite being 10-1, the Sooners have been an interesting football team this year. They came into the season with national title hopes and quarterback Spencer Rattler had Heisman hype. But after a few weeks into the season, Spencer Rattler got benched in favor of Caleb Williams who has showed flashes but is still just a true freshman. Outside of the quarterback drama, Lincoln Riley has been connected to every open football job imaginable and yet despite all this, Oklahoma has had a good season. I understand the up and down play of this team but to sit here on Thanksgiving with a 10-1 record is pretty remarkable. While they may not have a chance at the playoff, they still have plenty in front of them including winning a seventh straight Big 12 title.
Oklahoma State: Making Defense Fun Again
Over the years, the Big 12 has been known as an offensive league. However, the last few seasons we have seen a change in the way teams play defense in the conference. The days of scoring 50+ points to win a game are over and now the best team in the conference is led by their defense. Oklahoma State has the number one rush defense and pass defense in the Big 12. They also are allowing just 14.9 points per game which is tied for second in the entire country. It’s time for everyone to know how good of a defensive coordinator Jim Knowles is and it is time for Oklahoma State to give him a long extension with lots of guaranteed money. Thank you for making defense fun to watch.
Kansas State: Quarterback Skylar Thompson
I have no clue if Skylar Thompson will play on Friday, but it doesn’t matter. I have had the pleasure to watch him over the last few years and this man represents everything great about Kansas State football. Skylar was there during Bill Snyder’s final run and has been there every step of the way so far for Chris Klieman. He has spent six years in Manhattan, Kansas and it is going to be weird not seeing him suit up for the Wildcats in 2022.
Kansas: Being Competitive
I didn’t think Kansas would win a football game this year and quite honestly, I didn’t care if they would as long as they were somewhat competitive. They not only won a game, but they also snapped a conference road losing streak in the process by beating Texas a couple of weeks ago. Kansas still isn’t where they need to be program wise, but they have been more than competitive in a handful of games this season. Lance Leipold deserves some credit and for once I am excited about the future of Kansas football and the direction they are headed.
Iowa State: The Senior Class
Iowa State is not where they want to be this season with a 6-5 record but when you look at the overall picture of the program, it started with this class. Some guys are fifth year seniors so going back to 2017 when the turnaround started, and they have come a long way since then. This class has been through a bowl game every year on campus and have even made a Big 12 title game appearance along with a Fiesta Bowl win. They have raised the bar at Iowa State at every level and will always be remembered as the ones who set the standard. From Brock Purdy, Charlie Kolar, Mike Rose, and Greg Eisworth, they have been some of the leaders who have helped put Iowa State football on the map nationally.
West Virginia: Neal Brown
Some people were critical of Neal Brown earlier in the season. I was a little more patient than most people and it appeared to pay off. Sure, West Virginia would like to have a better record but right now the Mountaineers have a 5-6 record with a chance to get bowl eligible this weekend. That would be a step in the right direction and would give a chance to get some of the younger guys those much-needed extra reps during bowl practice. Keep in mind what Neal Brown had to take over back in 2019. The cupboard was left a little empty after Dana bolted and if some people can be a little a patient now, it may pay off later.