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Five Biggest Takeaways From Week 7 of the Big 12 Football Season

NCAA Football: Kansas at Oklahoma

Week 7 of the Big 12 football season is in the books as conference play is fully underway across the league. There were four games this week, with West Virginia beating Baylor 43-40 to kick off the week on Thursday, while we had three games on Saturday, including Texas beating Iowa State 24-21, Oklahoma handling Kansas 52-42 and TCU got by Oklahoma State in overtime 43-40.

So with another wild week in the books, here are the five biggest takeaways from Week 7 in the Big 12 Conference.

 

1. West Virginia Needed that One

No coach needed a win in Week 7 more than Neal Brown. The Mountaineers were coming off an embarrassing showing against Texas with nearly two weeks to think about it. WVU was playing in front of an partially-empty stadium, but as Brown noted after the game, the fans that didn’t show up missed a good one as the Mountaineers got the 43-40 win over Baylor in an absolutely thrilling back-and-forth game. Instead of being 0-3 in Big 12 play and 2-4 overall, the Mountaineers are 3-3 (1-2) and are in a much better position to make a bowl game than they were a week ago. And boy, no one needs (at least) a bowl game to feel better about the future of the program than Neal Brown.

2. Texas Wins Ugly

Any team that plans to win a conference title needs to learn how to win ugly. And Texas did just that on Saturday in a 24-21 victory over Iowa State. It was a classic trap game and quarterback Quinn Ewers wasn’t his sharpest on Saturday, finishing 17/26 for 172 yards, however it was Bijan Robinson who picked up the slack for the Longhorns, finishing with 135 rushing yards on the afternoon against the No. 1 rushing defense in the Big 12.

The Longhorns are 3-1 in Big 12 play and should feel like they have as good a chance as anyone in the league of winning the conference this season, especially now that Ewers is back at quarterback. But the next month will determine whether or not they’re serious contenders, as they play four ranked teams in a row, starting with the Oklahoma State Cowboys next Saturday.

 

3. Iowa State is Learning Valuable Lessons in Rebuild

Iowa State dropped to 3-4 overall and 0-4 in Big 12 play with the loss to Texas. However, these four losses have been by a combined 14 points and the last three have been by three points or less (a total of seven points). Plus, a play here or a play there (against Kansas, K-State and Texas) and Iowa State could be 3-1 in the Big 12 and 6-1 overall. I understand that football can’t be viewed in “ifs and buts”, however, Iowa State is one of the youngest teams in the country in a year we all knew would be a bit of a rebuild.

Looking at the big picture, these guys are growing together and Matt Campbell with undoubtedly turn this season and these moments into positive, growth opportunities for his team. That perspective seems important for Iowa State fans who may prefer to look at just the record.

4. Oklahoma is … Back?

Were they ever gone? If you ask some OU fans, they were ready to move on from Brent Venables after a 49-0 shut out against Texas. Some are already looking to hire Matt Rhule.

But it’s amazing what having your starting quarterback healthy will do for a team as Oklahoma beat Kansas 52-42 with Dillon Gabriel back under center as the Sooners won their first Big 12 game of the season to snap a three-game slide. Gabriel finished 29/42 for 402 yards, with two passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown.

 

There’s no doubt that the Sooners still have a ton of work to do, especially on the defensive side of the ball. However, there was lots of overreaction to last week’s historic loss, and it’s unfair to not let Venables work through this and build the program as he sees fit. It will take a recruiting class or to to rebuild, by Oklahoma standards, but bailing on Venables this soon seems like too much.

5. TCU’s Turnaround

The TCU turnaround can refer to this game (beating Oklahoma State 43-40) itself or the season at large. The Horned Frogs trailed this game 24-7 in the second quarter before turning around to pick up three-point win in double overtime. Meantime, the Frogs are now 5-0, matching their win total from last season. In fact, TCU is trying to win more than seven games for the first time since the 2017 season, when they reached the Big 12 Championship game.

Sonny Dykes has given this team much more confidence on the offensive side of the ball. It was unfathomable in recent seasons to think of Gary Patterson’s team coming from 17 points down to win a game. They can do that. Max Duggan has more confidence than ever before and he even admitted that games like Saturday are why he didn’t want to leave TCU. He made the right call and it sure is paying off for the Horned Frogs. Now, it’s onto another Top 20 match up next week against the K-State Wildcats.

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