Week 8 of the Big 12 football season is in the books as the college football season has crossed the halfway mark. There were four games this week, with Baylor holding off Kansas 35-23 in Waco, Texas Tech crushing West Virginia 48-10 at home, Oklahoma State won a thriller vs. Texas 41-34 in Stillwater and TCU came back to beat K-State 38-28.
So with another wild week in the books, here are the five biggest takeaways from Week 8 in the Big 12 Conference.
1. Embarrassing for West Virginia
This isn’t meant to be a slight at Texas Tech, but the Mountaineers should NOT be losing by 38 points to this team based on the talent each of these teams have. And considering the Mountaineers were coming off a comeback home victory against Baylor and had some extra time off, WVU came out completely flat. They gave up over 250 yards of offense in the first half and 594 for the game.
Then in the second half this turned into an embarrassment for Neal Brown and the Mountaineers. They showed no fight or resiliency as the game went on. That’s in indictment on this coaching staff as much as it is the players.
WVU got outgained 594-282 and lost the turnover battle 4-0.
This was one of those games Neal Brown had to win to get to bowl eligibility and feel safe about 2023 and beyond. With this loss, and the way it went down, the seat should only be getting hotter.
2. Behren Morton is the Man
Many Tech fans will say, “We all already knew this”. But I wanted to see at least one more game after the Oklahoma State performance. Behren Morton has the ability and the confidence to be a top tier quarterback in the Big 12 Conference over the next few years. Just like any level of football, you need a quarterback, and they’re not as easy to find as we would like to think. But Behren Morton, who finished the game 28/45 for 325 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions, has the poise to win big in Lubbock and bring this program back to prominence and where it was nearly 15 years ago.
Here’s what I would consider one is his best passes of the day, which put Tech up 30-3.
Now, they just need to find more pieces around him.
3. Mike Gundy is the Most Underrated College Football Coach in America
Understandably, many of us were critical of Gundy and Kasey Dunn following their loss to TCU, which included a 24-7 lead in the second quarter. But dang, I sure hope Oklahoma State fans appreciate what they have in Gundy who just continues to win at a high level. Beating a really good Texas team on Sunday was no easy task as rumors swirled around Spencer Sanders’ health and then they lost one of their top defensive linemen Brandon Evers, who said he would skip the rest of the season for the NFL Draft.
The Cowboys trailed throughout the game, but came back to win 41-34. Since 2016, Mike Gundy has only been a home underdog in six games, and he’s now won five of them including yesterday. The Pokes will likely be in the Top 10 this week and Gundy has his program in a position to win a conference title as we approach the final month of the Big 12 season, again.
What more can you ask for?
4. K-State vs. TCU’s Defining Game
The K-State Wildcats led TCU 28-10 at the halfway mark of the second quarter before losing the game 38-28 in Fort Worth. And it’s fair to blame injuries as KSU was on its third-string quarterback in Jake Rubley, who could not get the offense going after he replaced Will Howard. Howard was strong on the day, leading the Wildcats to three scores before he left with an injury. But to not score a single point after the 8:09 mark in the second quarter is a painful way for the Wildcats to lose this game.
But let’s also give TCU credit, as they have won four games in a row over ranked opponents for the first time in program history. The Horned Frogs also erased a huge double-digit deficit for a second-straight week, after coming back from 17 points down to beat Oklahoma State last week.
But if the Horned Frogs are serious about remaining one of the biggest surprises of the college football season, putting themselves into big holes like this is not the way to continue to do it. They’ll take it for a couple weeks and have nothing to apologize for, but getting off to better starts is something Sonny Dykes needs to make a priority moving forward.
5. The Big 12 Race Starts to Clear Up
The race for a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game in December has cleared up with a first tier and a second tier. The first tier is TCU, Oklahoma State and K-State, while the second tier is Texas, Baylor and Texas Tech. Yes, we can and should include the Red Raiders in this given they have the head-to-head tiebreaker over Texas. Baylor vs. Kansas felt like it was an elimination game in the Big 12 race on Saturday, as the Jayhawks fell to 2-3 in league play and have now lost three in a row.
But just how much fun is the Big 12 Conference? Look at next week’s slate and there are two more games that have massive implications in the Big 12 race: Oklahoma State vs. K-State and Baylor vs. Texas Tech. The latter feeling like another elimination game, with the winner staying alive in the chase.
This league is as exciting as any in college football this season and we still have several weeks left to enjoy it.