Week 6 of the Big 12 football season is in the books as the college football season gets into the thick of conference play. There were five games on the docket, and there were plenty of surprises across the league this week as the Big 12 continues to prove its the most unpredictable conference in college football.
So with another great week in the books, here are the five biggest takeaways from Week 6 in the Big 12 Conference.
Brent Venables’ Revenge
Last season, Brent Venables suffered the worst shutout loss in Red River Rivalry history, losing to Texas 49-0. This season, the Sooners, who were 6.5-point underdogs, ended up beating the No. 3 Longhorns outright for a 34-30 victory in Dallas in one of the most thrilling college football games of the season.
There was plenty of chatter in the offseason wondering whether or not Brent Venables was the right guy for the job. (Remember this Colin Cowherd clip where he said OU should move on from Venables and hire Matt Rhule? We’ve got the receipts.)
But Venables now has the only 3-0 team in Big 12 play and deserves to be called the prohibitive league favorite to win the conference. He’s got a defense that is continuing to look Venables-like and a quarterback in Dillon Gabriel who keeps rising the Heisman odds chart.
Classic Mike Gundy
Just when you count out Mike Gundy, he ropes you back in.
Friday had the feeling of a funeral for the Oklahoma State football season. Everyone was wearing black for the blackout. But as it turns out, the blackout was not a funeral for the OSU season, instead it was a rejuvenation, as the Pokes, as double-digit underdogs, steamrolled the defending Big 12 champion Kansas State Wildcats to a 29-21 victory.
It wasn’t pretty, but Gundy’s defense made some big plays and Ollie Gordon led the offense. And after the game, Gundy was doing handstands in the locker room. He enjoyed sticking this one to the naysayers and that’s exactly what he did on Friday night.
STOP EVERYTHING YOU’RE DOING AND WATCH THIS RIGHT NOW pic.twitter.com/Mm2srjtHWD— OSU Cowboy Football (@CowboyFB) October 7, 2023
Baylor’s Woes Continue
Last week was a miraculous comeback against UCF, but the reality is that Baylor has played a total of four good quarters this season: Three against Utah and then one+ against UCF. That’s it. The rest of the season has been a disaster, including Saturday night’s 39-14 loss vs. Texas Tech in front of their home crowd. It has to be extra painful knowing Joey McGuire was on the staff in Waco at one point and he left for the job in Lubbock.
Anyway, Dave Aranda is still saying all the right things talking about believing in his guys, having confidence and more. However, Monaray Baldwin was much more direct after the loss, saying, “I feel like some people are just here for the ride. That’s not what we’re here for…There’s some growing up we have to do.”
It certainly feels that way. Baylor is not short on talent, but for whatever reason it’s not clicking for Aranda and this team right now and now it’s time for a bye week to get things right.
Iowa State Rights the Ship, for Now
Speaking of getting things right, Iowa State did that on Saturday night as a touchdown underdog against TCU, beating the Horned Frogs 27-14, and boy did they need it.
Iowa State won the line of scrimmage against TCU, which I said was a key to this game going into it. Iowa State had given up the fewest sacks going into this game in the Big 12, while TCU was leading the league in sacks. But it was TCU who didn’t record a single sack all day, while Iowa State had two. Also, Iowa State racked up 5.8 yards per carry to TCU’s 5.0.
The Cyclones had a lot of young guys show out, led by QB Rocco Becht, who didn’t have a huge stat line (16/28, 138 yards, one TD), but keeps getting comfortable and is becoming the leader of this team. Eli Sanders (sophomore) and Abu Sama (freshman) led the way in the backfield with over 150 rushing yards combined. DB Malik Verdon (sophomore) had a career high in tackles with eight, so all in all, it was an important game for a lot of reasons in Ames.
Underdogs Run Wild
During Week 6 of the season, the Big 12 played five games, and in four of them the underdogs won outright, while the other game included the team who began the week as the favorite ending up on the losing end.
On Friday night, it was Oklahoma State beating Kansas State 29-21 after coming into the game as an 11.5-point favorite. Then on Saturday, Oklahoma upset Texas 34-30 in the Red River Rivalry, after the Sooners went into the game as a 6.5-point underdog. In the afternoon game, UCF became a two-point favorite against Kansas by kick off after John Rhys Plumlee was announced to be playing at QB for the Knights, but UCF got crushed 51-22. In the night games, TCU was a 6.5-point favorite at Iowa State, and it was the Cyclones rolling to a 27-14 victory. Then, Texas Tech, who opened as an underdog earlier in the week, but became a 1.5-point favorite as the week went along, handled the Baylor Bears 39-14.
This is the Big 12 in a nutshell this season and it’s going to be an exciting next 6-7 weeks!