Tuesday is the final day of the week during the college football season in which it is acceptable to look back on the previous week’s action and draw conclusions. When the clock hits midnight and Wednesday is officially here, it is your responsibility as a fan to start the countdown to Saturday and start getting prepared for what comes next.
But for the time being, we are going to finish up relishing, or loathing, what happened on the most recent Saturday of action, and that is just what we will do on Tuesday Takes.
Each week, I will give you three definitive facts (otherwise known as my opinions) that I’ve formed over the last couple of days. So without further ado, here we go.
The Newcomers Will Miss Out on the Bowl Season
Through the first half of the 2023 season, the Big 12’s four newcomers haven’t exactly fared well in their first go-round. With the outlier being a Houston Hail Mary last Thursday night, the newcomers have a combined record of 1-9 against the preexisting Big 12 programs. In those 10 total matchups, the average score has been 38.7 to 22.4, making the average margin of defeat 16.3 points per game.
As difficult as it might be for their proud fan bases to accept, BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF are still at least a year away from competing for a Big 12 Championship, and that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering the jump they were asked to make in one year.
The reality of the situation is, that the remaining schedules for each of the schools don’t exactly give me confidence that they’re going to find their way into Bowl Mania.
BYU (4-2, 1-2)
- vs. Texas Tech (10/21)
- @ Texas (10/28)
- @ West Virginia (11/4)
- vs. Iowa State (11/11)
- vs. Oklahoma (11/18)
- @ Oklahoma State (11/25)
Cincinnati (2-4, 0-3)
- vs. Baylor (10/21)
- @ Oklahoma State (10/28)
- vs. UCF (11/4)
- @ Houston (11/11)
- @ West Virginia (11/18)
- vs. Kansas (11/25)
Houston (3-3, 1-2)
- vs. Texas (10/21)
- @ Kansas State (10/28)
- @ Baylor (11/4)
- vs. Cincinnati (11/11)
- vs. Oklahoma State (11/18)
- @ UCF (11/25)
UCF (3-3, 0-3)
- @ Oklahoma (10/21)
- vs. West Virginia (10/28)
- @ Cincinnati (11/4)
- vs. Oklahoma State (11/11)
- @ Texas Tech (11/18)
- vs. Houston (11/25)
Tell me which of those teams you feel confident will reach six wins. Sure, BYU would have to win just two more games, and I could see them picking up a win this weekend against Texas Tech. But the road trips to Austin, and then across the country to Morgantown will be tough. With how Iowa State and Oklahoma are playing, I can’t pick them against either one of those teams. Plus, a road trip to Stillwater in the final game of the season? I just don’t see it in the cards for BYU right now, but I’ve been wrong before.
Seven Six Big 12 Contenders Remain
Last week, I made a definitive statement that there were seven Big 12 contenders remaining in the conference race. Well, I had the number right, but I had a couple of the teams wrong. In no particular order, I had Oklahoma, West Virginia, Texas, Kansas, Texas Tech, Kansas State, and BYU.
Looking at what we’ve got after Week 7, the picture is much clearer, and I feel confident in saying that the list has been whittled down to just six teams: Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas State, Iowa State, West Virginia, and Oklahoma State.
In the history of the Big 12 Championship game, only one participant (Colorado, 2004) has ever had more than two conference losses. Since the Championship game returned in 2017, there have only been two teams with three total losses make the title game.
With that being said, I feel safe in eliminating Cincinnati, UCF, Baylor, Houston, and Texas Tech from contention. TCU and BYU are the next two teams to be eliminated as they’ve already got two conference losses and both must still face Texas and Oklahoma in the regular season. Beating both of those teams, let alone one of them is a task I’m not sure they’re up to at the moment.
That leaves only Kansas as the team on the fence, but with virtually no margin for error. The Jayhawks must face Oklahoma, Iowa State, Texas Tech, Kansas State, and Cincinnati. I just can’t see them running the table, and with FPI giving them just a 0.3% chance of doing so, I’m removing them from the list as well to get down to the final six.
The Final Four-Team CFP Race is Going to Be Wild
For the first time in what seems like forever, there’s not a clear runaway favorite to win the national title this season. After a 51-13 beatdown of Kentucky, it looked as if Georgia was back to reclaim that role, but a 37-20 outing against Vanderbilt and the loss of superstar TE Brock Bowers has now raised some doubts.
Michigan has been as dominant as anyone to this point in the season, but has the 113th-ranked strength of schedule and still has to face both Penn State and Ohio State, who look like contenders themselves.
At this point in time, it appears that North Carolina and Florida State are on a collision course in the ACC, while Washington will likely have to face off against Oregon again before the Pac-12 is decided.
Alabama looks like the only team capable of beating a wounded Goergia team through the first seven weeks, but their slip-up against Texas in September gives them no margin for error if they want a shot at the College Football Playoff.
Then, there’s the Big 12. Oklahoma stands alone at 6-0, but a narrow victory over the Longhorns won’t be enough to get them in because Texas will be gunning for another shot at Boomer Sooner.
There are still at least a dozen teams that have a shot at making the College Football Playoff at the halfway point of the season, and it’s not often that we can say that. Next season, all of that will change as the playoff expands, but for now we can sit back and enjoy what will be one hell of a race to the finish line in 2023.