HCS Roundtable: Biggest Winners and Losers In Week 11

NCAA Football: Oklahoma State at Central Florida

Another week has come and gone, and now we’re heading into Week 12 of the 2023 college football season.

After Week 11, the Texas Longhorns sit alone atop the Big 12 standings at 6-1 in conference play with four teams tied for second place at 5-2 in Big 12 play. In short, we have one heck of a race on our hands heading into the final month of the regular season.

There were several key outcomes this weekend with some big winners and losers in the conference.

With that being said, the Heartland College Sports staff will take each week to name the week’s biggest winner and loser. Here’s a look at their answers for Week 11.


Pete Mundo

Biggest Winner: Kansas State

If I’m reading the Big 12 tiebreaker rules correctly, it seems like Kansas State can win out, and if there is a multi-way tie for second place in the Big 12, the Wildcats can end up back in the Big 12 Championship Game, despite losing to Oklahoma State earlier in the season. It’s bizarre, but it appears to be the situation. I say appears, because the entire tiebreaker situation is beyond bizarre.

Biggest Loser: Big 12 Conference’s Tie Breakers

Now to this part. There has been a ton of speculation on the Big 12 tiebreaker situation, which we are trying to make sense of on our Big 12 message boards (join us there for free!). It’s confusing. Head-to-head only matters in a two-way tie, if it happened, but not in a multi-way tie. So Oklahoma State, who has beaten Kansas State, could finish with the same record as the Wildcats at 7-2 in Big 12 play, but if they are in a three-way tie, their head-to-head matchup will essentially be meaningless. What a world.


Bryan Clinton

Biggest Winner: UCF

Just two weeks ago, it was nearly inconceivable that UCF could be in bowl contention. The Knights had lost five straight games after starting the year at 3-0 and were just two losses from being eliminated from postseason contention. However, after picking up their first Big 12 win against Cincinnati in Week 10, the Knights appear to have set themselves up for a run to close out the year. This weekend, UCF boat-raced Oklahoma State to the tune of 45-3. UCF jumped out to a 14-0 lead less than six minutes into the game and never looked back, forcing four turnovers from the Pokes and holding the OSU offense to just 277 yards. Oklahoma State running back Ollie Gordon was held to just 25 yards on 12 carries, while RJ Harvey led the contest for UCF with 206 yards and three scores on 24 carries. Now sitting at 5-5 and with contests against Texas Tech and Houston left on the schedule, Gus Malzahn and UCF have a very good shot at getting to a bowl game.

Biggest Loser: Oklahoma State

What in the world was that? After securing their biggest win of the season in Bedlam last weekend, Oklahoma State didn’t even show up for their game in Orlando this weekend. The loss was reminiscent of their game against South Alabama earlier this season, and getting set back to that kind of play is like playing with fire for the Pokes. Now sitting at 7-3 overall and 5-2 in Big 12 play, Oklahoma State has put themselves in quite a predicament. Thanks to some incredibly convoluted tiebreakers in the Big 12, if OSU, Oklahoma, and Kansas State were to all win out from this point, it would actually be the Wildcats who get the nod to go to the Big 12 Championship, despite the Pokes having wins over both OU and K-State. However, with OSU hitting the road for the second straight weekend at Houston this weekend, I’d say Gundy and the boys had better just worry about their business right now rather than looking ahead.


Joe Tillery

Biggest Winner: Cincinnati

While I know a 1-6 conference record may not justify a massive street parade or anything crazy but a win is a win and I’ll pop the champagne for it. Heading into this week Houston was clearly the better team of the pair but thanks to some impressive playmaking from Corey Kiner paired with limited turnovers, the Bearcats earned one for the good guys. Cincy has two tough matchups left this season with West Virginia and Kansas but dangit, for this week, they are my biggest winner.

Biggest Loser: Dave Aranda

Anytime a head coach mentions that they feel like they are at rock bottom, that has to be your biggest loser. Oklahoma State made it tough for me to justify this pick after the 45-3 loss, but watching Dave Aranda pull out every trick play in the book to lose by 30+ points I think the choice is clear. I’m not calling for Aranda’s position or anything of that nature but the future is not bright in Waco right now. Aranda is 2-8 in his last ten Big 12 games and that absolutely calls for some pushback.

Derek Duke

Biggest Winner: Cincinnati

I feel like we don’t talk about Cincinnati much due to their poor record but they finally got their first Big 12 win on Saturday against Houston. It’s obviously been a rough year for the Bearcats and there really hasn’t been much to celebrate about. However, winning your first conference game is a big deal for this program and hopefully, they can end the season strong.

Biggest Loser: Oklahoma State

I could have put several teams here but nobody had a worse weekend than the Oklahoma State Cowboys. They got manhandled in Orlando against UCF. Ollie Gordon was shut down and Alan Bowman couldn’t get the offense moving at all against one of the worst run defenses in the Big 12. Meanwhile, their defense had no answer for UCF’s rushing attack. It was the worst beatdown of a top-15 team against an unranked opponent since 1997. With the loss, the Cowboys no longer control their own destiny in the conference title race.

Matthew Postins

Biggest Winner: Kansas State

I think? I mean, I didn’t think the Big 12 could produce tiebreaker rules more confusing than the ones they had, but they leveled up. I’m a good strategic thinker and my eyes keep rolling into the back of my head. But the gist of it seems to be that if Kansas State wins out they’re going to Arlington. Even after losses to Oklahoma State and Texas? I mean, OK. Sure. Am I even understanding this right? Bryan says I am, so I’m going with that. So, the Wildcats blew out Baylor and OSU loses to clear their path to Arlington. Winner, winner.

Biggest Loser: Oklahoma State

Yeah, that’s three hours of my life I’ll never get back. One of the best examples of “not showing up” I can think of. And, somehow, they could still go to Arlington. That loss to UCF should disqualify them. To have a clear line path to a title game and vomit it up like OSU did on Saturday night, it make the South Alabama game look tame in comparison. Awful.

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