We are headed into Week 12, and it’s been an incredibly wild season in the Big 12 Conference. We’ve seen all kinds of surprises along the way.
In Week 11, some very surprising outcomes might’ve presented more questions than answers in the Big 12 race. At some point, we’ll get some clearer answers as to what it means.
However, now is not the time to think rationally. Let’s overreact to what we saw this week and what it means going forward.
Week 11 Was the Craziest Week of the Big 12 Season
Not an Overreaction
Just when we thought there was finally a bit of clarity on the Big 12 Championship picture, the conference decided to get flipped on its head yet again, and now we’re left asking some very difficult questions as to who will be the two teams left standing once its time for the Big 12 title game.
Texas is still in control of its own destiny, but after Kansas and Oklahoma State lost in shocking fashion, while Oklahoma, Iowa State, and Kansas State rebounded with blowout wins, the Big 12 picture is as cloudy as it has ever been.
Kansas’ 16-13 loss to Texas Tech was quite a surprise, and with Jason Bean leaving with injury, it leaves the remainder of the Jayhawks’ season in flux. The Red Raiders’ final drive to win the game was masterful from Joey McGuire, and to pick up the win in that fashion is massive for their bowl chances.
Oklahoma State’s 45-3 loss to UCF is nothing short of inexplicable (more in a bit). After beating OU in Bedlam, this was the textbook definition of a letdown, and it likely just sent the Knights to a bowl game after getting to 5-5 and wins in back-to-back weeks.
Then, after the Sooners were all but left for dead in the Big 12 race, they boat-raced a good West Virginia team and benefited from both Kansas and Oklahoma State losing. K-State was probably the biggest beneficiary of the losses though, as some incredibly convoluted Big 12 rules put them in the Big 12 title game if OU, OSU, and the Wildcats all win out.
OSU’s Loss to UCF Worse Than South Alabama Debacle
Not an Overreaction
What we saw from Oklahoma State in Orlando last weekend was nothing short of pathetic. The Cowboys appeared to have nothing left in the tank after their massive win over Oklahoma in Bedlam, and UCF was ready to pounce at the opportunity.
After jumping out to a 14-0 lead less than six minutes into the game, UCF found a way to build a 24-0 halftime lead, and didn’t surrender a point to Oklahoma State until the 10:00 mark of the third quarter, a 25-yard field goal from Alex Hale. The Pokes wouldn’t score again, but UCF sure would, making it 45-3 with 9:00 left in the fourth quarter before calling off the dogs.
This loss is just incredibly disappointing after what we saw from OSU last week, but the inability to explain this one centers around the running game for the Cowboys. Coming into this game Ollie Gordon was in the Heisman conversation, but he managed just 25 yards on 12 carries, although he was hurt early on. Still, he was OSU’s leading rusher in the game.
It was just a rough showing from the entire offense, as Alan Bowman had three interceptions on the day. Getting back on the horse will be vital for them this week, as another loss will eliminate them from Big 12 title contention.
Every Big 12 Coach is Safe Heading into 2024
Two teams are out of bowl contention, while two others can’t afford another loss with six already on the season. We’ve already seen some coaches fired around the country, and now is the time for the seats to start heating up around the country.
That shouldn’t be the case in the Big 12 though, right? Personally, I’m not so sure. There aren’t any coaches that I anticipate being fired, but there are at least a couple that could be close.
Neal Brown has done enough, in my mind, to keep his job after this season. Getting to a bowl with their schedule was always going to be tough, and having his team in a position to compete for a Big 12 title until Week 11 is a credible sign of improvement. He’s not on the hot seat for me, but college football is the ultimate “what have you done for me lately” sport, and what WVU has done lately is get manhandled in Norman.
Dave Aranda doesn’t appear to be on the hot seat, but he should be. During his time at Baylor, Aranda is 23-23 overall and 15-19 in conference play. His Bears are 3-7 this year and have looked abysmal along the lines of scrimmage. It doesn’t feel as if Aranda is coaching for his job, but if 3-9 if the final record this season, there should be repercussions.
Houston’s loss to Cincinnati last week gave the Bearcats their first win in Big 12 play, but the loss should heat up Dana Holgorsen’s seat significantly. The Cougars had a great chance at a bowl game with the win, but will now have to pull off back-to-back upsets over Oklahoma State and UCF to get there. Things haven’t gone well for Holgorsen in H-Town and he might enter 2024 on the hot seat.
The other coach in that game, Scott Satterfield, is another guy who should have his toes to the fire a bit, sitting at 3-7 on the year. Cincinnati is a proud football program, and his hire out of Louisville made no sense to begin with. With this being his first year, and UC’s first season in the Big 12, he’ll likely get a pass, but I’m not sure that he should.