Week 13 of the Big 12 football season is in the books, and just like that, the college football regular season is also a wrap. There were two days of games in the Big 12, Friday and Saturday, with both having Big 12 Championship Game implications. And now, we get ready for championship weekend and then Selection Sunday. It’s cliché, but it sure does go too fast.
So with another great week in the books, here are the five biggest takeaways from Week 13 in the Big 12 Conference.
The Big 12 Championship Game Goes Chalk
Going into Week 13, the Big 12 confirmed that Texas and Oklahoma State just had to win to advance to the Big 12 Championship Game. And that’s exactly what happened. But it’s the Big 12, so it wasn’t without drama, at least in one of the two games.
Texas blasted Texas Tech 57-7, and the drama was more around how Texas used Brett Yormark‘s offseason comments to motivate themselves going into this match up. And then, there’s Oklahoma State. If you have any OSU friends, please check on their well being. Yes, they beat BYU, but it wasn’t without drama. From being down 24-6, to scoring 21 unanswered in the second half, but then missing an extra point and heading to overtime after a BYU field goal, it was insanity. But Mike Gundy and the Pokes got the win in double overtime and are heading to Arlington for the second time in three seasons for a chance to win a Big 12 Championship.
Iowa State’s Bright Future
The Iowa State Cyclones won Farmageddon to finish 7-5 on the season. The amount of young talent that got valuable snaps for Matt Campbell’s team should not be understated, and that was on full display on Saturday night.
It was announced before the game that Iowa State running backs Eli Sanders and Cartevious Norton did not make the trip from Ames to Manhattan. It’s believed that those two guys are going to enter the transfer portal come December 4th.
And while ISU fans knew they had a guy in true freshman Abu Sama who had a bright future, he put his talents on full display on Saturday night in the snow. Sama carried the football 15 times on Saturday night and ran for a whopping 276 yards and three touchdowns. He became the first Big 12 player since Adrian Peterson back in 2005 to have two 70+ yard rushing touchdowns in a single game. Abu also made his way into the Iowa State record book as his 276 yards were the fifth most in a single game in Iowa State history.
There were underclassmen littered all over the field on Saturday night, and throughout the season, and the Cyclones will be a contender in 2024 that most won’t talk enough about.
From Natty to Bowl-less
Speaking of things we aren’t talking enough about, what a disappointment and dud of a season for the TCU Horned Frogs. TCU played for a National Championship last season and finished this season with a 5-7 record, while missing a bowl game, after their loss to Oklahoma on Friday.
Sonny Dykes has built up plenty of equity in Fort Worth and isn’t going anywhere, but there’s no other way to spin this season other than being a huge disappointment for the Horned Frogs.
TCU needs improvements on both sides of the ball, and may even be in the market for a transfer quarterback. As for the transfer portal, Dykes used it extensively last offseason, but many of the big names did not pan out as expected.
So it’s back to the drawing board for TCU, who has the resources to be a contender in the new-look Big 12. But they don’t look like one right now.
Kansas Reaches Eight Wins
Speaking of contenders, Kansas football should be one in the new Big 12 for as long as Lance Leipold is around. What he has done, taking this program from the bottom of college football to an eight-win team (first time since 2008), including a win over Oklahoma, is nothing short of incredible. Kansas blasted Cincinnati to end the regular season with a 49-16 win on the road in a game where KU averaged nearly 12 yards per play.
This guy can flat-out coach and he’s hanging around Kansas for the foreseeable future after sticking to his word and not expressing any interest in openings like Michigan State and Texas A&M. Leipold has a good thing going in Lawrence and the administration and boosters have shown a willingness to support him and his program going forward with the proper investments needed to compete at this level.
And not to get caught looking ahead, as KU will still have a fun bowl game to play in, but look at their 2024 opponents and find me more than three losses on this schedule? Who would’ve thought that about Kansas just a couple of years ago.
Hot Seats Heat Up
There are hot seats across the Big 12, but two are really standing out after the regular season wrapped up on Saturday.
First, Baylor head coach Dave Aranda, who Bruce Feldman called a “hot seat situation to watch” in his reporting on Saturday. Aranda and the Baylor Bears lost to West Virginia 34-31 on a late score by the Mountaineers that sent Baylor to a 3-9 finish two years after they won the Big 12 Championship and had a Top 5 in the country. There has been a regression in Waco under Aranda’s watch and as Feldman noted, he’s going to have to have a clear and concise plan on how to get out of this rut to keep his job.
Then, there’s Houston head coach Dana Holgorsen, who just finished off a 4-8 season, while going 2-7 in Big 12 play, the first since leaving the AAC. Holgorsen was brought to Houston for this moment and for this potential transition, which UH always thought could happen.
It did. And Dana laid an egg in Year 1. He had two years to prepare, and of the four new Big 12 schools, UCF and BYU look like better bets going forward, than Houston, despite having a coach who has won in the Big 12, knows it well, and is surrounded by incredible high school talent.
Holgorsen addressed his future at Houston following the Cougars’ Week 13 loss saying, “I’ve got a four-year contract. Contracts mean something. If they don’t want me to be the football coach, they have not expressed that to me. I want to be the football coach here.”
We will have to see how this plays out. I also think he will be back, but the leash will be short in 2024, as it should be.
**Want to win a $20 gift card? Go sign up here and join our free Big 12 message boards! The best poster each week wins a gift card!**