It’s hard to believe that the 2018 Big 12 Football season is halfway over. It’s been interesting tracking these teams since the season kicked off in late August, especially considering how extreme the conference has been with coaches on scalding hot seats, and others kicking the 2018 season off with Heisman, and national championship caliber talent, and expectations.
Teams with the lowest expectations coming in have seemingly had the most improvement, while others are right where they should be, making Big 12 Football one of the toughest conferences, with potential for the most unpredictable finales. With plenty of football left to play, it could be Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia, or even one of the dark horse teams such as Texas Tech or Iowa State at the Big 12 Football Championship game. While writers get criticized often for their opinions, it’s always important to test the spectrum of the conference on social media to see what others think, too.
With teams still hitting their stride, anything is possible as we enter the final stretch, but the competition is only exploiting weaknesses that are difficult to recover from in the eyes of the CFB Playoff Selection Committee.
With that said, here’s what fans are saying about which teams are trending up, or trending down:
Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell started teetering on the hot seat after losing to Oklahoma and a TCU team that’s been struggling. But after defeating No. 6 West Virginia, the Cyclones have proven they have the talent and the fight to make things interesting down the stretch. Quarterback Zeb Noland has shown a lot of promise this season, but with junior running back David Montgomery as the No. 7 ranked all-purpose player through Week 8, don’t expect the Cyclones to drop in consistency. It appears that several fans–even those outside of Big 12 Football agree:
Hard to argue that Iowa St is now a consistent headache with an amazing coach
— Geoff Mitchell (@TheFrogCastTCU) October 16, 2018
Tech trending up – #806D is why
Iowa St up – matt Campbell is why
Texas up – the world’s largest casual fanbase ready says they’re back so they must be
KState down – too little talent and Snyder can’t adjust to today’s game
Baylor down – another scandal is sure to arrive soon
— Michael Kondelis (@ItWontStandMan) October 17, 2018
BU ⬇️ KU ❓KSU ⬆️ iSU ⬆️ OU ↔️ OSU ⬇️ UT ↔️ TCU ⬇️ TTU ⬆️ WVU ⬇️
— Clay Elmore (@ClayElmore1) October 17, 2018
The obvious tending up answer is iowa State
The less obvious is Kansas State.
Their defense has improved over the past few weeks and the offense has found its identity behind much better run blocking and the really talented Barnes kid.
— Bangkok Buck (@tokyotrojan) October 17, 2018
— Herbert Haynie (@hhaynie) October 17, 2018
Iowa State trending up with the BIG win in Ames. UT is steady on top right now, unless proven otherwise. Texas Tech is trending up, and should continue after this weekend. OK state and TCU both trending down after their rough starts to Big 12 play.
— Rees Mattheessen (@ReesM829) October 16, 2018
Texas Tech defense is trending wasy the hell up. I wish the same could be said for the offense and that would lead you to say the whole team was trending up but injuries are out of everybody’s hands. I think we’re kinda trending straight. We’re holding our own for now. #WreckEm
— Joseph Hernandez (@Jhboss429) October 16, 2018
UTvis trending up. They are getting hot at the right time I think. If they keep it going they might prove they a valid threat for the Big12 title.
WVU is trending down for sure. For some reason the offense has been in a coma since laving3 the 806.
— Joseph Hernandez (@Jhboss429) October 16, 2018
Texas Tech trending upward. The last 6 quarters the D has only allowed a combined 21 points. Duffey has oddly been anywhere from a serviceable backup to very exciting. Hoping Bowman returns for ISU next week.
— Grant Terry (@Grant_Terry2) October 16, 2018
Texas Tech’s defense is trending way up, and it’s showing that athletic director Kirby Hocutt’s 2018 gamble on staying the course with Kliff Kingsbury is paying off. What I mean by that is that three years ago when Kingsbury brought in Strength and Conditioning coach Rusty Whitt and Director of Speed and Power, Scott Salwasser, most people new it was going to take several seasons to recondition the Texas Tech players to become the prototypical athlete Kingsbury envisioned. With defensive coordinator David Gibbs having equal time to develop the defense, it’s fortified the expectations, compared to the turnover and inconsistencies players experienced before the culture was changed.
For some statistical measure, Texas Tech is No. 1 in third down defense, No. 1 in fourth down defense, No. 3 in forced turnovers, the No. 3 scoring defense, and the No. 3 ranked rushing defense. If Texas Tech can get its quarterback depth healthy, they could be morphing into a very lethal team.
Texas continues to trend upward. They keep finding ways to win. Iowa State is probably the toughest team to play right now. I had to reread the box on their game with West Virginia because I couldn’t believe they held Grier to 100 yards.
— Chuck Connor (@ttnut94) October 16, 2018
Texas is absolutely trending up, and it’s hard to deny that head coach Tom Herman understands that “rebuilding” just isn’t an acceptable excuse when you’re guaranteed blue chips and have a national brand to maintain. While UT still struggles to truly establish an offensive identity, it’s one of those teams that always manages to come up with major defensive plays in critical games. So far, defensive back Kris Boyd is the third-ranked played in the conference in passes defended with 9 breakups and one interception, and safety Caden Sterns has also come up with four interceptions. Texas is allowing just 23 points-per-game, so if they can keep that momentum going, we might see a replay of the Red River Showdown in a few months.
Texas! On a 6 game winning streak first place in the big12 only big12 team bowl eligible & has gotten better every week since the Maryland game with the Baylor game being the exception since sam ehlinger got hurt during the first series of the game
— Chris Bennett (@chrisgb00) October 16, 2018
For measure, Oklahoma has a 22 percent chance at making it to the College Football Playoff, but the Sooners will need to win out, bank on Notre Dame losing at some point, and hope the Pac-12 keeps weakening its odds one upset at a time in order to move on–but that’s the less complicated version of the multiple scenarios that could play out. But another point to consider is this: Just what will Oklahoma look like defensively, under interim defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill? Stay tuned.
Big 12 Football is notorious for upsets, high flying offenses, and plenty of coaches on hot seats, or on the non-stop carousel of reshuffling. But the good thing is that there’s still ample time to prove you’re the real deal or turn things around if you’re in a slump.
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