With just two weeks left on the Big 12 Football schedule, it’s safe to say the finale is going to be pure chaos.
This weekend, Texas, Oklahoma, and West Virginia will decide their own fate as they’re all competing for a spot in the Big 12 Football Championship. With Kansas announcing a new head coach, and quarterback issues plaguing Texas Tech (a first), there’s plenty of chaos throughout the conference, and from every angle.
40-55 loss at Oklahoma
With Les Miles-to-Kansas momentum in the Jayhawks’ favor, they actually put together a valiant effort against Oklahoma. Kansas put up 524 total yards of offense and committed zero turnovers. Meanwhile, the Kansas defense did what it’s been good at all season, and came up with two turnovers. With a more defense-minded mechanism in place, Miles could already have a built-in identity come next Fall.
9-16 loss against TCU
Baylor special teams blocking a TCU punt was a highlight in an otherwise flat game. With just a solo touchdown by quarterback Charlie Brewer, the Bears just couldn’t get a lot going on offense, which could suffer even more against Texas Tech this weekend. Baylor’s special teams have had seven block kicks throughout this season, which is a PR since 1984, so look for that against Texas Tech this weekend.
19-6 win at Baylor
TCU has a severely depleted roster. But third-string string quarterback, Grayson Muehlstein, got the job done. He finished the day 11 of 15 with 137 passing yards and a touchdown. Additionally, running back Jalen Reagor put up rushing and receiving touchdowns. The Horned Frogs’ defense also held a struggling Baylor to just one rushing touchdown by Charlie Brewer and a field goal. TCU faces an Oklahoma State team this weekend that defeated West Virginia down to the wire. Momentum is with both teams, but TCU’s depth issues could become a major factor.
7. Texas Tech
6-21 loss at Kansas State
There’s no reason to sugar coat it, last Saturday against the Wildcats was a disaster for Texas Tech. On what started as such a promising run for Tech has fallen flat. Unfortunately, it’s in an area where Kliff Kingsbury has never had a problem: quarterbacks. When Alan Bowman was in, the offense looked like an entirely different unit, one that had the talent and momentum to compete for the title. Unfortunately, Jett Duffey’s turnover problems continue, which resulted in 6 points for K-State. It could have been worse, which speaks for the drive of the defense, but when you have the second-highest rated wide receiver in the nation in Antoine Wesley, the quarterbacking mistakes significantly minimize the effectiveness of Kingsbury’s play-calling style. Tech could be on its 4th string quarterback for Baylor. That is less than ideal, but with Bowl eligibility and a potential for a seven-win season on the line, Tech has to find a way to win.
6. Iowa State
10-24 loss at Texas
There isn’t a lot to write home about for Iowa State for this game. Quarterback Brock Purty averaged just 5.9 yards-per-pass and finished the day with a quarterback rating of just 17.1 percent. The Cyclones were without top offensive weapon David Washington for the first half. However, he only finished the day with 10 carries for 33 yards and a single touchdown. Defensively, Iowa State prevented a complete meltdown, which was assisted slightly with Texas’ backup quarterback Shane Buechele coming in for the second-half. Iowa State faces a Kansas State team that just beat Texas Tech, but a night game at Jack Trice should help add another tick to the win column.
5. Kansas State
21-6 win against Texas Tech
Like Texas Tech, Kansas State’s season hasn’t panned out as expected. But the Wildcats still found a way to get the win in a similar way that Texas was able to: quarterback exploitation. In a low scoring game, every point mattered. Kansas State struggled to get the football in the end zone, but they did put up points on turnovers and a safety on a blocked punt. Kansas State needs another win to become Bowl eligible. However, with Iowa State on the schedule for this weekend, that might be harder said than done, as ISU is looking for revenge, and 6:00 pm kickoffs at Jack Trice Stadium is a tough venue for anyone.
4. Oklahoma State
45-41 win over West Virginia
Oklahoma State managed to get the job done against West Virginia and might have disrupted the Mountaineers’ shot at a Big 12 title. In the Cowboys’ win last weekend, quarterback Taylor Cornelius had two turnovers but managed to connect with Tylan Wallace on a touchdown with just: 42 seconds in regulation. Cornelius put up five touchdowns in his final home game, which lifted the Cowboys to Bowl eligibility. With a TCU team that’s a little banged up and the Cowboys riding high having taken out the No. 7 team in the nation, Mike Gundy could still pull off an 8-win season–including a Bowl win.
3. West Virginia
41-45 loss at Oklahoma State
I know, “how can West Virginia be ahead of Oklahoma State when Oklahoma State beat West Virginia?” Easy. The Mountaineers might not be considered for the College Football Playoff, but if they beat Oklahoma, they play for the Big 12 title. A bigger picture to look at, however, is that in a came as crazy as last weekend’s game against Oklahoma State was, quarterback Will Grier managed to not throw a single interception. The West Virginia defense (which is one of the best in the conference) allowed 604 total yards of offense. But I guess by NFL standards now (see: Chiefs-Rams on Monday Night Football) that’s okay. The good news is, West Virginia’s defense is better, statistically than Oklahoma, so that could be the edge this weekend.
24-10 win over Iowa State
With Texas taking down Iowa State last weekend, they’re now second in the Big 12, with the only losses of the year against West Virginia, Oklahoma State, and Maryland. I think we can agree that Texas is back, but more importantly, the Longhorns’ defense only allowed 10 points against Iowa State. Moving forward, the issues lie in Sam Ehlinger’s shoulder, which was diagnosed as an AC contusion. In Monday’s teleconference, head coach Tom Herman said, “No broken bones, no separation, no ridiculous amount of damage, but it’s angry. It’s upset. The joint… the shoulder is inflamed.” Ehlinger missed the second half of play against Iowa State, and there’s no word on whether he’ll play against Kansas. But Shane Buechele was perfect, throwing 10/10 for 89 yards and a touchdown. More importantly, Texas receivers averaged 10.3 yards-per-play, so offensively, Texas should be fine the rest of the way.
55-40 win against Kansas
Oklahoma might still be in control of its destiny on not just a trip to the Big 12 Championship, but as a fringe team to the College Football Playoffs. However, just as the defense was an issue against Georgia last year, the problem continues. It could ultimately work against the Sooners when the Selection Committee makes its mind up. Against Kansas, the Oklahoma defense allowed 524 total yards of offense, allowing 25 first downs and 40 points. As for the Heisman race, quarterback Kyler Murray was 21 of 32 for 272 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception against Kansas. The expectations of him against Kansas were much higher. But thankfully for the Sooners, they have one more regular season game against West Virginia to bolster its standings.