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Updated Big 12 Predictions and Superlatives After Week Five

The Oklahoma schools were the only two schools to win by double digits in week five. Here’s my recap of week five and preview of week six.

NCAA Football: Oklahoma State at Kansas Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma doubled up Baylor and Oklahoma State beat an improved Kansas team by 20. As for the rest of the Big 12....

The Big 12 race is beginning to take shape with a clear top tier and bottom tier. That middle tier might get interesting though. Some teams look pretty good that might actually be pretty bad (@BaylorFootball2016) and we also might be underestimating some teams (Iowa State last season). Let’s examine week five.

Standings

1. Oklahoma Sooners (5-0)

2. West Virginia Mountaineers (4-0)

3. Texas Longhorns (4-1)

4. Oklahoma State Cowboys (4-1)

5. Texas Tech Red Raiders (3-2)

6. TCU Horned Frogs (3-2)

7. Iowa State Cyclones (1-3)

8. Kansas State Wildcats (2-3)

9. Baylor Bears (3-2)

10. Kansas Jayhawks (2-3)

I did a little forecasting and moved Texas Tech below Oklahoma State because of the injury to Alan Bowman. Jett Duffey wasn’t horrible as his backup, but not great either. Time will tell how good or bad the rest of this season will be in Lubbock. Regardless, I hope Bowman has a quick recovery because that kid has a bright future. Oklahoma took back the #1 spot this week after a spotty performance from West Virginia. Let’s talk about last weekend and look ahead to next weekend in order...from the top!

Oklahoma Sooners

OU beat up on Baylor after Kyler Murray sat (the first drive) for disciplinary reasons. We may never know what those disciplinary reasons are, but we do know that Murray torched the Baylor defense like he was playing Cy Ranch with his alma mater, Allen High School, in the 6A Texas State Championship Game. Oh wait, that actually happened. He threw for 316 yards and five touchdowns that game. On Saturday, the Heisman candidate passed for 432 yards and six touchdowns. OU continues to roll through the Big 12 and once again look like favorites to win the conference behind a Hesiman worthy quarterback.

Oklahoma gets Texas in another installment of the Red River Rivalry this weekend. This will be the first real test for Murray and the Sooners. They’re going up against a Texas defense that has looked great so far this season. Oklahoma should expect to win this game, though they shouldn’t take it lightly. As bad as Texas has been the past decade, and as good as the Sooners have been, this game has been a close affair (almost) every year. We’ll also get to find out if Texas sinks or swims this year in what should be another great game at the State Fair of Texas.

Do yourself a favor and read this INCREDIBLE story about Mike Leach doing Mike Leach things. This should be required reading before the Red River Rivalry every year. This is the third time I’ve read about the incident and it just gets better every time.

West Virginia Mountaineers

West Virginia started out hot in Lubbock. The Mountaineers held a 28-7 advantage after the first quarter and looked like they were going to roll Tech. The defense was swarming to the ball and they absolutely destroyed Alan Bowman. Then the Red Raiders rallied in the second half behind backup quarterback Jett Duffey in classic Big 12 fashion. West Virginia was outscored 24-7 in the second half, with their only seven points coming on a game sealing pick six from Keith Washington.

Kansas will travel down Country Roads for a showdown with West Virginia next weekend. The Mountaineers have an easy one at home this weekend. The goal is to cover the spread. West Virginia can’t afford to lose any style points as we get closer to the CFP rankings coming out. Dana Holgerson’s Mountaineers have a backloaded schedule, so it’s important for them to take care of business against Kansas. They’ll have to shut down Pooka Williams, but West Virginia should roll in this one.

Texas Longhorns

The Horns looked great in the first half against Kansas State. Then they were outscored 14-0 the rest of the way and hung on for a five point win. The defense played well for much of the game, and the offense was underwhelming like usual. Sam Ehlinger didn’t make any big mistakes, but didn’t exactly make any big plays either. The running game continues to be an area where Texas struggles. They’ll need to improve on that because OU’s defense has the talent to pick apart a one dimensional (and it isn’t like the passing game is great either) offense.

Texas gets Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry this weekend. Texas might actually be back if they win this game. If Texas wins this ball game, it’ll make the race for the top two spots in the Big 12 interesting. This game is crucial for Texas, so expect them to throw the kitchen sink at OU, especially on offense. The defense is going to have to step up and keep Oklahoma off the board if Texas wants a chance in this one. If it gets into a shootout, expect the Sooners to boat race Texas.

Oklahoma State Cowboys

OSU bounced back after their conference opening loss with a win at Kansas. Once again, a win over Kansas only means so much. This Jayhawk team is improved however, scoring 28 on the Cowboys. OSU got back to what they should have been doing all season long on offense: running Justice Hill. Mike & Mike might have realized that not running Justice forces Corndog to play out of his world, which isn’t good for anybody involved (@lilsho2). The secondary could have done a better job containing Kansas and they’ll have to play together to stop Iowa State this weekend.

The Cyclones will look to steal one in Stillwater after almost pulling it off in 2016. Oklahoma State will need to contain and get pressure on Zeb Noland. Iowa State is at their best on offense when Noland has time to throw. This Iowa State team doesn’t appear to be any better than last year, so the Pokes should win this one. It might be a closer game than a lot of us would hope, but hey, it’s the Taylor Cornelius era (year??) in Stillwater.

Texas Tech Red Raiders

Tech probably deserves to be ranked higher than Oklahoma State this week, though I’m forecasting the Alan Bowman injury and saying Tech might fall off these next few weeks. The Red Raiders lost to West Virginia at “The Jones” on Saturday after Bowman went down with a collapsed lung. Jett Duffey passed the ball well enough and ran it even better while heading the Tech comeback. That comeback was cut short when Duffey through a game sealing pick six that gave WVU their only touchdown in the second half. This is a gritty team and I’d expect them to hang in every game this year. That doesn’t equate to wins though. We’ll see if Bowman is able to return and how good Texas Tech is without him for the time being.

The good news for Texas Tech is that they have this week to regroup following the injury to their starting quarterback. They also have one of the better teams in the conference out of the way, and although it was a loss, it was an encouraging loss. They’ll need to get healthy and on the same page for the sprint to the finish line, as they have the one of the earliest bye weeks in the country.

TCU Horned Frogs

Just a few weeks ago TCU was trading punches with Ohio State at AT&T Stadium and looked impressive in doing so. Last weekend they barely hung on for a win against Iowa State. That isn’t to take away anything from Iowa State, they aren’t the easiest win in the conference, however, they don’t even sniff the level Ohio State is on. Shawn Robinson had a better game, but didn’t get Ka’Vontae Turpin involved enough. The Horned Frogs won 17-14, and they’ll need more explosiveness from their offense moving forward.

TCU is the other team in the Big 12 who takes their bye week a little early. They join Tech in resting up before the finish their conference gauntlet. The bye week should be about developing Shawn Robinson and figuring out how to get the offense going more. The defense has played well enough so far, the Horned Frogs just need to develop some of their younger guys and they’ll be golden.

Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State held their own in Fort Worth last weekend against the Horned Frogs. Zeb Noland only passed for 79 yards on 14 completions but David Montgomery went for over 100 yards and a score. The defense shut down TCU for much of the game to keep this one close. Iowa State’s defense is going to have to play at that same level moving forward if the Cyclones want to make a bowl game.

Iowa State travels to Stillwater this weekend to take on Oklahoma State. They’ll need to slow down Justice Hill and make Taylor Cornelius beat them through the air. Expect the Cyclones to run pass the ball a lot of a reeling OSU secondary. This one will likely be close late into the ball game. Don’t expect a shootout similar to last year’s game. Iowa State will come in hungry and eager to steal a win from the Cowboys after a slow start to the season.

Already looking forward to basketball season in Ames I see?

Kansas State Wildcats

Kansas State had one of their more impressive games of the season last weekend....and still lost. The Wildcats lost to Texas at home 19-14 in a defensive battle. It’s hard for a bad offensive to put up points against a good Texas defense, however, the Longhorns poor offense kept K-State in the game. The key for Kansas State is ball control. If they can average between three and four yards a carry and chew the clock, they’ll increase their chances to win.

Kansas State visits Waco to play the Bears in a game they absolutely have to win. If Kansas State can’t beat Baylor, they might as well throw their hopes of making a bowl game out the window. Like I said above, KSU needs to bleed the clock, and all it takes is four yards a carry to do so.

Baylor Bears

Baylor lost but scored 33 on OU last weekend. Moral victories, I guess. Charlie Brewer passed for 400 yards (!!) and didn’t turn the ball over either. The Bears run game was absolutely miserable. They didn’t give the group much of a chance when they let Brewer throw the ball 60 times, but that’s what happens when you get boat raced by OU.

This weekend Baylor will host Kansas State in a game they need to win. Both teams should be desperate to win this one. While Kansas State will try to run the ball and drain the clock, Baylor will air it out and try to get into a shootout with a K-State offense that can’t keep up.

Kansas Jayhawks

Kansas lost to OSU at home 48-28 but hey, they scored 28. The offense has improved at KU, though the defense is still lacking (sounds about right for the Big 12). OSU got back to basics against Kansas and ran Justice Hill an appropriate amount. This is an encouraging performance for the program as they now look like they have something they can potentially build on.

Things won’t get any easier for the Jayhawks this weekend when they travel down country roads to play at West Virginia. If Kansas can hang some points on the board and keep it respectable like they did against OSU, that’ll be good enough for this team. Nobody expects them to be able to compete in games against the conferences best teams. Getting a Big 12 win is still a big deal for them. It’s about building on the success they’ve had so far this season. West Virginia should roll big in this one.

Big 12 Championship Game:

Oklahoma Sooners (5-0) vs West Virginia Mountaineers (4-0)

Oklahoma continues to look good behind their Heisman candidate Kyler Murray. West Virginia’s own Heisman candidate Will Grier looks impressive as well, and this game might be as tight as the Heisman race is shaping up to be. I still have Oklahoma in a close one.

Offensive Player of the Year:

Kyler Murray: Oklahoma University

Kyler continues to torch defenses and gain momentum in the Heisman race. Will Grier is the only player in the Big 12 that could catch him and that doesn’t look likely. It would likely take a great performance from Grier in a win over Oklahoma for him to take over my OPOTY vote.

Defensive Player of the Year:

Joe Dineen Jr: Kansas University

Joe Dineen Jr. recorded 10 tackles including a tackle for loss against OSU. His reign of terror on opposing backfields has continued into Big 12 play. He’s the most crucial piece to the Kansas defense and likely the only hope for the Kansas defense to help the Jayhawks win a Big 12 game.

Big 12 Newcomer of the Year:

Pooka Williams Jr: Kansas University

The dynamic back for Kansas went for nearly 100 yards and a touchdown on the ground while also catching six passes for 60 yards against Oklahoma State. He’s the go to guy for Kansas when they need to put together a long drive. Without him, Kansas doesn’t have the potential to stay in games like they did last weekend.

Freshman of the Year:

Caden Sterns: University of Texas

Little Sterns has been the anchor of the secondary for the Longhorns so far this season. He’s been instrumental in holding opponents like Kansas State to just a few scores. He only recorded three tackles last weekend, however, he has been outstanding this season.

Coach of the Year:

Lincoln Riley: Oklahoma University

The Sooners continue to roll through the Big 12 under Riley’s leadership. Like I said last week, this one probably won’t change all year, unless we see a coach turn his program around mid season.

Breakout Player of the Year:

Tylan Wallace: Oklahoma State University

Tylan caught four passes for 104 yards and a touchdown against Kansas. Landon Wolf actually led OSU in receptions and yards (Gundy being petty??) but Wallace still had a great game. He’s become the clear #1 guy in Stillwater and might hear his name in Biletnikoff talks pretty soon.