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Big 12 football: Predictions, superlatives after Week 8

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Four Big 12 teams are ranked after Week 8.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 12 Texas v Oklahoma Photo by John Korduner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A few weeks from now the AP Top-25 poll will be completely irrelevant. The College Football Playoff rankings will be coming out in a few weeks as we have reached the part of the season that separates the good teams from the bad.

Standings

No. 5 Oklahoma Sooners (7-0, 4-0)

No. 14 Baylor Bears (7-0, 4-0)

No. 15 Texas Longhorns (5-2, 3-1)

No. 23 Iowa State Cyclones (5-2, 3-1)

Kansas State Wildcats (4-2, 1-2)

Texas Tech Red Raiders (3-4, 1-3)

Oklahoma State Cowboys (4-3, 1-3)

TCU Horned Frogs (3-3, 1-2)

Kansas Jayhawks (2-5, 0-4)

West Virginia Mountaineers (3-4, 1-3)

The first four teams were easy to rank but after that it was a struggle. No other team has won more than one game in conference. WVU and TCU’s only win is against Kansas. The Horned Frogs lost to the previously 0-2 Kansas State. I don’t like any of the bottom six teams. It will be a little easier to rank these teams as the season goes on.

No. 5 OU

OU steamrolled another opponent last weekend. This time, it was WVU at home. OU’s defense stifled a rather weak WVU offense and the OU offense put this game out of hand early.

Jalen Hurts didn’t finish the game as the Sooners brought in Tanner Mordecai to finish the game, prompting another postgame workout for Hurts. The Texas native completed 16 of his 17 passes for 316 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 75 yards and two additional scores. CeeDee Lamb and Charleston Rambo each had 71 yards receiving.

OU will travel north to take on KSU this weekend and should have no trouble beating a struggling Wildcats team. KSU is coming off its first Big 12 win of the season over TCU, but don’t expect that to have an effect on this game. OU will run it up in Manhattan.

Prediction: OU wins big.

No. 14 Baylor

Baylor went to Stillwater and beat the Cowboys for just the second time in its last 14 trips. It was a close back-and-forth game until the fourth quarter. Baylor hit on several big plays in third quarter as the dam began to break for OSU. The floodgates opened when the Bears returned a fumble for a touchdown to go up two scores in the fourth quarter.

JaMycal Hasty had a career day on the ground with 146 yards and two touchdowns, to go with another 66 yards receiving. Charlie Brewer passed for 312 yards and a touchdown on just 17 attempts.

The win pushes Baylor to No. 14 and 7-0 on the season heading into a bye week. Baylor won’t have to put its undefeated record on the line again until the Bears host West Virginia in Week 10. The game will be played Thursday instead of Saturday.

If Baylor can get past WVU at home (they should) the Bears should expect a high ranking in the first College Football Playoff Poll, released the following Tuesday, Nov. 5.

No. 15 Texas

The world almost ended in Austin last Saturday. I mentioned last week that Texas and Oklahoma might experience a bit of a hangover effect after playing each other in a slugfest the previous week. That might be true or might be false but KU played one hell of a game. Texas hung on for a 50-48 home win after trailing 48-47 with just seconds remaining.

This raises serious concerns about the Texas defense. The offense scored 50 points against Kansas, just as they should have. OU scored 45 against KU. Right around that number seems to be the benchmark. The difference is, the OU defense only gave up 20 points while the Texas defense allowed the Kansas offense to march down the field, score, and convert the two-point conversion to take an uncomfortably late lead.

Sam Ehlinger passed for 399 yards and four touchdowns, throwing two of those touchdowns to Devin Duvernay, who had 110 yards receiving. Keaontay Ingram rushed for 101 yards while Roschon Johnson rushed for 46 yards.

Obviously the Texas defense isn’t healthy, but can they stop good teams even when they are healthy? That will determine how good this Texas team can be. Texas still has a road game against Baylor on the schedule and the Horns will need to win if they want in the Big 12 Championship game. As of now, Baylor and OU are the only two undefeated teams in the conference.

Texas travels to TCU next weekend to take on a floundering TCU squad. The Horned Frogs unveiled new jerseys for the game (more on that later) and, just like every other school, will get up for a home game against Texas. The Horns should win this one but it may not be by much.

Prediction: Texas wins.

No. 23 ISU

ISU took on Texas Tech in Lubbock and came away with a 10-point road win. The Texas Tech defense forced a Brock Purdy interception but it wasn’t enough. Iowa State held a 20-7 lead at halftime and never looked back.

Purdy passed for 378 yards and three touchdowns and freshman Breece Hall continued his reign of terror, racking up 183 yards and two scores. Charlie Kolar caught two of Purdy’s three touchdown passes.

This was going to be a tough game for Iowa State. Road games against a defense that has been on fire as of late are never easy. The Cyclones never really had to worry about losing this one while Texas Tech put up a respectable fight. Iowa State cemented itself as one of the four Big 12 teams with title hopes this season.

ISU hosts a struggling OSU squad at home this weekend. At 1-3, the Cowboys really need to steal a game on the road from Iowa State. The Cyclones need to run the table to have Big 12 title hopes after an early conference loss to Baylor.

Prediction: ISU holds down the fort.

KSU

I wouldn’t exactly say the KSU offense is playing well enough to expect to win Big 12 games now but at least they scored 24 against TCU and won at home. At the same time, I mentioned being concerned about the TCU defense last week and those concerns remain.

Skylar Thompson passed for 172 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 68 yards and another score. That was just about the extent of the K-State offense. I still have plenty of concerns about KSU, but hey, they won a Big 12 game.

The Wildcats host OU this weekend in a game that is sure to be a blowout. If the KSU offense can’t get going early, this will be a long game for the Wildcats.

Prediction: OU wins big.

Texas Tech

Texas Tech lost to ISU at home but the defense came away with another interception. In a plot twist of all plot twists, the Texas Tech defense has kept the Red Raiders in games more often than the offense.

Jett Duffey passed for 239 yards and a touchdown and SaRoderick Thompson rushed for 57 yards and two scores. T.J. Vasher caught the only touchdown pass but was third on the team in receiving yards.

The Red Raiders should be looking to get Vasher the ball more. Duffey still has a few more starts before Alan Bowman should be ready to return from injury.

Texas Tech is on the road this weekend against a suddenly dangerous KU squad. This will probably be another game that the defense will need to keep Tech in the game by forcing turnovers. All things considered, Texas Tech has been fine on both sides of the football this season, but this will still be a close game.

Prediction: Texas Tech wins a close one.

OSU

OSU was favored at home against Baylor but fell apart in the fourth quarter and lost 45-27. Once again, it was a Spencer Sanders turnover that sealed the loss for the Cowboys.

Sanders passed for 158 yards to go with a touchdown and an interception. Chuba Hubbard gained 171 yards on the ground and found the end-zone twice. Tylan Wallace led in receiving with 69 yards while Jordan McRae caught the only touchdown pass.

Patience is beginning to wear thin in Stillwater. I guess that’s what happens when the Cowboys follow three straight 10-win seasons with an 11-9 record. That’s not to mention that the last 10-win season was about as disappointing as a 10-win season can get in Stillwater.

OSU travels to ISU this weekend in a must win game. For all the times OSU has played down to opponents recently, the Cowboys have played up to opponents as well. It might not be enough in Ames, but crazier things have happened.

Prediction: ISU wins.

TCU

TCU lost at KSU 24-17 over the weekend. It was an uninspiring performance from a struggling TCU team.

Max Duggan passed for 132 yards and didn’t turn the ball over but didn’t pass for a touchdown either. Duggan was more of a threat on the ground where he had an incredible touchdown run. He was the leading rusher for TCU with 115 yards. Jalen Reagor finally got a little more involved in the offense, catching eight passes for 85 yards in the loss.

Next week TCU hosts Texas and things aren’t much likely to get any better. The good news for TCU is the struggling Texas defense. If TCU can’t move the ball and score against Texas, the Horned Frogs are in big trouble for the rest of the season.

Prediction: Texas wins.

KU

Y’all didn’t really think KU was going to upset Texas in Austin, right? I know everyone has fun making fun of Texas for losing to KU a few years back, but this isn’t that team. Those were two bad teams and, hey, someone had to win.

That being said, Kansas played a great game offensively against a banged up and bad Texas defense. Carter Stanley passed for 310 yards and four touchdowns. Pooka Williams Jr., rushed for 190 yards and two scores. Andrew Parchment finished with 83 receiving yards and a touchdown. This Kansas program is headed in the right direction.

KU hosts Texas Tech this weekend. If KU can score 48 on Texas and lead late in the game, the Jayhawks definitely have a shot to beat to beat Texas Tech at home. KU will need to score points early and often, but the Jayhawks could win this game.

Prediction: Texas Tech wins.

WVU

WVU ran into the buzzsaw that is OU. The Sooners rolled big over WVU, winning 52-14.

Austin Kendall played against his former team and passed for 182 yards and two touchdowns but it didn’t matter. The WVU rushing game continues to be non-existent as the Mountaineers suffered another loss.

WVUa has a bye week to prepare for a road game against Baylor on Halloween. A WVU win would be highly unlikely against Baylor, but stranger things have happened on Halloween.

Big 12 Championship Game:

OU vs Texas

At the end of the day, I don’t see Baylor beating Texas at home. The winner of that game will likely get to face OU in the Big 12 Championship Game. OU will run the table and finish the regular season undefeated. Baylor will likely lose to OU at home, meaning the team who wins the Baylor- Texas matchup in Waco finishes second in the conference.

Offensive Player of the Year:

Jalen Hurts: OU

It was another monster performance for Hurts this week and another weight lifting session after the game. Hurts remains a Heisman candidate and will easily take home the Big 12 offensive player of the year.

Defensive Player of the Year:

Jordyn Brooks: Texas Tech

Brooks led Texas Tech in tackles once again with 10 tackles and two tackles for loss. Brooks also added two more QB hurries to his season total as he continues to wreak havoc in the opponents backfield.

Big 12 Newcomer of the Year:

Roschon Johnson: Texas

Johnson is splitting carries with Keaontay Ingram at this point, though Ingram still gets the majority of first and second down carries. Johnson could be the back of the future for the Horns, and one who presents a lot of different wildcat opportunities as a former high school quarterback.

Big 12 Freshman of the Year:

Breece Hall: ISU

Hall had another monster game last weekend and I continue to wonder why Matt Campbell didn’t have this kid in the backfield from Week 1. Hall has been electric and added an element to the Iowa State offense that wasn’t there before he was inserted into the starting lineup.

Coach of the Year:

Matt Rhule: Baylor

Rhule has done an incredible job turning turning around the BU football program. The Bears are 7-0 and ranked 14th in the nation. Right now, the Bears are a serious threat to make the Big 12 Championship Game.

Breakout Player of the Year:

Chuba Hubbard: OSU

Another 150+ yard performance for Hubbard has him as an extremely dark horse Heisman candidate. It would be hard to imagine what the OSU offense would look like this year without Hubbard in the backfield.