Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching. That means its time to put down your holiday lights and Mariah Carey Christmas music and appreciate Thanksgiving a little more! It also means that we are about to find out which teams are for real across the college football landscape. The second of five College Football Playoff rankings were released last Tuesday as teams approach the stretch run of the season. Let’s take a look at where the Big 12 stands.
TCU @ No. 10 Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State has a lot going on this weekend. The Cowboys have branded their night game with TCU as a blackout game. It is also the Folds of Honor Military Appreciation Game for Oklahoma State. On top of all of that, former OSU Heisman winner Barry Sanders is going into OSU’s Ring of Honor and being memorialized with a statue outside of the stadium.
With that being said, I don’t know that this game will be as easy for Oklahoma State as everyone thought it would be a week ago. Redshirt freshman and OU transfer Chandler Morris got his first start at TCU last weekend and upset Baylor while accounting for nearly 500 yards of total offense. He won’t have an easy time in his first start on the road against the team with the best defense in the conference, but there isn’t a lot of film on Morris and he should prove to be more potent than Max Duggan has been for the Horned Frogs.
This is certainly a trap game for Oklahoma State. A prime time matchup with Texas Tech next will be too. These teams aren’t Oklahoma, but the Cowboys can’t afford a loss to TCU or Texas Tech in the hunt for a Big 12 Championship Game berth.
Oklahoma State should win this game. The TCU defense hasn’t been great this season and starting a freshman quarterback against OSU’s defense isn’t a recipe for success. That being said, this is college football. Anything can happen, especially in November. The CRFF staff has Oklahoma State over TCU on Saturday night.
No. 8 Oklahoma @ No. 13 Baylor
The most intriguing Big 12 matchup of the day will kickoff at 11 on Saturday morning on FOX when Oklahoma takes on Baylor in Waco. Oklahoma may be 9-0 but this will be the Sooners first real test of the season. That is exactly when OU is ranked eighth despite being undefeated. A win over Baylor this weekend would likely move the Oklahoma into the top five.
Both of these teams need a win this weekend. Baylor doesn’t want a third loss on the season and would like to stay in the hunt for the Big 12 Championship Game. Oklahoma desperately needs a quality win to move up in the College Football Playoff rankings. A loss would prove the committee right in its ranking the Sooners lower than OU fans would like.
This is a game Baylor could absolutely win. The Bears have played well at home so far this season and they do a lot of the same things Kansas does. Kansas nearly beat OU last month and OU needed late game heroics from Caleb Williams on a play that may or may not have even been legal in order to win. The Sooners will need to play much better against Baylor if they want to win. Our staff has Oklahoma beating Baylor on the road in Waco, but is split on if the Bears will cover a 6.5 point spread or not. I have Baylor covering the spread but losing 38-33.
West Virginia @ Kansas State
West Virginia will attempt to get its offense restarted after a rough showing against Oklahoma State at home last week. The Mountaineers mustered just three points and 133 total yards of offense in a 24-3 loss.
Kansas State is coming off of a 35-10 win over Kansas last weekend, making the Wildcats eligible for a bowl game with a 6-3 record. Kansas State still has games against Texas and Baylor left but can clinch a winning record with a win this weekend. West Virginia is 4-6 and still needs to wins to get to bowl eligibility. A win this weekend would take some of the pressure off the Mountaineers with Texas and Kansas still left on the schedule.
Kansas State has won three games in a row and West Virginia is 2-1 in its last three games. I think this will be a close game but I have Kansas State pulling out a close win at home. I have West Virginia covering the spread, but the rest of the staff is split on if that will happen or not. Kickoff is set for 11 on Saturday morning on FS1.
Iowa State @ Texas Tech
Texas Tech’s first game since hiring former Baylor assistant coach Joey McGuire to be its head coach will come against Iowa State. McGuire won’t be coaching this game, or any game, until next year. Interim coach Sonny Cumbie will lead the Red Raiders at home against Iowa State still looking for one more win to get to bowl eligibility.
Iowa State is coming off a 30-7 beat down of Texas at home last weekend. The Iowa State defense was particularly impressive, limiting the Horns explosive plays and keeping them out of the end zone. The ISU offense got off to a slow start but made adjustments and recovered in the second half.
At 6-3, this has been a disappointing season in Ames. That says something about how healthy the program is though. The Cyclones should finish 2-1 down the stretch with wins over Texas Tech and TCU and a loss to Oklahoma. If Iowa State beats Oklahoma and wins out, it should lock up a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game. A 2-1 finish to the season would still result in an 8-4 season with a chance to win a ninth game in a bowl game.
Iowa State shouldn’t have any problem with Texas Tech, though the Cyclones haven’t played their best football on the road. I have Iowa State over Texas Tech and covering a 10.5 point spread. The rest of the staff picked Iowa State to win the game but is split on if it will cover the spread or not. Kickoff is set for 2:30 on Saturday afternoon on ESPN2.
Kansas @ Texas
The Texas Longhorns have dropped four straight games and blown double-digit leads in the second half in three of those four games. A UT player took a video of Texas assistant coach Bo Davis ripping into his team on the bus after the Iowa State game for laughing and joking. It’s clear there is a culture problem in the locker room, and there likely has been for a long time. Now the Horns seem to have a staff that is unwilling to put up with it and is actively trying to change the losing culture into a winning one.
Texas needs to win two of its last three games to make a bowl game. That’s not a sentence anyone expected to be reading at halftime of the Red River Rivalry, but here we are. Texas should get a win against Kansas (but as OU showed us, that’s no guarantee) and would need to beat either West Virginia or Kansas State on the road in order to qualify for a bowl game.
Kansas caught lightning in a bottle against OU and still couldn’t capitalize and win a Big 12 game. That was likely its best chance this season. The Jayhawks are 1-8 (0-6) so far this season with Texas, TCU and West Virginia still left on the schedule. Kansas lost to its in-state rivals 35-10 last week and lost to OSU 55-3 the week before that.
Our entire staff has Texas beating Kansas to bring its record to 5-5 on the season, however, the entire staff has Kansas covering a massive 30.5 point spread. Kansas might be the worst power five team in football, other than maybe Vanderbilt, but Texas hasn’t proved itself to be good enough to beat a power five team by 30 points.
Games Around the Nation
There is a pretty good slate of games around the nation this weekend with the Oklahoma- Baylor showdown headlining the group. No. 6 Michigan faces a test against Penn State on the road at 11 on Saturday morning on ABC. Mississippi State faces No. 17 Auburn on the road in a game that should be evenly matched. Kickoff between the Bulldogs and Tigers is set for 11 on ESPN. If you are into G5 football, SMU will be looking to bounce back against UCF at home at 11 on ESPNU. No. 17 Purdue will look to upset another top-five team when it takes on No. 4 Ohio State on the road at 2:30 on Saturday afternoon on ABC. No. 1 Georgia takes on a potent Tennessee offense at 2:30 on the SEC on CBS. No. 11 Texas A&M takes on No. 15 Ole Miss on Saturday night at 6 on ESPN. College GameDay will be live from The Grove on Saturday night morning ahead of that game. Here are some our staff picks from around the nation.