Week 11 nearly delivered two massive upsets in the Big 12. TCU nearly took down undefeated Baylor in triple overtime and Iowa State fell a point short in Norman. There’s just three weeks left and plenty of intriguing matchups left. Let’s preview Week 12.
No. 10 Oklahoma Sooners (8-1, 5-1)
No. 13 Baylor Bears (9-0, 6-0)
No. 19 Texas Longhorns (6-3, 4-2)
No. 22 Oklahoma State Cowboys (6-3, 3-3)
No. 24 Kansas State Wildcats (6-3, 3-3)
Iowa State Cyclones (5-4, 3-3)
TCU Horned Frogs (4-5, 2-4)
Texas Tech Red Raiders (4-5, 2-4)
Kansas Jayhawks (3-6, 1-5)
West Virginia Mountaineers (3-6, 1-5)
The next few weeks will determine a lot in the Big 12 and nationwide. Iowa State will almost certainly be playing in a bowl with five wins currently and the most difficult portion of its schedule out of the way. TCU and Texas Tech will each need to win two of the remaining three games on its respective schedules to make a bowl game. Kansas and West Virginia would each need to win out but...well....that isn’t going to happen.
As for the current bowl eligible schools, not only are the last three weeks important, but what happens in other power five conferences is important as well. The winner of this weekends Baylor and Oklahoma game will be rooting for as much chaos as possible to make the CFP. The loser will be rooting for the other to make the CFP so that a possible Sugar Bowl bid is still in play.
Oklahoma got off to a hot start against Iowa State but couldn’t finish strong. The Sooners took a 42-21 advantage to the fourth quarter but allowed Iowa State to outscore them 20-0 in the final frame. Had Iowa State converted a two-point conversion late in the game, we’re having a much different conversation about this Oklahoma squad right now.
Jalen Hurts put up big numbers once again, passing for 273 yards and three touchdowns. Hurts also rushed 22 times for 68 yards and two touchdowns. Trey Sermon has essentially been benched in place of Mansfield, Texas, product Kennedy Brooks. Sermon had just one attempt on Saturday. Brooks rushed for 132 yards and a touchdown. CeeDee Lamb caught eight passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns in the game.
This is not the same Oklahoma team of the past two years. Jalen Hurts is good, but he isn’t Baker Mayfield and he isn’t Kyler Murray. Hurts won’t win the Heisman, he won’t go first overall in the NFL Draft, and OU won’t make the CFP this year. With that being said, Oklahoma still has a lot riding on this weekend’s game against an undefeated Baylor squad. After the recent shaky performances I have seen from Baylor, I’ll take OU in this one.
Prediction: Oklahoma wins.
Much like OU, we are a 51-yard field goal away from having a totally different conversation about this Baylor team. The Bears were only able to muster three field goals in regulation and went to overtime tied with TCU at 9. I thought this was the Big 12! What happened to the classic shootouts these teams used to have?
Baylor prevailed 29-23 in overtime but this was about as ugly of a win as it gets. I recently compared this Baylor team to the 2015 Oklahoma State squad that started 10-0 and was barely (no pun intended) getting by before finishing 0-3. Baylor has reached that point in its season. Now we find out if they’re for real or not. This team also reminds me of the 2012 Kansas State Wildcats. KSU started 10-0 and I was at their 10th game against TCU. Kansas State won that game 23-10 and I wasn’t impressed. The Wildcats were ranked first in the nation after that game and then promptly lost to Baylor (wow, look at that!) the next week. KSU lost two of its last three games that year.
I haven’t ever loved Charlie Brewer as a quarterback. The real concern is the running game for this team, much like the 2015 OSU squad. Brewer led in rushing with 41 yards and a touchdown against TCU as John Lovett has become a non-factor in most games. I just don’t think this offense has the weapons to keep up with Oklahoma or even Texas. Prove me wrong, Charlie!
Prediction: Oklahoma beats Baylor.
Texas had a must win game against Kansas State at home last week and won 27-24 after starting in a 14-0 hole. If we’re being real honest, every game is a must win game for the Horns to save face. Texas isn’t back but a three loss season with a bowl game win, or a four loss season with a bowl game win but a Big 12 Championship Game loss would be respectable. That’s actually what happened last year. Texas finished 10-4 with a Sugar Bowl win and a loss in the Big 12 Championship Game.
Of course, because of the way things are shaking out around college football this season, a one-loss Oklahoma squad almost certainly won’t make the CFP, which means Texas would have to rely on an at-large bid to make an NY6 bid. As long as they beat a ranked team in a bowl game and win out, with the exception of a possible Big 12 Championship Game bid, I think they’ll be fine.
Keaontay Ingram showed out against Kansas State with 139 yards and two scores on the ground. Sam Ehlinger passed for 263 yards and a touchdown but also an interception. Colin Johnson and Devin Duvernay each had 110 receiving yards and Johnson caught the lone touchdown pass.
The Horns have another big game this weekend in Ames as they take on another desperate Big 12 team. Iowa State is 5-4 but has lost two straight by eight combined points and they need a victory. It won’t be easy, but I think Texas escapes with a close win as seven point underdogs.
Prediction: Texas wins a close one.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Oklahoma State had a bye week coming off of consecutive 34-27 victories. The Cowboys have turned their season around after a rocky 1-3 start in Big 12 play.
This week Oklahoma State will take on Kansas at home. The Pokes are already bowl eligible, but would surely like to win their next two against Kansas and at West Virginia to head into Bedlam at 8-3 on the season.
Kansas is coming off of a bye week as well. The Jayhawks suffered a disappointing home loss against Kansas State two weeks ago and are looking to right the ship. As far as bowl eligibility goes, Kansas needs to win out but that is a long shot. Oklahoma State should win this weekend but it might be closer than most expect. It’ll all depend on the play of Carter Stanley and the execution of the Kansas offense.
Prediction: Oklahoma State wins.
Kansas State Wildcats
Kansas State climbed back into the polls after falling out earlier in the season. The Wildcats stood to add another impressive win to their resume but Texas spoiled that late. Kansas State jumped out to a 14-0 lead but would be outscored 27-10 from that point for a close three point road loss in Austin.
The CFP committee clearly thinks highly of Texas as the Horns debuted at No. 19 in the CFP Poll this week, but also didn’t drop Kansas State entirely out of the poll with the loss. The Wildcats only rushed for 51 total yards against Texas as most of the damage was done through the air. Skylar Thompson passed for 253 yards and two touchdowns. Malik Knowles had 94 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Kansas State gets a struggling West Virginia squad at home this weekend. The Wildcats can officially eliminate West Virginia from the postseason with a win and it shouldn’t be all that hard to do. Kansas State should roll in this one.
Prediction: Kansas State wins.
Iowa State Cyclones
When Iowa State elected to go for two to try to win the game instead of force overtime against Oklahoma, I am sure there were a few Iowa State fans that had a flashback to the Cyclones Big 12 opener against Baylor. Iowa State had trailed nearly the whole game before scoring 21 unanswered points to take a late lead. Baylor would kick a field goal to win that game 23-21 at the last second.
This time the Cyclones scored 20 unanswered points in the fourth quarter and went for the win instead of the tie. Pass interference should have been called on Oklahoma but it wasn’t and the Sooners prevailed. Brock Purdy passed for 282 yards and five touchdowns. Breece Hall rushed for 110 yards. It was almost enough. Iowa State should have had a second chance at the two-point try but pass interference wasn’t called.
It doesn’t get much easier for Iowa State this weekend as the Cyclones host Texas. This is a must win game for both teams. The Cyclones are seven-point favorites but I think this one will be even closer than that. I have Texas in a close one.
Prediction: Texas wins a close one.
TCU Horned Frogs
TCU almost pulled it off. The Horned Frogs led for the majority of regulation and wouldn’t allow Baylor to take its first lead until overtime. There wasn’t much offense on either side in this game. Max Duggan threw three picks and only one touchdown pass. The Horned Frogs failure to get Jalen Reagor involved really hurt TCU’s chances in this one.
Duggan passed for 140 yards and Sewo Olonilua rushed for 79 yards and a score. TCU’s offense has got to find a way to get Jalen Reagor involved if the Horned Frogs want to make a bowl game, which is looking less and less likely.
TCU travels to Texas Tech this weekend and a win for either team would go a long way to helping the winner secure bowl eligibility. Both teams stand at 4-5 and needing to win two of their final three games to make a bowl. The Horned Frogs will have to travel to Norman after playing Texas Tech for a game with OU, but close their schedule with a game against West Virginia. There are two wins there for TCU, but will the Horned Frogs win them?
Prediction: TCU wins.
Texas Tech Red Raiders
Texas Tech picked up its fourth win of the season with a 38-17 win over West Virginia. Early in the season it looked like Texas Tech might be able to save its season. The Red Raiders beat Oklahoma State and almost pulled off an upset over Baylor the following week. It looked as if Jett Duffey would be just good enough to get it done. That has not been the case.
Duffey was good enough for a win over West Virginia though. He passed for 354 yards and a touchdown against the Mountaineers in a game that was never close. Dalton Rigdon had 106 yards receiving and a touchdown against West Virginia.
As I mentioned above, Texas Tech stands at 4-5 and hosts TCU this weekend. A loss against TCU will all but eliminate Texas Tech from bowl contention as the Red Raiders finish out their schedule with games against Kansas State and Texas. The Red Raiders will have to upset one of those two teams, along with beating TCU this weekend, to make a bowl game.
Prediction: TCU wins.
Kansas had a bye following a loss against Kansas State. The Jayhawks have gone as their quarterback has gone for much of the season. Carter Stanley played horrible against Kansas State and it resulted in a 38-10 loss.
Kansas will travel south to take on Oklahoma State this weekend. Kansas would have to win out to make a bowl game but even the most loyal Jayhawk fans will tell you this won’t happen. That doesn’t mean the team won’t try to win every game though. If Stanley and the rest of his squad used their bye week to address the issues they had against Kansas State, Kansas could hang around in this game longer than Oklahoma State fans would like.
Prediction: Oklahoma State wins.
West Virginia Mountaineers
West Virginia is coming off an embarrassing home loss against Texas Tech. The Mountaineers trailed 21-3 early and 35-10 at halftime and it was over from there.
West Virginia has completely abandoned the run game. The Mountaineers attempted 61 passes against 18 run attempts last weekend. Austin Kendall passed for 355 yards and two interceptions. Backup Jarret Doege passed for 119 yards a touchdown.
West Virginia will take on Kansas State on the road this weekend. At this point in the season, West Virginia looks more helpless than Kansas does, and that’s saying a lot. Kansas State should have this game in hand by halftime.
Prediction: Kansas State wins.
Big 12 Championship Game:
Oklahoma Sooners vs Baylor Bears
Here we go. We might be getting a preview of the Big 12 Championship Game this weekend when Baylor takes on Oklahoma at home. Can the Sooners add an impressive to win to their resume and bolster their currently weak argument to be in the CFP? Can Baylor remain undefeated and really start to garner CFP talk? We’re about to find out.
Offensive Player of the Year:
Jalen Hurts: Oklahoma University
I am finally starting to give in. I could really see Chuba Hubbard getting this award over Hurts. If Hurts plays poorly in a loss to Baylor, that could do it. Of course, we’ll get to see these two on the same field in just a few weeks. Stay tuned.
Defensive Player of the Year:
Kolby Harvell- Peel: Oklahoma State University
Oklahoma State and Harvell- Peel had a bye week last week so no stats were recorded. Everything I said last week about Harvell- Peel being a main reason why Oklahoma State still has something to play off still applies.
Big 12 Newcomer of the Year:
Spencer Sanders: Oklahoma State University
It has been an up-and-down season for Sanders. It’s been the same way for Max Duggan and other Big 12 newcomer’s, and thus this award has been handed out to multiple different players this year. Sanders gets the nod for now for captaining a team that is 6-3 with a chance to be 8-3 heading in to Bedlam and still has a slim, slim, slim chance at making the Big 12 Championship Game. Nobody should be counting on this happening though. I’m certainly not.
Big 12 Freshman of the Year:
Breece Hall: Iowa State University
Hall rushed for 110 yards against Oklahoma and has provided another dimension for the Iowa State offense. He has made an impact in every game he’s played in this season and is easily my pick for freshman of the year.
Coach of the Year:
Matt Rhule: Baylor University
Baylor is still undefeated despite some close calls. College Gameday is in town for the Bears showdown with Oklahoma. Baylor is looking like a favorite to make the Big 12 Championship Game. All are statements Baylor fans couldn’t imagine hearing a few years ago. All of this has been possible because of Matt Rhule.
Breakout Player of the Year:
Chuba Hubbard: Oklahoma State University
Hubbard has been the one consistent force that the OSU offense can rely on this season. The Cowboys will need him down the stretch, and he’ll need a few more big games to have a chance to go to New York as a Heisman finalist.