This was almost another crazy week.
Baylor went up to Ft. Worth and for 3⁄4 of the game looked like they might finally lose their first game. OU struggled with Iowa State and needed an INT on a 2pt attempt to save their season. In a game that saved Big 12 title hopes for the winner, K-State fell to Texas in Austin. West Virginia looks like it’s going backwards, and is probably extremely thankful they played KU early in the season, which will likely keep them out of the 10th spot the rest of the year.
But at the end of the day, chaos did not reign this week, which means that we’ve got some movement this week but first and last haven’t changed, nor spots 5-7.
1. Baylor Bears
The Bears won, needing three overtimes to take down TCU on the road. Somehow, someway, the Bears are still undefeated despite never really looking like they should be undefeated. But the biggest test awaits this weekend, as the Sooners head to Waco in what will like be round one of the Big 12 championship game.
The Sooners came out of the gate with their hair on fire, looking like they spent the week off getting fueled up to avenge their lone loss of the season. And then Iowa State came storming back, and OU needed a interception to save the game, and keep their hopes of a playoff spot alive. After Baylor’s struggles, OU was primed to take the #1 spot back this week, but they just couldn’t put those pesky Cyclones away convincingly enough, and so only move back up to the #2 spot this week.
It wasn’t pretty, and Texas needed a last-second FG from Dicker the Kicker to win on their home turf, but they got the job done, and get to move back up this week. And by beating K-State this weekend, the Longhorns keep their very slim Big 12 title hopes alive. They still have a lot of work to do, and need Baylor to beat the Sooners this weekend while continuing to win out to do so (just like K-State needed headed into this weekend), but there is still a path for the Horns to make it to Dallas. However, the next step in that path is a road trip to Iowa State, only their second trip outside the Lone Star State this year, and the Cyclones are not going to go away easily, just ask OU.
While their Big 12 title hopes are all but gone (I mean, scenarios do exist, but they are pretty far-fetched at this point), there is still potential to finish Chris Klieman’s first season in Manhattan with nine wins and a very nice bowl destination. But they’ve got to get the consistency thing figured out, and they’ve got to stop losing starters to the injury report. And thankfully they’ve got what should be a much easier game this coming weekend to get back on track, as the struggling Mountaineers visit Manhattan.
The Pokes moved back up to #5 last week, and get to stay in that spot this week thanks to not playing. That, and having a better overall record than Iowa State. The Pokes are already bowl eligible thanks to their win over TCU last weekend, and have games against the two worst teams in the conference in the next two weeks, likely setting them up to be hunting for win #9 when OU visits Stillwater for Bedlam to end the regular season.
Iowa State could have throw a huge wrench in these rankings (and the Big 12 standings) with an upset win in Norman. And while they tried, and looked pretty scary doing so, they went for the win instead of the tie and the gamble did not pay off this time. So while their Big 12 title hopes may be gone, the Cyclones are still a very dangerous football team. Which means that while the Clones are still searching for win #6, they will likely be fired up and ready to send Texas home with a loss this coming weekend and become bowl eligible for the third-straight season; which would be the first streak since Dan McCarney took the Clones to three straight from 2000-2002.
For much of the game this weekend, it looked like TCU was going to ride special teams and their defense to a victory. Even headed into overtime, which generally favors the home team, it felt like TCU had a chance to upset the Bears. But Baylor did just enough to keep alive, and a replay-overturned TD (where Duggan was just as out as the Texas RB was out in the K-State game...) was enough to prevent the Horned Frogs from claiming a second home upset win. Next up, the Frogs head out west to face a dangerous Red Raiders team while hoping to keep their bowl game hopes alive.
Tech made the long journey from Lubbock to Morgantown, but managed to keep the jets fresh on the trip, blowing out the host Mountaineers. Tech has the look of a team that could beat just about anybody in the conference, but gets bogged down too easily on offense against teams with a pulse. Thankfully for them, the pulse in Morgantown is faint at best. The Red Raiders could still become bowl eligible, but will need to steal two of their next three, which includes visits from TCU and K-State, and a trip to Austin to end the regular season.
The Mountaineers need to be thanking the Big 12 schedule makers that they got KU early in the year instead of late. That lone conference win back in late September is going to likely be enough to keep the ‘Eers out of last place the rest of the year. They have not looked good since a closer-than-expected loss to Texas to start October (no, no one looked good when Baylor visited, it doesn't count), and the injury bug has bitten WVU hard, especially on offense. And there’s no rest for the weary either, with a trip to Manhattan this coming weekend likely to shut down bowl hopes once and for all.
10. Kansas Jayhawks
The Jayhawks did not play this weekend, saving themselves from another loss for one more week. But they’ve got a trip to Stillwater this coming weekend to cure them of that, and the Pokes shouldn’t have a problem putting the Jayhawks away. While bowl eligibility is still technically available for KU, they’ve got to win their last three games to do so, which starts with that trip to Stillwater. And if somehow they upset the Cowboys, they’ve still got a trip to Ames and a visit from Baylor to finish out the season.