This was the second-to-last weekend of Big 12 games. We had some near-upsets, some bizarre happenings, and yet, at the end of day, it was basically a chalky day for the Big 12. But that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t movement around the power rankings. Our top two remain unchanged, and of course KU is still in last place, but there was some shuffling through the other seven spots after the dust settled on Saturday’s action.
Oh, and if you missed it, our Big 12 title game participants are set. We get to see a rematch between Baylor and OU in Arlington on Dec 7th. An OU win in that game keeps them in contention for a College Football Playoff spot, while a Baylor win likely keeps the Big 12 out of the playoff this year.
But that’s still a few weeks out, so let’s see where everyone is after yesterday’s action.
The Sooners nearly gave up their chance at the College Football Playoff last night, but did just enough to fend off the Horned Frogs in Norman to secure their place at the Big 12 Championship. Even though the Sooners place is secure, don’t sleep on Bedlam next weekend. The Cowboys would love nothing more than to play spoiler to OU’s playoff hopes, and crazy things are known to happen when the two Oklahoma schools meet.
2. Baylor Bears
There is something very wrong in the universe when Baylor looks like the most disciplined team on the field. Well, I guess when your opponent’s head coach tries to give himself brain damage before the game, that should speak volumes about their own situation. But Baylor did what it needed to do, and beat the Longhorns handily to secure their spot in the Big 12 Championship. While Baylor actually looked better yesterday than the Sooners, it would have needed to take a road blowout to knock the Sooners out. They just need to be careful this week, as KU is known to be a dangerous team against teams from the Lone Star State, even if their record wouldn’t indicate that.
Headed into the fourth quarter in Morgantown, the Cowboys were actually trailing the host Mountaineers 13-10. A ten-point fourth was enough to give the Cowboys the victory and prevent the ‘Eers a second-straight upset victory. The Pokes’ play was anything but inspired, and the ‘Eers 3-man front kept Chuba Hubbard to just over 100 yards on the day (see, it’s not just K-State who struggles to run on WVU). But a win is a win, and now the Cowboys get to welcome in the Sooners for Bedlam on senior night in Stillwater. Expect fireworks.
Why the drop here? Well, a near loss at home to Kansas is almost as bad as an actual loss to anyone else, at least for the Power Rankings. The Cyclones actually trailed heading into the fourth quarter, and needed to put up 20 points to secure the victory over the upset-minded Jayhawks. The ‘Clones defense gave up 328 yards through the air to Carter Stanley, and 154 yards on the ground to Pooka Williams. The Cyclones have been up and down this year, and have never quite looked like world beaters, but always managed to win the games they should. They are a poor-man’s 2019 Baylor. (Yeah, I went there, welcome to #FARMAGEDDON week)
Much like the last two-game losing streak buster win, it wasn’t the prettiest football game to watch. But the Wildcats got just enough from each phase, including another kickoff return for a TD by Joshua Youngblood, to earn a hard-fought victory in Lubbock. Also, Skylar Thompson is now 3-0 vs the Red Raiders in his career, so that’s fun. Injuries are starting to mount for the Wildcats, especially in the defensive secondary, so hopefully some good Thanksgiving food this week is enough to heal one or two of those guys, because, to borrow from Big E himself, “Pretty soon we’re gonna be a circle — completely out of corners.” Also, 7 wins feels pretty good.
OU is going to be having purple nightmares for a while. While TCU didn’t quite have enough to topple the Sooners in Norman, the purple people from Ft. Worth sure put a scare into OU. TCU better not rest on that though, they still need one more win to become bowl-eligible this season. But they have WVU visiting town next week, and a team that needs a win is likely not to look past the Mountaineers.
After the giant turd-muffin the Longhorns dropped in Waco yesterday, I really really wanted to drop them farther. But even with extreme-recency bias, they are still better than the three teams at the bottom of the Big 12. For now. Texas is bowl-eligible, but the Longhorn faithful are not going to be very happy with a 6-win season after last year’s 9-3 campaign and win over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. Tom Herman is highly likely to be the head coach in 2020, but expect some serious staff shakeup as he tries to save his job.
A week after upsetting the Wildcats and keeping their very-slim bowl hopes alive, the Mountaineers just didn’t have quite enough against the visiting Cowboys, and are now officially out of bowl contention in Neal Brown’s first season in Morgantown. They can, however, still play spoiler this season. If they can win another road game against a purple squad, they could make it four Big 12 teams staying home for Christmas.
Texas Tech is not a bad football team, but a they still look like the undisciplined bunch that Kliff Kingsbury left in Lubbock. Matt Wells did a solid job in his first season, but last night’s loss will keep his team out of a bowl game in 2019. They can still have some fun this year, and next week’s match-up in Austin could be very interesting if the Longhorns have packed it in for the season. The Red Raiders may not win next weekend, but they could definitely put another nail in Tom Herman’s coffin.
10. Kansas Jayhawks
After yesterday’s loss in Ames, the Jayhawks hit a new level of terrible, finally and firmly surpassing anything that happened at #FutilityU. The Jayhawks have now gone an entire decade without a Big 12 road victory; since beating Iowa State in Ames on Oct. 4th, 2008, the Jayhawks have gone a combined 0-43 in Big 12 road games. Even the Doug Weaver teams at K-State, that went winless three times in seven seasons, at least picked up a road win a couple times during his tenure. Yikes. The Beakers get to welcome in Baylor on senior day, so their second-straight 3-win season is all but guaranteed.
(For reference, Doug Weaver actually won two conference road games: @ Iowa State in 1963, and @ Colorado in 1964. The longest similar streak for the Wildcats came from November 1942, after beating Nebraska 19-0 in Lincoln, to November 1951 when they beat Missouri 14-12 in Columbia — or nearly all of 9 seasons.)