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Big XII Roundup: Weirdness

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Who really wants to win this thing?

West Virginia v Kansas State Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

Let’s just stipulate to the following fact: except for its initial few years, the Big 12 has always been a little weird. The unique circumstances of the 2020 season have only compounded this innate weirdness.

But first...

COVID 2, Big 12 0

Baylor announced today that it is temporarily suspending all football activities due to positive coronavirus tests and close contact tracing. Meanwhile, our cousins in Lawrence had their own COVID bombshell today, when Kansas announced that head coach Les Miles has tested positive.

Fortunately, both teams are off this Saturday or Big 12 weirdness would have been dialed way up.

Inside Track

With a 47-7 beatdown of Kansas, Oklahoma State moved to 3-0 on the season, the Big 12’s only unscathed team. It’s hard to say if we learned anything about the Pokes though. Chuba Hubbard’s success is a given, and against the Jayhawks, he did not disappoint, racking up 145 yards and two scores on just 20 carries. Oklahoma State didn’t need to do anything exceptional in this game, because Kansas didn’t really offer much resistance. Basically, hot knife through butter.

Meanwhile, things just keep getting worse for Kansas. The team showed a little progress against Baylor, but the offense was nowhere in sight against the Cowboys. Kansas only had 193 yards of total offense. Indeed, the team managed only four total yards on its first three yards and was already down 17-0 at that point. Then, to add injury to the insult already in progress, the Jayhawks also lost quarterback Jalon Daniels to a foot injury in the second quarter. The upside? At least Kansas is consistent at being awful?

Is Texas back? Does this meme ever get old? (A clue: no).

This season has wrought a few surprises. Texas falling on its delicate derriere the week before the annual grudge match against Oklahoma is not one of those surprises. In a back-and-forth contest, TCU beat Texas 33-31, thanks to a goal line fumble that sealed the win for the Horned Frogs.

Taking nothing away from TCU, this Texas loss truly belonged to the Longhorns. On a day when Sam Ehlinger was struggling a little, Texas played sloppy. The Horns were sluggish, the running game never got untracked, the team committed 12 penalties, and TCU confused Texas’ staff with a bunch of zone looks on defense. Unsurprisingly, Tom Herman’s seat is starting to heat up.

Remember that things about weirdness? Well, everything about this game was plenty weird. The first quarter of the game took almost an hour. The Horned Frogs racked up 14 penalties for over a 100 yards total, including one on Gary Patterson when he ran into an official. Afterwards, talking heads blamed the Big 12 refs, and honestly, where’s the lie?

Anything you can do I can do...worse?

Not content to just share a state with Texas, the Baylor Bears also shared the Longhorns’ fate, losing 27-21 to West Virginia in overtime. It was a game laden with mistakes and confusion. Baylor’s Charlie Brewer had a terrible day, getting sacked six times and throwing two picks, the last of which came in overtime and cost his team a win. Oh, and there was a bad call on a Baylor touchdown, because of course there was. #Big12Refs

Credit to West Virginia. A week after getting trounced by Oklahoma State, the defense regrouped and had a solid game, holding Baylor to just 35 yards on the ground, and giving the ‘Eers offense a chance to hold the ball for a whopping 46 minutes. Defensive lineman Darius Stills earned the Big 12’s co-defensive player of the week award for his efforts. The offense didn’t necessarily do much with the opportunity though. Jarret Doege struggled all day long, fumbling twice and also throwing two interceptions.

And then this happened...

Night game at Jack Trice? Check. Ranked opponent? Check. Iowa State wearing exactly zero school colors? Check. Weirdness? Guaranteed.

Iowa State beat Oklahoma 37-30, the program’s first home victory over the Sooners since 1960. For that fanbase, and for Matt Campbell, this is another defining moment. I’m honestly a little envious that Iowa State gets to relive a bit of the euphoria Kansas State fans experienced in the 1990s. All celebrations and general grousing about disrespect are now valid, especially now that it’s Brocktober!

How did it happen? It was a strangely similar end to the game for the Sooners, with Spencer Rattler throwing an interception on the Sooners’ final drive. But Oklahoma’s inability to finish drives combined with the inability to bottle up Iowa State’s rushing attack doomed the game.

Oklahoma is now in the conference cellar at 0-2, sharing the space with Kansas. This is the first time in over 20 years, basically a generation, that the Sooners have been this bad this early. What gives? Well, lots of things: the defense, the offense, nothing is really gelling for Oklahoma right now.

How do the fans feel? Well...