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Big 12 Roundup: Chances won...and lost

Ten weeks into the season, the conference picture begins to clear up

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TCU v West Virginia Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

It was a wild Week 10 in the Big 12 that saw a big upset and a near-upset in the two biggest games, and a bunch of one-possession games that made it down to the wire. Indeed, with every single team in action, there was just one game in the conference decided by more than 7 points.

Still, all these close games helped clarify the top and bottom rungs of the conference standings. Both winners this past Saturday, Oklahoma State and Texas will probably be in the Big 12 title game, barring catastrophic drop-offs for one or both in the next few weeks. Oklahoma and Kansas State are not mathematically eliminated, but are not in control of their own destinies. Neither is Kansas, and indeed, this year’s Sunflower Showdown, meaningful for both teams after a gap of nearly 30 years, could turn into a referendum for third place in the Big 12.

Instead of breaking down each game, I think it’s time to sort the Big 12 into tiers instead.

Tier Flirting with destiny

Texas (8-1, 5-1): Texas feels back-ish and got there the hard way. Ugh.

Oklahoma State (7-2, 5-1): Bedlam lived up to its name as the Pokes took down Oklahoma and will now have scoreboard over their most hated rival forever (or at least for a very long time).

Tier Almost but not quite

Oklahoma (7-2, 4-2): Seven weeks of perfection followed by two weeks of derp. This GIF is eternal.

Kansas (7-2, 4-2): KU is kinda good. It felt weird to even type that. Then again, the current run could be over soon, and LBR, that might be the most Kansas ending to this era of college football in Lawrence.

Kansas State (6-3, 4-2): The Wildcats are just 14 points from being undefeated. (Pain. I feel it).

West Virginia (6-3, 4-2): Hot seat? What hot seat? Two of the ‘Eers last three games are eminently winnable, which means a 9-win season is still on the table. That was almost unimaginable just this past summer. Props.

Tier Bowl games are good, actually

Iowa State (5-4, 4-2): The Cyclones are not bowl eligible yet, and given upcoming games against Texas and Kansas State, it’s not entirely certain Iowa State will make it.

Texas Tech (4-5, 3-3): Should the OC be fired? Why can’t we fix the wide receiving? Questions abound as Tech tries to get bowl eligible with three tough outs still left on the schedule.

BYU (5-4, 2-4): In a season of missed opportunities, BYU is on the cusp of making a bowl game in its first year as a Power 5 program, amid a possible quarterback battle.

TCU (4-5, 2-4): A season ago, the Horned Frogs were in the national title game. This season though, TCU might not even make a bowl game, and experts can point to many reasons but no answers.

Houston (4-5, 2-4): Despite the odds being mostly stacked against them, the Cougars have somehow won two whole Big 12 games. Houston became the first new Big 12 team to win a league game on the road.

Tier what’s football precious?

UCF (4-5, 1-5): The Knights have had it rough in the Big 12, losing close games in heartbreaking fashion much of the time. But this time around, they finally put it all together for their inaugural Big 12 win. The rest of the schedule is a bear though, so UCF is not likely to make it to the post-season.

Baylor (3-6, 2-4): A program just two years removed from a Big 12 title, Baylor is a shadow of its former self. The Bears are just 1-6 at home and has not beaten a Power 5 team in Waco since October 2022.

Cincinnati (2-7, 0-6): Things are not going well for Scott Satterfield and the Bearcats. At this rate, the program may well end up as the sad answer to a trivia question about teams that win no games in their first Big 12 season. But nobody cares, because it’s already basketball season.

Last but not least, this is the best one so far.