There were a couple big games yesterday in the Big 12 conference. Iowa State ended up on the outside looking in as the road to the Big 12 Championship plowed on. If I told you 3 months ago that Iowa State would still be in the hunt for a chance to play for the conference title in week 11, no one would have believed me. Let’s take a look at all five games and see what the last 4 teams need to happen to see themselves in Dallas. We’ll start from the least compelling and work our way up.
Texas Tech Red Raiders beat the Baylor Bears, 38-24
The Red Raiders had dropped four games in a row and seen their record dip below .500 for the first time this year. A trip to Arlington to play the 1-8 Bears was just what the doctor ordered. Keke Coutee took the opening kickoff back for a touchdown and Texas Tech didn’t look back. They opened up a 21-7 halftime lead, and the game was never really as close in the second half as the final score would indicate.
Nic Shimonek was an efficient 25/29 for 246 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers. Baylor put the ball on the ground repeatedly and finished with four turnovers. Despite out-gaining the Red Raiders by nearly 200 yards, the Bears never got close. Baylor has to limp to the end of the season, while Texas Tech is looking for at least one more win to get bowl eligible.
Up Next: #6 TCU @ TTU, #21 ISU @ Baylor
Texas Longhorns beat the Kansas Jayhawks, 42-27
This game is pretty much the same situation as the previous one. Texas found itself 4-5 and in desperate need of a win. Then, Kansas came to Austin and the Longhorns got just what they needed. Texas jumped out to a 14-0 lead and ended the first quarter up 28-7. Kansas was never able to get closer than 35-20, and scored a meaningless touchdown with 11 seconds left in the game to make the final slightly more acceptable.
Shane Buechele was adequate. He finished 22/32 for 249, with one pick and one score. Lorenzo Joe was impressive for the Longhorns. The receiver pulled down five catches for 98 yards and a touchdown. Kansas couldn’t get out of their own way, turning the ball over four times and continuing to look hapless. At 5-5, Texas is in the same boat as Texas Tech, needing at least one of their last two to become bowl eligible. Hopefully, the Mountaineers will make sure they’re still looking after a trip to Morgantown next week.
Up Next: Texas @ WVU, #4 Oklahoma @ Kansas
West Virginia Mountaineers beat the Kansas State Wildcats, 28-23
West Virginia is still alive for a berth in the Big 12 Championship Game after a wacky game in Manhattan. They held on to beat Kansas State in a game in which the teams combined for three points in the second half. It was the second week in a row that the Mountaineers were shut out after halftime.
The Wildcats were unable to fully capitalize on a couple of early WVU turnovers. They settled for a pair of field goals. Down only 6-0, it felt as though the Mountaineers were fortunate. WVU scored a quick touchdown and never trailed again, despite KSU cutting the lead to one point twice more. WVU was able to overcome four turnovers and still win on the road.
Will Grier finished with 375 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions on 27/46 passing. Justin Crawford had another 100 yard day, and David Sills V recorded his 17th and 18th touchdown catches of the season. He was the Mountaineers third leading receiver as Gary Jennings and Ka’Raun White both tallied over 100 yards.
Kansas State joins Texas and Texas Tech at 5-5. They too will need to find a way to win at least one of their last 2 to become bowl eligible. With a trip to Stillwater and a home contest against Iowa State, Bill Snyder’s squad will have its work cut out for them.
WVU is the longest shot to find a spot in the Big 12 Championship game of the four teams that are still alive. WVU needs to win out and get help from some unlikely upsets down the stretch.
Up Next: KSU @ OSU, Texas @ WVU
#5 Oklahoma Sooners beat the #6 TCU Horned Frogs, 38-20
Coming into the Saturday, this was supposed to be the marquee match up in the Big 12. The top two teams facing each other down for a spot atop the conference rankings, a pretty direct pass to the Big 12 Championship game and the right to control their own destiny down the stretch for a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Oklahoma opened the scoring with a field goal and TCU responded with a two play, 75 yard touchdown drive. At that point, this game looked like it was poised to live up to the hype. Then Baker Mayfield and the OU defense began to exert their will on the Frogs.
The Sooners scored 21 unanswered points before opening up a 38-14 halftime lead. They didn’t score in the second half, and they didn’t need to. Oklahoma held TCU to only six points in the second half and were never threatened.
Baker Mayfield finished the game with 333 yards and three touchdowns on 18/27 passing. The offensive MVP of the game was Rodney Anderson. Anderson accounted for 290 yards from scrimmage- 151 on the ground and 139 in the air- and four touchdowns (two rushing, two receiving).
Oklahoma systematically dismantled TCU, and with Georgia and Notre Dame getting embarrassed on Saturday, will find themselves in the top four of the college football playoff rankings on Tuesday evening. All the Sooners have to do to clinch the first spot in the Big 12 Conference Championship Game is find a way to beat Kansas next week in Lawrence.
TCU, while most likely eliminated from any chance of a playoff run, is still primed to get another chance to play spoiler for the Sooners. All they need to do to ensure a rematch and try to live down this embarrassment is win out. Their remaining games are at Texas Tech and against Baylor.
Up next: #5 OU @ Kansas, #6 TCU @ TTU
#15 Oklahoma State Cowboys beat the #21 Iowa St. Cyclones, 49-42
Sitting in the noon time slot on ESPN2, this game became the game of the week in the Big 12. Both teams were fighting to keep their slim chance at a shot in the Big 12 Championship Game alive.
The Clones came out hot. They jumped out to a 14-0 lead with consecutive well orchestrated and sustained drives. Just as the college football world started to notice, the Cowboys responded with 21 unanswered points of their own. Folk hero Joel Lanning managed to punch the ball into the end zone from a yard out late in the the second quarter to help the Clones knot the game up at 21 a piece before halftime.
The second half was as entertaining and fun a game as you can hope to watch. Both teams traded scores and the lead back and forth until Mason Rudolph found Dillon Stoner for a 19 yard touchdown catch with 3:47 to go, putting the Cowboys up for good.
Mason Rudolph was an incredibly efficient 25/31 for 376 and three touchdowns. Justice Hill added 134 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries for Oklahoma State. Iowa State played three different quarterbacks who combined for 376 yards of their own.
With the loss Iowa State has been eliminated from contention for a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game. Matt Campbell’s team should have their heads held high though, as they have already shattered expectations this season and pulled of some incredible upsets. With Baylor and Kansas State left on the schedule, they have a great chance to get to eight regular season wins. Iowa State fans better hope that the school is prepared to do what it takes to keep Matt Campbell in the coming years, as big programs are going to be calling.
Oklahoma State is still alive for the conference championship. They do need to win out, and have TCU lose one of their seemingly easy ones.
Up next: ISU @ Baylor, KSU @ OSU
So here we are, two weeks from the end of the regular season and Oklahoma has control, just as everyone predicted from the beginning. And just as everyone predicted from the beginning, they likely will have to play a rematch against a team they shellacked, while they are meanwhile in the top 4 with nothing to gain and everything to lose. Way to go Big 12 Conference.
Before we get to the Power Rankings, here’s a concise version of all the championship game scenarios for the four teams who are still breathing, to one degree or another.
Big 12 title game scenarios:— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) November 12, 2017
- OU can clinch spot with win vs. KU
- TCU needs to win out (Tech, Baylor)
- OSU needs to win out (KU, KSU), have TCU lose
- WVU needs to win out (UT, OU), have OSU/TCU both lose
Not much to change here.
- Oklahoma State
- West Virginia
- Iowa State
- Kansas State
- Texas Tech