Welcome back to “What We Learned”, the series where I explain one thing we learned about each team in the Big 12 previous week’s games. The teams are ordered based on record, so if your team is talked about first it’s not because I hate them, it’s because they’re bad and deserve to be shunned.
IOWA STATE (1-4)
They got so close. Iowa State was a field goal away from knocking off the 13th ranked team in the country. The Cyclones were the better team for three quarters. They looked far superior as they jumped all over Baylor early, leading by seven at the half, and holding a 42-28 lead to start the fourth. Then, they didn’t score in the last 15 minutes, and decided to let Baylor play the way they were supposed to be playing all day.
Jack Trice Stadium is notoriously hard to win in, especially as a ranked team, and Baylor fell victim to the almost annual “Iowa State Scare”, a phenomenon most Big 12 teams are very familiar with. We learned this week that not all hope is lost for Iowa State.
It was Thursday evening. I had gone to bed for the evening at 8:30 (I’m on eastern time), ready for the stress and work of the day to go away as I laid down and spent some well deserved down-time watching PBS and looking at Twitter. Then, I realized, much to my dismay, that I write about the Big 12, and I had to watch Kansas play football.
Last week, I told all of you about Steven Sims Jr, the talented Kansas receiver. You’ll never believe this, but I was correct in my final determination that he’s a good receiver. He had 6 receptions, 59 yards, and a touchdown. Here’s some free advice: if any of you run an NFL franchise, draft this man in a few years.
Aside from Steven Sims Jr being great, and me being right, Kansas tried really hard on Thursday night and was in the game, late. That is until they got to the Texas Tech three yard line down 28-16, and proceeded to shoot themselves in the over-sized bird foot with an entire box of ammunition. Kansas settled for a field goal, and Texas Tech won 55-19, all because of Kansas taking a field goal, and not because of a huge talent disparity.
KANSAS STATE (2-2)
Kansas State lost on Saturday, after leading West Virginia 16-3 through three quarters. Their defense looked the part, as they stifled the Mountaineers for almost the whole game. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, the offense couldn’t get it going in the final quarter, and West Virginia staged a huge comeback to remain undefeated. Kansas State forced turnovers and did pretty much everything they needed to do to win aside from score points. This week, we learned something we already knew, Kansas State has an elite defense, and no semblance of an offense.
Texas isn’t back. They made that painfully obvious against Oklahoma State on Saturday, and now there are many discussions of Charlie Strong losing his job after the year. He already announced he will be taking over defensive play calling from now on, and it’s just a matter of time before the higher-ups at Texas run out of patience. Unless Texas can string together a big winning streak, including a win against Oklahoma this week, Charlie Strong will be somewhere like Baton Rouge next year. Is it fair? No. Is it the right decision? Probably not. Will it happen? As of right now, yes.
Oklahoma doesn’t have a defense, but it’s okay, no one else aside from Kansas State in the Big 12 does. Giving up more than 20 points in a quarter is not good. Doing it twice in one game and still winning means you have a really good offense.
The rumors are true, Oklahoma has a really good offense, they proved that by scoring 52 points against a D1 school with a pulse, even if that team is TCU, who has a defense akin to that of a low-level G5 school. Oklahoma jumped back into the AP top 25 this week, and while I’m not sold on the Sooners yet, we’ll learn a lot about them this week when they host Texas.
TCU is officially out of the playoff chase. I’m no Clay Travis, and this is a far more reasonable thing to say than anything he’s ever said. A two loss TCU team isn’t getting into the playoff, especially coming from the Big 12, easily the worst power five conference right now. I seriously doubt a one loss Big 12 team would get in at the end of the season with how bad the conference looks right now. If a team gets in, it’ll be Baylor, and I really don’t think Baylor has much of a chance at that, but we’ll see. This week we learned that Kenny Hill is no Trevone Boykin, and even with that, quarterback isn’t even close to the biggest problem for the Horned Frogs.
OKLAHOMA STATE (3-2)
If it wasn’t for an untimed down against Central Michigan and a fumble against Baylor in the redzone, Oklahoma State would be 5-0 right now, and likely in the AP top 15. Possibly even the top 10. Unfortunately, the fumble and the hail Mary did happen, and Oklahoma State is still just 3-2. Last week they proved once again that they shouldn’t be forgotten about in the Big 12.
I really don’t know who the best Big 12 team is right now, but you could make an argument for the Cowboys, especially after the show they put on against Texas.
TEXAS TECH (3-1)
Patrick Mahomes is out for 4-6 weeks with an AC joint sprain. That’s a huge loss for Texas Tech, and as I outlined in that article the upcoming opponents the backup, Nic Shimonek, will have to take on while filling in for the injured star. Last week, we learned that Texas Tech can survive without Mahomes, at least against Kansas, but because of the level of competition, we really didn’t learn much about the Red Raiders.
WEST VIRGINIA (4-0)
It took a furious 4th quarter comeback for West Virginia to overcome Kansas State, and their performance really told us a lot about the kind of team Dana Holgorsen has this year. West Virginia isn’t the best team in the Big 12, and I expect them to be exposed in two weeks when they travel to Lubbock. Feel free to make fun of me on twitter if West Virginia proves me wrong and goes undefeated (they won’t). But for now, I can sit on my blogger throne (we all have one) and say that West Virginia is actually just an average team. This statement isn’t baseless. The Mountaineers have had a close call the last two games, and I expect the next close game to not go their way.
Baylor almost lost to Iowa State. I know that I mentioned early the curse of Jack Trice Stadium, but a top 15 team shouldn’t have to hit a last second field goal to beat a 1-3 (now 1-4) team with far less talent that is currently in the midst of a rebuild. If the Bears want to make it to the playoff (they do), they need to play better, and treat every game as an important one, because they slept through three quarters on Saturday and it almost ruined them. Baylor faces Kansas next week, and it will serve as a nice look to see if Baylor can stop underestimating lesser opponents.