Welcome back to “What We Learned”, the series where I explain one thing we learned in the previous week about each team in the Big 12. If teams had a bye week, we’ll just assume we didn’t learn anything and skip over them. 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.
As their record indicates, Kansas is bad. Kansas is mindnumbingly bad. Kansas is so bad I wanted to hide in an end zone far away from their game against Iowa State. Speaking of that game, I really hope you watched something other than the worst teams in the power five face off for the title of most unwatchable team. Because I had to watch this game, and boy I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
It was back and forth in about the worst way possible, mainly because both teams just proved they were more incompetent than the other until Kansas fell apart in the 4th quarter.
For Kansas, there were at least a few positives: Ke’aun Kinner had a really good game, and they had more first downs than Iowa State. Yeah, Carter Stanley only averaged 4.5 yards per completion but let’s not talk about that, I’m trying to be positive.
We learned that Kansas has not lost their title of worst team in a power five conference that they picked up last year, and to avoid a 3-peat they’ll need David Beaty to become a good coach really soon.
IOWA STATE (2-8)
Iowa State won on Saturday, but a win over Kansas, like a loss to Central Michigan, shouldn’t count. At least according to Oklahoma State fans and coach Gundy.
Iowa State, like Kansas, had some positives to take from a terrible football game aside from just a win: David Montgomery looked great in his expanded role, and Jacob Park completed all but 6 of his throws. The defense forced 2 turnovers, but even with all of this it took a 4th quarter comeback for Iowa State to topple Kansas. We learned that while Iowa State isn’t good, they at least aren’t Kansas.
TEXAS TECH (4-6)
I don’t think that there’s a more Texas Tech way to lose a game this year than by missing an extra point to lose an 89 combined point shootout.
Clayton Hatfield was 58 of 61 on extra points on the year before this attempt, but the miss wasn’t just on him. The snap and hold were both bad, and a shank is common when the ball is sideways.
Another excellent performance from Patrick Mahomes II and a late game comeback came up just short this week for a Texas Tech team that’s almost surely out of bowl discussion, and this week we learned that
football life is cruel.
Texas came up a fumble, one yard and three straight incompletions short of knocking off the Big 12’s new best chance at postseason magic. There was a drive that ended in a punt, but aside from that, Texas had three opportunities in the fourth quarter. One ended at the West Virginia 15 with a fumble. Another ended one yard short of a first down. And the final drive ended the game, with Shane Buechele once again unable to find a miracle in Austin.
D’Onta Foreman once again ran for more than 150 yards, although West Virginia held him under five yards a carry, and kept the second best player in America out of the end zone. Texas outgained West Virginia by nearly 200 yards, and just needs to play better in the clutch to win games like this one.
This week we learned that Texas is probably the most dangerous 5 loss team in the country.
I don’t like to say we told you so, but we may have told you so. Baylor has dropped three straight, and if they keep playing how they have been, they’ll drop their next three.
Maybe Baylor should just end their season as some have suggested, as they continue to drop games and more comes out from the aftermath of the Art Briles disaster. Baylor was never really close against Oklahoma on Saturday, trailing 21-10 at the half before falling apart completely after Seth Russell’s season ending injury.
The Bears had very little offensive success, and need to find a consistent way to score if they want to win any of their last 3 games. This week we learned that the Bears are just about out of fight.
OKLAHOMA STATE (8-2)
Oklahoma State was a Texas Tech extra point away from being taken to overtime.
Well, not really. They got the ball back and drove deep into Tech territory before just running out the clock. Which they likely would have done with or without the miss, the only difference being that they would have finished that last drive with a score if the game was tied.
Even with the close score, Oklahoma State was pretty solid on Saturday, throwing for nearly 400 yards as Mason Rudolph continues to establish himself as a top quarterback. Justice Hill and Chris Carson combined for another 199 on the ground and 3 scores.
We didn’t learn much this week, because we already knew that Oklahoma State is offense heavy. We’ll learn everything we need to know about Oklahoma State in 3 weeks when they play in state rivals Oklahoma.
Speaking of the rival, Oklahoma, just like their pals from Stillwater, didn’t show us all that much we didn’t already know this week. But, unlike the Cowboys, our thirst for knowledge will be quenched this week. In what will likely be the Big 12 game of the year, as Oklahoma is set to travel to Morgantown to face West Virginia in prime time on Saturday.
While some may view College Gameday’s decision to travel to Western Michigan instead of West Virginia this week as a snub, I personally enjoy the annual week 11 “SEC is playing D7 schools and no other conference exists, so let’s go to a small school” tradition. It’s nice to see the little guys get recognition sometimes.
ESPN “snubbbing” this game won’t make it any less important, as this game will very likely determine which Big 12 team plays in an NY6 bowl (they aren’t making the playoffs, move on).
Back to what happened on Saturday, Oklahoma looked as good as always, with the defense forcing 3 turnovers and Baker Mayfield tossing for 300 yards, along with Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon both picking up over 100 yards. When Oklahoma plays that well, they’re really hard to beat, and to beat West Virginia on Saturday they need to put up a performance of that caliber.
WEST VIRGINIA (8-1)
It took a great defensive performance in the 4th quarter, but West Virginia held on to a 24-20 lead for the win on Saturday in Austin. While that’s likely way closer than West Virginia would have liked, a win is a win, and the Mountaineers need to keep winning to give themselves a chance at slipping into the playoffs (chaos required).
Skyler Howard struggled, throwing 3 picks, and Kennedy McKoy was held under 100 yards by a surprisingly tough Texas defense. West Virginia didn’t need a huge amount of offense, as this week we learned that West Virginia can win games against solid teams by tightening up on defense, a strategy many Big 12 teams forget about.