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.
TURN THE L(onghorns) UPSIDE DOWN, IT’S A WIN NOW. Kansas got their first Big 12 win since November 8th, 2014, and their first win over Texas in 78 years. Watching this game was stressful, tiring, and also the most rewarding game I’ve watched this year.
It wasn’t pretty, but when a Shane Buechele pass was picked by Mike Lee at the five yard line in overtime, Kansas was suddenly just a few minutes from finally snapping their conference losing streak. The Jayhawks probably would have gotten into the end zone in overtime rather than just kicking on 3rd down, but when you have lost as many games as Kansas has, you learn to appreciate what you have, and appreciate it they did. The win starved fans in Lawrence stormed the field and took down the goalposts, which, while dangerous, is a wonderful college football tradition.
This week we learned that there’s still some fight left in our favorite imaginary birds.
IOWA STATE (3-8)
Speaking of surprising wins, Iowa State committed hilarious crimes against Texas Tech on Saturday, toppling the Red Raiders 66-10. Iowa State dominated Texas Tech on both sides of the ball, holding them to a season low 306 yards, and forcing a somewhat injured Patrick Mahomes into throwing 2 picks, to just 1 score.
Jacob Park and Joel Lanning combined for over 300 yards and 2 scores in the air. The majority of the offense came on the ground, with Joel Lanning scoring an incredible 5 touchdowns with his legs, as he played the role of workhorse back, receiving more carries than anyone else.
This week we learned that Iowa State can work under Matt Campbell, and they’ll likely be dangerous within the next few years.
TEXAS TECH (4-7)
Texas Tech just played their worst game of the year, and while it seemed like a bit of a foregone conclusion, Texas Tech is now officially eliminated from bowl consideration. The Red Raiders couldn’t find success anywhere on Saturday, with Da’Leon ward being held under 100 yards on the ground, despite carrying the ball 25 times.
Patrick Mahomes, though he shortly exited the game with an injury, played for most of the day, and struggled greatly when he was on the field. He only threw for 219 yards, and completed just half of his passes. We knew the defense wouldn’t contribute much of anything, but when Texas Tech gets shut down on offense, this is the result they get.
I feel bad for D’Onta Foreman. He carried the ball 51 times on Saturday (for 250 yards), and his team still lost to the worst team in a P5 conference. Texas is almost certainly just trying to kill D’Onta Foreman before he escapes Austin and arrives in the NFL. Next week they’ll just send him out alone to play offense, while all the other players sit on the sidelines and watch, thinking about what they’ve done.
Foreman was pretty much all Texas had on offense, as Shane Buechele struggled, tossing 3 interceptions. The defense wasn’t bad, only allowing one touchdown all day, but they did surrender 3 field goals, as well as a good chunk of yards in overtime, though that may just be because they knew the game was over.
This week we learned just how low the floor is for Texas. Hey, if it makes Longhorn fans feel any better, at this time next year you’ll be 8-3, led by MENSA member Tom Herman.
Saturday’s 25 point home loss to Oklahoma State was TCU’s worst in the 17 years Gary Patterson has been the coach. Kenny Hill struggled, Kyle Hicks had nowhere to run, and Oklahoma State dominated for 60 minutes.
TCU only mustered up 6 points on Saturday, and there really isn’t much to say about their performance, other than “bad”. TCU can’t just give up though, they’re still firmly in the bowl chase, but they need to find a win over Texas or Kansas State in their next 2 games.
This week we learned that TCU needs this young talent to grow up real quick for next year.
Baylor’s free fall continued on Saturday, with a 21 point loss to Kansas State. It takes serious effort to let Kansas State put up 42 points, and that’s exactly what Baylor did on Saturday. The Bears had no chance when trying to stop the run, with Alex Barnes running for 129 yards and 4 scores on just 19 carries.
The offense wasn’t much better, as Seth Russell’s backup Zach Smith struggled badly, throwing 3 interceptions and finishing with a 35.2 QBR. Even with their 6 wins, the way Baylor is playing makes me seriously doubt if they deserve a bowl bid at this point.
This week we learned that Chris predicting that Baylor would lose their final 6 games wasn’t that bold.
KANSAS STATE (6-4)
A win over Baylor went from impressive to expected in the last few weeks, and Kansas State had no problem fulfilling that expectation on Saturday. Kansas State, even with a 7 point deficit at the half, never really looked like they were in trouble. They ran the ball all over Baylor, as the ground game accounted for all 6 of the Wildcats scores. Jesse Ertz wasn’t great, but he didn’t need to be, with the defense forcing 4 turnovers and the whole team just looking superior to Baylor.
This week we learned that Bill Snyder still has some magic left, as Kansas State will be bowling this year in what was supposed to be a down season.
WEST VIRGINIA (8-2)
West Virginia missed their last chance at a statement win on Saturday, despite an incredible performance from running back Justin Crawford. The Mountaineers have played two currently ranked teams, and both their losses came in those games. West Virginia is officially out of the Big 12 championship discussion, and winning out doesn’t really change anything but their bowl game.
This week we learned that West Virginia is the 3rd best team in the Big 12, and the gap between 2 and 3 is pretty large.
OKLAHOMA STATE (9-2)
Oklahoma State manhandled TCU on Saturday, accumulating 541 yards on the day. Most of those yards came on the ground, with Justice Hill and Chris Carson combining for 200 yards and a score on 33 carries. Mason Rudolph didn’t do a ton with his arm, but he scored twice on the ground, adding to his one score in the air. Oklahoma State has cleared all their hurdles that they had to.
There’s nothing to learn from this performance, as now we just wait for their December 3rd clash with Oklahoma.
Another week, another big win for Bob Stoops and his pals, this win their biggest of this season to this point. Oklahoma’s first big game win on the year couldn’t have come at a better time, with thee Sooners needing a surge and some chaos to find their way into the playoffs.
Their win on Saturday was mostly due to a potent running attack, as 5 scores and more than 300 yards came from the ground game. Baker Mayfield only completed 9 passes but that’s really all he needed, and when the offense is playing that well, Oklahoma is nearly unbeatable.
This week we learned that Oklahoma is one of the best teams in the country right now, and that the Sooners definitely still have a shot at postseason glory, even if the chances are low.