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Mailbag: What’s The Key To Winning The Big 12?

Can Texas win out. will there be an undefeated Big 12 champion, Can Baylor overcome the loss of Seth Russell, a look at the Oklahoma State-Texas Matchup, and what does it take to win the Big 12? It’s all discussed in this week’s mailbag!



Pile of junk mail - Flickr - Judith E Bell

There are lots to talk about in the mailbag this week, so I’ll just jump right into it. If you have a question for next week’s mailbag, we’d love to hear it! Just tweet them to @the_LGG with the hashtag #LGGmailbag!

Can Texas Win Out?

Don’t sleep on the Longhorns. Texas is a young team that opened with a brutal schedule. Losses were expected.

They’re starting to come together though, and the big win over Oklahoma feels like a turning point for the program. They should be favored in every game from here on out, except for that last one against Baylor.

Beating the Bears in Waco is easier said than done, but where the Longhorns enter the soft part of their schedule, Baylor is just warming up. They have to worry about Oklahoma, OK State, and TCU before they can even begin to think about Texas. Combine that with a little uncertainty at quarterback, and an upset isn’t out of the question.

I can’t put a percentage on it, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Texas won out. It could come down to just what each other is playing for. If Baylor has one game between them and the College Football Playoff and the Horns become bowl eligible the week before, give me Baylor. If Baylor falters down the stretch and Texas still needs a win to get to a bowl game, give me Texas.

Will Rudolph Have A Big Week Against Texas Tech?

Texas Tech ranks 113th in pass defense, so not much. Some of that has to with already playing TCU, Baylor, and Oklahoma, but still, that’s pretty bad. There was some hope that new defensive coordinator David Gibbs would provide an instant spark to the defense, but it looks like we’ll have to wait a little bit to see what he can do as he starts getting some of his recruits into the program.

Rudolph has fallen off some as of late, but I expect him to build on his performance against Kansas, and have a big game on Saturday.

Can Oklahoma State beat Texas Tech?

It’s no secret that the weakness of this Oklahoma State squad is running the ball. The good news for the Pokes is that they were able to get yards on the ground against Kansas. The even better news is that, as bad as Kansas is in rush defense, Texas Tech is even worse. The Red Raiders rank just 125th in defending the run. Yes, somehow that’s even worse than their pass defense.

I also have to wonder what kind of fight Texas Tech has left. Three losses to three of the conference’s best teams isn’t bad at all. However, in the way in which OU thumped them last week, it felt as if someone gut punched those in Lubbock.

Oklahoma State will be trying to manage their own emotions to avoid a letdown following the tragedy in Stillwater last weekend, but the Pokes are the better team on paper. With the Red Raider’s work already cut out for them, they can’t afford to let the Sooners beat them twice.

Winning in Lubbock isn’t going to be easy for Oklahoma State, but they’ve had plenty of recent success there. Give me the Pokes to get to November 8-0, but I wouldn’t call it an upset.

What’s the key to winning the Big 12?

November will basically be a playoff for the Big 12 Title. I don’t know if there’s any one thing to point to, but how Baylor, TCU, Oklahoma State, and OU handle their emotions through that stretch will go a long way in determining the conference champion. It’s about not letting any one win or one loss affect you the next week.

Another factor is health. TCU has played beat up all season, Baylor now has to break in a freshman QB, and at this point of the season no one is 100 percent. With a tough gauntlet of games remaining, there won’t be much time to recover should anyone suffer any more injuries.

How Big Is The Loss Of Seth Russell for Baylor?

Next Thursday’s game against Kansas State will go a long way in answering that question. If anyone can plug-in a new QB at this point of the season without missing a beat, it’s Baylor. Art Briles has created a machine to where he can seemingly replace players like replacing parts of an engine without losing any horsepower.

In almost a mirror of Baylor, Stidham has been phenomenal against lesser competition. His numbers are incredible, but they’ve come in garbage time, so how do you scale that? His true tests will be how he handles playing all four quarters, can he make the proper reads under pressure, and should a game be close late, can he avoid trying to do too much. If he can handle all of that, then all of Baylor’s goals are still in front of them.

Will the Big 12 have an undefeated champion?

I don’t think so. There’s just too much parity in the conference at the top, and the teams that control their own destiny still have to play each other.

Oklahoma State has the easiest road and the best defense of the four, but they’re run game is non-existent, and just how good can that defense be if the offense can’t grind out the clock? Against the offenses in the Big 12, if you can’t relieve the pressure, eventually the dam will break.

Baylor has been a machine up to this point, but are largely unproven. They have the toughest remaining schedule, and have to break in a freshman QB as well. Not exactly a recipe for success, but the Bears have so much talent, it might not even matter.

TCU seems to have stopped the bleeding on the injury front, but their depth is about to be tested. Like Oklahoma State though, they have a knack for winning the close games, and that could come in handy.

It’s going to be a tough stretch all the way around, but it should make for one heck of a November!