Recapping just what happened in the Big 12 firing line this week, as the cream of the conference stands tall, and everyone else fights for scraps.
Welcome to the weekend warzone frog fans. We're all hurting pretty badly today, but we're not the only ones in the conference who looked awful this week... so take from that what you will. Let's review what happened this week as the conference pecking order seems established now.
Texas 21, @ Kansas 17
Has a coach ever had a hot seat get warmer... after a win? Kansas completed three passes all game and led at the half. Texas' savior quarterback David Ash, the one who everyone was incredibly concerned about after what looked like a broken wrist against OU? 50% completion rate, no touchdowns, two picks. Instead, it was Case McCoy who led the two minute drill, driving the longhorns down the field before finishing with a one yard TD pass. On offense, Texas is who they were afraid they were going to be: a team with two quarterbacks, neither of whom are particularly good. Not even Trevone Boykin was as bad as David Ash this week, let that sink in. On the other side, the Kansas rushing attack continued to validate TCU's (relative) struggles with them, picking up almost 250 yards on the ground and the Jayhawks probably should have won this game, even with QB of the future, Michael Cummings, going 3 of 9. Instead, another in a long line of moral victories for KU, which means a big moral defeat for Mack Brown. Best staff pick: This one goes to myself, as I was the only one who had Kansas within twenty of the Longhorns, picking the longhorns by ten. Next week- Kansas: @ Baylor- if the Jayhawks are going to win a Big 12 game this year, this appears to be the one to win. Texas: @ Texas Tech- Anything other than the biggest Raider win since 1974 (Tech won by 23) would be a shock to me.
Texas Tech 24, @ Kansas State 55
A minor outburst: Where was that Seth Doege last week? Doege had a decent day, but turned the ball over twice against the wildcats, which the Frogs could certainly have benefited from. Tech scored early to take a 7-0 lead, but fumbled away the momentum to a K-State field goal, and was only able to manage one more field goal in the first half as the Klein-led wildcats demolished Tech in every phase of offense. Klein completed over 70% of his passes, with two touchdowns and no picks, while also adding another two TDs on the ground. That would have been enough to beat Tech alone, but Klein continued to get help as Josh Hubert picked up another two TDs on the ground and Arthur Brown took the Doege pick back to the end zone. Kansas State is better both offensively and defensively than any team in the Big 12 and if they get by Oklahoma State next week I think they'll be the Big 12's first non-OU/UT/Nebraska representative in the championship game. Best staff pick: FungoFrog had Kansas State with the largest victory margin of 19 points. Next week- Texas Tech: Texas. Tuberville isn't shy about running up the score, and the Tech fans will be howling for blood in Lubbock. Methinks they'll get it. Kansas State: Oklahoma State. To be the man, you have to beat the man- and not just any man, the man who is forty. The wildcats may be able to exhale if they manage to beat Okie State in Manhattan, as if TCU, Baylor or Texas can knock them off I'll eat my hat.
Baylor 21, @ Iowa State 35
In the Big 12 things are almost invariably complicated, as teams knock off teams who beat the teams who beat them. However, there is one constant: When you are out-quarterbacked by Steele Jantz, you have had a bad day. Today, Baylor had a bad day. Jantz threw for five touchdowns against that awful Baylor defense and Baylor pitched in another four turnovers (only one pick from Florence this time though) to make this one a big home win for the Cyclones. Baylor once again could not run the football with Jared Salubi, who turned 11 carries into 33 yards... including one ten yard gain. All of the momentum the bears had after their moral victory against West Virginia is officially gone, as the Bears will have to beat either Kansas State, Oklahoma or Texas Tech to secure a bowl bid (while also beating Oklahoma State and Kansas). The Baylor bowl streak ends here, while Paul Rhoads and company have two excellent chances to pick up #6 still ahead. Best staff pick: Two of three to me so far, as I was the only one who picked Iowa State to win. I've got your back, clones. Next week- Baylor: Kansas. It would take a miracle to get bowl eligible, but the Bears have a real treat this week: A quarterback who they might be able to slow! Iowa State: Oklahoma. Oklahoma will be walking into Ames shaking its head, but it had better be careful or they'll be walking out of Ames with loss #3.
Notre Dame 30, @ Oklahoma 13
Way to let the whole country down, OU. Notre Dame walked into Norman with a stout defense and peashooter offense and the Sooners good-but-not-great defense game the domers exactly as many big plays as they needed to win the game: two. One sixty two yard touchdown run and one 50 yard pass which set up Notre Dame's second touchdown. That was all the offense that Notre Dame could muster all game, and guess what- it was enough to beat OU. The Irish tacked on some insurance points after a Teo interception of a Landry Jones pass, and picked up some vanity points after OU went four and out at the end of the game to try and move up the polls. We are now faced with the very real possibility of Notre Dame in the title game, possibly beating out a more deserving K-State team for the nod because... their name is Notre Dame. Thanks OU, really. On the sooner side, Jones had on okay day throwing the ball, going over 350 yards in the air with an interception that wasn't his fault, but the OU running game wasn't just non-existent, it was negative existent. By that I mean running the ball actively hurt OU, as they managed less than a yard per carry. This is not an OU team that is going to a BCS bowl, so be prepared to see Kansas State as the only team in the big money games this year. Best staff pick: I suppose we'll have to give it to me again, since I picked OU to win by just six. Ouch. Next week- Oklahoma: @ Iowa State. Trap game, trap game, trap game, trap game. OU is better than Iowa State, but I have a hard time believing they'll prove it next week.
TCU 14, @ Oklahoma State 36
This is the part of the job that flat out sucks. Oklahoma State is a much better, well rounded team than TCU is this year. That wasn't the worst part of the loss though. The worst part is... I missed Casey Pachall. Nobody (except Boykin fanatic Purple Wimple) has been more on board the Trevone Boykin bus than me this year, but this loss... with Casey, we win. Everything that Boykin tried and failed to do through the air this week is stuff that Casey did spectacularly well, and for the first time since the suspension Boykin brought nothing to the table on the ground either. He was hesitant running the ball (which may be carryover from the ankle tweak last week), which hurt the entire running game more than his personal 2.1 yards per carry average showed. I really hope that Boykin had a Baylor-esque game next week against West Virginia (in a win or loss), because I really don't want to have offseason controversy about whether Casey should come back off suspension and start. Boykin will have to be a lot better than he was today for that to happen, though. On the Oklahoma State side... well done to the Cowboys, as they held in there early while TCU was amped up and had all the momentum, and just stuck with the game plan: get Randle going, and open up the passing game through misdirection. It worked to a "T", as Wes Lunt overcame a shaky start to average almost ten yards per attempt and Randle got going in the second half, where he turned hits in the backfield into positive yardage with regularity. The frogs will be struggling to pick up their sixth win now, while Okie State is still very much alive in the conference championship talk going into Manhattan. Best staff Pick: Fungo Frog picked the Cowboys by 19. Pretty impressive considering Gundy scored a TD from the 1 after Brown's interception rather than running clock. We'll remember that one next year. Next week- TCU: @ West Virginia. The two Big 12 newcomers are both in dire need of a win, but at least West Virginia's secondary should be about as torchable as Baylor's was. "Must win" is trite, but it's getting very close to being accurate for the frogs. Oklahoma State: @ Kansas State. This will be the Wildcats last great test, and expect the Okies to try to bring it early.
Conference Power Rankings:
1.) Kansas State (8-0, 5-0)- And it's not even close
2.) Oklahoma State (5-2, 2-1)- That Texas loss still wasn't really a loss
3.) Oklahoma (5-2, 2-1)- Damn it OU, seriously.
4.) Texas Tech (5-2, 2-2)- The Raiders closing stretch is much softer... by Big 12 standards
5.) West Virginia (5-2, 2-2)- Will the the week off help or hurt the West Virginia tempo?
6.) Iowa State (5-3, 2-3)- Two quarterbacks, both pretty okay.
7.) Texas (6-2, 3-2)- Two quarterbacks, neither that okay.
8.) TCU (5-3, 2-3)- Looking for #6.
9.) Baylor (3-4, 0-4)- Just hoping that it isn't the start of "Same old Baylor".
10.) Kansas (1-7, 0-5)- Kansas should have beaten Texas for the first time since 1938. Will it be another 80 years before they get another chance as good as this?