It's hard to believe at this point that West Virginia was actually quite famed for throwing the ball in previous seasons, as the Mountaineers completed just half their passes and threw two picks to just one touchdown. On the other hand though, WVU got great production from their running game and absolutely annihilated Kansas in a game that had to feel pretty darn good. As for Kansas... it was a hard day at the office for quarterback Ryan Willis, who completed barely over 1/3 of his passes, threw three picks and was pummeled repeatedly by the West Virginia defense as the thin KU line was simply unable to do anything against even a three or four man rush. Still, WVU is bowl eligible now, and KU is... still KU.
Staff picks: Somehow, we all managed to guess that the Mountaineers would beat the Jayhawks. Somehow. Congrats to Marshall for predicting the biggest margin of victory, which is usually the way to go when guessing on KU games.
Two plays ended the career of Paul Rhoads at Iowa State yesterday, because Iowa State absolutely had this game won. ISU had stopped the wildcats on fourth down and had the ball at the KSU 44 with 1:31 to play, up 35-28, and all that was left to do was pick up a first down and run out the clock. Then ISU fumbled and KSU went on to score the tying touchdown in 40 seconds. With 42 seconds left to move back down the field and into range for the winning field goal, ISU took the field and first picked up four yards on a quick QB keep. Then Lanning dropped back to pass, and was sacked- and fumbled. At the Iowa State 22 yard line. So, Kansas State calmly ran the clock down, and kicked the winning field goal, keeping their bowl hopes alive for at least another week. There was much more to the game than just those plays, of course, but you know the story from that- Iowa State was winning, they'd outrushed the wildcats severely, they'd had a much more efficient day passing, and the only reason K-State was even in the game was thanks to a kickoff return touchdown- and yet, in the end, all that mattered were those two little plays where Iowa State fumbled, and now Iowa State will be moving onto a new coach. Football is funny sometimes.
Staff picks: Jamie, Melissa, Swayze, Mason, Rusty, Simone and myself were all right until the last minute and thirty seconds, then Marshall, Andrew, Warrior, Sam and Scott were right instead. Arrgh. Scott was closest.
Oklahoma State needed to do three things to win this ballgame- run the ball, cover Baylor's receivers deep, and capitalize on Baylor's mistakes (as they have in every other game this season). They managed to do none of those things, and as a result, this game was not as close as the final score indicated. Baylor was playing with their third string quarterback for much of this game, and though they turned the ball over three times, OSU was only able to get points out of it once, which is just not enough for an offense that tends to struggle if the run game isn't going well. As a result, OSU's chances for a Big 12 title now rest on them pulling an upset against the Sooners and hoping that either TCU or Texas knocks off the Bears in the coming weeks. As for Baylor, they need to win and hope that the Cowboys can bounce back from this one to win in Bedlam.
Staff picks: Marshall, Swayze, Mason and Simone picked the Bears, so I'm holding them responsible. Swayze picked the score absolutely perfectly, so he's the most to blame.
Oklahoma Sooners 30, TCU Horned Frogs 29
Somehow, some way, TCU was in this game the entire way. The much maligned TCU defense had its greatest day of the season to date, holding OU to 4 plays or less 8 times during the course of the game and holding strong even as the OU offense held the ball for almost the entirety of the second quarter, with TCU turning the ball over three times in the quarter. It was not a good starting debut for TCU's Foster Sawyer, who was picked off repeatedly (though it wasn't helped by the playcalling) and simply didn't have the footspeed to run the zone read, option or even QB draw effectively. However, TCU never trailed by more than 17 points, and when Sawyer was relieved, the Frogs offense started to slowly tick to life again, with Aaron Green having an amazing performance, despite the Sooners keying on him. That TCU fell short is of importance in the grand scheme of things, sure, as it means that the Frogs are eliminated from Big 12 title contention, but the signs of growth from the defense were absolutely tremendous, as they held both of OU's quarterbacks to completion rates below 50% and just two touchdowns. This is finally a defense that is showing that it could be back to being a strength next year, and it's coming into its prime at the perfect time, as we all know what's coming to Fort Worth on Black Friday.
Staff Picks: Melissa, Andrew, Scott and myself were the traitors who were hoping to be wrong, but were right. Andrew and I tied for the closest margin of victory, but I'm giving the tie to myself for picking TCU's weird final point total exactly.
Additional note: I must have been the only one who caught the news that Utah's star RB was going to be out for the UCLA game, as I can't believe I was the only one to pick the Bruins.
Hate week is now. Baylor Delenda Est.