The Big 12 Title picture is much clearer after a Saturday that saw both WVU and Oklahoma State lose... at home... in games they were favored in. Texas might actually be back (in 2018), the Cats never quit (though they tried), and the Frogs got defensive in Lubbock.
Oh, and there was that whole thing that happened in Lawrence.
Oklahoma 41, Kansas 3
First, this happened:
Damn, the Kansas captains were ICE COLD to Baker Mayfield pic.twitter.com/D5cwCGKmhZ— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) November 18, 2017
That, of course, let to this:
Baker Mayfield didn't feel like taking the high road today pic.twitter.com/30Q5UFk264— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) November 18, 2017
(because that’s how you respond to cute kids not shaking your hand if you’re Baker Mayfield)
He ended up with 257 yards, three touchdowns, and (another) apology against the worst team in the conference, but kept his name in the news and his Heisman candidacy in play. People are mixed on Baker - if you’re an OU fan you love him, find his antics charming and COMPETITIVE. If you’re over the age of 55, you believe he’s disrespecting the game, is unworthy of college football’s highest honor. Most of us that aren’t forced to root for him don’t like him and think he’s a fool, while Oklahoma fans staunchly defend his actions as “fun-loving” and “competitive” and claim the rest of us are just jealous.
Look, Baker is the best player in college football this year. Bryce Love is great, Lamar Jackson is underrated, Saquon Barkley is unbelievable... but none of them hold a candle to Baker. And to me, the whole “the Heisman is about character” crowd needs to STFU... that narrative died with Winston, Manziel... and the list goes on. Let the best player in football win the award meant to commemorate just that. Oklahoma has their one, and potentially two, playoff berths, their two, potentially three, Big 12 titles, and two, probably three, 11 win seasons with him at the helm. I don’t blame them for being behind their dude.
But none of that changes my mind on being glad that Gary Patterson decided against offering him, though I understand if you disagree.
Oh, and Kansas sucks at football.
Oklahoma takes on a West Virginia team that is without Will Grier as they look to lock up a third straight 11 win campaign. Kansas, takes on Oklahoma State, but who really cares.
TCU 27, Texas Tech 3
It was as dominating defensive performance as you will see out a team, as TCU held the potent Red Raiders attack to about 200 yards through 3.5 quarters, completely stymied Nic Shimonek, and held Tech out of the end zone on their home field, holding the team to just a field goal for the first time since 2006 (when the Frogs did just that) and their lowest scoring output at home since 2000. Oh, and they did all that without their two starting linebackers, starting safety, and partially without another starting safety (Ridwan Issahaku exited in the third quarter), as well as a season-opening starting corner in Julius Lewis.
On the other side, the Frogs were missing their starting QB, and thus turned to true freshman Shawn Robinson behind center, and he delivered TCU to a win. While he looked like a true freshman a few times - namely putting the ball on the ground, throwing a near-int on his first pass attempt, and holding on to the ball a little too long a few times - overall, he showcased some of his incredible ability and promise.
Texas Tech didn’t play badly on defense, but Nic Shimonek was pretty terrible - the Red Raiders picked up 100 of their 300 total yards halfway through the fourth quarter when he was replaced. They now have an uphill battle to get to bowl eligibility, and if they can’t get to the magic number of six, it could be sayonara for Kliffy.
TCU tries to lock up a spot in the Big 12 Championship game with a win over Baylor, while the Red Raiders take on Texas looking for win #6.
Kansas State 45, Oklahoma State 40
What a ball game. The Cats ran out to a huge lead over the Cowboys, and then did everything they could to blow it. Down to their third string, walk-on, QB late in the fourth, Snyder’s boys held on for dear life and got four straight Mason Rudolph incompletions to seal it. Rudolph had a bad day, throwing three picks in his 53 drop backs, but still nearly brought his team all the way back from what was at one point a 42-13 deficit. Rudolph finished with over 400 yards passing and three TDs, but was sacked four times as the Cats D stepped up early and often.
Kansas State is bowl eligible for the eighth straight year, this time behind freshman Skylar Thompson, who seems in line to start Saturday against Iowa State, and win the job outright going forward. He amassed just a shade under 300 total yards on the day and looks like the real deal for the Wildcats going forward. For Oklahoma State, this likely ends any dream of a New Year’s Six bowl, just when they were primed to pass up the Horned Frogs. After looking like one of the hottest teams in the country over the last several weeks, Okie State comes crashing back to earth, losing at home as 20 point favorites. And here I thought QB1 wanted it really bad this year.
Kansas State looks for win number seven against Iowa State while the Cowboys finish up with Kansas at home.
Texas 28, WVU 14
Will Grier’s finger exploded, and with it, the Mountaineers (very slim) hopes at a berth in the Big 12 Championship Game. But, on the other side, TEXAS IS BACK AGAIN WE THINK FOR REAL THIS TIME.
The Mountaineers got behind early to a Texas team that clamped down on D, trailing by two scores at the half. Sam Ehlinger threw a pair of second quarter touchdowns to help the Horns get a conference road win and their first W of the season over a ranked opponent. This also sends UT back to a bowl game for the first time since 2014, ending a two season streak, something they celebrated like they were actually back. Leaning heavily on the run game, which was actually effective for the first time in a long time, UT wore down the Eers, who mounted a late comeback but fell short once again. Chris Chugunov spelled Grier and couldn’t get the offense going, and Justin Crawford got just 15 carriers. The Mountaineers will have a bowl game to look forward to, but not the caliber they were in line for before the disappointing loss.
Texas hosts Texas Tech, looking for win number seven on their season and to keep the Red Raiders out of a bowl game. The Eers have to go to Norman, and while Baker Mayfield won’t start, he will play, and that’s enough to finish WVU off.
Iowa State 23, Football Team in Waco 13
The Football Team in Waco lost at home again, but the defense continues to look strong ahead of the final game of their season, the Revivalry showdown. Meanwhile, Iowa State put themselves in line for an 8-win regular season and a really good bowl game, something that gives them a lot of hope for the future.
The Cyclones got a solid performance out of Zeb Noland at QB, as he threw for 180 yards and two scores, and running back David Montgomery had a huge game out of the backfield, going for 143 on a 5.3 clip.
Charlie Brewer continues to assert himself as the man for the the Football Team in Waco, despite looking like a true freshman at times against an aggressive ISU D. He threw for 198 yards, a touchdown, and an INT, and was sacked just twice. Meanwhile, the Football Team in Waco was unable to bring Noland down in the backfield at all, and Butler and Lazard both had 50+ yards in receptions.
The Cylcones try to finish the regular season on a high note, as they travel to Manhattan looking for win #8. The Football Team in Waco takes on TCU in Fort Worth on Black Friday, and will try and play spoiler as they look for win #2 on the season.