The Big 12 season ended with eight of ten teams reaching bowl eligibility. The conference that is always the butt of jokes finished strong, and still has plenty to play for.
Baylor 22 (1-11), TCU 45
There was a little fire out of the Bears in what was, for all intents and purposes, their bowl game, as they burst out to a 9-0 lead in the first 90 seconds. Unfortunately for Baylor, that least didn’t last too long, as the Frogs fought back with 21 unanswered on their way to a 23 point victory. Mat Boesen set the single-game sack record for TCU with 5.5, but the biggest story of the game was the brawl near the Baylor sideline late in the third quarter. It’s kind of nice to see a little football-related fire out of these two programs, as the horrible scandal in Waco and the CAB morons made it nearly impossible to care about what happened on the field for the last 18 months. But this rivalry still has legs, and Saturday proved that.
We had some quick thoughts and 1-11 takeaways, while Our Daily Bears was whining about SB Nation including their record in a tweet and throwing around a lot of numbers as they close out their season (read the comments if you want a laugh).
Next Up: TCU travels 20 minutes across the Metroplex to match up once again with Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship, while Baylor goes home because their season is over.
Texas Tech 27, Texas 23
This was a fascinating game, as it was leaked earlier in the week that Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury was in a win or get fired situation as the Red Raiders looked to get bowl eligible. Looking for a spark, he turned to freshman McLane Carter at QB, who was awesome for a quarter before turning into a noodle-armed freshman against the aggressive and athletic Texas defense. Meanwhile, the Horns were putting on a punting display that made even Adam Nunez green with envy, while Sam Ehlinger continued to do some really good things, some really bad things, just enough to keep UT in the game, and just enough to keep Texas Tech in the game. When it appeared all was lost, KK went back to Nic Shimonek, who came out on fire in the fourth quarter, leading his team to a pair of touchdowns and eventually the lead - one that was held thanks to two late interceptions thrown by the Horns’ true freshman. Both teams will go bowling, two of the eight in the conference to reach the six win plateau, but both have serious questions going forward. Is Ehlinger the answer at QB? Is Kliff keeping his job a good thing? Will Tech be able to capitalize on 20 returning starters in 2018? For now, Viva the Matadors is content to celebrate their second consecutive victory in Austin, while Burnt Orange Nation is sick of excuses and asking a lot of questions of the offense.
Kansas 17, Oklahoma State 58
Mason Rudolph walked out of Boone Pickens Stadium for the last time Saturday after throwing for nearly 500 yards and two more TDs, closing the chapter on a player that was very good to great, but never quite got the Cowboys over the hump. OSU, a trendy preseason pick to win the conference and make the playoffs, finishes with nine wins and a likely appearance in either the Alamo or Russell Athletic bowls, both disappointments for a program that looked like world beaters in September. Kansas, meanwhile, sees it season mercifully end, and can now focus solely on hoops. As if they weren’t already. Cowboys Ride for Free will miss their seniors, while Rock Chalk Talk still just really wants to #FireZenger.
Iowa State 19, Kansas State 20
In the most exciting game of the conference slate, K State came roaring back from a late deficit, scoring with no time left on the clock with the help of some Skylar Thompson magic, to send the Cyclones home unhappy. It was typical Bill Snyder voodoo - a season that looked lost in September ends with seven wins despite playing four different QBs, a bowl game, and an exciting regular season-ending win. For Iowa State, who beat two top four teams but couldn’t put away Iowa, WVU, Texas, or Kansas State, there has to be a bit of an empty feeling. And now they have to hear about how their coach is leaving for Nebraska/Tennessee/Arkansas/Florida/etc for the next several weeks while they prep for a bowl game that is far less exciting than what could have been. Bring on the Cats is ecstatic with the Farmageddon finale, while Wide Right and Natty Lite has a basketball recap but nothing on the football game.
West Virginia 31, Oklahoma 59
NOTHING was dumber than Baker Mayfield’s two play “suspension”, well... actually, I take that back:
OU at the coin toss. He didn't die, guys. He grabbed his crotch. pic.twitter.com/Jh3sZ9KB7b— David Ubben (@davidubben) November 25, 2017
THAT was the dumbest thing in college football, a sport know for dumb things. Baker Mayfield is a petulant child, not a fallen hero.
Well, after a quick two play drive engineered by Kyler Murray, Mayfield returned and put up eye-popping numbers (14-17, 281 yards, three TDs) as he led the Sooners to a big halftime lead before they hit cruise control. OU gets to Arlington and the Big 12 Championship with a clear path to the playoffs after yesterday’s chaos, with just TCU standing in the way. Mayfield also all but locked up the Heisman, and should find himself in NYC regardless of what happens Saturday. For WVU, a season that started with such promise ends with a dud on the shoulders of their backup QB, and they will need to regroup on both sides of the ball heading into bowl season. Crimson and Cream Machine is lauding the win and the Lincoln Riley’s recruiting, while The Smoking Musket is wondering if there is friction amongst the coaching staff.
Next Up: A Big 12 Championship? A Heisman winner? A playoff berth? It’s all out there for the Sooners.