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Around the Big 12, Week Seven: Through the Fire and the Ames

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The Big 12’s College Football Playoff hopes hit a severe snag Saturday in Ames, Iowa.

NCAA Football: West Virginia at Iowa State Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

TCU and Texas Tech played Thursday. You all know how that game went. But with the Horned Frogs and Red Raiders getting business done early, we had an opportunity to take in the rest of the Big 12 this week.

First, the good news — nobody had to watch Kansas play football Saturday, because the Jayhawks were on a bye week. We should all repair to our nearest churches, mosques, synagogues and other religious service buildings to give thanks and praise.

Next, the bad news. The bad news is everything else.

Iowa State (3-3, 2-2 Big 12) 30, No. 6 West Virginia (5-1, 3-1 Big 12) 14: We’re going to play a game I just made up, called “Heisman Candidate or Third-String Iowa State Quarterback?” The rules are very simple: I’m going to give you two stat lines, and you guess which one belongs to West Virginia’s Heisman candidate quarterback Will Grier and which one belongs to third-string Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy.

Ready...go!

Quarterback A: 18/25, 254 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT; 39 yards rushing

Quarterback B: 11/15, 100 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; -33 yards rushing

Pencils down, please. Purdy is Quarterback A. Grier is Quarterback B.

Ames, Iowa, is a very strange place. And the Cyclones might have just killed the Big 12’s best chance at a College Football Playoff appearance. Entering this game, West Virginia was the lone team in the nation that had not trailed for a single second this season. The Mountaineers were the real deal, until they weren’t. Now the conference’s best CFP hopes may lie with, sigh....

No. 9 Texas (6-1, 4-0 Big 12) 23, Baylor (4-3, 2-2 Big 12) 17: Texas scored 20 points in the second quarter and scored 0 points in the second half. Quarterback Sam Ehlinger went out with a hand injury early in the game, forcing backup Shane Buechele to play the rest of the contest for the Longhorns. Buechele was fine, going 20-34 passing for 184 yards, one touchdown and one pick.

We probably shouldn’t read too much into the second-half struggles for Texas with Ehlinger out. The Longhorns showed they can put up points with last week’s win against Oklahoma.

Baylor had less than 100 yards rushing, which is less than ideal. Charlie Brewer went 20-39 through the air for 240 yards. Despite the loss, the Bears have more wins than TCU so far this season, and I need to go lie down.

Kansas State (3-4, 1-3 Big 12) 31, Oklahoma State (4-3, 1-3 Big 12) 12: Quick, someone go poke Oklahoma State with a stick and see if the Cowboys are okay.

If this game looks deeply stupid on the surface, I can assure you it remains that way even with further investigation. Kansas State completed 11 passes on the day and still won, largely because Alex Barnes ran 34 times for 181 yards and four touchdowns. Oklahoma State’s lone score came on a Taylor Cornelius run, for heaven’s sake — Cornelius threw two picks and finished with a QBR of 40.7, which, for the uninitiated, is not good.

TCU will need to beat both of these teams to become bowl eligible, in all likelihood. The Frogs should study the game film and learn how Kansas State made Oklahoma State’s offense look like, uh, well, Kansas State’s offense through the first six weeks of the season.