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Around the Big 12, Week 12: Meet You in the Middle

Parity abounds in the Big 12 as we head to the final week of the season.

NCAA Football: West Virginia at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

The Big 12 is engaged in a fierce and fast race to the middle of the standings. Five teams have exactly three wins in the conference; Iowa State lost to TCU and yet still somehow has five wins.

That race only heated up this week, as the results left four teams with five wins on the year. Those four teams are TCU, Baylor, Texas Tech and Kansas State, and two of those teams will have to play each other this week.

It’s going to be fun, and also deeply dumb. But first, let’s see how we got here.

Oklahoma (10-1, 7-1 Big 12) 55, Kansas (3-8, 1-7 Big 12) 40: Buddy, I don’t know either.

The recently fired Mark Stoops clearly wasn’t the only problem with this Oklahoma defense. The Jayhawks put up their second-highest point total of the season in this game, and Kansas’ first highest point total came against Rutgers, so that really doesn’t count. The Sooners were saved by the grace of Kyler Murray, who scored two touchdowns passing and three more with his legs as he attempts to catch Tua Tagovailoa in the Heisman race.

Also — Kansas hired Les Miles Sunday! Good for Les. I have no faith whatsoever that this is going to work, but it’s definitely going to be entertaining, and when it comes to Kansas football, that’s all you want.

Oklahoma State (6-5, 3-5 Big 12) 45, West Virginia (8-2, 6-2 Big 12) 41: Say goodbye to the Mountaineers’ College Football Playoff hopes. Dana Holgorsen decided to play freeform jazz with clock management late in the fourth quarter and it somehow didn’t work out. Mike Gundy won the “Battle of Coaches Who Can Get Away With Doing Weird Things Because They Have Funny Hair,” and now the Cowboys are bowl eligible.

That might bode well for TCU, which plays Oklahoma State in the final game of the season Saturday. The Cowboys might be a little less motivated to win now that they’ve already secured a bowl bid. Or not. I’m not a psychologist.

Texas (8-3, 6-2 Big 12) 24, Iowa State (6-4, 5-3 Big 12) 10: In the only ranked-vs-ranked matchup in the conference this week, Texas easily put away the Cyclones and moved to third place in the Big 12.

The story of this game was the injury to Texas starter Sam Ehlinger, who left the game in the second quarter with a shoulder injury. Shane Buechele came in relief and went 10-10 passing for 89 yards, which is nothing spectacular but definitely not the disaster it could’ve been.

Pour one out for the Cyclones, who are a legitimately good football team this season, even if their record doesn’t show it. They just have to hope Matt Campbell sticks around this offseason and doesn’t take the Ohio State job if it opens.

Good luck with that!

Kansas State (5-6, 3-5 Big 12) 21, Texas Tech (5-6, 3-5 Big 12) 6: Neither of these teams knows what it wants to be, or what it is currently. If that seems like a problem with one week left in the season, well, you’re right.

Alec Bowman’s absence with an injury badly hurt the Red Raiders. Jett Duffey finished with a QBR of 17.7, which is somewhere between “bad” and “Nathan Peterman” on the scale.

This sets up the Baylor-Texas Tech game — also known as the BU-TT game, if you will, and I most certainly will — as a battle for bowl eligibility. The amount of self-loathing in that game will be staggering. It’s a must watch.