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Around the Big 12, Week Five: Sneakily Weird

We saw some strange results in the Big 12 this weekend as teams start to stratify themselves in the conference.

Kansas State v Oklahoma State Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

There’s chatter among the high-falutin’ scribes in the media that this past weekend was the lamest weekend of college football in recent memory.

We had some close calls — UNC made the correct call to go for two against Clemson and the wrong call to not convert that two-point conversion, Arkansas nearly beat Texas A&M in JerryWorld, etc. But nationally there weren’t many upsets, and most of the ranked teams cruised to wins.

That wasn’t necessarily the case in the Big 12. It’s not going to earn any headlines (except for the one on the top of this page), but this past weekend in the Big 12 was suitably weird for the average college football fan who enjoys the kind of abstract football this conference likes to use.

You already know the TCU-Kansas score, I’m assuming. Let’s get to the other games. (Texas and West Virginia had byes, and will play each other next week.)

Oklahoma (4-0) 55, Texas Tech (2-2) 16: Best to just go ahead and rip this band-aid off early. On Friday I was talking to a guy who had played football at Tech under Spike Dykes in the 1990s, and while he expressed some hope for the Matt Wells era with the Red Raiders, I’ve never seen a man more confident his team was about to lose a game by 40 points than he was.

Turns out he was right. Jalen Hurts threw an interception, which was a nice way of reminding us that he’s still flesh and bleeds the same blood as you and me, but he also had 415 yards on 17 completions, which is an average of 24.4 yards per completion. That is very much unlike you and me, unless you are Jalen Hurts and you are reading this right now.

Oklahoma receivers were running right past Texas Tech defenders all game. Look at this clip and try to fathom how CeeDee Lamb got out of this jam at midfield right after the catch:

Three Texas Tech defenders are surrounding Lamb when he catches the ball, and what does he do to get out of it? He just turns to his right. That’s it. Not a great sign for the Tech defense!

Oklahoma will play Kansas on the road next week. The Red River Shootout with Texas looms large after that. Texas Tech will host Oklahoma State next week.

Oklahoma State (4-1) 26, Kansas State (3-1) 13: This is the exact kind of weirdness I’m talking about. Oklahoma State — a team I thought was on a bye this week until very late last night — won a game with defense, holding the Wildcats to just 244 yards. Kansas State, ranked No. 24 in the nation entering the game, was 1-13 on third down conversions and didn’t score a touchdown until the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma State racked up 526 yards, 373 of which came on the ground. Chuba Hubbard alone had 296 yards on 25 carries, an average of just shy of 12 yards per carry. Imagine how painful that must be for the Kansas State defensive staff, knowing that Hubbard’s going to chug for first down after first down and there’s just not a thing that can be done about it.

The even stranger thing is that Hubbard had only one touchdown, and that came on an 84-yard run. Oklahoma State kicked four field goals, none longer than 29 yards. That red zone offense needs to improve, immediately.

The Cowboys will play Tech on the road next week, while Kansas State hosts Baylor.

Baylor (4-0) 23, Iowa State (2-2) 21: The Bears led this one 20-0 heading into the fourth quarter in their home stadium before Iowa State woke up and decided to play football, mounting a furious comeback that just ran out of gas at the last minute. The Cyclones actually took the lead in the fourth quarter before Baylor kicked a field goal with 21 seconds left to win.

So, what have we learned from this game? Well, for one — Baylor is indeed a good football team. Charlie Brewer didn’t have his most efficient day at quarterback, throwing for 307 yards and three scores on 26 completions but needing 45 attempts to do so. Baylor also tried to establish the run and failed, needing 34 attempts for 104 yards, an average of just over 3 yards per carry. But the Bears are still undefeated and have four extremely winnable games in a row before the game against TCU on Nov. 9.

The other thing we learned is that the hype for Iowa State might have been a bit much. The Cyclones are 2-2 and — with the exception of a 72-20 evisceration of Louisiana-Monroe last week — have looked lethargic offensively. The defense is strong, but is it strong enough to keep up with teams like Oklahoma and Texas, especially if Brock Purdy can’t get the offense rolling? Probably not!

Baylor gets Kansas State Saturday, while Iowa State will welcome TCU into town.