Knocking on the Door
Week Twelve: Big 12 Power Ranking
Louisville’s loss and the fact that two Big Ten teams are in the current top four has made the unthinkable happen, the Big 12 has a legitimate chance to sneak in the back door to the playoffs this year. I’ll review potential scenarios in Tuesday’s article, but for the Big 12 it comes down to next weekend, just like everyone wants.
Until then, here is where everyone sits (rankings are last week’s College Football Playoff Rankings):
#9 Oklahoma –
Perine and Mixon did what they couldn’t do in the beginning of the year, dominate the game on the ground. The pair combined for 307 yards of rushing and three touchdowns against the #19 defense in the nation, who was playing at home. It helped them control the game too, because the Sooner’s offense was on the field for two thirds of the game, which wore the West Virginia defense down. The win earned them a week off before hosting the Cowboys to finish the regular season.
Next Game: Bye
#11 Oklahoma State –
The Cowboys are really forcing the Playoff Committee to weigh in on the Central Michigan loss, which many view as a mistake that never should have been allowed. If the Cowboys rise steadily this week, after a complete dismantling of TCU on the road, then the Committee agrees it was an official error. If the Cowboys are not in the Top Ten this week, then it is still an anchor around their necks. Either way, Bedlam remains to put one last big ticket win on their resume
Next Game: Bye
#14 West Virginia –
Skylar Howard had made great strides this year over last, increasing his completion percentage from around 60% last year to nearly 75% this year. However, he had a 37.4 quarterback rating against Oklahoma, finishing with a 44% completion average. That isn’t enough to get it done against bad teams, let alone good ones. A silver lining showed up in the loss, however, as Justin Crawford exploded for 331 yards of rushing and a 13.8 yards per rush. That was better than Prine and Mixon, combined. While it wasn’t enough this week, it is going to cause someone fits in the post season.
Next Game: @ Iowa State
Kansas State –
The Wildcats are never the team you want to meet when your locker room is a mess. They are never too high or too low and always seem to be the most disciplined team on the field. This held true this weekend in Waco when Kansas State completely destroyed the Bears in the second half, outscoring them by 28 points. Granted Baylor’s quarterback, Zach Smith, was a backup to Russel who broke his leg, but the Wildcats still held him to a 35.2 quarterback ranking, including nabbing three interceptions. The win not only made them post season eligible, but it also gave them a winning record in conference. Next week should cement both.
Next Game: Kansas
I’m not sure any team in the nation, let alone the Big 12, needs some scorched earth than the Bears. First the Title IX/rape fiasco rightfully upended the program, but then the remaining coaches decided to defend Briles via press release, and Seth Russel broke his leg. With how many top recruits already left the program, the Bears are going to need to bring someone in who can not only completely change the image of the team, but also recruit top end talent. Otherwise the future will be full of more seasons like this one than the recent 10-2 glory days.
Next Game: Texas Tech
The Frogs have a state of the art, updated stadium, but for some reason they just hate playing there. Of their five losses this year, four of them have come at home. Hopefully TCU can shed this Jekyll and Hyde syndrome they have gone on over the off season, because going from hanging 62 on Baylor while on the road to only scoring six at home is extremely difficult to explain.
Next Game: @ Texas
It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Charlie Strong isn’t out at Texas before this article even gets published, but it is far more likely they will let him play out the final game of the year against TCU while his office is being packed for him. While some leeway should be given for cleaning house on a program with an entitlement problem, going 16-20 in three years is never going to be considered a success, especially not when the Longhorns are the fifth or sixth best team in the state.
Next Game: TCU
Iowa State –
As I mentioned on twitter this weekend, I’m not sure what surprised me the most this weekend; that Iowa State set a record for points in a Big 12 game with a quarter to play against Texas Tech, or that they held Tech, the number one rated passing offense in the nation, to ten points. The score was 45-3, at half! Jacob Park completed 77% of his passes for 285 yards, scored two touchdowns, and had a 98.6 quarterback rating. Lanning, however ran for 171 yards and five touchdowns. Tech didn’t have an answer for either in route to giving up over 600 yards of offense. The state of the game, however, may be that Iowa State held Mahomes to a 6.1 passing yards per attempt and a 40.8 quarterback ranking. If not that one, then perhaps that the Cyclone defense held Tech to a 28.5% success ratio on third down. Next week should be much tougher.
Next Game: West Virginia
Texas Tech –
It seems the Red Raiders have given up on this season. Leading into this weekend they averaged 43.4 points per game, 41.0 while on the road. This is similar to last year’s numbers as well. Hell, it’s similar to their numbers over the past decade or more. Only scoring ten points against an Iowa State team who had allowed 32.4 points per game this season is unfathomable. Allowing them to hang 66 on you is unconscionable. Tech needs a new philosophy. All pass and no defense is not the advantage it once was.
Next Game: Baylor
I’d been mentioning all year that Kansas and Iowa State were going to knock someone off eventually, that each was steadily improving. For Kansas that improvement has come on the defensive end of the ball and did that play out this weekend. The Jayhawks held Texas to 165 yards of passing, a 17.6% success ratio on third down, and caused six turnovers, one of which being an interception in overtime to seal the game. Not only was this the first time Kansas has beat Texas since 1938, but it also handed Texas its biggest Big 12 upset against the spread. Phenomenal win for the program that will now be known as the one that killed Charlie Weis and Charlie Strong. Be wary of Lawrence if you’re a Chuck.
Next Game: @ Kansas State
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