Big 12 Football Notes and Picks: 2019 Week Eleven
Four games are on the league schedule this week, with Oklahoma getting a night game kick after weeks of complaints about starting in the 11:00 a.m. central time slot.
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Kansas State has yet to yield a fourth down conversion this year. Wildcat opponents have gone for a new set of downs eight times this season, and have come up empty on every one.
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With wins last Saturday, K-State and Oklahoma State joined Baylor and Oklahoma as bowl eligible. Iowa State and Texas are one win away from the six-win mark.
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West Virginia’s 173 points scored this year are 59 fewer than the next lowest league total (Kansas, 232). Three league teams have scored more points in five conference games than WVU has scored in its eight total contests.
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While red zone efficiency stats measure the total number of scores each team eventually earns when snapping the ball from inside the 20-yard line, it’s the number of touchdowns that are really the metric to watch, and which is the most productive measure. Texas leads the league in that stat, scoring touchdowns on 79% of such possessions (26-33).
Baylor (8-0/5-0) at TCU (4-4/2-3)
Sat Nov 9 12:00 PM* FS1
Baylor just keeps winning. It may not be artistic, but we shouldn’t be critiquing paintings in the Louvre here, even though that’s what some members of the College Football Playoff selection committee are doing. Stringing together just enough plays to win is akin to playing with fire, but the Bears are getting it done. At some point that might collapse, and lead to an unexpected loss, but it won’t happen this week. TCU has quarterback injury issues, and while the Frog defense is good, they don’t figure to be able to score enough points to get the home win.
Texas Tech (3-5/1-4) at West Virginia (3-5/1-4)
Sat Nov 9 12:00 PM ESPN2
While this game isn’t a bowl elimination contest, it’s the next thing to it. The loser will exit with six defeats on its ledger, and no margin for error in reaching the six wins needed for automatic bowl eligibility. There isn’t much to separate these two teams, but WVU is coming off an encouraging defensive performance. That, plus the return home and the early body clock start time for the Red Raiders, gives the Mountaineers the narrowest of selections.
Kansas State (6-2/3-2) at Texas (5-3/3-2)
Sat Nov 9 3:30 PM ESPN
K-State might have had the most stable path in the coaching transitions of the four league teams who welcomed new head men this year. While Chris Klieman’s system isn’t a total copy of that employed by retired legend Bill Snyder, it does have a number of similarities, including an emphasis on ball control with the running game that includes heavy doses of quarterback carries, along with a solid defense that avoids giving up big plays. Everything heading into the game trends toward the Wildcats, which, contrarily, is why the pick goes to the homestanding Longhorns. The road has not been kind to Big 12 teams this season (visitors are 9-16 in conference match-ups), and the even nature of this one makes the home field an even more important factor.
Iowa State (5-3/3-2) at Oklahoma (7-1/4-1)
Sat Nov 9 8:00 PM FOX
The Cyclones get their chance to pull into a tie for second place in the league as they visit Norman. OU’s stadium isn’t a difficult road venue to navigate in terms of fan environment or noise, but it’s the on-field talent of the Sooners that makes it hard to get wins (with dodging the occasional Sooner Schooner rollover thrown in for good measure). ISU has some of the toughness and run the ball mentality to try to control the game the way K-State did, but not quite enough talent on offense to pull it off. Oklahoma gets the call in the league’s feature game of the week.
* All game times Eastern