Big 12 Football Notes and Picks: Week Eleven
Head-to-head battles for position in the upper half of the league standings are on tap this week, while a pair of lower-division teams have winnable games to help in their drive for bowl eligibility.
Oklahoma knocked Oklahoma State out of a first-place tie in the league, and now has the chance to do the same to TCU. A win would give OU an inside track to a spot in the league championship game, as it has only Kansas and West Virginia remaining on its schedule. The Horned Frogs play the Sooners tough, though: since they joined the league in 2012, all five contests between the two have been decided by a touchdown or less. The winner will have a good shot at moving up in the mess that is the CFP selection process.
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Official Big 12 passing statistics don’t list an Iowa State, Texas or Kansas State quarterback. While all three schools have played multiple QBs this year, this can’t be a case of not reaching a minimum number of passing attempts. The list does include TCU wide receiver Kavontae Turpin (two attempts) and Oklahoma running back Trey Sermon (one).
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Kansas State is one win away from joining the bowl eligible group of Iowa State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU and West Virginia. Texas and Texas Tech are two wins out, and one of them is guaranteed one additional victory, as they face each other on Nov. 24. Each has a good chance for a win this week, as they face Kansas and Baylor, respectively.
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Four teams – West Virginia, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Kansas State – are giving up an identical 7.5 yards per pass attempt. Another, Texas, is yielding 7.6.
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There have been 421 punts in the Big 12 this year. Only 128 have been returned, and only 26 of those non-runbacks have been due to touchbacks. Punt hang time, placement and coverage have all contributed to the decreasing number of kicks available for return.
Oklahoma State (7-2 / 4-2) at Iowa State (6-3 / 4-2) Sat Nov 11 12:00 PM* ABC\ESPN2
Both teams are coming off losses. Both need a win to stay one game behind the winner of TCU – Oklahoma. Can the Cyclones shut down the Cowboy offense as it did that of TCU? The feeling here is no, or at least not enough to get a win. While ISU is very good on that side of the ball, it probably won’t hold OSU to fewer than 24-27 points, and that’s more than its offense can be expected to generate, even against a Cowboy defense that is less than stellar.
Texas Tech (4-5 / 1-5) at Baylor (1-8 / 1-5) Sat Nov 11 12:00 PM FSN</p
The Red Raiders are in near free-fall, having lost four in a row after a 4-1 start. Some of that is due to the way the schedule has broken down, but it also points out that the rebuild job in Lubbock has quite a ways to go. This game, played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, won’t draw a lot of eyes, but those that do watch will see Tech get its fifth win and set up a chance for a bowl bid.
West Virginia (6-3 / 4-2) at Kansas State (5-4 / 3-3) Sat Nov 11 12:00 PM ESPN2
Nothing logical dictates a WVU win in this game. The Mountaineers have been inconsistent and undisciplined, standing ninth in the league in penalties. That’s the opposite of the Wildcats, but K-State has issues of its own, especially at quarterback. West Virginia gets its first-ever win in Manhattan in another rugged, relatively low-scoring affair.
Kansas (1-8/ 0-6) at Texas (4-5/ 3-3) at Sat Nov 11 6:00 PM Jayhawk\Longhorn
Texas also moves to within one win of bowl eligibility with a home victory over hapless Kansas, which has to finish out the season against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Yikes.
TCU (8-1 / 5-1) at Oklahoma (8-1 / 5-1) Sat Nov 11 8:00 PM FOX
If this game were in Fort Worth, a Horned Frog pick would be on the menu. Small items like the home field advantage, though, could be magnified in this game, which expects to mirror the previous five in the series. If it comes down to quarterbacks, as the college game often does, Baker Mayfield will make a couple more plays than Kenny Hill to put the Sooners alone atop the league.
* All Times Eastern