Big 12 Football Notes and Picks: Week Ten
Iowa State is the first team in six years to defeat two top five teams in the same calendar month during the regular season. The Cyclones knocked off Oklahoma and TCU in October to vault into a first place tie in the Big 12 with the Sooners, Horned Frogs and Oklahoma State. The two victories tripled ISU’s all-time win total against top five teams.
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With four games remaining for all league schools, bowl eligibility is becoming a focus. The four teams tied atop the league standings are already in, and West Virginia is one victory away. Texas, Kansas State and Texas Tech each need two wins to get to the postseason, and although it would require some convoluted results, the Big 12 might have eight teams qualify for a bowl.
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Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield leads all Big 12 signal callers with 190 rushing yards. That speaks not only to the way OU has used him on a handful of designe runs, but also to his scrambling ability on those few occasions when he gets pressured. TCU’s Kenny Hill (111) and West Virginia’s Will Grier (98) have also been good in the latter category. On a side note, it’s time for college stats to separate sacks from quarterback rushing totals.
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Only two top five teams have lost at home this year, and Big 12 schools own both victories. ISU’s win over Oklahoma and the Sooners’ pasting of Ohio State are the only two such outcomes so far. Of course, that doesn’t help Oklahoma’s case in the CFP race, but if the Sooners win out, it will be very difficult to leave them out of the top four. The same should be true of Oklahoma State and TCU. Iowa State’s two losses probably put it too far back, unless there is absolute chaos with about ten teams above it in the current rankings.
Baylor (0-8 / 0-5) at Kansas (1-7/ 0-5) Sat Nov 4 12:00 PM* FS1
Yikes. But this one may be worth watching just to see which team is still playing hard — or if the number of people on the field outnumber the total in the stands. Baylor gets one more selection from here to get its first win. If this doesn’t materialize, though, it won’t get any further such consideration this season.
Kansas State (4-4 / 2-3) at Texas Tech (4-4 / 1-4) Sat Nov 4 12:00 PM FS1
A head to head battle to stay above the .500 mark and take an important step toward bowl eligibility. The Red Raiders have appeared to be collapsing since the West Virginia loss, which may have scarred the psyche. But in this up-and-down Big 12 season, it’s time for another swing. Tech flings the tortillas and gets a win in Lubbock
Iowa State (6-2 / 4-1) at West Virginia (5-3 / 3-2) Sat Nov 4 3:30 PM ESPN2
All, and we do mean all, signs point to Iowa State in this game. The Cyclones have earned it. So is there a pattern of reversal to be followed, as in the game above? Until the Mountaineers show that its offense can move the ball on more than one drive out of four, it’s tough to see. The Cyclones get the narrow nod.
Oklahoma (7-1 / 4-1) at Oklahoma State (7-1 / 4-1) Sat Nov 4 4:00 PM FS1
Bedlam for sure in this one. Oklahoma State is playing better than OU right now, but that sort of thing goes out the window in the recent history of this series. The Cowboys are positioned to take advantage of a decent, but not great, Sooner defense, and OSU is better in the reverse match-up. The return game could be the difference, and that nod goes to the home team too. Orange trumps Crimson and keeps the Cowboys tied atop the league standings.
Texas (4-4/ 3-2) at TCU (7-1 / 4-1) Sat Nov 4 7:15 PM ESPN
Texas is playing pretty well, if not at the level predicted by many who give it three wins a year because, well, it’s Texas. TCU’s loss to Iowa State wasn’t a fluke, but the Horned Frogs came up empty on a couple of red zone trips, and that was the difference in the game. The Longhorn defense is good, but it would have to hold TCU to another drastically low point total to get the win, and that’s not going to happen on the road. The logjam continues atop the league standings.
* All Times Eastern