WVU And The Big 12: Week 13
It comes down to this, exactly what the schedule-makers had in mind when they set up this Big 12 schedule.
West Virginia hosting Oklahoma with perhaps the regular season title on the line and almost surely a spot in the conference’s championship game at stake, perhaps even a game played for “fun” between the two teams, should they be set up to face each other in a rematch.
This one will get you to digest your Thanksgiving Day turkey for the day before, being a prime-time, ESPN Friday game probably will have not only Big 12 implications, but national implications as well.
It could also carry a lot of Heisman Trophy implications with it, as WVU quarterback Will Grier could well be gunning for college football’s top award if he has managed to put together the type of season that is expected of him.
With Oklahoma having huge hopes for young quarterback Kyler Murray, who played against WVU last year enough to get a taste of this rivalry, completing both his passes, one for a touchdown, this is shaping up as knife fight with guns.
The Big 12 has a couple of other games that will carry post-season implications, if not championship game implications, with Oklahoma State traveling to TCU for what every year promises to be special and with Kansas State playing at Iowa State.
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Friday, Nov. 23
Oklahoma at WVU, 8 p.m., ESPN
If we’ve been right as we went through this entire season, WVU will go into this game unbeaten and Oklahoma with one defeat, putting virtually the entire season at stake for the Sooners and certainly being among the most meaningful games WVU has ever played.
Not that that’s unusual for WVU, which has only beaten Oklahoma twice in history, each time as significant a game as any it ever played.
The first was in 1982 when Don Nehlen, starting his third year as WVU coach and looking to establish his program, traveled to Norman, Oklahoma, where four years earlier the Mountaineers were thumped, 52-10, to face the No. 9 Sooners.
WVU fell behind 14-0 before getting untracked in the second quarter and stunned the Sooners, 41-27.
The only other WVU victory in the 10-game series was in the 2008 Fiesta Bowl, coming after the devastating upset lost to Pitt that ruined the Mountaineers run toward a national championship and sent Rich Rodriguez packing to Michigan.
This was the famous game in which interim coach Bill Stewart made his “Leave No Doubt” speech that resulted in a stunning 48-28 victory over the Sooners even though Steve Slaton was injured early in the game.
That was WVU’s last win over Oklahoma, the only conference team the Mountaineers have not beaten since joining the Big 12. The Sooners hold a 270-172 scoring edge in the six games and have scored 44 or more in five of them.
The last two games have been Oklahoma routs, 59-31 and 56-28.
But WVU played last year without Grier, who had broken his hand against Texas, and is, without admitting it to themselves, pointing toward this game all year.
It’s a chippy rivalry with the two sides not liking each other — WVU’s Dana Holgorsen was an assistant at Oklahoma State for a year — and that only adds to the intrigue.
Prediction: Oklahoma 49, West Virginia 46
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Non-WVU Big 12 Game of the Week
Saturday, Nov. 24
Oklahoma State at TCU, Time, TV TBA
This is series that is intense with Oklahoma State leading, 15-11-2.
How intense is it? For a long time the two schools disagreed on the outcome of the 1924 game, OSU giving itself a 10-0 victory, TCU claiming a 17-10. Research in newspapers showed TCU was right.
OSU comes to Fort Worth looking to avenge a difficult loss to swallow last year, 44-31, when TCU ran the ball down the Cowboys’ throats and controlled the game by running 85 plays.
Not even Mason Rudolph’s passing game could salvage the game, and this year Oklahoma State will probably be the underdog going in.
Prediction: TCU 35, Oklahoma State 24
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Friday, Nov. 23 — Texas at Kansas, Noon, FS1.
Finally, it’s over for Kansas. Enough said.
Prediction: Texas 35, Kansas 3
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Saturday, Nov. 24 — Kansas State at Iowa State, Time, TV TBA.
The man who saved Kansas State football, the veteran Bill Snyder, vs. the man who is in the process of saving Iowa State football, Matt Campbell. A Hall of Fame coach against one whose career start seems to be pointing him in that direction.
This should be an old-fashioned football game, two teams who try not to make mistakes, who like to play ball control football and who rely on defense going at it with a bowl bid at stake.
It figures to be hard-fought, close and …
Prediction: Iowa State 24, Kansas State 17
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Saturday, Nov. 24 — Baylor at Texas Tech. Time, TV TBA.
This has been a strange series, one of the closest – yet often one-sided – series in football. The two teams first met in 1929 and have played every year since 1956.
Nothing has been decided, Texas Tech leading 38-37-1.
But how they got to this point is most interesting, for from 1947 to 1964 Baylor won 14 of 15 games played. Then from 1996 to 2010, Texas Tech won 15 straight.
Baylor followed that up winning five in a row and now Texas Tech has won two straight to take the lead in the series.
Will the streak continue?
Prediction: Baylor 42, Texas Tech 39