Welcome to BCS Armageddon, where Iowa State upends previously #2 Oklahoma State in double overtime and defensively-challenged Baylor survives Oklahoma behind a masterful performance by Robert Griffin. Add to this the fact that other contenders have dropped around the country, and we have a real mess on our hands that makes the likelihood of a SEC rematch pretty strong. Barf.
The Big 12 has proven to be pretty unpredictable this season other than the fact that Kansas is terrible, but I'm sure no one was thinking Iowa State or Baylor had much of a chance this past week. The league is competitive and the last two weeks may still have some surprises for us, so while the Big 12 will not be sending someone to the national championship game, there is still a lot of good football to be played.
Quarterback play continues to define the conference; teams are rising and falling game to game based on how their quarterback (and the opposing quarterback) plays. Even K-State, philosophically different than much of the conference, relies on the toughness and playmaking of Collin Klein. It makes the league pretty interesting to watch for outsiders, although if you're a Longhorn fan, it's a fact that makes it somewhat terrifying as we watch our own QBs, unfortunately. With that in mind, I'm going to claim this: Robert Griffin is not only the best quarterback in the conference, I think he might be the best player in college football. We'll turn to his great performance to start things off.
Game of the Week:
LAST WEEK: How many different ways can you spell "Wow"? RGIII is everything they say and more. He put his team on his back and ... prevailed. There is a lot of Vince Young in that young man and then some. Quite a talent and quite a show he put on in the come from behind upset victory over Oklahoma a week removed from another come-back against the Kansas Jayhawks. RGIII finished a Heisman defining day with 551 yards combined passing and rushing including four touchdowns, one of which was a spectacular 69-yard tip drill catch by Tevin Reese and the last of which was a 39-yard strike to wide out Terrence Williams in the corner of the end zone with 0:08 remaining on the clock. I don't know about you, but my text machine blew up on the delirious finish.
Caption: Robert Griffin III earned Yahoo/Rivals Offensive Player of the Week and Walter Camp Offensive Player of the Week awards in his effort against Oklahoma.
THIS WEEK: The Bears travel to Arlington against Texas Tech at Cowboys Stadium and attempt to stop the Red Raiders 12-year post season streak.
SEASON OUTLOOK: Regarding that cherry on top I mentioned last week? Um, yeah. The manner in which they beat OU included both nuts and sprinkles. Now at 7-3, the Bears have a chance to win out and put up double digit wins on the year. You have to go back to 1980 to find double digit wins. If the Bears can finish the regular season with only 3 losses, it just might tip the Heisman scales for Robert Griffin III. - TXStampede
LAST WEEK: Twenty straight wins and a hopeful peek at a championship game came crashing to the ground Saturday night in Floyd Casey stadium against the Baylor Bears losing 45-38. The game came down to who had the ball last as OU gave up the game winning touchdown with 0:08 remaining. ``At the end of the day, they coached better than we did, and they played better than we did,'' Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. The Sooners appeared not to skip a beat only one game after Senior All-American receiver Ryan Broyles was lost for the season. OU gained over 600 yards including an All-American performance by Landry Jones who passed for 447 yards completing 36 of 51. All-in-all, the Sooners played hard enough to win. They just got bested on a star-aligning night on the Brazos.
THIS WEEK: The Sooners are at home shot against Iowa State.
SEASON OUTLOOK: There still is much at stake for the Sooners. Assuming they can get past a gamey Iowa State, OU can wrap up a tie-breaking Big12 conference championship by beating the Cowboys. But the Sooners are banged up with Ronnell Lewis not expected to finish the season. It will take an all-in effort by Sooners the next two weeks in moving past ISU and upend OSU's season and make yet another Tostito's Fiesta Bowl appearance. - TXStampede
LAST WEEK: The Cyclones got BCS chaos weekend off to a great start in stunning Oklahoma State at Jack Trice Stadium on a somber day in which the Cowboys had learned the previous day their women's head basketball coach and assistant had passed away in a plane accident, a tragic affair which led to talk of postponing the game. But the game went on as scheduled and ISU was gracious in hosting a moment of silence which saw the teams come together at mid-field in a prayerful salute.
ISU was rocked from the beginning and appeared overmatched as they trailed the Cowboys 7-24 after the first drive of the 3rd quarter. But one thing about the Cyclones is they play a full game and apparently the Cowboys lost sight of that. ISU came back to tie the score at 24 with 5:30 remaining in the game in which they ultimately prevailed in knocking off #2 ranked OSU in double-overtime 37-31earning the Tostito's Fiesta Bowl National Team of the Week honor.
The star of the show was RS Freshman quarterback Jared Barnett who ran for 87 yards and threw for 376 and 3 touchdowns. The highlight of the game was the double overtime interception of Weeden by Ter'Ran Benton on a tight throw to his star receiver Blackmon and then three straight pounding runs by Jeff Woody on their try notching the game winning touchdown.
THIS WEEK: The Cyclones travel to Norman in a "poor me" matchup with the Sooners who will be looking to bounce back in a big way after losing last week.
SEASON OUTLOOK: When I wrote last week, "The Cyclones end the season facing the top three teams in the conference. A win over one of them would be quite an accomplishment," I was not optimistic a W was possible. But Ames is a tough environment and ISU gives as good as it gets on their home field. But the drama was rewarded as ISU became bowl eligible. This makes 8 of 10 teams now bowl eligible. As it stands, they would need to win at least one of these games to gain bowl eligibility. A very tall order from this fan's perspective. - TXStampede
LAST WEEK: The Jayhawks gave up five straight touchdowns to the Aggies to start the game, and a total of 6 TD's out of 7 drive attempts in the first half at Kyle Field losing 61-7. A&M added another 17 straight points before letting off the gas late in the 4th quarter and giving up the lone KU touchdown. Of all the losses Coach Gil's troops have endured this season, this one had to be one of the more embarrassing.
THIS WEEK: Kansas last game of the season is against arch-rival Missouri in Lawrence.
SEASON OUTLOOK: With the 2011 season all but in the books, Kansas will need to take a long, hard look in the mirror during the offseason. It is yet to see if Turner Gil can woo the right kind of speed and talent. But I'm not betting against him. - TXStampede
#11 Kansas State
LAST WEEK: Kansas State averaged a paltry 2.16 yards per play and gained a total of 121 yards, eating sacks and TFLs all game. However, one thing they didn't do was turn the ball over, and with the Texas offense stumbling all over itself, that was enough for the win. Collin Klein took a heck of a beating but he made enough plays when they had their opportunities to score, even when those opportunities were given by bogus penalties. Not that I'm bitter or anything.
THIS WEEK: Off before closing the season against Iowa State.
SEASON OUTLOOK: Kansas State is limited in many ways, but they continue to be well-coached and rarely kill themselves with their own errors. Because of the two team per conference limit for the BCS, they won't be eligible for an at-large bid (not that Kansas State would be an attractive option anyway), but they'll find themselves in a pretty good bowl to end the year. - TheElusiveShadow
LAST WEEK: Texas Tech actually came out to play against Missouri, but the Tigers were able to score 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to pull out the win 31-27. Defensively, they gave up a lot of yards but held Doege to only 5.9 yards per attempt, and they piled up over 300 yards rushing on 6.5 yards per rush to control the contest. It was a good win without head coach Gary Pinkel, who was serving a suspension for driving under the influence.
THIS WEEK: Missouri finally gets into the fun of playing Kansas. The only thing they have to watch out for is the possibility that the Jayhawks might play well above their heads in a rivalry matchup, but otherwise, the Tiger offense should have no problem scoring against Kansas' D.
SEASON OUTLOOK: Missouri was in danger at some point in the season of not being bowl eligible, but strong wins against A&M, Tech, and Texas have put them at 6-5, and seven wins is almost certain now with only Kansas ahead. - TheElusiveShadow
#4 Oklahoma State
LAST WEEK: I really don't know how to rationally explain this. Granted, I am sure they were shaken by the tragedy that hit their women's basketball program and they were probably looking ahead to Oklahoma, but still, this is one of the most shocking upsets in the history of the Big 12. Weeden threw three costly interceptions, none more so than the one in the second overtime, and the Cowboy defense, so good at bending but not breaking, finally broke apart. The Cowboys couldn't run the ball well and they had five total turnovers. Even then, they had a chance to win at the end of regulation but their kicker missed the go ahead FG. Just a catastrophic disaster for a team that had the inside track to the BCS title game.
THIS WEEK: Off. Bedlam, which should have been virtually a semifinal game for the Pokes, will come the following week.
SEASON OUTLOOK: I can't overstate how much of a failure that loss to ISU is. Yes, the Big 12 title is still theirs to lose and they have a great chance at a Big 12 title game, but to be that close to the national championship game and to lose it to Iowa State who is starting a relatively new QB has to be painful for both the fans and the players. With Oklahoma dropping to Baylor, that last game got a lot less interesting even though it will still decide the conference championship. There may be an outside shot for OSU to still find its way to the title game if enough breaks go their way, but voters will have a hard time forgiving such a late loss against an overmatched opponent. - TheElusiveShadow
LAST WEEK: Same old stuff. The defense was fantastic and destroyed the majority of what K-State tried to do, and it has quickly proven to be the best defensive unit in the conference. The offense, however, sputtered and died behind an inept QB performance. I like David Ash, but he was a disaster last Saturday, and while Case McCoy provided a brief spark, he also had his own head-scratching plays that would make anyone nervous about giving him all the snaps. The Horns were once again the victims of some bad officiating, but they still had plenty of chances to win and the offense just couldn't deliver.
To be fair to Ash, as I stated last week, K-State has a habit of making our young quarterbacks look terrible, so he isn't the first one.
THIS WEEK: Texas travels to Kyle Field to take on an Aggie team that will be desperate to salvage some pride from a very disappointing season. The Longhorns absolutely need their playmakers to be as healthy as possible to have a chance, or otherwise even this bad Aggie defense will have little trouble stopping an offense that can't get out of its own way. Defensively, as GoBR alluded to, it probably won't be enough to hold the Aggies below their average offensive output, which this unit is more than capable of doing; they will probably need to make big plays to either score themselves or set up the offense for easy scores. With Cyrus Gray limited with injuries and Tannehill being prone to throwing picks in big games, the opportunities may be there for the defense to take control.
A shootout or trying to play from far behind will get Texas into a heap of trouble. Hopefully, the offense doesn't self-destruct, but the quarterback position is the only one that hasn't really progressed as we would have liked this season (maybe wide receivers too). Anything like the performances against Mizzou or K-State will earn this team another loss.
SEASON OUTLOOK: Eighteen points in the last two games, two of which came from a safety, won't make any fanbase very happy. I sympathize with Bryan Harsin because I have little doubt that we win the last two games if Fozzy, Bergeron, Brown, and Shipley were all healthy, in which case the fans are singing a different tune, but those are the breaks sometimes in football. Harsin needs to adjust to the fact that we're hurting and that our quarterbacks are not ready to throw us to victory. Eight regular season wins is still within reach, but the offense needs to pick itself up and actually help out a defensive unit that is playing lights out. - TheElusiveShadow
LAST WEEK: They played Kansas and it showed. The Aggies racked up 61 points before the fourth quarter and ceded a mercy touchdown to the Jayhawks in the fourth.
THIS WEEK: The Aggies will face the Longhorns for the last time on Thanksgiving, at least for the foreseeable future. Both teams are hurting with injuries on their offenses, but the Aggies have more weapons to make up for it while Texas is scrambling to get their playmakers healthy and to replace Fozzy Whittaker's production. The clear edge goes to Texas on defense, but the fact that the Aggies have Ryan Tannehill while the Horns are fielding two struggling quarterbacks is a huge advantage for A&M going into this game. Also, Kyle Field will most likely be rocking with emotion as the Aggies will be desperate to salvage their hugely disappointing season with a big win over Texas.
Cyrus Gray will play but has a shoulder injury, so that is worth keeping track of as the game progresses.
SEASON OUTLOOK: The Aggies are bowl eligible, but that is far from where they wanted to be at this point in the season. A win over Texas as they depart to the SEC will make some Aggie fans sleep better, but regardless of what happens this Thursday, A&M did not remotely meet expectations this year. - TheElusiveShadow
LAST WEEK: Faurot Field notched three more leg injury casualties and the Red Raiders notched another loss by a final margin of 27-31. This one was to a Missouri team also playing without star running back Henry Josey lost to a debilitating knee injury on the same field. Tech fought hard until the final whistle and had a chance to win the game deep inside the Tiger red zone before Doege threw an interception to seal Tech's fate.
THIS WEEK: The Red Raiders travel to Arlington facing off against the Baylor Bears. Both schools have potent offensive attacks and should be another Big12 shootout.
SEASON OUTLOOK: The Red Raiders bring a 12 year post season streak into their last game and need a victory over Baylor to make it 13. A win would likely stem the call for Tuberville's tenure to come to an end. A loss will mean the internet will blow up in West Texas. - TXStampede
Players of the Week (courtesy of big12sports.com)
Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week
Robert Griffin III, Baylor, QB, Jr, Copperas Cove, Texas
Robert Griffin III completed 21-of-34 passes for a school-record 479 yards and four touchdowns in No. 22 Baylor's 45-38 win over No. 5 Oklahoma. It was the Bears' first victory over a top-5 opponent since 1985. Griffin III also rushed 18 times for a team-high 72 yards. He broke his own school record with 551 yards of total offense - 92 yards more than his previous record. The junior guided Baylor on an 80-yard drive in 43 seconds to break a 38-38 tie. His 34-yard TD pass with eight seconds remaining clinched the win. On that final drive, RG3 rushed twice for 30 yards and completed both of his pass attempts for 46 yards. He completed passes on the night of 22, 23, 34, 50, 55, 69 and 87 yards. Baylor improved to 6-0 in Waco this season, with Griffin III passing for 21 touchdowns and 0 interceptions on his home field.
Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week
A.J. Klein, Iowa State, LB, Jr, Kimberly, Wis.
A.J. Klein made a season-high 14 tackles, forced a fumble and had a quarterback hurry that led to an interception in Iowa State's 37-31 double overtime thriller over No. 2 Oklahoma State. It was ISU's first win in school history over a team ranked sixth or higher in the Associated Press Poll. The junior linebacker also broke up a pass and had a tackle for loss as the Cyclone defense forced five turnovers and held OSU to 60 yards rushing on 18 attempts.
Upcoming Game of the Week: Texas at Texas A&M (Thursday, 7:00 p.m. ESPN)
Big 12 Ranking
6. Texas A&M
8. Iowa State
9. Texas Tech