In a league of offenses that never ceases to entertain, there are no less than six teams currently in the top 25 of BCS standings. There are also 6 teams in the top 15 in total offense with Baylor, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma numbers 2, 3, and 4.
With the regular season coming to a close this weekend, and no longer a Big 12 championship game, all eyes will be tuned to Stillwater as the Oklahoma State University Cowboys host the Oklahoma Sooners in their annual Bedlam game. This year's version just so happens to determine the winner of the Big 12. If the last game played between these two teams is any indication of what we can expect, look for a lot of drama to be played out on the field.
And speaking of drama, could college football fans have received any better Thanksgiving holiday gift than what took place in College Station? Given the after-game missives the answer is a resounding no. Let's review the mother of all rivalry games and its outcome.
Game of the Week:
LAST WEEK: A young and inexperienced Texas team got down 13-0 early against the Aggies and battled back for a gut-punching (to A&M) 27-25 win behind an spectacular defensive performance, timely special teams plays, and Justin Tucker's leg. The Texas offense was almost unwatchable for the entire game, but Case McCoy was able to put together that final drive to set up Tucker's field goal that silenced the crowd at Kyle Field.
Outside of the first and final A&M drives, I believe that was one of the best defensive performances a Mack Brown team has ever had. The Aggies' average field position was the 35.5 yard line and seven of their seventeen drives started beyond their 40, and still the defense held them to 16 points below their scoring average and over two yards less than their yards per play average. The 2009 destruction of Nebraska's offense was more thorough, but A&M's offense is actually good.THIS WEEK: Texas travels to Waco to face the dangerous Baylor Bears (how many times have you heard a Baylor team described like that?). I think Robert Griffin is the best player in college football and they have an explosive offense due to him and their skill position players, but their defense still stinks. If the Longhorn offense can get the running game going, I like our chances with putting up some points and playing keep away with Baylor's offense. However, if our offense craps the bed even against a bad Baylor defense, even our defense will find it difficult keeping Griffin from putting up some points.
SEASON OUTLOOK: Eight wins was the goal of most Texas fans who understood where this team stood in the preseason, and we're one win away from it. In hindsight, if we didn't suffer a slew of offensive injuries the past few weeks, it is very possible that we defeat K-State and Mizzou and could be flirting with a ten win season. Still, as ugly as our offense has become since then, the defense has made very encouraging strides and has not only established itself as the best defense in the conference (by far) but one of the best defensive units in the country. If our offense can just find some level of competency again, we will be hard to beat in the bowl season. - TheElusiveShadow
LAST WEEK: After a disappointing season that held high preseason hopes, the Aggies had one more shot at redemption: Defeating a young Texas team on Kyle Field in what is currently the final schedule meeting between the two schools. With all the contempt coming from Austin towards A&M's incessant whining, the Aggies wanted this one badly as a parting shot to the Horns. Alas, it was not to be: The Aggies blew yet another halftime lead (this one only nine points though) despite the fact that the Texas offense couldn't drive the ball against a high school defense. Texas scored seventeen unanswered points off of about 30 yards of total offense, scores earned through a pick-6, a punt return to the Aggie 10 yard line, and another interception. Tannehill had an awful game and got hounded, the Aggie receivers were largely blanketed, and while Malena ran admirably hard, the run game could not get going.
Still, their offense was able to finally-after having a large field position advantage the entire night-put together a drive to take the lead with under two minutes left. After the offense finally did something, the defense, of course, collapsed. Much complaining has been voiced from College Station regarding Hunter's personal foul call, and I will not debate that here; I will simply point out that Case McCoy, who had done virtually nothing on night, drove 36 yards in a matter of seconds, including a 25 yard jaunt that was probably equal parts frightening to both Aggie and Horn fans. Texas had timeouts, let the clock run down, and set up Justin Tucker for the game-winning field goal. Forgive me if I gloat, but while I wish our offense showed up better than that, there is something fitting and special about how we sent away the Aggies on Thanksgiving.
THIS WEEK: Off. Plenty of time to ponder about their excellent 6-6 season.
SEASON OUTLOOK: The stars were seemingly aligned in the preseason for them to make a national championship run or, at the very least, a conference championship run. After a series of collapses, this team is 6-6 and will go to a bowl game nobody cares about. There was something oddly special about how this team epicly failed throughout the season; when Texas started its charge, you could see the crowd at Kyle Field tense up, seemingly thinking, "Oh, here it goes again..." Many Aggies want Sherman gone now, but it is difficult to see their administration wanting to eat his buyout right now. - TheElusiveShadow
LAST WEEK: Robert Griffin III did not play the second half last week but that did not deter the Bears from earning their 8th win of the year in out lasting Texas Tech 66-42 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. It was the most points Baylor scored in a game...EVER. And it was a team effort given RGIII did not play the entire second half suffering from concussion symptoms received on a hit late in the second quarter. While his numbers were pedestrian compared to his normal production, he nonetheless steered his team to 31 points while playing.
But the player of the game was Terrance Ganaway who gashed the Red Raider defense for 246 net rushing yards on 47 carries and two TD's. Ganaway leads the Bear rushing offense, which has the 2nd best behind Missouri, and ranks 17th in the country at 108 ypg.
THIS WEEK: The Bears meet Texas at home in the last regular season game for both teams.
SEASON OUTLOOK: With a 5 game winning streak on the line and a chance to post 9 regular season wins on Saturday, Art Briles will bring his entire arsenal against the stiff Manny Diaz led Longhorn defense. All eyes will be on Waco as Robert Griffin III looks for a season-ending defining moment. Should they not prevail, the season will still be regarded a success given the national notoriety and ranking. Baylor advances to the post-season to possibly play in the Inisight (Tempe) vs. Penn State or Meineke Car Care (Houston) vs. Iowa. - TXStampede
LAST WEEK: The Cyclones caught Oklahoma in Norman, who was looking to rebound after losing to Baylor the week prior, and could not muster enough offense losing 6-26 in spite of four OU turnovers. The weather was a factor as ISU's quarterback did not get on track and finished 13-28 for 125 yards.
THIS WEEK: The Cyclones travel to Manhattan and take on the Kansas State Wildcats.
SEASON OUTLOOK: Iowa State looks to pad their bowl eligible record but a tall order awaits in Manhattan, KS. Regardless ISU has had a great year in spot of only winning 3 conference games so far. Being a giant killer has become second nature and this year's victim was Oklahoma State riding high on a number two ranking. Paul Rhoads name has been tossed around for some of the elite program openings, too. They currently project to play Illinois in the TicketCity Bowl (Dallas). - TXStampede
LAST WEEK: In the potentially final regular season Border War matchup with their rival Missouri, the Jayhawks gave as good as they got but just could not capitalize on three Tiger interceptions and wound up on the short end of the scoreboard 24-10.
SEASON OUTLOOK: Give the Jayhawks credit. They did not whither in the face of adversity playing their last few games very competitively and narrowly missing upsetting Baylor. But 2 wins on the year was not enough to hold back the wave of disillusioned Jayhawk alumni and donors forcing the administration to fire their head coach Turner Gill. Many have said that two years is not enough time to turn around a program that had fallen like a rock in the aftermath of the Mangino years. While that may be true, the pressure to win in major college football may be at its zenith and patience is not on the menu. Kansas must find a way to attract speed because the Big12 demands it. Now they have to attract a coach, too. - TXStampede
#11 Kansas State
LAST WEEK: Bye.
THIS WEEK: K-State hosts Iowa State for a chance to grab a 10 win season. Iowa State is a feisty group and they may very well enjoy the more physical, ugly style of Kansas State, but the Wildcats should take this game barring a brainfart of a game like Oklahoma State had.
SEASON OUTLOOK: Kansas State can actually tie for first place in the conference if Oklahoma State loses this week. However, in that case, OU would win the tiebreaker because they would have defeated both K-State and OSU. Nobody wants to see that, right? In any case, the Wildcats had a great season but a BCS bid is unlikely; they'll not only need Oklahoma State to win but they'll need one of the BCS bowls to actually want them, which is, fair or not, kind of a longshot. - TheElusiveShadow
LAST WEEK: Missouri had a rough start and frankly looked bad against a pretty pitiful Kansas team before pulling away in the second half. This is also, as I understand it, the last scheduled meeting between two rivals. Interestingly enough, Missouri had a hard time getting going against an atrocious Jayhawk defense but their defense largely shut down Kansas' offense..
THIS WEEK: Mizzou is finished for the regular season and will await a bowl invitation.
SEASON OUTLOOK: There was a point in the season where the Tigers looked like they may not make it to a bowl game. Now they sit at 7-5 and have proven to be a pretty solid team. The defense improved in the latter part of the season and it really helped them get on their current win streak. - TheElusiveShadow
LAST WEEK: Battling back from a horrendous defensive failing at the hands of Baylor one week prior, the Sooners managed to limit Iowa State to a season low offensive output an won narrowly, for them anyway, in Norman 26-6. Landry Jones threw 2 interceptions and did not pass for a touchdown in consecutive games. Not a good two weeks leading up to Bedlam.
THIS WEEK: The Sooners travel to Stillwater against OSU.
SEASON OUTLOOK: To say OU owns the Big12 conference is an understatement. During Bob Stoops reign, the Sooners have won or shared the conference title an amazing 7 times representing almost ½ of the entire conference existence. Another chance at a title shot will be a big motivator as they wrap up the regular season this week. The early line has OU as a dog but that's due to playing an away game as these teams are about as evenly matched as they come. Win, and it's back to Glendale and the Fiesta Bowl. Lose and they most likely will take their knuckle-dragging fanbase to the Alamo Bowl. - TXStampede
#3 Oklahoma State
LAST WEEK: The Cowboys were off last week to let that loss to ISU sink in a little more and to watch LSU and Alabama blow out their opponents.
THIS WEEK: Bedlam. The top two SEC schools have a strong lock on the top spots in the BCS, but Oklahoma State still has a sliver of hope. That would, however, require them to not only defeat Oklahoma but look good doing so. Fortunately for them, Ryan Broyles is out and the strength of OU's offense (passing) matches up with the strength of their defense (secondary). Still, OU has their number and they'll need to turn in a great performance at home in Stillwater.
SEASON OUTLOOK: The Big 12 is theirs outright if they win, which is a fine accomplishment, but Cowboy fans undoubtedly still have slim hopes for something bigger. The computers still love them and will continue to love them if they defeat OU, but the challenge will be convincing the human voters to forgive them for their inexplicable loss against Iowa State. Distaste for a rematch will work in their favor, but it's an uphill battle. Still, as long as they don't get pummeled to dust by the Sooners, they'll at least be a very attractive option for an at-large BCS bid. - TheElusiveShadow
LAST WEEK: The Red Raiders certainly played their guts out in an attempt to earn post-season consideration but it was not to be as they fell to a very strong Baylor team 42-66. In doing so, Tech yielded the most points scored by a Bear squad in their entire history. Even though they trailed by 3 points at halftime, knocked Heisman hopeful Robert Griffin III out of the game, and limited the Bears to only one punt, the Raiders found a way to get blown out in the game. Seth Doege had a great year and a great night passing for 355 yards and 3 touchdowns. But the absence of any semblance of a running attack, and any ability to stop Baylor's, doomed Tech's chances in the second half.
SEASON REVIEW: After racing out to a 5-2 record, beating the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman, and attaining a #17 ranking in the second week of the BCS poll, the Raiders fell off the cliff losing the next five Big12 conference games finishing at 5-7. This is the first season after twelve straight the Red Raiders will not participate in a post-season bowl game. While the fanbase is deservedly bitter, Coach Tuberville appears to have the support and backing of all the right people. Key injuries certainly hurt the Red Raiders ability to thwart the super-charged Big12 offenses down the stretch. Tuberville must find a way to fix the issues on defense to field a more competitive team in 2012. Guns up. - TXStampede
Players of the Week (courtesy of big12sports.com)
Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week
Terrance Ganaway, Baylor, RB, Sr, DeKalb, Texas
Terrance Ganaway rushed a school-record 42 times for 246 yards and two touchdowns in Baylor's 66-42 win over Texas Tech. He accounted for 16 of the Bears' school-record 38 first downs and had 11 rushes of nine or more yards. Ganaway also became the eighth 1,000-yard single-season rusher in program history. His 1,195 rushing yards for the season are the second-most ever at Baylor, and he needs just 23 more yards to tie Jay Finley's school record from a season ago. With his two rushing touchdowns against TTU, Ganaway also set Baylor's single-season record with 14 on the year. The senior became the first player in school history with two career games of 200 or more rushing yards. He previously ran for 200 yards against Iowa State on Oct. 8 and has now accounted for two of the six 200-rushing yard games in 110 years of Baylor football.
Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week
Carrington Byndom, Texas, DB, So, Lufkin,
Texas With Texas trailing 16-7 at Texas A&M, Carrington Byndom gave UT a shot of adrenalin with a 58-yard interception return that pulled the Horns within 16-14 early in the third quarter. Texas went on to win the game 27-25. The sophomore defensive back added six tackles, a TFL and three pass breakups as UT held the Aggies to 328 yards of offense, nearly 200 yards below their season average (512.4 ypg/6th in NCAA). Texas A&M was held to 20-of-49 passing for 224 yards, and 104 rushing yards on 33 attempts. The Aggies were averaging 293.7 yards passing and 218.6 yards rushing entering the contest.
Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week
Justin Tucker, Texas, PK, Sr, Austin, Texas
Justin Tucker became just the fifth kicker in Texas history to make a game-winning field goal on the final play when his 40-yarder lifted the Longhorns to a 27-25 win at Texas A&M. He is the sixth player in UT history to lead the Longhorns to victory on the game's final play. Tucker twice put the Horns in the lead as he also connected on a 23-yard field goal in the third quarter as Texas went on top 17-16. He made two PATs as well to tally eight points on the night.
Upcoming Game of the Week: Oklahoma at Oklahoma State (Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ABC)
Big 12 Ranking
7. Texas A&M
8. Iowa State
9. Texas Tech