The Big 12 season finished with one team making a demonstrative case for their inclusion in the BCS title game (Oklahoma State) and one player making a case for himself as the Heisman Trophy winner (Robert Griffin). The former, unfortunately, was not successful due to the collective stupidity of the voters and the irrationality of the system we use. They were not the only team shafted; Kansas State got to watch a Virginia Tech team that got crushed in its conference title game get picked ahead of them. Every game matters, of course... unless it's inconvenient for them to matter. Of course, Texas fans already know this do to the controversy surrounding the 2008 season. It's a system that gave Alabama the luxury of resting the final week while LSU had to play a game while still possessing a strong chance of making it to the title game. In other words, ‘Bama effectively got a bye week for losing to LSU. It is mindboggling how senseless this stuff can be.
Anyway, at least Robert Griffin seemed to have been more successful (unfortunately, against Texas) in his quest for the Heisman. I have been extremely skeptical that the knuckleheads who vote for the Heisman could pull themselves away from the hype and prestige of Andrew Luck and Trent Richardson and actually, gasp, watch all of these guys play and analyze them, but it seems like Griffin has gotten more attention and stands a good chance of winning it as he deserves. Props to the young man. He's lucky he doesn't have to go up against a Hollywood-beloved runningback playing at a glamour school, or else it doesn't matter what he did during the season...
It actually wasn't a bad week of football, but when the clear Big 12 winner gets shafted right after pummeling a Top 10 squad and another strong Big 12 team gets hosed from a BCS bid, it kind of puts a damper into so-called "Championship Week." Uh huh. We'll start with the de facto conference championship game anyway:
#3 Oklahoma State (should be #2 if we lived in a sane world)
LAST WEEK: I thought the only way Oklahoma State would have a chance to leap over Alabama in the minds of voters was to pound Oklahoma. My personal feeling was that even if they beat OU by three, they should get the national title bid because their strength of schedule was so much higher than Alabama's and I didn't want to see a rematch, but I knew that it was unlikely that voters would change their minds, and I also knew that it was unlikely that they would in fact destroy Oklahoma. Of course, all they did was blast the Sooners 44-10. It was 44-3 at the end of the third quarter, and it was a game that could have been worse than it was. I'm not a big fan of running up the score, but let's just say that I think Stoops would deserve it if Gundy decided to do so.
The Pokes didn't do this primarily through the air either; they gashed Oklahoma 278 rushing yards and an impressive 8.4 yards per carry. Their opportunistic defense went back to being, well, opportunistic, picking off Landry Jones twice and forcing a total of five turnovers. They more than made their case for the BCS title game. Unfortunately, our system is jacked up.
BOWL: The Pokes travel to Arizona to play Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl. This is one of the better matchups in the Bowl season, as I am curious to see how Andrew Luck plays against that opportunistic OSU secondary. However, I think OSU has the superior team and I think they should win this one comfortably unless their offense suffers from bowl-layoff rust.
SEASON REVIEW: I think everyone already knows all the reasons why the Pokes got screwed. I'll just reiterate a few more: Their strength of schedule is far stronger and they've defeated more than three times the amount of ranked teams that Alabama has. Furthermore, those that shoot back with the argument that Alabama has the largest margin of victory in the country have an extremely poor argument; of course you're going to have a better margin of victory if you play worse teams than OSU. Besides, Oklahoma State had several opportunities this season to run up the score or otherwise prevent garbage time scores, but they didn't. It's pretty pathetic that we're looking at system that is telling Gundy that he should have aimed for 60 in Bedlam and 100 against Texas Tech and Kansas to impress voters. As we know from 2008, voters can't help themselves but drool over massive scores, no matter the context of the game.
Make no mistake: If Oklahoma State were Texas or Oklahoma, they're in the title game. Their brand name lost to Alabama's brand name. The choice of voters by the BCS is astoundingly stupid. And I say all this as someone who does not really care about conference solidarity, as those odd SEC fans do. I'm not saying this because OSU shares the same conference with Texas; their body of work is simply better than Alabama's. - TheElusiveShadow
LAST WEEK: Bedlam? More like derp. This looks like morse code for beatdown: Punt, punt, INT, punt, punt, FUMBLE, punt, FG,
BOWL: The Sooners will be traveling to Phoenix to face Coach Stoops' alma mater, Iowa, in the Insight Bowl.
SEASON REVIEW: They are the undercard in the bout against Hawkeyes. For a team that was the preseason darling and topped most early season polls, this finish is one of the most disappointing in the Bob Stoops era. I mean Texas Tech? Really? - TXStampede
LAST WEEK: While some would say that Robert Griffin III proved he deserved the Heisman in defeating Texas, surprisingly it was the Bear defense that made the big plays necessary to hold off a Longhorn offense that belied its reputation. The Bears came into the game with a poor defensive reputation but came away with 4 interceptions and 2 fumbles on their way to a 48-24 win in Waco jumping 5 spots in the BCS standings. Baylor rushing phenom Terrance Ganaway gashed Texas for a 6.6 yard average and 153 for the game. RGIII finished with an efficient 15-22 for 320 yards and 4 touchdowns, 2 passing and 2 rushing) underscoring a phenomenal season.
BOWL: Baylor will travel south on I-35 to San Antonio and face the Washington Huskies in the Alamo Bowl.
SEASON REVIEW: Baylor finished 9-3 on the regular season and #12 in the BCS as the highest ranked 3 loss team. They upset OU, a team they never beat before in school history, scored the most points ever in school history with 66 against Texas Tech, and had the most regular season wins since 1986. This is generational + stuff and quite the accomplishment. Most will give all the credit to RGIII, and arguably deservingly so. But as we also know, it takes an entire coaching staff and players to successfully win at this level and Coach Briles is proving he is worthy of top billing. It remains to be seen whether Griffin returns for his senior year. My guess is he narrowly wins the Heisman and is a top 5 NFL draft choice. Sic ‘em. - TXStampede
LAST WEEK: The Cyclones brought a lot of fight, and maybe a few farm implements, to the annual Farmageddon game against Kansas State but came up just short losing in a hard fought contest 23-30. ISU was driving for the tying score with a little over a minute left when RS freshman QB Barnett fumbled on a 4th and 2.
BOWL: Iowa State looks forward to playing in their first bowl game since 2004 taking on Rutgers in Yankee Stadium at the Pinstripe Bowl.
SEASON REVIEW: Paul Rhoads is gradually building a solid foundation in Ames. This is the 3rd season he has upset a ranked program in the overtime win over Oklahoma State which as it turns out kept the Cowboys from playing for the national championship. - TXStampede
LAST WEEK: Finished already.
BOWL: Um... no.
SEASON REVIEW: Well, you can't really say the Jayhawks underperformed based on their preseason expectations. Everyone thought they'd be terrible... and they were terrible. Turner Gill is gone and they are left wondering how they can rebuild this program that has fallen into bottom cellar of all of college football. - TheElusiveShadow
#8 Kansas State
LAST WEEK: K-State absorbed another one of Iowa State's upset bids and edged them 30-23 at home. Both teams have similar, scrappy styles of play and the game was pretty much even for the entire contest. The Wildcats, as they have done many times this year, held up on with a big defensive stand at the end of the game to preserve the victory, stopping the Cyclones on 4th and 2 on the K-State 31.
BOWL: Kansas State will face Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl in what looks like a pretty interesting matchup. The funny thing is that one could argue that the Razorbacks seem more like the stereotypical Big 12 team with their passing offense will Kansas State looks outwardly more like an SEC squad due to their emphasis on the run game and discipline defense. Superficial stereotypes aside, I think the Wildcats prove that they are better than people think and take this one against Arkansas.
SEASON REVIEW: This was nothing less than an excellent season for Kansas State, with their only realy disappointment being the game against Oklahoma where they got pummeled. I stated in past reports that it was unlikely Kansas State would get a BCS bid, but let me be clear: That's not because I do not think they deserve it. It's a travesty that teams like Virginia Tech and Michigan are getting BCS games while Kansas State and Boise State have to go someplace else. I just cynically knew how the BCS works and doubted that a BCS bowl would take K-State when other "brand-name" schools were available. I was right, but I wish I wasn't. Still, the Wildcats should be proud of a great season. - TheElusiveShadow
LAST WEEK: Done already.
BOWL: Missouri will face North Carolina in the Independence Bowl on Dec. 26th. Frankly, I'm not terribly excited about this game.
SEASON REVIEW: The Tigers ironically had a better year than the Aggies in their Big 12 farewell tour. However, while I have never really had a problem with Missouri and I think Rock M Nation is an excellent blog, I'm going to say this: Screw your horrible turf and screw your crybaby coach and his laughable voting. Pokes fans and knees say "Amen." - TheElusiveShadow
LAST WEEK: Ouch. The Texas defense started off slowly against RGIII and the Bears and allowed them to jump to a two score lead early on. The offense moved the ball well and got the Horns the lead while the defense began to settle down, but with roughly less than five minutes left in the first half, the Longhorn offense imploded. The defense could not rescue the game this time because Griffin was just too good, and the Horns were buried, 48-24. Our offense finished with some nice total yardage, but six turnovers and a measly 24 points against a bad, bad Baylor defense is pretty pitiful. Case McCoy's luck ran out; he threw four interceptions, two of which were nearly returned for touchdowns.
It was not a pretty game from both sides of the ball, and the game, unfortunately, did nothing to answer questions about our quarterback position. It made it all the more painful watching Robert Griffin on the other side and wondering how he far he could take a team with a defense as good as ours.
BOWL: Texas will face Cal in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 28th. Some Cal fans are still bitter about 2004 and it could be a pretty interesting game.
SEASON REVIEW: Most fans and the staff were aiming for eight wins, and we fell just short, mostly due to injuries. More will be said on BON in the coming days, but given the injuries, I think this team largely met expectations. I think the defense exceeded some expectations and I think the offense was trending upward as we wanted until a slew of injuries devastated them, particularly the loss of Fozzy Whittaker.
Still, the most disappointing aspect of the season is the lack of answers at the quarterback position. The quarterback play was often so poor this year that it made many fans wonder if we gave up too quickly on Garrett Gilbert, and we arguably go into the offseason with more questions at the position than last year. Case McCoy and/or David Ash will need to improve substantially over the offseason to give us even serviceable QB play. For a fanbase that had been spoiled with the likes of Major, Simms (yes, him too), Vince Young, and Colt McCoy, it's a tough pill to swallow that the main thing that can keep us from title contention is our quarterbacks and that there is no clear answer for the near future. - TheElusiveShadow
LAST WEEK: Already finished, with ample time to dream about Justin Tucker's kick.
BOWL: The Aggies qualified and will face Northwestern in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. Yeah, that'll be fascinating.
SEASON REVIEW: Compared to their preseason expectations, there really isn't any other way to describe their season as other than a disaster. They were aiming for Big 12 and even national title contention; they finished 6-6, culminating in a home collapse against the Longhorns. Few teams were as inconsistent as the Aggies; you're talking about a team that blew five first half leads and looked terrible doing so. Last but not least, they decided to fire Mike Sherman, a questionable decision done in a most unprofessional manner, calling him on a recruiting visit to deliver the news. Thus, not only are they going to have to navigate their new destination in the SEC, they have to find a new coach to help them adjust. Add to the fact that they will lose some key players, and it's looking dicey for the Aggies in the near future. - TheElusiveShadow
LAST WEEK: Did not play.
BOWL: For the first time in their Big 12 history, the Red Raiders will not be going to a bowl game.
SEASON REVIEW: It was quite the roller coaster ride for Texas Tech. I thought they were a year or two away from being really dangerous again, but then they had a decent start that culminated in a shocking win over Oklahoma in Norman. They rose quickly in the rankings and I thought maybe they were ahead of schedule. After that, however, the Red Raiders simply fell apart, getting annihilated in consecutive weeks by Iowa State, Texas, and Oklahoma State by a combined score of 159-33. Yikes. And all of those games could have been worse. I think Tech fans need to be patient and give Tubs more time, but they are most unhappy in Lubbock right now and it's hard to blame them after that horrid finish. - TheElusiveShadow
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 accounted for four touchdowns to lead No. 17 Baylor to a 48-24 win over No. 22 Texas. He went 15-of-22 through the air for 320 yards and two TDs against the nation's No. 9 defense. The junior also ran the ball 12 times for 32 yards and two scores. RG3 became the third player in FBS history to compile 10,000 career passing yards and 2,000 career rushing yards (Dan LeFevour, Central Michigan; Colin Kaepernick, Nevada). He is the nation's leader in passing efficiency (192.31) and points responsibility (22.67), ranks second in total offense (386.83), fourth in passing TDs (36), fifth in completion percentage (72.36) and sixth in passing yards (3,998).
Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week
Sam Holl, Baylor, S, So, Katy, Texas
Sam Holl made a game-high 16 tackles and collected two interceptions for the Baylor defense that forced six turnovers in its 48-24 win over No. 22 Texas. With the Bears leading 31-24, the sophomore safety intercepted a pass at the Baylor 27-yard line and returned it 62 yards to Texas' 11-yard line to setup a Baylor touchdown two plays later. He picked off his second pass in the end zone in the fourth quarter. Eleven of Holl's 16 tackles came in the second half when BU held the Longhorns to three points. He became the first Baylor player with multiple interceptions in a game since Joe Pawelek had two against Texas A&M on Nov. 15, 2008. Holl has accumulated the most tackles in a game in three of BU's last four contests. He moved up to third in the Big 12 and leads non-linebackers with 8.5 tackles an outing.
1. Oklahoma State
2. Kansas State
7. Texas A&M
8. Iowa State
9. Texas Tech