The race to determine the conference champion creeps one more week to Bedlam when the Oklahoma Sooners visit Stillwater to face the Cowboys on December 3. With that said, each week in the Big 12 is one that is full of surprises as "Any given Saturday" holds true. There is a lot of talent in the Big 12 and to win out you have to bring your "A" game to each contest. And don't count home field advantages. Only two of ten conference teams boast an undefeated home record (Oklahoma State and Baylor).
You want offense? The Big 12 then is the gift that keeps on giving. The conference ranks in the top in many statistical categories:
Scoring Offense - 6 of 10 teams in top 25 nationally with Oklahoma State (#2) trailing only Houston at 50.1 points per game.
Passing Offense - 5 of 10 teams in top 12 nationally with Oklahoma State and Oklahoma #2 and #3 respectively.
Total Offense - 6 of 10 teams in top 11 nationally with Texas at #31.
Given this type of firepower teams had better figure out how to score a lot of points to win.
Below we highlight that state of the conference and what's on tap moving forward.
LAST WEEK: Looking at the box score, you would think it a typo as both teams dueled to about as even a statistical effort as is possible including the score in which Baylor eeked out a 3 point margin winning in Waco 42-39. Baylor took a commanding lead into the fourth quarter up two touchdowns but the Tigers quarterback, James Franklin, led Mizzou back in the fourth with three touchdown passes. It was a lot of effort to wind up on the short end of the stick. Heisman candidate Robert Griffin III threw for a little more than 400 yards in a 27-41 effort throwing three touchdown passes of his own.
THIS WEEK: The Bears travel to Lawrence to face off against the Kansas Jayhawks.
SEASON OUTLOOK: Baylor moves to 5-3 on the season and must win one more to become bowl eligible. With games remaining against Kansas and Texas Tech, the Bears should finish the year comfortably, or uncomfortably depending on your perspective, and go bowling this holiday season. As mentioned in last week's report, Baylor holds court pretty well and a win in the last home game of the year against Texas would be the cherry on top for their season . - TXStampede
LAST WEEK: Another road game, another victory for the Paul Rhodes led Cyclones. This time a visit to cellar-dweller Kansas resulted in a winning score of 13-10. The Jayhawks gave ISU all they could handle but a late 63-yard drive led by RS quarterback Jared Barnett resulted in the winning field goal. This by no means was the dominant performance a week earlier against the Red Raiders but Kansas came to play coming off an embarrassing loss to the Longhorns in Austin.
THIS WEEK: Bye
SEASON OUTLOOK: Speaking of murderers row, the Cyclones end their season with a home game against OSU, then two back-to-back road games against OU and Kansas State. Ouch. The doormat award was avoided in their win against Kansas but I can't see them winning against this bunch of teams as ISU should finish the season 2-7 in conference play and a final record of 5-7 in a year which saw them win each of their non-conference games. Such a tough way to finish for sure. - TXStampede
LAST WEEK: (See Iowa State above.) Not a lot to offer except Kansas played the Cyclones tough the entire game coming up on the losing end of the stick 10-13.
THIS WEEK: Kansas meets RGIII and his Baylor Bear aerial circus in Lawrence.
SEASON OUTLOOK: The Jayhawks put in their best conference showing of the year against ISU in the battle of the doormats but came up one field goal short. It would have made for a nice story if they had pulled it out but it was not to be. And the road for them is tough ending with home games against Baylor and Missouri and a road game against Texas A&M. Can't wrap my arms on a possible win against any of these teams as Kansas will post a goose-egg in the conference and finish 2-10 on the year. - TXStampede
#14 Kansas State
LAST WEEK: If you had told me before this game that Oklahoma State would finish with 52 points and 575 yards of total offense, I would have predicted a massive blowout. Conventional wisdom said that K-State didn't have the offense to keep pace with that type of scoring. Well, so much for that. Colin Klein had the game of his life and the Wildcats brutalized the Okie State defense. Unfortunately, K-State couldn't punch in the tying touchdown as time expired and fell just short of a huge victory.
THIS WEEK: Aggies travel to the Little Apple for the last time squaring off against the KSU Wildcats. It will be interesting to see if they can reproduce to some degree their offensive output against the Cowboys. They don't have the passing offense to pick at A&M's primary weakness, but Klein's running ability can give them an important advantage similar to how James Franklin damaged the Ags on the ground.
SEASON OUTLOOK: The Wildcats have now lost two straight games, and it is quite possible that that streak continues against the Aggies and even the Longhorns. They have a good, disciplined team that will play scrappy, but they don't have the athletes of many of their top competitors and they will have to execute very well to avoid another loss before the bowl season. - TheElusiveShadow
LAST WEEK: Mizzou's defense actually held up okay in the first half before getting buried in the second half, giving up nearly 700 yards of total offense to the Baylor Bears. The Tigers' offense predictably had their own success against that terrible Baylor D, but they lost the shootout 42-39. Injuries didn't help Missouri here and they missed a big opportunity to practically guarantee bowl eligibility (their last game is against Kansas, which can be safely penciled in as a win).
THIS WEEK: The Tigers host the Texas Longhorns, who just finished running right over Texas Tech. The Tigers have a decent front seven to give far more resistance to the run game than either Kansas or Tech, but they don't exactly have a great defense overall. Offensively, they have weapons but they're inconsistent, and they need to hope that James Franklin is on against a Texas defense that is improving to the point that they might be legitimately considered the best in the Big 12 by the end of the year.
SEASON OUTLOOK: I think the Tigers are better than their record indicates, with most of their losses being against top teams and by relatively small margins. The Big 12 is simply pretty deep this year. However, they still have consistency problems and some holes on defense, and they will need to take one from Texas or Tech to reach bowl eligibility, which won't be easy. - TheElusiveShadow
LAST WEEK: Like a cat with a mouse, OU somehow managed to let Texas A&M think they were in the game leading by only 3 points at intermission 13-10. But you can't hold back the Stoops freight train as OU air assault took off in the 3rd quarter and SEC'ed the aggies for four touchdowns. OU ended the day on top of A&M 41-25 in what might be the last time the aggies visit OU.
The win was sweet but the cost was high as all-time leading NCAA receptions holder, and all-around great student-athlete and college football representative, Ryan Broyles was injured on a normal play tearing an ACL which ends his season and career. Such a tough way to finish his time in Norman. He earned the respect of his peers on and off the field. Tip of the cap to this outstanding football player and hope he reaches his goal of playing in the NFL.
THIS WEEK: Bye
SEASON OUTLOOK: Not only did OU lose their starting all-world wide receiver in Broyles, they also lost their starting linebacker Wort to a twisted ankle. However, they have incredible offensive weapons which won't hamper their ability to score at will. With games remaining against Baylor and Iowa State before Bedlam, it will be interesting to see if Coach Stoops decides to rest some players. Nah. - TXStampede
#2 Oklahoma State
LAST WEEK: While I've reiterated that the Pokes do not have a great defense, I've also reiterated that it is not as bad as their raw statistics show because of how many yards and points their opponents have put up after the games are decided. Furthermore, they are willing to cede yards but are opportunistic with turnovers and negative plays. On Saturday, however, they almost broke, proving unable to stop the Wildcats and only stopping K-State's last drive with the help of some questionable playcalling by the Wildcats. Granted, they were not helped by their offense's turnovers and quick scores, with Okie State having the ball for only about 19 minutes of game time, but the Wildcats piled on over 500 yards of balanced offense and 45 points. Still, the Cowboys survived to move to #2 in the rankings, thanks to the Weeden-Blackmon connection.
THIS WEEK: Oklahoma State will play in Lubbock to face Texas Tech, who has spent the last two weeks after their surprise upset of OU getting flattened by Iowa State and Texas. On paper, Oklahoma State should obliterate the Red Raiders with their decent run game and deadly pass game, but even since his Auburn days, Tuberville is known for screwing up top teams' hopes and dreams even if his teams drop other games. No game should be taken for granted in the Big 12 unless one is playing Kansas, so the Cowboys need to be careful they don't fall asleep in the battle of Airraid offenses.
SEASON OUTLOOK: No ranked teams remain until their showdown with Oklahoma. The Pokes control their destiny, and if they win out they'll find themselves in the national championship game. An upset before that game would be mightily depressing for Cowboy fans. - TheElusiveShadow
LAST WEEK: I thought Texas matched up well against Texas Tech, so I was confident in a victory. However, I did not think our offense would stampede over Tech's defense quite like that. The Red Raider defense looked as bad as Kansas' at times, and it was really too easy for the Horns. Texas didn't punt the entire game and the only two series they didn't score on were the two that ended both halves. The Longhorns played great on defense too; some fans are a bit too caught up in the fact that Tech finished with over 400 yards of total offense and scored 14 meaningless points in the second half, but even with Texas noticeably holding back after the intermission, Doege averaged only 6.9 yards per pass and the Tech offense as a whole averaged less than five yards per play. That's exactly how you want to play that offense. Joe Bergeron had a coming out party of sorts with nearly 200 yards rushing, but without diminishing his performance, it is safe to say any Texas runner would have a good day on the ground with the offensive line dominating the game like that.
THIS WEEK: Texas travels to Missouri in what will be a tough road test. The Tigers are hurting and are not consistent, but they are potentially dangerous and have offensive weapons that can give any defense fits. The matchups are not as clearly in Texas' favor as in the Tech game, so expect a little bit more to be placed on the arm of David Ash.
SEASON OUTLOOK: Texas is bowl eligible with their last victory, which isn't exactly unexpected but nice to see after last season's debacle. The Longhorns have some difficult games remaining, but if everyone can get healthy and if they team continually improves as they have shown, there is no reason to count us out of any future game. I'm not saying we'll win them all, but we have a good chance to, and I think 8-4, the target of the season for many fans, is very realistic. - TheElusiveShadow
LAST WEEK: Interestingly enough, last week was the first game in which the Aggies trailed at halftime; not only that, it was the first time they weren't leading by double digits at halftime. Unfortunately for them, that meant that having one of their third quarter catastrophes would mean they would be looking at a large deficit, and that's exactly what happened. After a surprisingly low-scoring 13-10 game, Oklahoma blew the game wide open with 28 straight points in the third quarter to put the game out of reach. The Aggies tacked on fifteen in the fourth to make the score look better, but the game was well over.
The Aggie defense has justifiably borne the brunt of the blame this season, but on Saturday, it was the offense that failed them. They couldn't get into a rhythm all game and multiple second half turnovers doomed them once again. To make matters worse, like Oklahoma, the Texas A&M lost a star player, Christine Michael, to a season-ending ACL tear. Not exactly a great week if you're an Aggie fan.
THIS WEEK: Texas A&M travels to Manhattan to face #14 Kansas State. The Aggies may have more impressive athletes, but the Wildcats are physical and disciplined, and they have an offense that can take up large chunks of time against a weak Aggie defense. It will also be interesting to see if Cyrus Gray can make up for the absence of Michael.
SEASON OUTLOOK: Of A&M's final three games, only Kansas is a sure-fire win, which means 6-6 is a very real possibility for this Aggie team. Needless to say, that is not how Aggie fans envisioned their Big 12 farewell tour going. Longhorn fans may be inclined to laugh, but the bad part is that we're looking at the possibility that the Aggies will be underdogs come Thanksgiving if Texas continues to win and the Aggies lose to K-State. In other words, we'd be back to where we normally are: Texas A&M hinging their season upon beating Texas, and at Kyle Field, that means they'll most likely come out desperate for a face-saving victory. - TheElusiveShadow
LAST WEEK: I really am appreciative of the opportunity to discuss the plight of teams that lose to my beloved Horns. And this is special...and not a fluke. Texas MUDHOLED, repeat, MUDHOLED Texas Tech. I know this is supposed to be from the aforementioned team perspective so here goes: Seth Doege was allowed a 7-minute opening drive where he was given not one, not two, but three chances inside the red zone to post a touchdown. That didn't happen and the resulting field goal put them in a hole, a MUDHOLE, for the next couple of hours. Sure, Doege finished with some nice padding statistics and a couple of late touchdown passes to salve the psyche. But the rest of the Red Raider team plain old stunk allowing Texas to score on each possession save for time running out on Texas end of 2nd quarter and the Horns walk-on quarterback taking a victory formation to end the game inside the Tech RZ.
Texas Tech - 20
Texas Mudholers - 52
And the game wasn't even that close. This loss, and game, had to be one of the more lopsided in the series dating back to before God.
THIS WEEK: The Red Raiders catch the #2 ranked OSU Cowboys in a home matchup. Can they do to Ok State what they did to OU? Doubtful.
SEASON OUTLOOK: With Tech regressing to the mean after last week debilitating loss to Texas (man, that is fun to write), we're talking about a team that now has to get some of the same mojo back they earned in Norman when knocking off the Sooners. With that said, they have three tough outs remaining against OSU at home and Baylor / Missouri on the road. Beat one of these and they are bowl eligible.
Confucius say the hill is high and the climb is treacherous. (I made that up.) - TXStampede
Players of the Week (courtesy of big12sports.com)
Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week
Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State, QB, Sr, Edmond, OKla.
Brandon Weeden set a school record by passing for 502 yards in the No. 3 Cowboys' 52-45 win over No. 14 Kansas State. The senior completed 36-of-46 passes (.782 pct.) with four touchdown strikes in the game. Weeden engineered three crucial scoring drives in the decisive fourth quarter by completing 6-of-8 passes for 111 yards and a touchdown in the final stanza.
Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week
Ronnell Lewis, Oklahoma, DE, Jr, Dewar, Okla.
Ronnell Lewis was dominant on the defensive side of the ball in No. 6 Oklahoma's win over Texas A&M. He had a team-high nine tackles, two tackles for loss (-8 yards), one pass break-up and one interception, which he returned 11 yards. The junior defensive end's interception set up the Sooners at the A&M 28, and the OU offense then drove in for the touchdown. Oklahoma led 41-10 after three quarters and won 41-25.
Upcoming Game of the Week: Texas A&M at Kansas State (2:30 p.m. ABC)
1. Oklahoma State
3. Kansas State
5. Texas A&M
8. Texas Tech
9. Iowa State