Big 12 Road Trip: Week 11

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Taking a look around the week in Big 12 play.

Just because we keep watching the same thing happen every Saturday doesn't mean we can't enjoy everything else that goes on around the conference, right?  This week's games got started early with Oklahoma trying to knock Baylor off the pedestal on Thursday.  That didn't come close to happening but Baylor still has a tough schedule ahead of them with games against still unbeaten in conference Texas and preseason favorite Oklahoma State.  The weekend also featured the continued fall of Texas Tech or the continued rise of Kansas State depending on your perspective.

Outside of finding out if Baylor can continue to waltz through the conference unbeaten, we can start to look toward the bowl season for our conference mates.  At this point, five teams are already bowl eligible.  Kansas State becomes eligible with one more win on the season, I'd bet on that considering the teams they have left to play.  West Virginia is also still alive, needing two more wins with a trip to Lawrence and the opportunity to host Iowa State left on their slate.  If they traveled to Iowa State, I'd bet against them getting both wins.  But with them hosting the Cyclones, I'd lean towards the Mountaineers becoming bowl eligible as well.  Seven teams out of this conference seems high but that's what happens when there are two teams that haven't been able to win a game.

Baylor 41 Oklahoma 12

The premier game this week was disappointing in terms of competitiveness but encouraging for those who have believed in Baylor all season.  It was also good to see because hopefully it was a sign that Baylor is an elite team this year and not just the best out of a weak conference.  Though that might still be thought because of how bad Baylor made Oklahoma look.  In recaps and discussions of the game, the common theme seemed to "if Oklahoma had a decent offense, they could have at least made it a game".  Going into this week, Oklahoma's offense was rated 25th in S&P+ and 28th in FEI.  They've been a pretty good offense this year, Baylor just made them look bad.  Throughout the game it appeared as if the fastest 3 or 4 players on the field all played for Baylor.  Offense, defense, or special teams didn't matter.  Baylor was faster and they stuffed everything the Sooners tried to do.  Speaking of things the Sooners tried to do, the fans in Norman are not happy with their offensive coordinator:

Absolutely nothing about this first offensive drive for OU makes sense to me. Ignoring the stupidity of running a trick play on your first play from scrimmage....no, you know what we're not going to ignore that.

and

If you don't trust him (Bell) to throw and he's scared (which he sure looks like to me) to be decisive running the football then why is he still your starting quarterback?

and

So after failing miserably earlier in the game, Heupel decides to go back to the Belldozer well not just one time, but two. The second of which coming after they hurry to the line because they're going to catch Baylor by surprise with another run from a formation they never throw from. Well played, Josh.

If we still cared this much, we could challenge them but they're still good enough to be frustrated.  Lets move on and see what the guys at Our Daily Bears have to say.

And it's good that we were able to run the ball so well, since Petty looked so off early in the game. I'm not sure what it was to start. Some point to nerves, an explanation I'm not sure I totally buy but can't totally dismiss, while others probably think OU's secondary played a tremendous role.

and

Of course, the real story of the game to outside observers was the strength of our defense, which held OU to just 237 yards and one touchdown for the entire game. OU had just 5 points in the entire first half, 2 of which were scored by their defense.

But I can't let this comment go:

Without having seen the game yet on television, I'd venture to say that the lack of penalties I thought should have been called early in the game played into it, as well. But people hate that for obvious reasons and I won't go into it.

Baylor fans should probably avoid ever bringing refs into the discussion this year.  Their success in the passing game relies on officials not calling pick plays tight, as evidenced by two touchdowns against OU.  Know how those guys are ending up wide open in the end zone?  They're running into another receiver.  From the rulebook:

  • Offensive pass interference by a Team A player beyond the neutral zone  during a legal forward pass play in which a forward pass crosses the  neutral zone is contact that interferes with a Team B eligible player. It is the responsibility of the offensive player to avoid the opponents.

Kansas State 49 Texas Tech 26

So those early season hopes of competing with K-State?  They've taken a hit lately.  The 'Cats went to Lubbock and thoroughly stomped Tech, building a 35-10 lead at halftime.  291 yards on the ground will do that.  K-State scored touchdowns on their first five drives of the game, going for 65+ yards on the first four.  Lets see what the guys at Viva the Matadors have to say about it:

Maybe talent isn't the right way to say it, but it sure does look that way when your team is beat every way. Maybe that's the best thing to write when you don't really want to talk about specific players not being able to do specific things. Maybe this is the right thing to write when you still have a coach that has to identify what's right and what's wrong with the team. Maybe this is the right thing to write because then it allows your coach to really evaluate the flaws with the team and attempt to address them with this recruiting class. There's a lot of work left to do.

They're worried about talent?  Joking aside, I think this highlights that pointing at things like a lack of talent can be a crutch for fans when rationalizing results.  I guarantee people who watch K-State don't believe they're going to out-talent people this year.

And more on Tech's quarterback situation:

But really, I don't have a clue any more. I don't know what to tell you and I can't explain anything to you as to "why" this is happening. It's frustrating for sure. All I know what to do is to cheer for the guy making the plays and trust that Kingsbury is making the right decision. Inside my tiny brain, I don't feel like that's what is happening, but I also am not privy to all of the facts surrounding this circumstance. Something is happening here and we're not sure exactly what it is.

Losing teams seem to have the same complaints we do.  Bad playcalling from the OU fans to indecision at QB for Tech fans.  At least we're not alone in this regard.  Lets move on and see what they're saying at Bring on the Cats:

On bacon night in Manhattan, the Kansas St. Wildcats were burned on their home court and turned in a season-opening performance against Northern Colorado that left fans thinking this team is already toast.

Maybe it is.

Oh oops.  That was from the basketball game, here's some info on the football game:

Pleasantly, the two-headed Jake Waters/Daniel Sams experiment worked to perfection in the first half. Of course, they weren't called on to do much, only attempting six passes (ignoring the ones that were erased due to Tech penalties) and completing all six. Why didn't they have to do much? Because John Hubert ran for over 130 yards in the first half alone, Waters and Sams combined for over 80 with three touchdowns themselves, and Texas Tech just never got things going.

Texas 47 West Virginia 40

In the most entertaining game of the week, the Longhorns come out with a win to stay unbeaten in conference.  This game was pretty even statistically, except for one key category.  WVU turned the ball over 5 times compared to UT's 2 turnovers.  In a game like this, that's the first thing that can be identified as the difference.  Mack Brown just keeps on living right I guess. From Burnt Orange Nation:

Imperfect, but hardly hollow and just enough, Texas survived and advanced. On the road in Morgantown on a night that resembled trips to Ames on weekdays, that was all that mattered.

Wonder how they're feeling in Morgantown, from The Smoking Musket:

A dogfight of a game came down to an Overtime of creativity. Texas Offensive coordinator Major Applewhite called a play action, fullback pass for the first time all game to provide the Longhorn’s OT touchdown. Dana Holgorsen responded with a reverse to Mario Alford, which took the Mountaineers to the five-yard line.

However, four plays later, UT’s defense stopped WVU for the win as Edmond grabbed the game-ending interception in the end zone. Why WVU’s offense threw three passes from the five yard line will remain a subject of debate for a while.

Nice perspective on this one, guess that happens when you just miss out on a win in a rebuilding year.

TCU 21 Iowa State 17

To be honest, I haven't even seen highlights from this one.  But TCU trailed in the 4th quarter before scoring the go-ahead touchdown with 38 seconds left in the game.  From the victors at Frogs O' War:

We won, all's right with the world!  Okay, not really.  Slightly better in a win is still better than a loss though, and TCU did show a bit of improvement today, coming from the playcallers of all places.  After an opening drive that could not have possibly been more 2013 TCU- three incomplete passes and a false start- TCU actually went to the running game with regularity and stuck with it even when it wasn't immediately paying off.

I wonder if "referees" are mentioned when we go to Wide Right Natty Lite:

The nightmare season continues for the Cyclones today as they played their way into a lead in the final minute of the game, but still ended up with another crushing defeat. Iowa State once again looked listless other than a few series, and other than a huge kickoff return touchdown by DeVondrick Nealy in which he broke a pair of tackles, there was little explosiveness from the Cyclones. The fact that Kirby Van Der Kamp's 25 yard completion on a fake punt was the highlight of the passing game says it all for Courtney Messingham's offense.

Color me impressed by the restraint.

Oklahoma State 42 Kansas 6

Again, just to see what the opponents have to say.  Cowboys Ride for Free on their win:

Speaking of speed in motion, how about the Jayhawks slowing Gilbert down at the 50 and they STILL couldn't catch him.

It was pretty much downhill from there.

After piling up the rushing yards the previous two games, the Cowboys mustered only 85 yards on the ground, instead relying on Clint Chelf's arm to grind up Kansas.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Choo Choo produced his usual 51.4 completion percentage (19-37) while tossing 3 TD's and 265 yards (almost 14 ypc), along with no interceptions. Let us note that the Jayhawks do possess the #9 defense against the pass, and also in pass efficiency.

OSU produced only 1 drive longer than 7 plays, and 9 drives of 5 or fewer plays.

Kansas' offense was pretty anemic, although they did manage several decent drives.

Enough of this, I can't really find anymore motivation to analyze this game. It was a win that we expected.

Sounds about right.

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