What once was five is now down to three. That’s the number of teams that over the next four weeks will determine the Big 12 football champion for 2013 and the league’s automatic qualifier for a BCS bowl.
Baylor, the frontrunner in the conference standings from practically the get-go this season, made its strongest statement thus far with a resounding win over once-mighty Oklahoma on Thursday this past week. It wasn’t a 70-point, 700 yard blowout like in most of their outings this season, but considering who they were playing, the Bears’ dominant performance was as good as one.
The unbeaten Bears (8-0, 5-0) got it done against OU not just with their high-powered offense, but with a smothering defense that held the 10th-ranked Sooners (7-2, 4-2) to just 237 totall yards of offense and only 87 rushing yards.
The test against the crimson and cream of OU is the first of three more major challenges for Baylor between now and the end of the regular season. Texas Tech is next up on the Bears schedule in a game to be played at the Jerry Jones dome in Arlington, Texas.
Following that, Baylor travels to Oklahoma State (8-1, 5-1), which could be the Bears’ toughest test of the season. If they are successful running that dangerous two-game gauntlet, Art Briles’ team will finish out the regular season at TCU and then back home for the season finale against in-state rival Texas.
Texas (7-2, 6-0) continued its remarkable turnaround after losing two of its first three games to start the season. The Longhorns came from behind to avoid being upset at West Virginia (4-6, 2-5), winning 46-40 in overtime for their sixth consecutive league win without a defeat. Now things get considerably tougher for the Longhorns, with the remaining games being at home with Oklahoma State on Saturday, then the following week hosting Texas Tech before and a Dec. 7 trip to Waco to meet Baylor in what could be the game that ultimately determines the 2013 conference champion.
Oklahoma State geared up for it showdown next weeken with Texas with an easy 42-6 win over hapless Kansas, which has now lost 27 th consecutive Big 12 game. fortunately for Jayhawk fans, the new basketball season tipped off on Friday.
“I can sit there and give you 15 different excuses, Jayhawk head coach Charlie Weis said in his postgame comments, (but) I’m not going to do that.” With games remaining against West Virginia and Kansas State at home and at Iowa State, the Jayhawks could be looking at their third straight season with a win against a Big 12 opponent.
In the final two Big 12 games in Week 11, TCU (4-6, 2-5) avoided suffering its third consecutive conference loss, coming from behind with a game-winning touchdown run by Trevone Boykin with just a half-minute left in the game to pull out a 21-17 victory over Iowa State (1-8, 0-6).
Kansas State surprised a battle-weary Texas Tech team, pounding the Red Raider defense with nealy 300 yards on the ground and a surprisingly easy 49-26 victory on the road in Lubbock, Texas. The win elevated the Wildcats to over .500 on the season (5-4) and evened their conference record to 3-3 after suffering consecutove losses in the first three games to open the Big 12 schedule. Texas Tech has lost three straight games (to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and now Kansas State) after posting a record of 7-0 and a No. 9 ranking in the first BCS standings of the 2013 season.
Senior running back John Hubert had over half of the K-State ground yardage on Saturday by himself (157 yards on 23 carries). “I am running with the mentality of giving it all I’ve got,” Hubert said afterward in the the team postgame press briefing. “I’ve only got a few games left, and I just want to make the best of them.” Hubert ranke fifth in the Big 12 in individual rushing yards, averaging 78.4 yards per game.
Five Things We Learned From The Big 12 Football Action in Week 11
- If there are still any doubters out there who still don’t believe that this year’s Baylor team is scary good and very much for real, the way the Bears’ manhandled and beat up on perennial Big 12 powershouse Oklahoma in their first major Big 12 test should have erased any and all doubts to the contrary. The way Baylor won over Oklahoma should serve notice to the other conference contenders that they will have to bring ther “A” game to derail the championship-hungry Bears.
- We should all be used to it by now. One thing you can always count on from a Bill-Snyder coached team is that it will get better as the season goes on. Almost every coach will tell you that they want to get better and make improvements every single week during the season. Everyone may say that, but with Kansas State, you can definitely see the results of practicing what Snyder and other coaches preach.
- The McCoy-to-Shipley connection for Texas on Saturday at West Virginia was not a flashback to the great Longhorn teams of the 2008-2008-09 years, but rather Case McCoy and Jaxon Shipley, the younger brothers of Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley. Just as Jordan was the favorite target of Colt when they both played at Texas, Jaxon has become Case’s favorite possession target. Jaxon caught the game-tying touchdown against West Virginia with just seconds remaining on the game clock, sending the game into overtime. Coincidentally, that last time Texas started its conference schedule 6-0 was in 2008 and 2009, when Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley were terrorizing Big 12 secondaries.
- Oklahoma State is 8-1 at this point in the season for the fourth time in the past six seasons. Before Mike Gundy became the Cowboys’ head coach, OSU had four 8-1 starts in 102 seasons.
- Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder is the fourth coach in Big Eight/Big 12 history to reach 100 or more conference victories at one school. The other three are Tom Osborne, former head coach of Nebraska (153), and Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops (103) and Barry Switzer (100).