Big XII Monday

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Each week every article, media outlet, and experts think we have finally figured out what to expect and who will win. Then West Virginia decides to stomp Baylor, Kansas State beats who I thought would be the National Champions on the road and many other twisty turvy storylines that excites and befuddle most college football fans.

I for one am usually not yet strangely surprised by the revealing of this week’s AP rankings. If Baylor wins and holds the number 4 spot then does TCU move back into the top 8 rather than rising a whole whooping two spots in the rankings? Is the SEC really miles ahead of the Big XII or is it just media perception? I have a hard time believing that the Big XII has fallen into the realm of the Big 10’s lose and you are done. Don’t get me wrong–I absolutely believe the SEC is great and each of those teams are top caliber, but does it warrant an Alabama/Auburn loss falling 3 spots in their losses vs TCU/Oklahoma falling completely out of the top 10? Absolutely not and until more teams outside of the SEC begins beating SEC teams in nationally televised games the perception will always be there. I have never liked the whole, “well you were number 2 and lost to number 3 in a great conference, so yeah we will give you a break” mentality of the voters while other conferences suffer great consequences in their one loss. A loss is a loss and it should hurt either way. Enough with the soapbox and let’s move onto what was a very exciting/disappointing conference weekend depending on what side of the fence you were on. This week’s rankings have definitely taken on a new identity and it may only get weirder from here on out.

Game of the Week

#14 Kansas State vs #11 Oklahoma

8184456985_21ae2e40aa_q Kansas Sate entered into to Norman prepared and ready to take on a struggling Oklahoma team. Oklahoma had lost on the road to, what we know now, a very good TCU team and then followed it up by escaping the offensively challenged Texas Longhorns. Kansas State had been rolling after blowing it’s game to Auburn a few weeks earlier at home behind a solid defense and an emerging offense. Each team traded points back and forth throughout the game with each defenses making critical stops. Kansas State continued to play the ever steady football that they are famous for under Bill Snyder and steadily stayed ahead of the Sooners only trailing once, 7-0 in the first quarter. Kansas State lead by Jake Waters, put what would become the game winning score in the end zone with 6:57 left in the 3rd quarter. Oklahoma broke through in the 4th to bring the game within 1 when Kansas State blocked the extra point which seems innocent enough, yet proved to be the critical moment in the game. The Wildcats held on to win as Oklahoma’s All-American kicker Michael Hunnicut missed a 19-yarder with 3:53 left in the game. Trevor Knight had shown much promise in the Sugar Bowl last season dismantling Alabama and was one of the main reasons I picked OU to win the Big XII8184457007_4875eec3e2_q and possibly the National Championship. He has been underwhelming this year but steady. He hasn’t had bad numbers or been a turnover machine, but if you take away Samaje Perine you have an excellent chance to beat this team. Perine has been stellar as a freshman and will be scary good going forward and is the leading contender for my Big XII freshman followed closely by KD Cannon of Baylor. Sterling Shepard is an unstoppable force at the WR position and there are many other weapons on the outside that Knight should have a field day each and every week. Yet this loss wasn’t on Knight but rather their kicker who was set to become the Big XII’s all-time leader on that extra point. He is still tied for first as he went 0/3 from that point out. Oklahoma had this game in their grasp and couldn’t finish. Kansas State knew that frustration all too well as they lost to Auburn earlier in the year by missing field goals. You must perform excellent in all three phases if you want to win a National Championship, much less a Conference Championship.

Baylor upended in Morgantown

Oh Baylor. How you toy with our hearts and hopes of representing the Big XII in the playoff and yet stumble into West Virginia and falter. 14011525234_0eed2c0f04_qIt makes me wonder if Texas could have scored and TCU doesn’t choke if we are sitting here looking at you with 3 losses already. Are Baylor’s defense and, perhaps the craziest of all, offense slightly overrated with the three cupcakes they played early? Perhaps not but you can not win games giving up 58 and 41 back to back games. They came back to win in their first Big XII home game at McLane Stadium over a better TCU team that showed a greater recovery from that shoot-out than Baylor as they destroyed Oklahoma State. Baylor’s defense faltered greatly and allowed West Virginia to move at will. Admittedly Morgantown has always been a tough place to play and win, but the teams that have National Title hopes must win where ever and whenever. West Virginia jumped out to an early lead and never looked back as Baylor’s offense sputtered. West Virginia, and I admit it myself, is much better than expected and sits pretty at 3-1 in the conference. They are a legitimate conference title contender. Their offense led by, Florida State transfer, Clint Trickett continues to grow and their young players are feeling more comfortable within Holgorsen’s offensive system. The much maligned1377056148_960ff4c983_q defense of last year and early 2014 has improved week to week, making huge stops. I expected a 3-4 year plan until they re-emerged…well Big XII…they are here and ready to make some noise. Could this be the beginning of a power shift from Texas/Oklahoma to West Virginia/TCU? Possibly and it creates great depth for the conference going forward.

Across the Spread

3162673909_a31031cb85_qShoot-out in Austin? Not with those two defenses surely and poor offenses, yet that is exactly what happened Saturday night as teams traded point after point until Texas drove 69 yards in 22 seconds and Tyrone Swoopes gave hope to all Texas fans leading his team to the game winning field goal and a 48-45 victory. 8184457063_a1bfff3f55_qIowa State’s Sam B. Richardson showed why he is loved in Ames picking apart the vaunted Texas defense. Both teams were unstoppable and it turned out to be the most unwatched game of the week in the Big XII thanks to the dreaded Longhorn Network. Thank God for radio…Texas Tech gathered in their first Big XII victory of the year over the Kansas Jayhawks and snapped their longest losing streak to start conference play in their history. Texas Tech won behind a good offensive showing on the day and to be completely honest because they were playing Kansas. Maybe this will be a springboard for them heading forward into the teeth of 4391715655_45a7208642_qconference play. Kansas has shown some life since Charlie Weis was let go, averaging more points and being much more competitive. Carry on my Wayward son…TCU put on a strong show at home against a ranked Oklahoma State team and found their defense once again. They held Oklahoma State without out a touchdown for the first time since 2009. Trevone Boykin led the Horned Frogs with a career high 410 passing yards4981884432_4c72129e7e_q adding 41 rushing yards in their 42-9 win. Mike Gundy was not very pleased and I have been wondering when this was coming as they had struggled over the last few weeks over below-average teams.

Quote of the Week: “just very average…”–Mike Gundy describing his offense.

Big XII Rankings

  1. #10 TCU Horned Frogs (5-1, 2-1)
  2. # 11 Kansas State Wildcats (5-1, 3-0)4528052913_c5fec40c6d_q
  3. # 12 Baylor Bears (6-1, 3-1)
  4. # 17 Oklahoma Sooners (5-2, 2-2)
  5. # 22 West Virginia Mountaineers (5-2, 3-1)
  6. Oklahoma State Cowboys (5-2, 3-1)
  7. Texas Longhorns (3-4, 2-2)
  8. Texas Tech Red Raiders (3-4, 1-3)
  9. Iowa State Cyclones (2-5, 0-4)
  10. Kansas Jayhawks (2-5, 0-4)

Big XII Basketball Preview

Next week:

A hint at who my dark horse contender is:

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For more Rankings and SEC action: http://wp.me/p2he6G-2wW

Follow Justin on Twitter @JustinNeely