We’re just past the halfway point in the College Football season. Let’s take a look at how things are shaking out in the Big 12.
- Kansas (3-5 Overall, 1-4 in Big 12)
Kansas is a basketball school, and that’s alright.
Finding themselves at the bottom of the pile once again, Kansas is simply not a good football team. Early in the season the Jayhawks lost to a thoroughly below average Coastal Carolina team, and since then it hasn’t gotten much better. Besides an almost upset against Texas that they managed to let slip away, the Jayhawks have only one conference win to hang their hats on.
New head coach Les Miles can’t fix the squad overnight. Maybe next year.
- West Virginia (3-4 Overall, 1-3 in Big 12)
Last year, West Virginia had a Heisman hopeful in Will Grier commanding the potent offense. This year’s offense, however, has been anything but potent.
Through seven games, the Mountaineers have only scored over thirty points twice. This offensive inconsistency, combined with the gaping holes on defense, makes this team easy to overlook. New Head Coach Neil Brown has, however, played one of the toughest in conference schedules thus far. The Mountaineers may finish up the season a little closer to .500.
- Texas Tech (3-5 Overall, 1-4 in Big 12)
Texas Tech has also seen better days. With head coach Kliff Kingsbury moving onto the Arizona Cardinals, the Red Raiders have looked, for the most part, lost this season, with blowout losses to OU and Arizona early in the season, and most recently a loss to Kansas on the road.
Tech has shown some signs of life though. They almost knocked off an undefeated Baylor team on the road if it weren’t for Baylor’s overtime heroics. Coach Matt Wells’ squad kept up with a very good Iowa State team, and even knocked off Oklahoma State earlier in the season. This Texas Tech team stands as the ultimate trap game for Kansas State or Texas down the road.
- Oklahoma State (5-3 Overall, 2-3 in Big 12)
The Pokes may be ranked at #7 here, but this stands as more of a testament to the Big 12’s depth rather than some fault on Oklahoma State’s side. This team is pretty good.
With wideout Tylan Wallace and running back Chuba Hubbard moving the chains for Coach Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State may possess one of the best collections of skill players in the entire conference. Hubbard currently has the most rushing yards in the entire country by a huge margin.
The problem with this team is simply inconsistency. They beat a really good Kansas State team by double digits, then dropped a game to Texas Tech by double digits. After getting blown out by Baylor on their own homecoming, Oklahoma State defeated Iowa State on the road. Its like there are two completely different teams stepping onto the field in Stillwater, and you never know which one you’re going to get. Until they can prove any sort of consistency, Oklahoma State will continue to leave their fans with doubt.
- TCU (4-3 Overall, 2-2 in Big 12)
The Horned Frogs know what they’re good at: defense. Only one team has scored more than 30 points on them all year, #15 in the country SMU. Following an upset over Texas, Gary Patterson and company must have all of the confidence in the world.
Well, with both Baylor and Oklahoma still on the schedule, it’s hard to say that this momentum will last throughout the season. The flipside to their solid defense is a shaky offense, run by a wildly inconsistent Max Duggan at QB. But, If Duggan can control the tempo, this team can hang with just about anyone in the nation.
- Iowa State (5-3 Overall, 3-2 in Big 12)
Brock Purdy is for real. Iowa State’s sophomore signal caller out of Arizona is finally getting the hang of running the offense, and the results thus far have been fantastic. He has thrown for 15 TDs through eight games, already on the brink of eclipsing his impressive freshman year numbers.
Iowa State is more than just Purdy though. Perhaps one of the top to bottom most complete teams in the conference, Iowa State really does not have many holes on the roster. But with the toughest part of their schedule on the horizon, the Cyclones may have a tough time closing out the season.
- Texas (5-3 overall, 3-2 in Big 12)
Well, maybe Texas isn’t quite “back” yet.
Let’s start with the good. Sam Ehlinger looks like the Heisman talent we touted him to be at the beginning of the season. He’s one of the grittiest players in college football, which is why Texas has been close in every single game they’ve played this year. The Longhorns even have some solid receivers for Ehlinger to chuck the ball too.
But boy, this defense. Not only is Texas’ defense bad, it may be one of the worst in the entire country. Of all Big 12 teams, only Kansas has given up more points this season. The Longhorns give up almost 32 points a game thanks to an absolutely porous pass defense. Big plays happen every other series against this team.
But somehow, they still win games. Tom Herman’s team only lost by seven points to both LSU and OU earlier in the season – both contenders for the College Football playoff. If the defense can put together just a few more stops a game, this team could beat anyone in the country.
- Kansas State (5-2 Overall, 2-2 in Big 12)
Kansas State is officially on the national radar with their upset win over Oklahoma last Saturday. The high scoring game will end up being one of the most important games of the season – it may have knocked Oklahoma out of the playoff and ultimately might have cost Jalen Hurts his chance at a Heisman. All because a scrappy team from Manhattan Kansas.
The Wildcats have no discernable strength, but are able to adapt to whoever they play very well. Coach Chris Klieman had big shoes to fill when taking over for the legendary Bill Snyder, but he has done just that in his short time there. The scariest 2-2 team in the Big 12, Kansas State is finally rearing its head.
I did not think we would be here.
The Sooners have been magnificent this season, especially on the offensive end of the ball. CeeDee Lamb may just be the best wide receiver in the conference, and one of the best in the entire nation. Jalen Hurts has been a dream come true for Coach Lincoln Riley, who is able to utilize the star QB’s skillset better than just about anyone in the country. They’re flashy too, having scored the most points in Big 12 play by a sizable margin. They were the team to beat – well, until last Saturday.
The Kansas State loss last Saturday will keep Oklahoma fans up for the next few weeks, but that loss may end up being a wash anyways, as they still have to play the number #1 team in the conference on the road. It was fun while it lasted, Oklahoma fans, but there’s a new best team in the Big 12 now.
Other than a few people in Waco, Texas, I don’t think anyone could have seen this coming. Matt Rhule completely and utterly upended a team that only two years ago went 1-11 and turned them into Big 12 title contenders.
Offensively, the Bears are deadly. With studs like Denzel Mims and Tyquan Thornton on the outside, QB Charlie Brewer has tons of weapons to spread the ball around to – and that’s not even mentioning an elite running back trio of John Lovett, JaMycal Hasty, and Tristan Ebner.
There is nothing more to say but that Baylor’s turnaround is one of the best stories in the entire nation right now. The Bears are undefeated on the season, and officially the team to beat in the Big 12. Thanks in large part to a stifling defense that has only given up 90 points in conference play, The Baylor Bears actually may be one of the best teams in the country.