This weekend was an eventful one for the Big 12. Conference favorite and frontrunner Oklahoma lost their first conference matchup since September of last year thanks to Baylor, who cleanly dominated the Sooners with their prolific rushing attack and a Bear secondary avenging last week’s performance against the Frogs. The most entertaining portion was literally the final second when Baylor coach Dave Aranda called a final second timeout to kick a field goal and the Baylor student body — believing the game had concluded — rushed the field, only to be ushered off so the Sooners could return from the locker room to finish one last play. Sooner coach Lincoln Riley was furious the barnstorming garnered no flag from the officials — which it should have — and with Aranda for being classless, though the move to gather as large a point differential as possible does play into conference tiebreaker scenarios, which are looking more important by the week. It was enjoyable to hear Riley squirm while facing a season that hasn’t met expectations since benching starting quarterback Spencer Rattler (#7), who was called back into service for the first time since the Red River Rivalry. Oklahoma, despite being unbeaten until this weekend, had won five games by a single possession and hasn’t looked anything like the previously dominating offense fans have come to expect.
Texas Tech — led by failed Frog coordinator and soon to be Indeed.com account holder Sonny Cumbie — managed a home victory over Iowa State thanks to a first-half offensive avalanche and an absolute missile of a 62-yard final field goal. The walk-off-victory kick was only four yards shy of former Longhorn Justin Tucker’s record-setting NFL conversion earlier this year and seven yards short of the all-time collegiate record of 69 yards, held by Ove Johansson of Abilene Christian since 1976.
Texas, who has been in freefall since OU erased their 21-point lead in early October, committed the most unbelievable of all conference sins by losing to the Kansas Jayhawks in Austin. The Longhorns have embarked on a Sisyphus-like journey over the past five weeks, losing every game while holding a lead in every single contest. The Austinites flipped the script against KU and trailed for the entirety, by as many as 21 points for significant portions. Steve Sarkisian, who is now somehow on the hot seat during his first season, managed to maneuver his team back into contention and knot the score to force overtime. Bevo gained their first lead after a touchdown, before the Rock Chalks answered and converted a two-point attempt to win 57-56, awarding Kansas their first conference victory since beating Tech by 3 in October of 2019. The Jayhawks had beaten one team this season, a 3-point win against South Dakota of the FCS in Week 1. UT has now lost six consecutive games, and, to add insult, their feature back Bijan Robinson (#5) is likely sidelined for the remainder of the season after an elbow injury against KU. The Longhorns have about as good of a chance at achieving bowl eligibility as the Frogs do this season, which is not very.
Then there is TCU, who dueled with the Oklahoma State Cowboys, whom I’m now confident asserting are the best team in the Big 12 this year. Things started with hope as TCU’s Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson (#1) dislodged a reception for an early turnover before Chandler Morris (#14) bombed a pass to Tay Barber (#4). Sadly, the completion was called back because Barber was not eligible due to a formation issue, and the game spiraled from there. As I warned last week, the secret is out about Morris, and the Pokes defense — who are the best in the conference in almost every category — weren’t giving an inch. Frog receivers weren’t a tremendous help. Drops plagued the offensive group all night, and OSU’s defense made the unit appear slow. If anything, the black shirts seemed almost like a vintage Gary Patterson defense: hard hitting, incredibly fast, and assignment–sound. Emari Demercado (#3) was again the lone scholarship running back available, and Jerry Kill and Doug Meacham tried to bring creativity by including snaps under center and fullback involvement, but the Cowboys were just too good. Defensively, it was an amalgamation of the UT, Kansas State, and SMU games, where their opponent ate chunks on the ground, repeatedly elevating the quarterback to star status by managing the game.
Spencer Sanders (#3) can be prone to mistakes when too much is demanded in the passing game, but it wasn’t. Sanders drove the bus with his arm and used his legs — which are speedy — when he needed to. The end result was a whopping 447 rushing yards and eight scores on the ground by four different running backs. Sanders also passed for a touchdown to conclude a 63-17 asskicking. Demercado scored late in the fourth, and the TCU defense managed a strip-6 in garbage time to stool–soften what was a shitpile performance.
While Saturday was anything but enjoyable for Frog faithful, it was necessary. Admit it, a lot of people started flirting with the idea last week that Kill might be a good candidate for head coach after the Baylor win or that TCU jumped the gun on talking to Patterson about moving on after this season. Saturday killed — pun intended — any notion that this staff should remain wearing purple and white Polos after this season, and it’s not a bad thing. The Frogs host Kansas this week. Hopefully, the Jayhawks are exhausted from an emotional overtime shootout against the Longhorns. The mathematical odds of Kansas winning two conference games in a row are next to zero, but this group gave Oklahoma a run and beat UT, and no sane person can predict which TCU group will pad up week-to-week. I’m not confident of anything about Saturday’s matchup, but I wouldn’t be surprised by either outcome.
Real intrigue is brewing at the top of the conference with the Oklahomas and Baylor. The Bears are in third place with two losses and the Pokes and Sooners are sitting with one each. Either OSU or OU will finish the year with two losses thanks to the Bedlam matchup during the final week. Everyone in Waco morphed into huge Oklahoma State fans over the weekend. If the Mullet Militia win out, the Bears will own the head-to-head against the Sooners, and each will have lost to the Cowboys. If this scenario plays out, Aranda’s Bears gain a rematch in the Big 12 title game and a chance to avenge their earlier loss. This year has potential to be the first time the crimson and cream miss the conference title since it was split by Baylor and TCU back in 2014.