#12 Oklahoma State (6-1) @ #15 Texas Tech (7-1)
Oklahoma State and Texas Tech enter Saturday night's game in Lubbock each with one conference loss. Both teams, however, remain in control of their own destiny in the Big 12 title chase. Which ever team falters Saturday night may have to start thinking about second place, however, with Baylor and Texas still undefeated, and that's not to forget about Oklahoma who is sitting on one loss.
The Red Raiders will be trying to rebound from their first loss of the season after falling to the Sooners last weekend, 38-30. Up until last Saturday, Tech's run defense had been stout but the Sooners were able to gash them on the ground for 277 yards.
Was that a one game blip on the radar or were the Sooners onto something? We may have the answer to that question come Saturday with the Cowboys turning to Desmond Roland at the running back position last weekend against Iowa State. The junior ran for 219 yards against the Cyclones after seeing limited action for most of the season.
Logic would seem to indicate that OSU would attack Tech the same way given the Sooners' success, not to mention, the inconsistent quarterback play from J.W. Walsh and Clint Chelf may make it a necessity more than anything else.
Keys to the Game:
1. Turnovers. Here is some football 101 for you: turning the ball over doesn't help a team win games, especially against good teams0 Texas Tech turned the ball over three times against OU which is a big reason they suffered their first loss of the season. For the season, Texas Tech has turned it over 19 times and are -6 in turnover margin on the season.
Oklahoma State, on the other hand, has just 10 turnovers on the season and leads the Big 12 with a +9 margin in turnovers. Take away the four turnovers they suffered against TCU and they've turned it over just six times on the season.
Advantage: Oklahoma State.
2. Jones AT&T Stadium: There's nothing Oklahoma State can do about the venue, but you can bet the Jones will be rocking Saturday night. The Cowboys played their worst game of the season in Morgantown and can't afford to have a repeat performance on the road.
3. The Oklahoma State quarterbacks. The emergence of Roland helps, but the Cowboys quarterbacks are a combined 30 of 67 (44.7%) over the past two games. That might be good enoughagainst TCU and Iowa State but likely won't get it done Saturday night.
4. Jace Amaro. Nobody has been able to cover Texas Tech's tight end all season who has at least eight receptions in seven straight games. If the Cowboys can find a way to take away Davis Webb's safety net, that's a big plus in their favor. Of course, that's much easier said than done..
How about a coin flip? Oklahoma State and Texas Tech's season have nearly mirrored each other with both benefiting from a relatively easy schedule to date. Texas Tech's game against OU is the only game either has played against teams in the top five of the Big 12.
Texas Tech looks to have the more potent offense while the Cowboys likely have the defensive advantage. Neither team has ran the ball exceptionally well all season.
Here's the one big difference between the teams, however. Texas Tech knows who they are. While Kliff Kingsbury won't shy away from the running game, their bread and butter is playing fast and throwing the rock. Sound familiar Oklahoma State?
The Cowboys, meanwhile, have struggled to find an offensive identity for most of the season. At times, the passing game has gotten it done. Other times, they've turned to the running game like last week against Iowa State. But if you're being honest, what are they really good at? I'm not sure even Mike Gundy nor Mike Yurcich know the answer to that.
At this point in the season, you are who you are. Advantage, Red Raiders.
Texas Tech will throw for - let's say 350 yards - while the Cowboys offense will have trouble keeping pace. A couple turnovers will keep the game within reach, but Tech will be too much on their home turf. The Red Raiders keep their Big 12 title hopes alive. Texas Tech 34 Oklahoma State 27.
For nearly every game dating back to the 2004 season, the seats in the south end zone at Floyd Casey Stadium have been covered by a tarp because, well, they never really needed those seats. Now? That infamous tarp is a thing in the past. It's funny what a little winning will do for a program.
The final two games of the season against OU and Texas are expected to be complete sellouts which also happen to be the final two games ever to be played at Floyd Casey with Baylor set to move into its new digs along the Brazos River next season.
There's been plenty of jokes made about what actually may be hiding under the tarp, but the school confirmed on Thursday that it's all good. There's no rotting animals nor was Jimmy Hoffa anywhere to be found.
Baylor is also going to black out the stadium against the Sooners - uniforms and all - in what is shaping into one of the biggest games in the school's history, or at least the biggest in anyone's recent memory. So far, 700 of the additional 3,500 tickets have been sold with the remaining tickets expected to be gone by early next week.
Both Baylor and Oklahoma are off this weekend giving each a few extra days of preparation.
Thanks for stopping by and we'll have plenty more next week on the Baylor-OU tilt leading up to Thursday's game.
Thursday night football has become of bit tradition among college football fans with ESPN highlighting a game every Thursday night as an appetizer for what's ahead on Saturday. The NFL has also gotten into the mix with its weekly showcase of a Thursday night game, as well.
This Thursday night, however, could put some football fans into a bit of quandary - especially those with kids - with Halloween forcing football fans to make a decision.
Good thing we have an answer as that question happened to be the subject of this week's Discover Fan Loyalty Poll.
An overwhelming 49% of respondents indicated they'd try and do both, that is hand out candy while also taking in the game simultaneously. It might not be ideal, no, but it's doable nonetheless. That's not to say everyone would be so willing to multitask, however.
Twenty-two percent indicated trick-or-treaters would be out of luck as they would turn off the front lights and simply focus on the game. That would likely be option number one for those that don't have young children, I'm guessing.
There were also a few other options:
I'm probably with the majority trying to hand out candy while watching the game. If that's not an option, well, then the house is going dark. Going out-and-about while either missing or recording the game is out the question entirely. That might even be the case if it's not my favorite team, afterall, football is football, you know?
So where do you fall?
As for this week's Discover fan poll, it's not shocking to see Alabama continue to lead the way as the country's top team. The Crimson Tide received 45% of the votes with Oregon and Ohio State rounding out the top three. Apparently there weren't a lot of respondents from the state of Florida as Florida State remained outside the top three despite dominant victories the last two weeks over Clemson and North Carolina State.
The Discover Fan Loyalty Poll is conducted twice a month by Rasmussen Reports, a nationally recognized leader in polling, who gathers sentiment by phone from 1500 college football fans who follow games at least once per week on television, radio, in person or online. The Poll leads up to the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl. Discover’s commitment to college football includes relationships with ESPN and Notre Dame Football on NBC.
Disclaimer: I am a paid brand Blogger for Discover Products Inc. My views are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Discover Products Inc. and its affiliates.
There was some movement within this week's rankings, but the division between the top and bottom half remains clear as day.
Here's a look this week's edition of the Big 12 power poll as October comes to a close.
1. (-) Baylor (7-0): Another week, another easy victory for Art Briles and crew. At this point, what is left to say except the Bears final five games of the season are going to be amazing to watch. So who's excited for Oklahoma - Baylor a week from Thursday? Up next: bye.
2. (↑2) Texas (5-2): Well how about this? Almost everyone in American thought Texas was cooked following the losses to BYU and Ole Miss. Now? Texas has a legitimate shot at capturing the Big 12 title. Will Texas have enough left in the tank to finish it off? We'll find out but after four straight Big 12 wins, anything is possible. Up next: Kansas.
3. (↓1) Texas Tech (7-1): Some may say the wind is out of the Red Raiders' sail, but the fact is they lost to a very good OU team on their home field in a game they had a chance to win. There's no shame in that. How they respond this weekend will be the telltale sign as to what is to come. Up next: Oklahoma State.
4. (↑1) Oklahoma (7-1): As far as the Big 12 title goes, Saturday's game was a must win for the Sooners and they did just that. Now, they have 10 days to prepare for their new biggest game of the season. If the thought of Oklahoma-Baylor doesn't get your blood pumping, well, I don't know what to tell you. Up next: bye.
5. (↓2) Oklahoma State (6-1): The Cowboys didn't get much out of their passing game against the Cyclones, but they didn't need to after grinding out 342 yards on the ground. The Cowboys might appear to be the weakest of the Big 12 contenders to date, but it would also be a big mistake to count the Cowboys out of anything as the calendar flips to November. Up next: @ Texas Tech.
6. (-) Kansas State (3-4): The Wildcats continued their improvement over the weekend and now finally have a win to show for it. K-State may be out of the Big 12 race, but there also a team capable of ruining other's Big 12 title hopes over the season's final weeks (looking at you Texas Tech and OU). Up next: Iowa State.
7. (↑) 1West Virginia (3-5): Another game away from Morgantown and another loss for the Mountaineers. West Virginia is now 0-4 in games not played on their home field. Will WVU be bowling this holiday season? They need to win three of their final four in order to get there. The good news, Iowa State and Kansas still remain on their schedule. Up next: @ TCU.
8. (↓1) TCU (3-5): Even the return of Casey Pachall at quarterback wasn't enough to spark the Horned Frogs offense on Saturday. TCU now finds itself in the same position as West Virginia needing to win three of four in order to qualify for a bowl game. Oh, who's up next. You guessed it. Up next: West Virginia.
9. (↑1) Iowa State (1-6): Iowa State' misery continued on Saturday as they had no answer for OSU's Desmond Rolland who racked up 219 yards and four touchdowns. The game of musical chairs also continued at the quarterback position as they continue to look for somebody to put points on the scoreboard. Up next: @ Kansas State.
10. (↓1) Kansas (2-5): Well, it could have been worse. The Jayhawks were Baylor's latest victim as their Big 12 losing streak stretched to 24 games. I still think, maybe, somehow, KU will find a way to win one over their final five games. It just won't be this weekend. Up next: @ Texas.
Texas had to wait out a three hour weather delay midway through the second quarter but it had little effect as the Longhorns rolled to a relatively easy 30-7 victory over TCU.
"They have all had a goal and a dream to play on Sunday and now they have done that, it has happened," Mack Brown joked following the game. "We handled the three-hour delay much better than the two hour delay at BYU because we have experience at that now."
I'd say so. Texas also had to wait out a nearly two hour delay prior to their game at BYU and then promptly got throttled by the Cougars in a game that turned out to be the catalyst for the team we saw Saturday night
On the other sideline, it was no joking matter as TCU's offense stalled, yet again, despite the return of quarterback Casey Pachall. Pachall completed 13 of 34 passes in his return but was plagued by several dropped passes by the usually sure handed TCU receivers.
Add to that the fact Trevone Boykin, who started the game at QB, fumbled inside their own five yard line and the Horned Frogs muffed a punt setting up another Texas score, and the mistakes were too many to overcome. Following the weather delay, TCU never crossed midfield the rest of the night.
The Horned Frogs must now win three of their final four games to keep their streak of nine straight bowl games alive.
"We dropped passes; there were a lot of things. I'm not putting anybody at fault. The bottom line is we're not very good. We're going to have to get better if we want to win ball games," Gary Patterson said.
Texas, on the other hand, has put themselves in prime position at what once seemed like an improbable run at the Big 12 title. The Longhorns are now 4-0 in Big 12 play with two very winnable games ahead against Kansas and West Virginia before facing a tough closing stretch of Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and Baylor.
If the revamped Texas defense continues playing like they did Saturday night, anything is possible. The Longhorns sacked Pachall and Boykin three times and held the Horned Frogs to just 45 yards rushing. Granted, much tougher tests are ahead, but if the last two games are any indication, the Texas defense is without a doubt headed in the right direction.
On a bit of a side note, David Ash's return to the field remains a big question mark for the Longhorns. As a result, Texas burned the redshirt of freshman Tyrone Swoopes to help get him ready in case he's needed down the stretch.
Let the record show Tyrone Swoopes' redshirt was burned at 12:24 a.m. in a 23-point victory.— Mike Finger (@mikefinger) October 27, 2013
Mack Brown just told us on postgame that David Ash may not be able to play next Saturday, which is why Tyrone Swoopes played tonight.— Craig Way (@craigway1) October 27, 2013
Some may question the move, but it is probably a good indication that Ash's status may not actually be a question mark at all. Brown said following the game that he won't play against Kansas which is why Swoopes played Saturday night. But you don't burn his redshirt because Ash can't play against Kansas. You burn it because Ash might not be able to play the final three games when Texas will be fighting for the Big 12 title.
The next few weeks will obviously paint a clearer picture as to Ash's status, but there's no turning back now as far as Swoopes goes. I'd expect him to see plenty of action the next couple weeks if Texas takes care of business as expected.
But that's for the Texas coaching staff to figure out. For now, it was another Texas win and an easy one at that.
As everyone expected, Kansas became victim number seven for Baylor on Saturday night.
The Jayhawks actually starting the game by forcing Baylor to punt on their first two drives of the game but that turned out to be the highlight of the night. It was all downhill from there as the Bears scored touchdowns on their next four possessions while racking up 500 yards of offense in the first two quarters before heading to the locker room with a 38-0 halftime lead.
What did Kansas coach Charlie Weis think after seeing the Bears up close and personal?
"They've got a lot of firepower", Weis said following the 59-14 defeat. "And we never really could protect the defense early in the game by having our offense stay on the field."
Is there another team in the country that can match Baylor's offense?
"I'd have a tough time finding it," Weis said. "I think they're pretty good. They're real good. The quarterback is a really solid player. They have receivers making plays all over the field. They have good speed. They're running backs play well. And they have a couple big muchachos up front in the offensive line, as well, so I think they're really good."
Weis also talked during his postgame press conference about the schematics that make them so tough to defend.
"The two things you have to be concerned with is the tempo, which, the tempo didn't seem to bother us but the horizontal stretching of the field (did). By that I mean they have a guy two yards from this sideline and they've got a guy two yards from this (opposite) sideline. You have to cover really the whole width of the field."
"They've got good athletes and they can expose you. There were times there was a guy running the ball and somebody goes to fill in the hole and one guy makes you miss and there is no one within five yards of you and the next thing you know, the guy is hitting is head off the goal post. He just scored a touchdown. That happened several times today. That horizontal stretching of the field is pretty tough to defend."
Every coach that has faced Baylor this season has left impressed, but those comments nearly mirrored what UL-Monroe coach Todd Berry said earlier this season after facing Baylor.
"It's a very unique scheme they have. Art (Briles) keeps re-inventing the wheel there. Their wide receivers are (lined up) wider this year. They'll put three wide receivers out by the numbers on the field side, and even if you try and go three-on-three, you've lost a support player (for the run game) and they really put you in a bind because they have this huge O-line" (see his full comments here).
"They just stress you so much schematically. They are for real. I am going to be very curious to watch the rest of the season to see how people try and defend them."
Hopefully Coach Berry didn't fret too much about giving up 70 to Baylor. We're about to hit November and nobody has exactly figured it out yet, either.
Next up for Baylor is Oklahoma a week from Thursday in what looks like will be one of the biggest games of the season in the Big 12. If there's a defense in the league that can hang with the Bears, it may very well be the Sooners' secondary who will have a couple extra days to prepare.
Oklahoma knocked Texas Tech from the ranks of the unbeatens on Saturday but they'll need to be even better next Thursday night when they head to Waco. Buckle up because the fun is just getting started.
West Virginia (3-4) @ Kansas State (2-4)
Following the Mountaineers upset victory over Oklahoma State, West Virginia got blown off the field in Waco and followed that up with a solid performance against Texas Tech albeit in a losing effort. One was at home, one was not.
In three games away from Morgantown, the Mountaineers have scored, 7, 0, and 42 points (although 21 of those points came in the fourth quarter after Baylor had called off the dogs).
Now Dana Holgorsen's crew heads to Manhattan to take on Kansas State who is in the middle of a three game losing streak themselves. After falling to Texas, the Wildcats hung tough against Oklahoma State and played Baylor far closer than anyone has to date.
Holgorsen said this week he's sticking with Clint Trickett as his starting quarterback. Trickett played his best game of the season against Texas Tech, but still remains far from a finished product. The good news for WVU, however, is it appears as if Trickett will give the 'Eer's some consistency at the position which should not only benefit Trickett, but the offense as a whole. This will be Trickett's fourth straight start.
On the other sideline, Kansas State continues to juggle Daniel Sams and Jake Waters at the quarterback position. Now that we're entering the season's second half, it looks like it's a rotation that will continue not only this week, but until season's end.
Sams has received the bulk of the snaps the past two weeks, not only because of his running ability, but because K-State's top wide receivers, Tramaine Thompson and Tyler Lockett, have been out of action battling injuries. Both are expected back this week and Waters may see increased playing time as a result if the Wildcats choose to turn to their passing game more frequently.
West Virginia, Keys to the Game:
1. How about some offense? It's no secret the Mountaineers offense hasn't been up to par this season. Blame it on whatever you'd like, but it appears there may be light at the end of the tunnel. Trickett played his best game of the season last week and appears to be improving running Holgorsen's offense. They also have had success with the combo of Dremius Smith and Charles Sims running the football. That's great if.....
2. Improved offensive line play. Holgorsen was less than complementary of the play up front earlier this season. It appears to be improving, however, as WVU will go with the same starting five for the third straight week. That continuity along with Trickett's improvement could be better days - and more points - are on the horizon.
Kansas State, Keys to the Game:
1. Hold onto the rock. One thing that rarely affects a Bill Snyder coached team is turnovers. That hasn't been the case this season and it's cost them dearly. In their three Big 12 losses to date, they Wildcats are -7 in turnover margin. For the season, they are -9 (6 gained, 15 lost). We all know Bill Snyder is a genius, but it's even tough for him to look good when that stat is working against you.
2. Special teams. Lockett and Thompson's return on offense is big, but it may be even more important on special teams. Their return to action can't leave WVU's specials team coach - Joe Deforest - feeling to good at the moment. See below.
Here are two teams sitting with a combined 5-8 record at the season's midway point. Not great, no, but don't get caught up in the records and think this won't be a great football game.
Both teams have played all their conference games against teams in the top half of the league. For West Virginia; OU, Oklahoma State, Baylor, and Texas Tech. For Kansas State; Texas, Oklahoma State, and Baylor.
So, what does that mean for Saturday? Well, for one, both are probably better than their records indicate. And two, even with sub .500 records for each, bowl eligibility is well within reach. That is what makes Saturday's game so important for both teams.
Even though WVU looks to be improving, I'm still giving the edge to Kansas State on Saturday. Daniel Sams running along with Thompson and Lockett's return will be the difference.
Not to mention, I'm still not sold on the Mountaineers offense being consistent enough to win on the road in an environment like the one they'll see on Saturday.
It'll be close through three quarters before the Wildcats were them down up front in the fourth and walk away with a 17 point victory in hand. Kansas State 34 West Virginia 17.
#9 Texas Tech (7-0) @ #12 Oklahoma (6-1)
Texas Tech may be 7-0 but there remains plenty of doubters wondering if their perfect record has more to do with their schedule than anything else. Wherever you stand on Tech, Saturday is their chance to start turning those doubters into believers when they head to Norman to take on the 6-1 Sooners.
Even though their schedule hasn't been stout, don't underestimate their victory over TCU nor their road win at West Virginia last weekend. As Oklahoma State already knows, traveling to Morgantown to play the Mountaineers is no Sunday picnic.
Even so, Saturday's contest in Norman will be their toughest test of the season. Beat OU on their home field and there should be little doubt the Red Raiders are serious contenders for their first ever Big 12 title.
The Sooners struggled last week at Kansas coming off the disappointing performance against the Longhorns. The loss of Jordan Philips and Corey Nelson to season ending injuries were obviously huge for OU's defense and through two games without them, one has to wonder just how much if affected the team's psyche overall.
A win Saturday against an undefeated Tech team would be the spring board to get OU right back into the thick of the Big 12 race, not that they were ever out of it. It would also give the Sooners a shot of needed confidence with Baylor next up on the schedule. But first things first.
Texas Tech, Keys to the Game:
1. Do what you do on offense. Texas Tech has a run/pass ratio of 40/60 so far this season. Logic says, however, that since Oklahoma has had trouble stopping the run of late, Tech should run the ball more on Saturday.
That theory makes sense except for the fact that is not what Texas Tech does well. Of Tech's total yards this season, 74% has come through the air. If that's what works, then do it, despite the fact Oklahoma has the top ranked pass defense in the Big 12.
Dig a little deeper into OU's pass defense and find a team that has the ability to throw the ball the way Texas Tech does. Still looking? So am I. West Virginia was able to move the ball through the air with Paul Millard at quarterback. TCU had some success, as did Texas even though they relied on the ground game.
Oklahoma's pass defense is the strength of their defense, but that doesn't mean Texas Tech can't or won't have success throwing the ball. Couple that with the fact Tech can also move the chains complementing the pass with Kenny Williams and DeAndre Washington and that 40/60 run ratio is exactly what they should stick to against the Sooners.
And who exactly is going to cover Jace Amaro? Mike Stoops is probably wondering the same thing.
2. Clean it up. Texas Tech leads the Big 12 in penalties and is also tied with West Virginia for the most turnovers (16). It hasn't hurt them yet, but it can and will against a team like Oklahoma.
Oklahoma, Keys to the Game:
1. Get Texas Tech off the field. The Red Raiders have faced 120 third downs in 2013. They converted 59 of them or 49.2%, good for second in the league behind only Baylor. Oklahoma, on the other hand, has been respectable on third down defense allowing a 33.7% conversion rate. Who wins the battle when Tech faces third downs on Saturday is going to have big leg up in walking away with another victory.
2. Can OU hit a big play in the passing game? It's likely Tech will load the box trying to stop the run and Oklahoma will still try and run it because that's what they do. But, there has to be more.
ESPN stats had some good info this week indicated Bell has hit on just 8 of 31 passes of 15 yards or longer this season. That's not great, but if Bell can find the connection a couple more times on Saturday, that will make everything just a little bit easier.
My head says Oklahoma wins on Saturday. Texas Tech hasn't been seriously tested just yet and Oklahoma has the capability to wear them down over four quarters. The Red Raiders have been great all season, but I'm guessing that depth will become a bit of an issue against the Sooners.
My gut, however, says Texas Tech finds a way to win, again. There's something to like about this Texas Tech team. Freshmen quarterbacks or not, they don't play with fear, and that confidence seems to spread throughout the team. Maybe that's the moxy Kliff Kingsbury has instilled in them, but whatever it is, the recipe is working.
So what wins out, head or gut? I picked against Texas Tech last weekend - and lost - but am not going to do it twice in a row.
Tech will face more adversity than they have all season and how they respond will be the difference between staying in the driver's seat at 8-0 or falling back to the pack at 7-1. Here's guessing they handle it well, or well enough. Texas Tech 30 Oklahoma 27.
Kansas is faced with the unenviable task this week of trying to slow down a Baylor team that is steamrolling nearly everything in its path. The Bears have scored 69 points or more in five of their six games this season.
The good news for the Jayhawks is that in the one game in which they failed to put a ridiculous number on the scoreboard happened to be their one game away from Floyd Casey Stadium. Baylor travels to Lawrence this weekend, likely the only advantage working in KU's favor.
"The only team that has slowed them down was actually Kansas State. Remember, they've only played one game on the road and the one game on the road was Kansas State and they were down in the fourth quarter. So it's not quite the same on the road as it is at home," Charlie Weis said during his Tuesday press conference.
Kansas State held Baylor to 35 points, half of their season average, and did so while limiting the Bears to a season low 446 yards of total offense.
So what was the key? Weis believed the crowd noise in Manhattan played a part in the final outcome.
"I'm hoping for a six o'clock loud boisterous crowd to not make it so easy on them. I think that's what they got when they were at K-State. It was a loud boisterous crowd and Kansas State played conservative," Weis added.
Ok, it's loud in most road venues. Why might it affect Baylor more than others?
"They call everything at the line of scrimmage and everything at the line of scrimmage quickly. When you're calling plays at the line of scrimmage and not worrying about how fast you're calling them, you can go up and down (the line of scrimmage) and get it communicated.
"When you're trying to snap the ball as fast as they're trying to snap it, they're counting on verbal commands for everyone to know (the play). It's a lot easier when you can yell it to them than when you have to walk up and tell it to them. When you have to walk up and tell it to them, that can slow down the tempo."
It sounds reasonable and in fact, it's probably absolutely true. The question is will the crowd show up to do its part?
Kansas is averaging just 39,639 in attendance so far in four home games. Given the fact KU is sitting at 2-4 and on a 23 game Big 12 losing streak, excitement isn't exactly running rampant around the football program. Maybe having one of the best - and most exciting - teams in the country coming to town will do the trick. The 6:00 kick time won't hurt, either.
However many show up, Weis hopes they get their vocal chords tuned up early. Asked when they should start yelling:
"When they get there," Weis said. "When our defense goes on the field and when our defense goes off the field. That would be a good time. They can yell the whole time. They can yell bad things at me, I don't care, just make it very loud the whole time we're on defense."
While the crowd in Manhattan likely played a role in slowing Baylor down, the Wildcats' defense had plenty to do Baylor's limited output (by their standards). K-State held Baylor to just 114 yards on the ground.
"They played conservative. They only blitzed a couple times the whole game. They just lined up in their defense and said we're going to try and make you one dimensional and take away the run and make you just have to throw it," Weis concluded. "If they don't give up a couple big plays in the fourth quarter, they might have beat them."
The Jayhawks have been respectable defending the run although Oklahoma did pile up 235 yards on the ground and averaged over five yards per carry last Saturday. Add to that the fact Kansas hasn't seen a running back like they'll see when Lache Seastrunk rolls into town - not to mention their mammoth offensive line - and you begin to realize the difficulty in slowing down the Bears' attack.
So there you have it, the recipe for a Saturday upset special. A loud crowd to get the Bears out of their rhythm and halt a Baylor ground game averaging 300 yards per game. Sounds easy enough (not to forget Baylor throws for 415 yards per game)
No, it won't be that easy, but he is on to something. Whether or not KU and their crowd can actually execute it is another story.
Take a look at the Big 12 standings and you'll see a clear division among the top and the bottom half of the league.
Oklahoma State currently occupies the fifth place slot with a 2-1 conference record. TCU and West Virginia are next in line but they're already a game-and-a-half out of fifth place with 1-3 records and are three games behind conference leader Texas Tech.
In essence, what the bottom five teams in the league are playing for at this point is bowl eligibility.
At the top, it's an entirely different story.
Of the top five teams in the league (Texas Tech, Baylor, Texas, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State), only Texas and Oklahoma have already played each other.
Texas Tech, Baylor, and Oklahoma State all have yet to play the other top four teams in the league. Oklahoma and Texas, by virtue of having already having played each other, still have to play the other top three teams in the league. I'd say this all means we're in for one heck of a finish.
With so many games remaining, who knows how this Big 12 race will shake out but if you're handicapping the race down the stretch excluding all other factors besides strength of schedule, here's who you're favorites should be:
What's to like: They've already beaten Oklahoma which is the biggest win by any of the top five teams. That by itself gives the Longhorns the early advantage. They also get Oklahoma State and Texas Tech at home which is another plus on their side. And they've yet to chalk up a win against Kansas.
What's not to like: Of the three games remaining against teams outside of the top five in the league, two are road games at TCU and West Virginia. While both teams have struggled early in the season, neither will be easy for Texas to handle away from home. And of course, there is the road trip to Waco to end the season which will be the last ever game at Floyd Casey Stadium.
What's to like: Outside the fact they might have the best team in the league, they get both Oklahoma and Texas on their home field. They also get to play Texas Tech in Arlington which could play to their advantage by avoiding a trip to Lubbock which is never easy. And like Texas, they have yet to chalk up the proverbial win against Kansas.
What's not to like: Baylor has no bye weeks the rest of the way which could be a disadvantage given their heavily back loaded schedule. Can they hold up physically against Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas to end the season, only two of which are at home?
3. Oklahoma State:
What's to like: The Cowboys get Baylor and Oklahoma on their home field to end the season. Plus, they've yet to play the two weakest teams in the league, Iowa State and Kansas.
What's not to like: They already have a loss to a team outside of the top five (West Virginia). This gives them little margin for error heading down the stretch. Can they find enough offense on the road to win at Texas Tech and Texas?
4. Texas Tech:
What's to like: The Red Raiders are the only team already with four conference wins.
What's not to like: Of the top five teams, Tech arguably has the toughest road home. Of the four remaining games against the top five, only Oklahoma State is in Lubbock. Baylor is on a neutral field while they have to travel to Oklahoma and Texas. They do get Kansas State at home, as well, but you can bet the Wildcats will be a better team by that point than there were when the others got to play them early in the season.
What's to like: They get Texas Tech at home this weekend. And they have yet to play Iowa State which happens to be in Norman, as well.
What's not to like: Everything else. Oklahoma already has a loss to Texas putting them at a big disadvantage. Plus they have to go to Baylor and Oklahoma State on top of a trip to Manhattan which won't be a walk in the park.
So what does it all mean? We are about to find out.
Texas Tech, Baylor, Texas are the only teams with a chance to make it through the league schedule unscathed although the odds of that happening are about the same as the league champion finishing with two losses.
We've witnessed the SEC beating up on each other of the past couple weeks and the same thing could be about to happen in the Big 12. Bob Bowlsby talked during the offseason about the weak early season schedule (and man was he ever right) and the tremendous schedule set for November (no, he apparently wasn't kidding).
You're guess as to who comes out on top is as good as mine, but buckle up, because the fun is just about to get started.