Baylor takes on Texas Saturday afternoon with at least a share of the Big 12 title on the line. It's also the last game that will be played at Floyd Casey Stadium before the Bears move into their new digs next season.
In honor of the event, Baylor will be donning some throw back uniforms when they take on the Longhorns.
Here are a few of the pictures as tweeted by Jeff Barlow, Baylor's equipment manager.
Here is the side view of the throwback helmet pic.twitter.com/FcpoO9NT3y— Jeff Barlow (@JeffEquipBU) December 2, 2013
Side view of pants pic.twitter.com/pxRpamriFu— Jeff Barlow (@JeffEquipBU) December 2, 2013
What do you think? They're sharp if you ask me. The Bears have been on the cutting edge of the uniform craze this season with the gold helmets worn against West Virginia and the all black look against Oklahoma.
Now, they're bringing the old school look versus the Longhorns which should be a fitting tribute to honor the occasion.
Iowa State's offense finished the season with a flurry scoring 34 and 52 points over the final two weekends of the season but it still wasn't enough to save offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham's job.
Paul Rhoads announced on Sunday that Messingham and running backs coach Ken Pope would not return next season. Both were hired by Rhoads as part of his original staff when he came to Ames prior to the 2009 season.
Inexperience and injuries at the quarterback position didn't make Messingham's job any easier this season, but the Cyclones offense has been inconsistent at best and downright awful at its worst since Messingham took over playing calling duties prior to the 2012 season.
The Cyclones had averaged just over 24 points per game in each of the past two seasons which was better than only Kansas in the Big 12 during that time.
"It's not that surprising," Iowa State running back James Woody told the Ames Tribune on Sunday. "It's disappointing because I liked Messingham as a guy. Based on the success that we didn't have during the season I understand why that happened."
Rhoads doesn't appear to be in a big hurry to fill the two coaching vacancies as any type of announcement regarding the hires isn't expected for at least two weeks as Rhoads and the rest of the staff turn their focus solely to recruiting.
It would appear that Rhoads has a couple internal candidates to fill the coordinator void should he decided to go that route as he did with Messingham. Offensive line coach Chris Klenakis was Nevada's offensive coordinator from 2007-2009 and was brought in to help install the pistol offense this season.
Wide receiver coach Todd Sturdy was Washington State's offensive coordinator prior to joining ISU's staff, as well. He was let go when Mike Leach took over in Pullman before the 2012 season.
Whichever route Rhoads decide to go, the career path of former OC Tom Herman won't hurt his chances should he decide to look outside the program.
Rhoads plucked Herman away from Rice where he was running the Owl's high flying offense when he was hired as ISU's head coach. Urban Meyer saw the genius in the hire who then brought him to Columbus two season's ago where he is currently the coordinator for the Buckeyes as the get set for the Big Ten championship game with the BCS title game likely to follow.
Rhoads obviously isn't standing pat with the status quo coming off a three win season, his lowest win total in five seasons as ISU's head coach. He has taken the Cyclones to bowl games in three of his five season and has brought back the competitiveness that was lost during Gene Chizik's two year stint in Ames. Even so, he has yet to get the program over the proverbial "hump" so it's not all the shocking he's looking for some new blood as he continues to move the program forward.
With just two games remaining on the Big 12's schedule, the conference champion is still in doubt, although we're now down to just four scenarios as to how this thing could play out. (This is now what the Big 12 crosses its fingers and hopes for at the beginning of every season, right?)
What we do know is that after Baylor's victory over TCU on Saturday, a four way tie atop the standings is no longer part of the equation so you can forget - for another 12 months at least, the Big 12's tiebreaker rules because all we may need to rely on now is a couple head-to-head matchups. That, by the way, also officially eliminates Oklahoma from sharing the title in any way.
Here's the way next Saturday could play out and what effect it will have on the conference title. The games:
First scenario: the favorites win
That would mean Baylor knocks off Texas and Oklahoma State takes care of Oklahoma. In that case, Oklahoma State and Baylor would tie for the league title with Cowboys receiving the league's automatic bid due to their head-to-head victory over the Bears. Baylor would then be left hoping for an at-large bid into the BCS with an 11-1 record or if not, a likely trip to the AT&T Cotton Bowl.
Second scenario: the favorites lose
If Texas and Oklahoma both find a way to score victories on Saturday, Texas is your Big 12 champion all by themselves. The Longhorns would head to the Fiesta Bowl while there would be then be a three way tie for second place for the Cotton, Alamo, and Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl to sort out.
Third scenario: Oklahoma State wins, Baylor loses
In this scenario, Oklahoma State and Texas would tie for the Big 12 title. Once again, Oklahoma State would earn the Big 12's automatic bid to the Fiesta Bowl by virtue of their 38-13 victory over Texas.
Fourth scenario: Baylor wins, Oklahoma State loses
Should Baylor beat Texas while the Sooners take care of the Cowboys, Baylor is your 2013 Big 12 Champion. This scenario would also create a three-way tie for second place with Texas, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State all with 7-2 conference records.
So what we're left with is two possibilities of a team winning the title outright (Baylor and Texas) and two scenarios that would produce a tie and in each case, Oklahoma State would hold the tiebreaker.
In even simpler terms:
If Oklahoma State wins, they are Big 12 champs one way or another and are the only team that truly controls their own destiny so to speak.
If Baylor wins, they need an Oklahoma State loss (although technically speaking, they'll be able to call themselves co-champs either way).
If Texas wins, they need an Oklahoma State loss (although technically speaking, they'll be able to call themselves co-champs either way).
What's going to happen? I'll roll with both Oklahoma State and Baylor winning for now, although with the way Baylor has played the last two weeks, anything could happen, obviously. Although with the Bears back on their home field - for the last time mind you - it wouldn't be shocking to see the Baylor offense of old make a reappearance (is Tevin Reese healthy yet? No, you say? Hmmm...).
How did Baylor respond following their first loss of the season? It wasn't a thing a beauty, but it was a win nonetheless as the Bears held off TCU, 41-38, to move to 10-1 on the season.
Even with the return of Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin to the lineup, the Baylor offense struggled for the second straight week. The Bears were held to 365 yards and didn't score a point in the final 18 minutes of the game.
Had it not been for two TCU interceptions that Baylor returned for scores and a third Casey Pachall interception in the game's final seconds, the Bears likely would have been looking at the second straight loss.
All that and what everyone is talking about - despite Gary Patterson's pleas - is the targeting call on Baylor defensive back, Ahmad Dixon, that brought about some terse comments about Dixon and Art Briles during Patterson's postgame press conference.
For those that missed it, Dixon was ejected for a targeting call on Trevone Boykin during the third quarter.
What happened next is Patterson screaming at the officials to kick Dixon out of the game. Briles then came out on the field - I'm assuming here - in defense of his player. Patterson didn't appreciate either.
"Here's the bottom line, number six beats a guy up at the beginning of the season and he doesn't get suspended. He takes a shot. I want him kicked out, Patterson said. The head coach comes across the field to me, OK? There's a guy laughing in front of the cameras on the sidelines. That's not what I call class."
What Dixon's prior transgressions have to do with the actual hit, I'm not sure, but obviously Patterson saw fit to throw it in there. (This isn't the first time Patterson has commented on a player not being suspended.)
"So the bottom line is, we're not going to do that. Gary Patterson lives in Fort Worth. If he has a problem with me, here's where I live. I have respect for him, I have respect for his program. That's not what I'm going to teach my guys. And that guy has been doing that for four years."
Dixon was then seen laughing on the sidelines. About what, I don't know, but that just fueled Patterson's fire and it's probably hard to blame him in this case.
"It wasn't funny. Trevone Boykin came back and jumped off sides and we shouldn't have even put him in for that one play. It wasn't funny. And to come across the field at me, unh-unh. I didn't build this program backing down to anybody and I'm not going to do it to him. Not in anything we do. Not in recruiting, not anything. So you need to understand this, he's picking on the wrong guy."
I'm not sure he was picking on him. In my opinion, he was doing the same thing Patterson was doing, defending his player.
"That's the problem I have. They didn't correct the problem a long time ago. He can say what he wants to, but you're not going to come across the field to me and it's not going to be OK to let a guy stand on the sideline and laugh in front of a TV camera when he knocks a guy out and tries to take a shot to hurt him. We're not going to do that, period."
Patterson then offers some words of advice to Briles on how he should have handled the situation.
"You're not going to come across the field at me. Now you can go correct your player and say something to him because nobody is saying anything to him because I watched. I had to get the officials because they let him stand on the sidelines. If I wouldn't have said anything, they would have let him stand there the whole time. It wasn't that cool."
"If that's what class is, then I don't want to be it, just period."
He wasn't finished.
"I didn't come the high road, I came the low road. I don't care if I ever get on the freeway. I don't teach my kids that."
"We're down to fifty-some players playing against a team that is in the top ten in the nation that's having a great season and - didn't have a lot of breaks go our way - should have won. You tell the number one offense in the nation, 370 yards. Our kids don't have anything to be ashamed about. This program doesn't have anything to be ashamed about."
It's not hard to see where he's coming from even if he did take a few shots at Briles that probably weren't necessary. The officials handled it correctly and ejected Dixon who will also miss the first half of their game with Texas next week because of it.
We can argue intent all day. Who knows what his intent was but when a receiver comes across the middle and goes up for a pass, the defensive backs job is to make a hit. It's unfortunate at times and here's hoping Boykin wasn't seriously injured on the play.
Patterson's full comments from his press conference can be seen below.
There was plenty to like for Longhorn fans in Thursday night's 41-16 victory over Texas Tech.
Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron each topped 100 yards on the ground. Case McCoy played mistake free. And of course, there was the Texas defense that may have turned in their best effort of the season.
Say what you will of Tech's recent struggles, but they still possess and offense that hasn't struggled to put points on the scoreboard. They scored 30 on Oklahoma, 32 against Oklahoma State, and 34 against Baylor yet didn't even come close to sniffing that range on Thursday night. In fact, Texas was the first team all season to hold them under 20 points.
Sacking Tech's quarterbacks nine teams probably had something to do with that. "I didn't know it was nine," defensive coordinator Greg Robinson said. "I was trying to figure that out. That's amazing. I don't know that I have been around that. I've coached a while. I don't know that I've ever been around a nine sack game."
Texas stood up defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat most of the night in the middle of the line and created plenty of confusion in the process. Jeffcoat finished the night with three sacks himself. "It kind of threw us off there at the beginning the first couple of drives," Texas Tech offensive lineman Jared Kaster said. "After coming to the sidelines we have to come out with a game plan and figure out what we are going to do, but yeah I think they came out and confused us."
The Longhorn defense has been a work in progress since Robinson took over following the shellacking against BYU, but if Thursday night was the end result, it wasn't hard to see the night and day difference between then and now.
Of course, UT's defense will be put to the ultimate test in the season finale against Baylor a week from Saturday. One thing Baylor can do that Tech cannot is run the football which likely means that won't be able to pin their ears back in the pass rush like they did against Tech, but that's a story for next week.
For now, it was a step back in the right direction following the disappointment that came against Oklahoma State. If they can find a way to knock off the Bears while getting some help from their friends in Norman, Texas will find themselves as Big 12 champs once again. Imagine that.
Baylor came in averaging 62 poinits per game. They scored 17.
Baylor came in averaging some 740 yards of offense. The Bears finished with 453.
Baylor was averaging over 300 yards rushing. They ended Saturday night with 94 yards on the ground.
Picking out the highlights in Oklahoma State's victory couldn't have been easy because there were many. It's a good thing we don't have too because the Cowboys staff took care of that for us.
Enjoy. It was a memorable night, if you're a Cowboy, that is.
Oklahoma State's victory over Baylor certainly changed the bowl outlook for team's in the Big 12 since the first edition of the Big 12's bowl projections two weeks ago.
What didn't change, however, is the fact the Big 12 champion is still far from unknown and any talk about who's going where largely depends on who receives the conference's automatic bid.
But here's what we do know:
It's highly unlikely a team from the Big 12 will be playing for the national title. The possibility remains Oklahoma State could find their way in, but the list of things that have to go down in order for that to happen are far too long to list.
It also remains a possibility the Big 12 could receive two bids to BCS games. The scenario most feasible for this to happen is for both Oklahoma State and Baylor to win out. The Cowboys would receive the league's automatic bid while Baylor would finish with an 11-1 record leaving them in great shape to receive an at large bid.
With that said, onto the predictions...
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
Oklahoma State vs. Northern Illinois
Let's go out on a limb and assume the Cowboys take care of OU in Stillwater and capture the Fiesta Bowl bid with an 8-1 conference record (and head-to-head tiebreaker over Baylor).
As for their opponent? The pesky Huskies may once again find their way into the BCS if the capture the MAC championship and remain undefeated. They are sitting #14 in the latest BCS polls and need to move up two more spots to assure their position. The Fiesta Bowl has the last choice this season of the large teams meaning they may not have a choice but to take NIU.
Discover Orange Bowl
Baylor vs. Clemson
Here's where it gets interesting. Assuming Alabama and Florida State remain #1 and #2, the Sugar and Orange Bowls will be looking for replacements for their conference champions. It seems likely Clemson would be that replacement with the Orange getting another selection for it's at-large choice. If the Sugar passes on Baylor, it's hard to envision the Orange doing the same if the Bears finish 11-1.
(Wouldn't it be ironic that by missing out on the Big 12's automatic bid, Baylor actually ends up with a better bowl matchup than Oklahoma State? Is that how this is supposed to work?)
AT&T Cotton Bowl
Texas vs. Auburn
If the Big 12 indeed gets two BCS selections, everybody else in the conference moves up a spot in the pecking order. At this point, Texas seems like the selection here since we're assuming Oklahoma will lose to Oklahoma State in the season finale.
As for the SEC side of the equation, it's anybody's guess right now with big games this weekend happening between Auburn-Alabama, South Carolina - Clemson, and Texas A&M - Mizzou.
Valero Alamo Bowl
Oklahoma vs. Arizona State
It now appears the Sooners may be heading to San Antonio to take on the Pac-12 #2 team. If Arizona State losses to Stanford to in the Pac-12 title game, the Sun Devils would likely be the choice although Oregon also an appealing option here, as well.
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
Kansas State vs. Iowa
Tempe would be a great landing spot for the Wildcats and their traveling party after a 2-4 start to the season.
As for the B1G side of the equation, Iowa could be the selection where they also played in the 2010 and 2011. If Nebraska isn't selected for the Outback Bowl, the Huskers could theoretically fall here also setting up a great matchup of former Big 12 mates.
National University Holiday Bowl
Texas Tech vs. Oregon
If all of the above holds true, the Red Raiders would be the last bowl eligible team from the Big 12 and probably wouldn't mind a trip to San Diego.
Could the face the Ducks? It's entirely possible especially if the Alamo Bowl selects Arizona State. If not, the Sun Devils could fall here, also.
Texas Bowl, New Era Pinstripe Bowl
With the Big 12 possibly getting two BCS bowl teams combined with only have six bowl eligible teams, the Texas and Pinstripe Bowls will have to look to the pool of six win teams still looking for a home to fill in for the two spots the Big 12 would be unable to fill this season.
Home for the holidays
TCU, West Virginia, Kansas, Iowa State
Okay, playing a bit of catch up here from the weekend as a bout of sickness ransacked the household over the last several days but we're finally back at it.
As for the power poll, not a lot of movement this week except for the top spots following Oklahoma State's impressive victory on Saturday night. If you saw that coming in the fashion that it went down, than I'd like the next set of lottery numbers, if you don't mind.
With the season down to two weeks, here's how this week's poll shakes out.
1. (↑1) Oklahoma State (10-1): The only thing surprising about the Cowboys victory over Baylor was the ease at which it happened. The Pokes have been playing their best football over the second half of the season and they proved on Saturday night they're one of the top teams in the country even if they aren't likely to get the chance to prove it in the national title game. Up next: bye.
2. (↓1) Baylor (9-1): The season that had gone almost perfectly came crashing back to earth Saturday night in Stillwater. Look at it this way Baylor fans, your team is 9-1 and still has a chance to win the Big 12 and head to a BCS bowl. There is no shame in that, at all. Saturday afternoon in Fort Worth will tell us a lot about this team. Can they pick themselves up off the mat? Up next: @ TCU.
3. (-) Texas (7-3): The Cowboys victory over Baylor was good news for Texas as it opened the door just a bit wider for a possible Big 12 title. All will be for not, however, if Texas doesn't take care of business themselves. Up next: Texas Tech (Thursday night).
4. (-) Oklahoma (9-2): Going to Manhattan and coming home with a victory is no easy task and the Sooners did just that, again. Oklahoma now has an extra week to prepare for Bedlam and a victory there would put a solid finish on another 10 win season and could even create a three or four way tie atop the Big 12 standings. Up next: bye.
5. (-) Kansas State (6-5): The Wildcats put up a fight against the Sooners, but it's tough to win any game when your defense allows 300 yards rushing. K-State still has a chance - and a good one at that - for seven wins. Considering KSU started the season 2-4, it's been a solid second half of the season any way you cut it. Up next: @ Kansas.
6. (-) Texas Tech (7-4): The Red Raiders enter Thursday night's game against Texas with a 7-4 record. Not bad, but considering Tech was 7-0 just over a month ago, you know they'd love to put an end to the losing streak and what better team to end it against than Texas. Up next: @ Texas (Thursday night).
7. (-) West Virginia (4-7): It's been a disappointing season for the Mountaineers but you want to know how it gets even more disappointing? Lose to a 2-9 Iowa State team at home to finish the season. And here's the thing, you can count on the Cyclones showing up and leaving everything on the field because that's what Paul Rhoads' coached teams do. Will the Eer's do the same? Up next: Iowa State.
8. (-) TCU (4-7): The Horned Frogs saw what Oklahoma State did to Baylor, now can they duplicate it? Probably not by themselves, but who knows what Baylor's psyche will be following Saturday's loss. If TCU can shut down the Baylor ground game the way the Pokes did, they could have a chance. Up next: Baylor.
9. (↑1) Iowa State (2-9): Grant Rohach had the game of the season throwing for 300 yards in some brutal conditions leading the Cyclones to their first Big 12 victory of the season. If he can do it again, you have to think they would have a better than average chance of making it two in a row. Up next: @ West Virginia.
10. (↓1) Kansas (3-8): Let's just say the Jayhawks trip to Ames probably wasn't the most enjoyable they've ever taken. The conditions were cold and miserable, they gave up 500 yards, lost by 34, and got shutout. Whatever happens against Kansas State, it can't be much worse than what KU just endured. Up next: Kansas State.
#18 Oklahoma (8-2) @ Kansas State (6-4)
If you go back in time to mid October, Kansas State's season looked much different that it does today. The Wildcats were coming off three straight Big 12 losses and coupled with the season opening defeat to North Dakota State, K-State was just 2-4 on the season with their lone wins coming against UL-Lafayette and UMass.
Following the funk to start the season, Bill Snyder's squad has reeled off four straight wins and are now thinking about moving up the Big 12's bowl pecking order.
What changed over the last month? One, the schedule took a turn for the better after opening up with Texas, Oklahoma State, and Baylor, all of whom are still fighting for the Big 12 title. And two, the Wildcats simply got better every time out.
Kansas State continues to effectively play both Daniel Sams and Jake Waters at quarterback. Sams is still the runner (109 rushing yards last week and just five pass attempts) and Waters continues to be used primarily as a passer, although he's shown he can run it, as well. Say what you want about two quarterback systems, but it's working for K-State.
The Sooners will enter Saturday's game with Trevor Knight likely to once again take over the starting quarterback role with Blake Bell expected to miss the game due a concussion suffered last week against Iowa State.
After night relieved Bell, the freshman rushed for 123 yards helping lead OU to an unanswered 45 points, 38 of which came after halftime when the game was tied at 10.
Oklahoma will also be without running back, Damien Williams, and wide receiver, Lacoltan Bester, who have reportedly been suspended for Saturday's game. Williams led the Sooners with 128 yards on the ground against ISU while Bester led the receiving corps with four catches for 75 yards.
Keys to the game:
1. The read option. Daniel Sams is going to run it for Kansas State. With Trevor Knight now the likely starter - or Kendal Thompson if not - at quarterback for the Sooners, OU figures to be running their fair share of it, as well. Whichever defense does the best job keeping the opposing quarterback from consistently picking up big chunks of yards will probably be celebrating come 3:00 on Saturday.
2. Can Oklahoma throw it? You can bet the Sooners will be focused on running the ball at Kansas State, but the more effective Knight is in the passing game, the more damage OU can do running the ball. Knight struggled in the passing game in his first two starts of the season, a fact that won't be lost on KSU's defensive staff. Kansas State safety Ty Zimmerman will likely miss the game on Saturday which is a big blow for KSU, but can Knight take advantage?
3. Special teams. Kansas State has two of the best punt/kick returners in the country in Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson who consistently cause opposing special teams coaches to suffer from sleep deprivation. For the Sooners, Jalen Saunders returned an Iowa State punt 90 yards for a score last week. In a game that figures to be tight throughout, the return game will play a key factor in deciding Saturday's outcome.
The Baylor - Oklahoma State game is getting all the hype in the Big 12 this week and understandably so, but this matchup between the Sooners and Wildcats should be plenty entertaining.
Oklahoma is still holding onto the slimmest of hopes they can work themselves into a tie for the Big 12 title and the only way that happens is if they can knock off Kansas State. The Wildcats aren't playing for anything other than their bowl position, but that's no different than the past four weeks and they still managed to rip off four straight wins.
The Sooners will be missing some key cogs on offense which won't make inserting Knight back into the starting quarterback position any easier. Kansas State is playing their best football of the season and it'll continue on Saturday.
The Wildcats are playing at home and peaking at the right time. The same can't be said of Oklahoma. The Sooners won't go quietly, but in the end, K-State picks up win number seven. Kansas State 30 Oklahoma 27.
Thanksgiving and football go together like potatoes and gravy. Can you really have one without the other? Not in my house at least.
Football has almost become a rite of passage for most football fans around the country. Whether you eat, watch football, then eat some more or simply watch football all day and then dive into the delicacies at the end of the day, football has become entrenched in one of our biggest and best national holidays. And the beauty of it is you can do it all while enjoying families and friends. What else brings people together like food and football?
But let's assume for a second you had a choice. Would you bypass the day at home if you had a chance at free tickets to watch your favorite college football team - from 50 yard line seats no less - but in order to do so, you would miss the Thanksgiving day feast?
Thinking, thinking, thinking, YES, of course you would!
Well, at least 42% of you would. That is how fans responded in this week's Discover Fan Loyalty Poll when asked if they'd give up the Thanksgiving dinner in favor of free 50 yard line seats. The other 55% of those polled responded with a thanks, but no thanks.
In a way, it's hard to blame them. Eating Thanksgiving dinner surrounded by friends and families while watching the game isn't exactly an easy thing to give up. I mean, we're not talking about an everyday thing here. Thanksgiving rolls around once a year and if you bypass that day, it's another 364 days until it happens again.
But on the other hand, how often to have a chance at free tix on the 50? Maybe never, right? If it's me, I'm off to the stadium like a bolt of lightning, after all, they'll be plenty of leftovers to enjoy for a solid night cap.
Discover also asked college football fans what's their favorite go-to food on the big day and to no one's surprise, turkey ruled the vote. Here's how football fans responded when asked what they'll be loading their plate up with come Thursday.
Each week, Discover also asks fans their top choice for the best team in the country and just like the polls, Alabama continues to lead the way with Florida State checking in a distant second. Here are the fans' top six choices.
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.
Nebraska 2014 Schedule
|9/13/14||@ Fresno State||9:30|
|10/4/14||@ Michigan State||7:00|
|11/28/14 (Fri.)||@ Iowa||TBA|