The Big 12 is reaching the finish line and things are getting clearer with TCU beating Kansas State and Baylor dispatching Oklahoma in Norman, leaving the conference with just two one-loss teams.
The interesting thing is the difference in the rankings. TCU lost to Baylor in that epic 61-58 game last month, but are ranked higher than the Bears, whose one loss came at the hands of West Virginia, who’ll probably fall out of the rankings once the next voting numbers come out. The Horned Frogs are number six in the nation at the moment, but due to Auburn losing might get a chance to move up a place. Baylor, number 12 before their win over Oklahoma, also have a shot at moving back into the top 10 after Notre Dame, Michigan State and Kansas State lost.
Baylor didn’t just beat Oklahoma. They broke them to pieces in Norman, winning 48-14. Bryce Petty threw for 387 yards and one touchdown pass, but the big star of the game was Corey Coleman with 15 receptions for 224 yards and that touchdown. Oklahoma took a 14-7 lead with 37 seconds left in the first quarter, but simply stopped playing or playing well from that point, as Baylor scored 41 consecutive points against them.
This win was big for Baylor not just because it knocked Oklahoma out of the picture when it comes to winning the conference, but it was a big step for the Bears in terms of moving ahead as a program. They haven’t won on the road against a ranked opponent since 1991, losing 37 consecutive times on the road to these teams. It was their third win in four years over Oklahoma, showing just how much things are changing in a conference once dominated by Texas and the Sooners. It was also Baylor’s first ever win in Norman.
Kansas State, another perennial power in the conference under Bill Snyder, got beaten badly. They’ve fallen to 2-48 against top 10 teams over the years. They themselves were the number 7 team going into the game, but gave up 553 yards and had under 25 minutes of possession, struggling to slow down Trevone Boykin, who threw for 319 yards and ran for 123, involved in a total of four touchdowns, while running back Aaron Green ran for 171 yards.
Kansas State have the worst record against top 10 teams on the road except for Vanderbilt, but as part of a top 10 vs top 10 clash, they’re still without a win, going 0-10, the worst in the history of college football. A solid, very good and consistent program, but whenever it’s time to step up in prime time against a team of equal perceived quality, Kansas State seem to once again show their true colors, making it quite clear they’re still not a big-time program at all.
Now it seems to be a race to the finish without dropping a game for both teams. TCU have the confidence of the voters right now. Tricky along the way? Kansas on the road seems easy, and so do Iowa State at home. Texas, in Austin on the other hands seems a bit more difficult now than it did a month ago. For Baylor, it’s two home games against Oklahoma State and Kansas State, with a neutral ground game against Texas Tech in between. Hard to imagine any of the teams actually slipping, but Baylor need something to happen badly.