Judgement Day in the Big 12
I guess you could call this Saturday “Judgement Day” in the Big 12, cause well, it kinda is.
Kansas State at TCU. Baylor at OU. Two huge games in both the Big 12 and the race to gain a berth in the College Football Playoff.
Both Kansas State and Baylor control their own destiny. KSU, the lone remaining team in the Big 12 without a conference loss, is scheduled to travel to Baylor on December 6. Should both come out with a win Saturday, that game in Waco on the last weekend of the season could be for the Big 12 title.
TCU has other plans for them. While I am still scratching my head as to how the Frogs blew that game at Baylor a few weeks ago, the fact is, the Bears walked away with the victory. What it means is that TCU can win all of the rest of their games, go 8-1 in conference play, and lose the tie-breaker with Baylor if they do the same.
Everyone expected Baylor and OU to be in this position, playing a huge game on Nov. 8 with a title on the line. No one had Kansas State and TCU doing the same.
Yet, the game in Ft. Worth promises to be just as big, and probably better.
TCU is the highest-ranked Big 12 team in the latest College Football Playoff rankings at No. 6, while Kansas State is right behind at No. 7. A win over the Frogs would put Kansas State in a good position but they still have to play tough road games at West Virginia and the aforementioned Baylor contest.
TCU ranks second in the nation in scoring, averaging 48.0 points-per-game. Kansas State isn’t far behind, ranking 15th at 38.3. KSU has won five in a row since dropping a heartbreaker at home to Auburn at the end of September.
The Wildcats have won four of their last five road games against top-25 opponents, while the Frogs are 5-0 at home this season. Kansas State has won both of their road games this season by a total of five points. TCU simply scored 82 in their last home game in a big win over Texas Tech. Which trend(s) will continue?
Meanwhile, OU’s season hasn’t exactly gone as planned. The Sooners got run by the Frogs in Ft. Worth and followed that up with a one-point loss at home to the Wildcats. OU seems to have fixed their issues in the short-term, amassing 751 yards in a 59-14 win over Iowa State last week. QB Trevor Knight passed for 230 yards and ran for 146, scoring six touchdowns in the process. Key to the game vs. Baylor is the availability of wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who left the ISU game with a groin strain. Shepard averages 119.6 yards-per-game, nearly half of the Sooners’ receiving yards.
Baylor has been on a roll lately, including scoring on 11 consecutive possessions last Saturday in a 60-14 win vs. Kansas. The Bears lead the nation in offense at 590.3 yards-per-game.
A win in Norman would help Baylor’s case with the selection committee on the quality of its schedule. Baylor has never won at Norman, going 0-11, all-time, yet has won two of the last three meetings overall.
Saturday’s results will tell us a lot and give us a clearer picture as to who has the upper hand to win the Big 12. Until next week, at least.