If there was any doubt Kansas State was the No. 1 team in the Big 12, those questions were erased with a convincing 55-14 win over West Virginia in Week 8. The Wildcats improved to 7-0 and have a commanding lead in the conference, especially with a win over Oklahoma earlier this year. The Mountaineers have faded over the last two weeks, but the Sooners are on the rise.
Can Collin Klein take the Heisman lead in matchup with Geno Smith?
In a handful of ways, last week turned the Big 12 race on its head.
West Virginia’s defensive shortcomings finally burned the Mountaineers in their first loss of the season. That it happened in the first place wasn’t as much of a surprise as Texas Tech being the one to deliver the resounding upset. The 49-14 win further proved Texas Tech’s defensive turnaround is no fluke as the Red Raiders are the only Big 12 ranked in the top 10 nationally in both total offense and total defense.
Athlon reviews the first half of the Big 12 season.
The first half of the Big 12 season is in the books. It’s been a strong first seven weeks for the conference, as four teams are ranked in the Associated Press poll and only one team is out of bowl contention (Kansas). The Big 12 still has a legitimate national title contender, along with two players who could get into the Heisman mix (Geno Smith and Collin Klein). It’s still a wide-open battle to win the conference, but Kansas State, West Virginia and Oklahoma appear to be the frontrunners. However, Texas Tech cannot be ignored after last week’s win over the Mountaineers.
Landry Jones hopes to maintain momentum against Texas
Once a kingmaker in the Big 12, Texas-Oklahoma this week almost seems to be an undercard for other matchups in the league in the coming weeks. While the Red River Rivalry is the top game in the Big 12 this week, Kansas State-West Virginia next week may do more to determine the conference champion.
Thanks to Saturday's 48-45 win in Austin, it's clear West Virginia is ready to challenge for a national title. The Mountaineers are in the thick of the BCS title discussion, while quarterback Geno Smith is the frontrunner to win the Heisman Trophy. Not far behind West Virginia is Kansas State, who easily beat Kansas in Week 6. Oklahoma rebounded from losing to the Wildcats with a key road win over Texas Tech, while Iowa State knocked off TCU.
Week 5 provided plenty of excitement in the Big 12. West Virginia and Baylor met for a 70-63 shootout in Morgantown, while Texas and Oklahoma State matched up for a thriller in Stillwater. The Longhorns rank as Athlon's No. 1 team, but the top three aren't separated by much.
Saturday marks a new era in West Virginia football. The Mountaineers technically joined the Big 12 in July, but reality will sink in with Baylor visiting Morgantown. West Virginia is off to a hot 3-0 start, which includes wins over Marshall, James Madison and Maryland.
David Ash leads Texas in road test against Oklahoma State
With only four games involving Big 12 teams, this is a light week in the schedule. But what the Big 12 lacks in quantity, it may make up for it in early signpost games for conference contenders.
A week after Kansas State’s upset of Oklahoma in Norman reset the picture at the top of the conference, teams like Texas, West Virginia, Oklahoma State and Baylor will have key games setting the tone for October.
Week 4 provided a few surprises in Big 12 play. Kansas State shocked Oklahoma in Norman, allowing the Wildcats to jump from No. 5 in Athlon's power rankings to No. 2. Kansas State is one of the least flashy teams in the nation but always finds a way to win. Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Texas and Iowa State had a bye week, while West Virginia knocked off Maryland and TCU beat Virginia.
Non-conference play highlights the majority of the college football action this Saturday in the Big 12. Two teams take on opponents from the ACC (Virginia vs. TCU and Maryland vs. West Virginia), while Kansas travels to Northern Illinois and Baylor takes on Louisiana-Monroe. The biggest game of the Week 4 slate in the Big 12 is Oklahoma hosting Kansas State.