Kansas State continues to separate itself from the rest of the teams in the Big 12. The Wildcats cruised to a 55-24 victory over Texas Tech in Week 9, improving Bill Snyder's team to 8-0 this year. Oklahoma suffered its second loss of the season, dropping a 30-13 game to Notre Dame in Norman. The defeat to the Irish knocks the Sooners out of the national title picture once again, but Oklahoma still has a chance to win the Big 12 crown.
With the exception of Alabama, Kansas State, Notre Dame and teams not playing Colorado, it was a rough week to be undefeated.
Saturday began with 11 remaining undefeated teams and ended with six as Florida, Oregon State, Mississippi State, Rutgers and Ohio all lost. Only the Bulldogs loss to dominant Alabama did not come as an upset.
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.
The Big 12 title race is going to be a track meet, so it seems. A week after two games involving West Virginia, Baylor, Texas and Oklahoma State combined for 210 total points, the league’s best offense (West Virginia) faces what most thought would be the league’s best defense (Texas).
The Longhorns will try to score a victory for defense this week, but that’s going to be a tall order against Geno Smith in his first Big 12 road game.
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.