Sunday, November 20, 2011
What we learned in the Big 12: Week 12
By David Ubben
A crazy week in the Big 12 means we learned a lot. Here's a look.
RG3 never should have left the Heisman conversation. Even in losses, Robert Griffin III put up big numbers. If the Heisman is about the best college football player in the country, how does RG3 not make that short list? He should, and I'm guessing there aren't many folks from Norman, Okla., who would disagree. Griffin put his team on his back in the second half and wrote another chapter of his legend at Baylor that Bears fans will be re-telling for a long, long time.
Quarterback Robert Griffin III led Baylor to an upset of Oklahoma on Saturday night.
Clichés become clichéd for a reason. You hear it and dismiss it as coachspeak, but coaches speak it over and over again for a reason. Anybody can beat anybody. You have to take seasons one game at a time. Show up or get shown up. Any number of those uncreative idioms could apply to what happened to Oklahoma State in Ames, Iowa, on Friday night. The Cowboys weren't sharp. A capable Iowa State team beat them and derailed a national-title run as four-touchdown underdogs.
Missouri can respond well to adverse situations. Rough, rough day for Missouri. The Tigers' 26 seniors had to play their final home game without their head coach and the offense stumbled for much of the first half, but Mizzou responded in the second half with gutsy plays and rallied from a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit. It was surely one of the most difficult days of coach Gary Pinkel's career, but wherever he was watching from, I'm sure he was proud of his players. For Texas Tech, meanwhile, a historic skid has put them dangerously close to ending an 18-year stretch of bowl eligibility. The Red Raiders have lost four consecutive games for the first time since that 1993 season and now must beat Baylor at Cowboys Stadium next week to become the Big 12's ninth bowl-eligible team.
So much for progress at Kansas. Texas A&M did what Texas A&M should do. The Aggies are talented. But what happened to the progress Kansas showed the past two weeks in close losses to Baylor and Iowa State? Turner Gill talked this past week about how close his team was. The defense had gotten so much better and the offense was playing as well as it did early in the season. Suddenly, it looked like none of it took hold for the Jayhawks, who have one more chance to escape a winless season in conference play next week against Missouri. Lose, and the year ends with a 10-game losing streak.
Texas has a quarterback controversy ... again. It looked like David Ash had taken over at Texas. He had the size and the arm strength. All he needed was the experience. There's something about Case McCoy, though. The measurables aren't befitting of a five-star recruit, but the man gets the job done when he's not being harassed by Sooners in the backfield like he was the last time we saw him. The stats tell the whole story. Texas' only scoring drive with Ash was 7 yards and ended in a field goal. He threw two picks and averaged 2.4 yards per attempt. McCoy's completion percentage (50 percent on 8-of-16 passing) wasn't outstanding, but he accounted for 79 yards compared to Ash's 39 and led scoring drives of 81 and 78 yards. The most telling stat, though: two interceptions and no scores for Ash. McCoy didn't throw a pick and hit Blaine Irby for a TD pass. Next week in College Station will be interesting.