- David Ubben, College Football
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It's been a spooky season in the Big 12 this year. To commemorate Halloween on the blog, we're letting you know what to keep an eye on.
Jason Voorhies (team that refuses to die): TCU. The Frogs have taken their licks. Casey Pachall is gone. The team's top two running backs are gone. Receiver Brandon Carter is hurt now, and defensive end Stansly Maponga is banged up. Still, TCU keeps playing, despite losing more than 20 players from this year's team since the end of last season. The Frogs are 5-3 and playing tough in their first year in the Big 12.
Thrillers: Texas. The Longhorns can't stop playing heart stoppers. They converted huge fourth downs on game-winning drives in the final minutes to beat Oklahoma State earlier this season and Kansas last week. They came up short in a dramatic loss at home to West Virginia and hung on late for a six-point win over Baylor.
In the graveyard: Baylor's post-RG3 world. There was plenty of talk about this not being the "same old Baylor" despite losing the best player in the program's history, Robert Griffin III. It's not, and the Bears have been largely competitive, but you can't hide from the record. Baylor is 0-4 in Big 12 play, and that record doesn't look much different than pre-Art Briles Baylor, though the team on the field does. Will we see a second-half revival and a return to the postseason for the third consecutive season?
Frightful sight: Kansas State. Beware of the Wildcats and their ageless coach, Bill Snyder. Who has the highest scoring offense in the Big 12? It's not Oklahoma. It's not Oklahoma State. It's not West Virginia or Baylor. It's the Wildcats and their "slow, meandering offense." The Wildcats have had just two of seven games decided by fewer than two touchdowns this year.
Cursed: Oklahoma State. The Cowboys can't get away from costly injuries to quarterbacks this year. Wes Lunt suffered an ugly knee injury early on and missed more than a month while J.W. Walsh racked up impressive numbers. Then last week, Walsh suffered a knee injury and forced Lunt back into duty. Did someone on the team sell their soul for last year's Big 12 title? It's been a cursed season for QBs in Stillwater.
Haunted house: Owen Field. It's usually a house of horrors for opposing teams. Before this year, Bob Stoops was 77-3 at home. This season, the Sooners are just 2-2, with wins over Florida A&M and Kansas. Meanwhile, top three teams Notre Dame and Kansas State entered Oklahoma as double-digit underdogs and knocked off the Sooners anyway.
Time for a few Halloween costume suggestions:
West Virginia's entire team:Two-Face from the Batman series. Obvious reasons, I'd say. Juggernauts one week. Getting blown out the next.
Bill Snyder:Richard from LOST. Hasn't aged a day in decades.
Texas Tech DC Art Kaufman:MacGyver. He's taken a group of jucos and signees with varying levels of experience and turned them into the bomb.
Terrance Williams: Vacuum cleaner. Throw something in his area code. It gets sucked in.
Charlie Weis: Sisyphus. The character from Greek mythology was once a king who believed he was more clever than Zeus. The gods punished him by making him push an enormous boulder up an endless mountain for eternity.
Art Briles: Eric Taylor. He climbed his way up the high school ranks, and he's as Texan as they come. Take state, y'all!
Arthur Brown: Predator. Once he's locked his radar in on you, you're going down, buddy.
Bob Bowlsby: President Andrew Johnson. His predecessor held together that which nearly crumbled under his term. Now, it's up to the new guy to begin building a brand-new country, er, conference.
I also asked those of you who follow me on Twitter for some suggestions. Here's the best of what you came up with (the ones that weren't too mean, anyway. Man, some of you were brutal):
Jake Knott: Chuck Norris. Both indestructible. Sort of, anyway. (via @crucydr)
Iowa State DC Wally Burnham: Gandalf the Grey. Wally the Wizard has worked his magic all season long with the ISU defense. (via @_gmackey_)
And a couple costumes that just need to be seen: