- David Ubben, College Football
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Here's what I learned on a crazy Saturday across the conference:
Kansas State is not a team of robots and will not win the national title. Or the Heisman. I don't know what I watched on Saturday night, but surely it wasn't Kansas State. The Wildcats turned the ball over three times after doing so just six times in 10 games. It was penalized seven times for 60 yards, more than twice its average. It got gashed on the ground in a way unlike any game all season. Add it all up, and you get a painful butt-kicking in a big spot for the Wildcats. K-State had been so consistent and so methodical all year long. Until it wasn't. "We beat the socks off these guys," Baylor safety Ahmad Dixon said. Yes, yes they did.
West Virginia can't catch a break (or a ballcarrier). The Mountaineers have now been a part of a five-game winning streak and a five-game losing streak in the same season, but two of the losses have come down to the wire, including this week's late touchdown pass from Oklahoma's Landry Jones to Kenny Stills. Seriously, how bad is your defense if you have a ballcarrier (Tavon Austin) rush for 344 yards and you still lose? The Mountaineers' streak of having players earn Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honors in four consecutive games looks likely to become five on Monday.
There might be a new star born in Ames for the bowl-bound Cyclones. Fans were clamoring for Sam Richardson for weeks, and the freshman finally got his chance after uninspiring starts from Steele Jantz and Jared Barnett. He torched Kansas for four second-quarter touchdowns and threw for 250 yards on 23-of-27 passing. Yes, it was only against 1-10 Kansas. Yes, it's early. But you have to be encouraged, and most importantly, Iowa State is back in the postseason. They'll take it.
Oklahoma is back in the Big 12 title hunt. The Sooners needed help to make an eighth Big 12 title become a reality, and on Saturday, Baylor provided it. There will be drama on the season's final weekend, and the title will hang in the balance. Oklahoma hosts Oklahoma State in Bedlam next week and travels to TCU to end the season, while K-State hosts Texas on Dec. 1. They're tied atop the standings right now, but there's a whole lot to play for and if you lose a game, you risk being booted out of the BCS.
Oklahoma State better scare you. Quietly, the Cowboys have surged and Mike Gundy has done about as good of a job as anyone outside of Bill Snyder this season. For the fourth time in five games, Oklahoma State beat the heck out of a Big 12 team. This time, it was a 38-point win over No. 23 Texas Tech. Four of Oklahoma State's five Big 12 wins have been by at least 21 points. And the only team that came close? Kansas, who at 1-10, lost at home on a rainy day by just six. The Pokes have done it all with three different quarterbacks, but for now, it's Clint Chelf's team. Healthy J.W. Walsh and the CarWalsh formation have given another edge to the Cowboys' offense.
Johnny Manziel takes over the Heisman race. He might have been playing in a glorified scrimmage with Sam Houston State in town, but Manziel had another terrific day on the football field. He threw for 267 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 100 yards and adding two more scores. Manziel has an SEC-leading 1,114 rushing yards, which is a new NCAA record for a freshman quarterback. He also broke former Kentucky quarterback Jared Lorenzen's freshman record for total offense of 3,827 set in 2000 on the Aggies' first drive. Manziel is now the fifth player and first freshman in FBS history to pass for at least 3,000 yards with at least 1,000 yards rushing in a season. What helps him even more is Heisman frontrunner Collin Klein tossed three interceptions in Kansas State's 28-point loss to Baylor and Oregon running back Kenjon Barner ran for just 66 yards in the Ducks' loss. Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o is still there, but it looks like Manziel is the new leader in the Heisman race. -- Edward Aschoff