Sunday, November 7, 2010
What we learned in the Big 12: Week 10
By David Ubben
Show up or get shown up. Outside of Kansas and Colorado, anybody can beat anybody in the Big 12. That was pretty obvious on Saturday, with Iowa State taking Nebraska into overtime, the last place team in the South -- Texas Tech -- outplaying Missouri and Oklahoma going down convincingly to Texas A&M. All three were on the road, but even Nebraska was one 10-yard pass to a wide-open receiver away from losing. Even if you're not on the road, playing well is a requirement to earn a Big 12 win. Its almost impossible to limp into the winner's circle with so few elite teams and so many good teams.
Texas A&M proved Big 12 conference parity, upsetting No. 8 Oklahoma on Saturday.
Hold the phone, Baylor. Baylor's had two chances this year to make statements against teams that were better than them. They've flopped both times, falling behind 34-0 on Saturday to Oklahoma State and 38-3 to TCU. The Bears are a good team, but they clearly aren't Big 12 South contenders. Robert Griffin III missed on several deep balls that could have kept them close in the first half, but the Baylor defense had no way to stop Oklahoma State's offense. The only defensive stop on Oklahoma State's first nine drives was an easy dropped touchdown pass and a missed chip shot field goal. It could have been even worse.
The North has been settled. Early in the day, Missouri looked like it might sneak in the back door to the Big 12 title game. One failed fake extra point by Iowa State against Nebraska and a Tigers loss to Texas Tech later, and the Cornhuskers look like the runaway winners for the Big 12 title game. Meanwhile, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will settle the South down the stretch. Taylor Martinez or not, Nebraska survived a tough trip to Ames. A Missouri team much closer to full strength couldn't do the same in Lubbock.
Kansas is capable of putting together 11 of the best minutes of college football ever. I don't even know what's left to say about this. Kansas scored 40 points in four Big 12 games this year, and then reeled off 35 in 11 minutes. Inexplicable. BYU scored 36 points against Washington State in 1990, but Kansas' performance is the next-best fourth-quarter in FBS history, and BYU trailed by just 15 points in that game before winning by 14.
Texas A&M is back on track. Ryan Tannehill has reinvigorated the Aggies season with a pair of great games and a big upset over No. 8 Oklahoma. The defense was the reason the Aggies held on in the fourth quarter, but Tannehill played well early and found Ryan Swope with a 62-yard score in the fourth quarter to ice the game. With Tannehill at quarterback, the Aggies are better than their record shows. Don't forget, all three of Texas A&M's losses were to ranked teams. The Aggies lost on a last-second field goal in Stillwater, by a touchdown to two-loss (Auburn, Alabama) Arkansas and were beaten soundly by Missouri in College Station in a game that signaled the end of the Jerrod Johnson era. Moving on without Christine Michael is going to be difficult later in the year, but the Aggies are a good team.