Kansas State has been convincingly putting away opponents all season, and last Saturday the Wildcats reached a new level of excellence in becoming the first K-State team ever to be ranked No. 1 in the country in football.
A week ago, top-ranked Alabama was just over a minute away from losing to LSU and most likely elevating Kansas State to the top of the college football world as the nation's No, 1 team in the Bowl Championship Series standings. A last-minute comeback by the Crimson Tide prevented that from happening.
But there was no miracle finish this past weekend in the heart of SEC country. Instead, it might best be described as poetic justice, as defending national champion Bama fell to Big 12 expatriate Texas A&M in a major upset. Meanwhile, steady-as-they-go Kansas State advanced its Big 12-leading record to 10-0 with a workmanlike 23-10 victory at TCU.
Things may not be the same in Manhattan, Kan., for the rest of the season - assuming, of course, that the Wildcats keep on winning and take care of the business that lies immediately in front of them (Baylor next weekend and at home for Senior Day vs. Texas to close out the regular season) - as Kansas State has replaced Alabama as the best team in the land, according to this week's BCS rankings.
While Kansas State has finished the regular season undefeated before (11-0 in 1998 before losing to Texas A&M in the Big 12 Championship that season, thus preventing coach Bill Snyder's '98 team from playing for a national championship), the Wildcats have never played for or won a national college football crown.
Oklahoma State and West Virginia had an as-expected offensive shootout, with the Cowboys handing the once No. 5-ranked Mountaineers their fourth consecutive defeat in a 21-point home victory. Kansas rushed for almost 400 yards against Texas Tech, but came up short in double overtime, losing for the19th consecutive time in conference play. Meanwhile, the Tech victory assured the Red Raiders of their 17th winning season in 18 years.
Oklahoma held the country's top-ranked passing offense to 172 yards, more than 200 below it season average, downing Baylor for the 21st time in 22 total meetings between the two schools and awarding OU coach Bob Stoops his 146th career victory at Oklahoma, one more than the legendary Bud Wilkinson, and making him the second winningest coach in the Sooners' illustrious football history behind Barry Switzer.
Texas is quietly sitting in third place in the Big 12 standings with a 5-2 conference record and 8-2 overall. The Longhorns defeated Iowa State in Austin on Saturday for their fourth straight win. They trail only Oklahoma and Kansas State in the 2012 conference race and have a big game at Kansas State in three weeks to close out the regular season.
Here are some other fascinating facts and figures from the Big 12 games this past weekend:
Five things we learned from Week 10 in Big 12 football
- Heisman Trophy front-runner Collin Klein of Kansas State is responsible for 77 touchdowns in his collegiate career. With that total, the K-State senior quarterback exceeded Eli Roberson's school record.
- Kansas' 390 rushing yards vs. Texas Tech on Saturday was a school record for a Big 12 contest and the most by the Jayhawks since 1994.
- Oklahoma, which leads the Big 12 in pass defense and is second in total defense, is the only team in the conference not to allow a 300 or more passing yards this season.
- To honor the death last week of former coach and athletic director Darrell Royal, Texas lined up in the Wishbone formation on its first offensive possession in last weekend's game with Iowa State. Royal, the winningest coach in school history, is credited with introducing the famous triple-option formation in 1968. Ironically, it was Royal's alma mater, Oklahoma, where he played quarterback in the late 1940s, that took the Wishbone offense to a completely different level under coach Barry Switzer.
- Kansas State was the highest ranked team to play at TCU since No.2 Texas in 1970.
Next Weekend's Big 12 Schedule
Kansas State @ Baylor
Iowa State @ Kansas
Oklahoma @ West Virginia
Texas Tech @ Oklahoma State
Bye: Texas, TCU
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