Among the teams adversely impacted in the BCS chaos spurned by all upsets over the weekend were Big 12 front-runners Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. Going into last weekend, Oklahoma State sat in the No. 2 spot in the BCS standings and in prime position, were the Cowboys to win out, to play in the national championship game Jan. 9 in New Orleans, most likely against so-far unbeaten LSU. The Cowboys' in-state archrival, Oklahoma, held down the No. 5 position in the BCS.
Everyone, especially football fans, know that the football bounces in funny ways, and last Friday and Saturday were two of those days. Oklahoma State, undoubtedly numbed by the tragic plane crash that took the lives of the OSU women's basketball coach and one of his assistants Thursday night in Arkansas while on a recruiting trip, fell victim to a high-spirited Iowa State team and suffered its first loss of the season Friday night.
Twenty-four hours later, Oklahoma took a last-second knockout punch from Baylor after mounting a fourth-quarter comeback to wipe out a 14-point deficit and tie up the game with under a minute to play in regulation. Inexplicably, the Bears took the ensuing kickoff and marched 80 yards in just three plays to put the game away and record their first victory in 25 years over a team that highly ranked.
Despite losing, both Oklahoma schools remained in the top 10 in the BCS standings. OSU fell to No. 5, and the Sooners dropped to No. 9. While the Cowboys and Sooners were falling back, Kansas State was moving up. The Wildcats moved from No. 13 to No. 11 this week.
Here's what else we learned from Big 12 play on Saturday:
- Oklahoma State's season of destiny took a severe and shocking left turn, losing to a four-loss but fired up Iowa State Cyclones team, effect9ively ending OSU's hopes of playing in New Orleans on Jan. 9 for the BCS National Championship.
- With a home date with Iowa State in two weeks the only game remaining in the regular season for Kansas State, the Wildcats should end up the 2011 campaign with a surprising but highly deserved 7-2 record in the conference and 10-2 overall. If Oklahoma loses in its Bedlam rivalry showdown with Oklahoma State, K-State will secure a second-place finish behind Oklahoma State and be headed to the Cotton Bowl as the Big 12's No. 2 seed, something that no one saw coming at the beginning of the season.
- If Baylor junior quarterback Robert Griffin III is not in the Heisman Trophy conversation, he certainly should be. The talented Baylor field leader single-handedly shot down No. 5-ranked Oklahoma on Saturday, accounting for 551 yards of offense (479 passing yards and 72 on the ground) by himself, including touchdown passes of 69 and 87 yards and a game-winning 34-yard touchdown strike with just six seconds left on the game clock.
- After giving up 59 or more points for the fourth time this season in another blowout loss, this time 61-7 at Texas A&M on Saturday, It doesn't appear there is any way Kansas second-year head coach Turner Gill can survive this season. The odds of Gill losing his job at the end of the season are greater than they are for the Jayhawks winning their final game of the season against Missouri, and perhaps the last one for KU for quite some time against their border-state rival after 119 consecutive annual meetings. Missouri is leaving the Big 12 to join the SEC.
- Kansas State was held to a season-low 121 yards of total offense, 221 below its season average, and recorded only eight first downs against Texas on Saturday. Despite generating little offensive output, the Wildcats were able to put up enough points to beat the Longhorns 17-13 in Austin, their fourth consecutive win over Texas.
- Missouri's win over Texas Tech on Saturday, it's second consecutive win, gave the Tigers six for the season and made them bowl eligible for the seventh consecutive season. Coach Gary Pinkel was not on the sidelines for Mizzou on Saturday, carrying out a suspension imposed on him by Missouri officials after pleading guilty to charges of driving under the influence in Columbia on Thursday night. Assistant head coach and defensive coordinator Dave Steckel coached the Tigers in their game vs. Texas Tech. Pinkel is expected to return to the team later this week.
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