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Week 8 Big 12 rankings and reactions: There were blowouts across the board, with Texas coming up with a gem, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State dominating, and Baylor QB Seth Russell suffering a broken neck.
Big 12 Player of the Week
Oklahoma RB Samaje Perine ran 23 times for 201 yards and four scores in the win over Texas Tech.
Big 12 Football Rankings: Week 8
1. Baylor (7-0)
W, Iowa State 45-27: Playing a bunch of mediocre teams in a lousy schedule was working just fine. Baylor was improving, the machine was humming, and effectively, there were seven straight scrimmages to prepare for the big month of November. And now, with QB Seth Russell with a broken neck, it’s Jarrett Stidham time. The 6-3, 210-pound super-recruit might be the most talented pure quarterback prospect Baylor has ever brought in – remember, RG3 wasn’t a superstar recruit – with dual-threat skills, size, and the upside to be the perfect fit for the Bear offense. And now we’ll see – it’s not stretch to call him the most important X factor in the Big 12 race. Don’t be shocked if he comes through and becomes the real deal right away.
2. TCU (7-0)
UP NEXT: West Virginia
3. Oklahoma State (7-0)
W, Kansas 58-10: Football-wise, the team did a great job of coming out roaring despite the horrific tragedy before the game. Just when it seemed like Mason Rudolph was taking a step back overall, he was brilliant with a nearly flawless day against the hapless Kansas defense. Throw in the specialist role being served so well by J.W. Walsh, and the Cowboy offense is humming – it was in total control from the start against the Jayhawks. Now it’s time for the fun. The underappreciated unbeaten team in the Big 12 mix, it’s time to prove it with Texas Tech and TCU up next.
4. Texas (3-4)
W, Kansas State 23-9: Kansas State has a middling offense, and Texas took advantage of the time off to stuff it cold, allowing just 242 yards. This was exactly what Texas needed – a good, solid, easy performance with Johnathan Gray running for 103 yards, Jerrod Heard playing a sound game, and Tyrone Swoopes finding his role more as a closer in the red zone. Now with Iowa State and Kansas up next, the Longhorns have a nice chance to boost up the record before closing out with at West Virginia, Texas Tech, and at Baylor. All of a sudden, the disastrous season is looking far better – one win over Oklahoma changed everything.
5. Oklahoma (6-1)
W, Texas Tech 63-27: Well hello, running game. Texas Tech can’t stop anyone from pounding the ball, and Oklahoma took advantage with huge days from Samaje Perine – 201 yards and four scores – and Joe Mixon – 154 yards and two touchdowns – on the way to 405 yards of total Sooner running offense and seven touchdowns. The Air Raid passing game might be great, and Baker Mayfield is running it well, but there’s too much talent in the backfield not to keep feeding it to Perine and Mixon. If the O line cranks it up like it did against Texas Tech, look out. With Kansas and Iowa State up next, it’s going to get ugly.
6. West Virginia (3-3)
UP NEXT: at TCU
7. Texas Tech (5-3)
L, at Oklahoma 63-27: The defense is the defense – it’s not going to get appreciably better over the final month – so it’s up to the offense to keep up the pace in shootout after shootout. The problem with that is when Patrick Mahomes has to press, and it showed against Oklahoma with four interceptions making the game a laugher. With the run defense totally unable to slow down anything the Sooners tried to do, the passing game had to rock – it didn’t. With Oklahoma State at home next, the mistakes have to stop. The Red Raiders aren’t good enough to beat the decent teams when they’re -3 in turnover margin.
8. Kansas State (3-4)
L, at Texas 23-9: The offense needs to come up with a different answer for the passing game. Joe Hubener has been awful over the last two games – completing just 10-of-22 passes for 97 yards and a score with a pick against Texas – and the running game isn’t able to pick up the slack. Charles Jones ran for over 100 yards, but the offense never got into any sort of a groove against a rested Longhorn D that didn’t have to work hard – there wasn’t any threat of a KSU passing game doing anything down the field. The Wildcats have to win three of their last five games, and with Iowa State and Kansas still to play, all it’ll take is a win over Texas Tech or West Virginia – most likely – to salvage the season. Beating Baylor at home on Thursday night, though, would be the season-maker. After scoring nine points in the last two games, that’s a wee bit of a tall task.
9. Iowa State (2-5)
L, Baylor 45-21: The season isn’t totally dead, but now the Cyclones have to win four of their final five against Texas, at Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, at Kansas State and at West Virginia to go bowling. They ran into the Baylor buzzsaw and wasn’t able to keep up the pace with Sam Richardson coming up with a disastrous 3-of-11, 12-yard, two pick day. Mike Warren was terrific running the ball, and Joel Lanning wasn’t bad in place of Richardson – throwing three scoring passes with the game out of reach – but the Cyclones didn’t have the firepower to keep up with a top five team. The team isn’t that bad – the five losses have come to four unbeaten teams (Toledo, Iowa, TCU, Baylor) and Texas Tech – but that means the home game against Texas is a must-win.
10. Kansas (0-7)
L, at Oklahoma State 58-10: Just when it seems like Kansas is making a decent step forward in the process, it comes up with a total clunker. Oklahoma State is always going to be tough at home, and Kansas is obviously just trying to get out of the season and move on, but this was a chance to see if Ryan Willis could progress forward as the quarterback to build around, and he struggled. He threw for 191 yards, but he only completed 12-of-31 passes. With no running game to count on, the KU offense keeps on sputtering. Up next? Oklahoma. Yippee.