Most conferences play to remember November and December; the Big 12 says, fugeddaboutit.
The College Football Playoff committee announced its Week One rankings Tuesday night. The ESPN vehicle to pump and promote has been a farce since its debut in 2015. The rankings are worthless and based on the controversial top four, it’s obvious that the weekly reveal is designed to promote rhubarbs and ratings.
Unfortunately for the World Wide Leader, the Nielsens from Big 12 country will be down this season. That’s a reflection of the on-field Big 12 football product. Oklahoma is the Big 12’s top team in the first CFP poll, checking in at No. 14. A year ago, the Sooners debuted at No. 15 in the CFP and made the final four.
But that OU team had one loss and was able to move up when the teams above it fell aside. There aren’t enough upsets in a season to lift the Sooners this season.
Here’s the take of Pat Forde, the national college football and basketball columnist for Yahoo!Sports:
The Big 12 (3) is done as a 2016 playoff contender. … There is no undefeated team from the worst of the Power Five conferences, and now there is no reason to seriously consider any of the Big 12 teams for the playoff. In addition, the committee was spared any indignation about the potential playoff presence of scandal-ridden Baylor, which made more negative headlines last week. The Big 12 is free to play the next five weekends in relative obscurity.
Baylor (No. 17), Oklahoma State (No. 18) and West Virginia (No. 20) are all ranked in the meaningless CFP rankings. The Bears and the Mountaineers each have one loss and will play each other in the season finale so one is guaranteed two losses. West Virginia, which lost at Oklahoma State, isn’t getting much respect as nine two-loss teams are ranked ahead of the Mountaineers.
There’s a good chance that the Big 12’s first-place teams could wind up with two losses. In the first five years of round-robin play, no team has gone undefeated. Wouldn’t it be delicious irony if 2016, the last season before the championship game returns, Oklahoma goes 9-0 in conference play and the Big 12 is shut out of the CFP for the second time in three seasons?
Meet Tony Morales: 7th-year senior
No, that’s not a typo. Texas Tech center Tony Morales will return to play football in his seventh year in Lubbock. Morales has missed four full seasons with injuries and the NCAA granted him the chance to get on the field in 2017.
“I know I’ve got another year, for sure,” Morales said. “I already talked to compliance and (offensive line) coach (Lee) Hays and them. I worked too hard for too long. I didn’t rehab for four years to turn down eligibility.”
After signing with Texas Tech in 2011, Morales had three surgeries – one on each shoulder for a torn labrum and one for a torn ACL. Another knee injury didn’t require surgery but a year of rehab. Last season, he made six starts at right guard and has started every game at center this season.
Morales has earned a bachelor’s degree in general studies and is working on a master’s in educational leadership and he might pursue another master’s degree next year.
Kansas State senior wide receiver Deante Burton had one of his best games last Saturday against Iowa State, making three tough catches on passes that he has dropped too often during his career.
Maybe he’s tired of doing “up-downs,” one of the conditioning drills that gives football players nightmares.
“You drop a ball in practice, you do up-downs,” said Burton, a native of Manhattan. “I dropped a lot at some points in my career. (Receivers) coach (Andre) Coleman, he doesn’t really play about drops. Being afraid of up-downs will help you catch a lot of tough passes. We have this rule. If it touches your hands and you don’t bring it in, it’s 10 up-downs. And those things really add up.
“Coach Coleman is always saying, ‘You have to be ready to go get the bad ones. Those are the ones you have to want. Those are the ones that big-time players make.’ That is something we have really prided ourselves on this season, making the tough catch.”
- A key for Texas Saturday in Lubbock will be containing Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ scrambling on third and long. Six times this season Mahomes has run for a first down when the Red Raiders faced third down with seven to nine yards to gain.
- After allowing five sacks against Kansas, Oklahoma State’s offensive line gave up just one sack to West Virginia on 39 quarterback dropbacks. In this week’s Big 12 statistics, the Cowboys are ninth in sacks allowed with 24.
- Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield leads FBS in quarterback rating and passing efficiency. In situations where the Sooners either lead or trail by seven points, Mayfield is 92-of-131 (70.2 percent) for 1,636 yards with 18 touchdowns and three interceptions.
- Four of the five teams that won Saturday were outgained by their opponents. Kansas State had 398 yards, Iowa State had 493; Oklahoma State had 358, West Virginia 421; Texas Tech gained 345, TCU had 418; and Texas gained 548 but allowed Baylor 624.
- TCU’s game at Baylor Saturday is the 111th meeting between the schools and the series is tied at 52-52-7. The Frogs won last year in Fort Worth in a driving rain, 28-21, in double overtime. In 2014, the year both teams finished tied for the Big 12 title, the Bears won a classic, 61-58.
- Kansas (1-7 overall, 0-5 in Big 12 play leads the Big 12 in third-down defense. The Jayhawks have allowed 41 of 116 conversions (35.3 percent) and rank No. 39 in FBS in that category. KU also leads in third-down defense in conference-only stats, allowing 38.5 percent.
Matt Campbell on his confidence that the players on his first Iowa State team want to be in Ames:
“We finally have trimmed (the roster) to where there’s a lot of kids here who want to do it, and they’re willing souls and I appreciate that. Are we totally there yet within our walls? No. Are we getting a lot closer today than where we have been? I really believe that.”
Texas kicker Trent Domingue, who missed a 35-yard field goal in the Longhorns’ 24-21 loss at Kansas State, on his game-winning 39-yarder against Baylor:
“I was ready to redeem myself. I was extremely, extremely nervous. You know, as a kicker, you’re not supposed to think, ‘Don’t miss.’ Honestly, I was thinking, ‘Don’t miss.'”
Kansas State coach Bill Snyder on the accomplishment of his 198 career victories in 25 seasons coaching the Wildcats:
“Not a meaningful statistic to me.”