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Big 12 roundtable — “bad football” and main-event games

Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire

Another week and another edition of the Big 12 Roundtable. Pull up a chair and your electronic device of choice and check out what conference beat writers Sean Cordy, Garrett Kroeger and Wendell Barnhouse have to say about this week’s topics

  1.  What’s your guess on the national perception of the OU-Texas Tech game? A great offensive showcase or just another example of how the Big 12 can’t play defense?

Sean: Referencing a recent NFL battle, a large portion of viewers of the Cardinals-Seahawks game that ended in a 6-6 overtime tie saw that as “bad” football. That was a purely defensive effort of two teams that are known for their offense. Conversely, just as many people seem to think the offensive power of OU-Tech is “bad” football with no defense. Maybe that’s comparing apples to oranges, but it seems that the perception remains that the Big 12 just doesn’t play defense, backed up by the half dozen national records tied or beaten.

Big 12 fireworks: Oklahoma University quarterback Baker Mayfield throws a pass during the Texas Tech University Red Raider's 66-59 loss to the Oklahoma University Sooners at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, TX. (Photo by Sam Grenadier/Icon Sportswire)

Big 12 fireworks: Oklahoma University quarterback Baker Mayfield throws a pass during the Texas Tech University Red Raider’s 66-59 loss to the Oklahoma University Sooners at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, TX. (Photo by Sam Grenadier/Icon Sportswire)

Garrett: I believe the country saw OU-Tech as a fun, enjoyable game. Whenever I looked at Twitter during the game, people were tweeting stuff like, “this game is crazy fun.” So people thoroughly enjoyed the matchup. However, this game was another example of terrible Big 12 defense. Patrick Mahomes tossed 88 passes and threw for 734 yards and the Red Raiders still lost. If that isn’t another example of terrible Big 12 defense, I don’t know what is.

Wendell: Ah, yes. The age-old question of past, present and future generations. Do you like your sports served rare or well-done? Do you prefer a 1-0 pitchers’ duel or a 10-9 slugfest? Is a 66-59 game a tribute to awesome offense or awful defense? Vanilla or chocolate? If I’m a Texas Tech fan, I think if I’m gonna lose I’d rather be entertained. I’m sure folks in SEC Country think the game in Lubbock was more basketball than football … but their last national championship came in a 45-40 shootout. Golfers say, “It’s not how, it’s how many.” If you win, it shouldn’t matter how you did it.

  1. Oklahoma’s Joe Mixon is second nationally in total offense. He’s probably a long-shot Heisman candidate, but are his chances further limited by his legal problems?

Wendell: Mixon won’t get within 1,000 miles of New York City in early December not because of his off-the-field incident, but because he’s playing for a team that lost its way out of the College Football Playoff in September. Mixon is a marvelous talent who could be a first-round NFL Draft choice. One remarkable game against Texas Tech won’t sway the Heisman voters.

Garrett: I think the real thing that is holding back Mixon’s Heisman chances is him being the “backup” to Samaje Perine. Have you ever heard of a “backup” winning the Heisman? I haven’t. Also, Mixon would have to prove his worth against top-tier Big 12 opponents Baylor and Oklahoma State.

Sean: I think he’s more hindered by being the perceived sidekick to Mayfield, and that nearly 400 yards and five of his eight touchdowns came against a sieve of a defense. Until he busts a move like that against Baylor or Oklahoma State, that’s his greatest challenge to overcome national perception.

  1. Two important games Saturday – West Virginia at Oklahoma State and Baylor at Texas. What’s your quick break down/analysis of both?

Sean: Baylor heading to Austin has really lost its flavor since the start of the season. What’s most intriguing about this game is how Texas’ defense will handle Baylor’s offense now that the Longhorns get to practice against that type of offense every day. Still, as we’ve seen, that mock-Baylor offense from UT has underwhelmed and should be well-contained by the Bears defense. For the OSU-WVU game, the run game will dictate it. Can the Pokes keep up the pace with Chris Carson healthy? Conversely, can they control the Mountaineers’ trio? The conference runs through Morgantown, but for this week, it literally runs through Stillwater.

Garrett: For Baylor-Texas, the matchup of the Longhorns’ defense against the Bears’ offense will be the key factor that determines the outcome of this game. Texas’s defense has been burned countless times this season, and everybody knows how high-powered Baylor’s offense is. In West Virginia-Oklahoma State, I will be watching the possible return of Cowboys receiver Marcell Ateman. James Washington is one of the best receivers in the country, which means the Mountaineers will probably double-team him. If Ateman does in fact return for this game, he could be the x-factor.

Wendell: This game will come down to Oklahoma State’s ability to run against the Mountaineers’ 3-3-5 defense. In its victories over Texas Tech and TCU, West Virginia clamped those high-powered offenses by forcing them to pass. Freshmen Justice Hill and Chris Carson will need to come up big for the Cowboys. In Austin, all signs point to Baylor winning … so I’m putting the Bears on upset alert. Undefeated teams which make road trips at this point of the season carry a heavy burden; ask Ohio State. The Longhorns play better at home, and if they can get the running game going with D’Onta Foreman, they might be able to play keep-away.

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