Baylor, TCU, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma – all of these teams have a legitimate chance to win the Big 12 and compete for a New Years Six Bowl. Yet we all know that all four teams cannot remain in contention for the entire season as they all play each other due to the Big 12 round-robin system. As we have seen time and time again, one of these teams will probably fall to a weaker opponent. But who will that “season ruining” team be this year?
Ever since the Big 12 shrunk to 10 teams in 2011, there has not been one school from the conference to make the National Championship. Better yet, each of the last four seasons, some Big 12 team has lost only one regular season game – and it was always to a weak opponent.
2011: Iowa State, who finished 6-7, beat No. 2 Oklahoma State in double overtime at home to ruin its season. Without that game, the Cowboys would have gone undefeated and possibly entered the National Championship against Heisman winner Cam Newton and Auburn.
2012: No. 1 Kansas State entered Waco, Texas to face the 4-5 Baylor Bears. A year after RG3’s departure, no one expected to find Kansas State even keeping it close with Baylor. Yet the Bears blew the Wildcats out of the water from the start, winning 52-24. Without that loss, Kansas State would have most definitely have played LSU in the national title.
2013: Baylor, ranked No. 4 in the nation, came into Stillwater on a cold, windy, rainy night for College Gameday’s primetime game. Baylor had blown every team out of the water prior to this game, entering 9-0. Yet Oklahoma State, who finished 10-3, took them down in comfortable fashion, 49-17. While the Cowboys had a good team, this was Baylor’s only regular season loss and the only Big 12 team with a shot at the BCS National Championship.
2014: The game after Baylor beat TCU in the infamous 61-58 game, the No. 4 Bears entered Morgantown with a perfect record. But West Virginia, who finished just 7-6, took down Baylor 41-27, handing Baylor their only regular season loss. Similar to the three prior years, the Big 12 failed to have a Playoff team due to this one bad loss (and possibly the whole co-champions debate, but that’s for another story).
If history continues to repeat itself, there will be some big upsets to occur soon. TCU is yet to travel to Oklahoma State and Oklahoma and play West Virginia and Baylor at home. Baylor still has to host West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Texas while making dreadful trips to Oklahoma State, Kansas State, and TCU. Oklahoma already dropped one game to Texas, but still has some battles, while Oklahoma State has yet to play their toughest opponents.
But which one of these teams has the recipe to ruin a competing team’s season? As the trend shows, each of these games was on the road as the underdog put up great offensive numbers. Some games were plagued by penalties while some were haunted by turnovers. And most importantly, this upset usually happens to be when people glaze over that particular game and look ahead on the schedule.
If TCU is the competing Big 12 team, could it be when it heads to Iowa State or Oklahoma State? For Baylor, could it be against Kansas State (who almost did it to TCU) at home? For Oklahoma State, maybe its season ends against the No. 2 offense in Texas Tech in two weeks?
As the trend shows, we never know when this game could happen. But here’s one thing we do know: not all of these four teams will be in contention seven weeks from now. Don’t blink in the meantime, because this upset can happen at any time – we’re looking at you, Kansas!