By Cam Huffman
It’s a busy week in the Big 12, as for the first time all season, all 10 teams will be in action in the same week.
The Saturday slate begins with a pair of noon matchups. Kansas State (5-0) will be at Iowa State (4-1) in a game that will air on FX, while Texas (4-1) and Oklahoma (3-1) will battle it out in the Red River Shootout in Dallas. That game will air on ABC.
The 3:30 matchups include Oklahoma State (2-2) at Kansas (1-4) on FX, and WVU (5-0) at Texas Tech (4-1) on ABC.
The evening will conclude with TCU (4-1) at Baylor (3-1) at 7 p.m. on FSN.
Every game will be critical in a tightly-grouped Big 12 race. Just two undefeated teams — Kansas State (2-0) and WVU (2-0) — are left in conference play. Five teams — Iowa State, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma — are 1-1, while Baylor and Oklahoma State are 0-1. Kansas brings up the bottom of the league standings at 0-2.
Iowa State — Picked eight out of 10 Big 12 teams, many saw Iowa State as what it was a year ago, a pesky bunch that could beat any conference opponent on any given night but would lose more conference games than it won.
It’s still early, but it’s starting to look as though the Cyclones could actually be a player at the top of the league.
They’re off to a 4-1 start that includes wins over Tulsa, Iowa and TCU. They’re 1-1 in conference play, with the only loss coming to Texas Tech, and they’re third in the league in scoring defense, a number that will give them a chance every time out.
TCU —The Horned Frogs’ introduction into the Big 12 hasn’t gone nearly as smoothly as West Virginia’s transition.
The season started well enough — their 4-0 start included a conference win at Kansas and a victory against Virginia — but the cookie has really crumbled in recent weeks.
Without starting quarterback Casey Pachall Saturday against Iowa State, TCU struggled, losing 37-23. Then on Tuesday, head coach Gary Patterson announced that Pachall, who had been suspended after a DWI arrest, was leaving the school for the semester and entering an inpatient rehabilitation facility.
After seeing a 12-game winning streak, the nation’s best, come to an end, things could get difficult for a TCU club that already ranks eighth in the Big 12 in total offense and will now have to find a way to move the ball without one of its top offensive threats.
THEY SAID IT
Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads on his team being ranked in this week’s USA Today Coaches’ Poll — “It’s nice that it happened. I told the people at the bagel store that this morning, but they still made me pay for my bagel and coffee. So it’s not helping us much right now.”
BY THE NUMBERS
9 — Nine of the 10 Big 12 teams are either ranked or receiving votes this week. WVU is the highest-ranked team, coming in at No. 4 in the Coaches Poll and No. 5 in the AP Poll. Kansas State is No. 5 and No. 6, respectively, in those same two polls, while Oklahoma is 10th and 13th. Texas is ranked No. 15 in both polls, while TCU is 23rd in the Coaches, where Iowa State is 25th. Neither team is ranked in the AP Poll.
Baylor, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech are receiving votes in the Coaches Poll. Kansas is the only team in the league that didn’t get a single vote.
3 — The Big 12 has the top three teams in the country in total offense — Oklahoma State, Baylor and WVU — and seven of the top 25 in scoring offense.
51 — Big 12 teams have had 51 plays reviewed by replay crews this season, but just 15 of those have been overturned. Three of them were coaches’ challenges, and none of those were overturned.