Just a few things I've been batting around in my head about this game and others from around the Big 12 in Week 7.
- Kansas State deserves all the credit in the world for having an excellent game plan, executing it well, and very nearly pulling off the upset that would turn their season around. The plan itself wasn't complicated; we've talked about it basically every day for a week now. KState decided they were going to limit possessions generally, clamp down hard on our rushing game, and commit themselves to running the ball using Daniel Sams at QB. They wanted to keep us in striking distance for as long as possible, using turnovers and special teams to make up the gap along the way. It's not glamorous, and it's not going to win style points. But it worked for 3+ quarters and kept our offense largely in check. The team averaging 70.5 points and 770 yards put up 35 and 450, respectively. Kansas State might have given everyone else the blueprint for how to limit Baylor's offense, but I'm not sure anybody else will be able to pull it off. That took a level of execution and planning basically unique to Bill Snyder's teams in our conference.
- That Baylor was able to win, despite everything I just said, shows how far this program has come. We saw this game in 2011, the last time we went to Manhattan, but the result was very different despite Robert Griffin III leading the charge. We would have seen it again in 2012, but we were at home and jumped on them too quickly for Snyderball to take hold. Had we managed to score on our second drive in the first quarter, that might have happened again. But we didn't, and Kansas State took advantage of our surprising misfires to keep the game close and eventually take the lead. At that point, down 25-21, our team could (and past teams might) have folded, letting KState's momentum carry them away. Instead, the offense responded with yet another big play to retake the lead, and a timely interception by Ahmad Dixon righted the defensive ship, giving Glasco Martin the chance to salt away the victory. If they players are this excited about winning this game, I'm not going to be upset.
- Our DL looked best to me when Andrew Billings was in the game? Am I alone on that? We have a lot of work to do to shore up our run defense, and he might be a big part of that going forward. After this game, we might see a lot more designed QB runs and option keepers, especially against both of the Oklahoma teams. And you just know TCU would love to be able to pull something similar off with Trevone Boykin.
- I have a lot of questions about some of the things we did schematically. Why we didn't load the box earlier against Sams rather than keep our safeties deep, I'll never know. He can throw, but not well. We should have made him show that immediately. It was never a question about what he was going to do.
- Very sad to see Lache Seastrunk's streak of 100-yard games come to an end, but I'm confident a new streak will begin this weekend against Iowa State! KSU's ability to limit our running game was a bit mystifying, but I haven't rewatched the game yet, so I won't throw stones on that front.
- We've been talking in the post-game thread about Baylor's potential poll position tomorrow. We'll know in about 13 hours where we stand, but I've never let proximity to the facts prevent me from speculating before. The following ranked teams lost today (h/t to lisahi in the other thread, all rankings from the AP):
5 Stanford (against unranked Utah)
7 Georgia (against 25 Missouri)
12 Oklahoma (against unranked Texas)
16 Washington (against 2 Oregon)
17 Florida (against 10 LSU)
18 Michigan (against unranked Penn State)
19 Northwestern (against unranked Wisconsin)
NOTE: #11 UCLA is playing right now against Cal. They'll probably win.
- With Baylor at #15 coming into today, that means 3 teams above us lost already, with another at least possible, though unlikely. Losses by all 4 of the teams immediately behind us mean we probably won't be jumped by someone with a more "impressive" victory. I think we can be pretty sure that Baylor will pass Georgia (who now has 2 losses) and Oklahoma, but I'm not positive about Stanford falling from 5 all the way below 13, where we would otherwise be. If they do, we'll probably be 12. If they don't, get ready for your #13 Baylor Bears heading into this week's game against Iowa State.
- As for the rest of the Big 12-- today might have been the least-predictable day in the history of the conference. I never would have guessed that the Texas Longhorns would come out and dominate the Oklahoma Sooners the way they did, and I think I said that enough times this week that I can't possibly hide from it. But that's exactly what they did, bottling up Blake Bell for basically the entire game and unleashing Case McCoy (as strange as that sounds) downfield over and over again. Even if you don't like UT-- and I don't-- it was fairly incredible to watch.
- It was also, however, not very helpful to us. I believe very strongly that Baylor needed OU to be ranked inside the top 10 when we played them on November 7. Their loss to Texas today throws that out the window. Now Baylor won't face a team ranked higher than we are until, possibly, the bowl game. That may not mean all that much-- neither will Alabama. Still, the better teams we beat, the better we look.
- I'm sure Texas will receive votes in this week's AP Poll, but I'm not sure they deserve them. Was today's game an accurate view of how things are or a rivalry game into which the Longhorns came with their backs against the wall? It's almost impossible to know. Regardless, Texas is now 3-0 in conference play with wins over Kansas State and Iowa State*, so there's that. *Iowa State had that game stolen from them.
- Great turnouts in the Open and Game Threads for today. I'm excited to see the community here at ODB grow with Baylor fans!
- Peter would be pissed at me if I didn't include a plug for the Podcast voice line. If you have something to say about today's game, being a Baylor fan in general, or anything else, really, leave us a message at 774-25-SICEM (257-4236). Thanks!