On the last weekend of the season Big 12 fans were treated to 3 games - two that mattered some and one that mattered a lot. In Norman, OSU played OU in the annual Bedlam game. This was the first time in 5 years that this game did not have conference championship implications. OU was playing for pride in this one but OSU was playing for a bowl berth. Both were playing for bragging rights north of the Red River. #3 TCU lined up to play against the league's worst team in Iowa State looking to solidify their national ranking and a spot in the inaugural college football playoff. In the primetime spot with major implications, and with ESPN's College Gameday in Waco, the #6 Baylor Bears took on the #9 Kansas State Wildcats. Both teams had everything to gain and everything to lose in this one. A share of the Big 12 title was up for grabs as well as a potential spot in the playoff.
Iowa State 3 @ TCU (-34.5) 55
Paul Rhoads and his Iowa State Cyclones had not ruined anyone's season this year and there was a bit of banter about it leading up to this game. Regardless of the talk, It did not happen in Fort Worth and the Frogs hammered Iowa State 55 - 3. At the beginning, the Clones hung tough with TCU and near the end of the 2nd quarter were down only 14-3 and had the ball on a muffed punt recovery deep in TCU territory. Baylor, Florida State and Ohio State fans everywhere where hoping for a miracle and with a 14-10 game at halftime, that miracle would have been in reach. That was not to be though and 1 play later Ranthony Texada picked off a Sam Richardson pass at the TCU 9 bringing a halt to the threat. TCU mounted a solid drive from that point and put 3 more points on the board to snatch some momentum and take it into halftime. Throughout the game TCU had been driving ball and taking control of the game but at 17-3 it was not a foregone conclusion that the game would be a blowout.
Coming out after the break though, TCU took control of the game and blew things wide open. On the opening drive of the half, Trevone Boykin connected on a 54 yard strike to Aaron Green for a touchdown. Later in the quarter Derrick Kindred picked off Sam Richardson and took it 44 yards for a pick-six. Boykin threw two more touchdowns in the quarter, an 18 yarder to Josh Doctson and a 45 yarder to Deante Gray. When the quarter was over the Frogs were up 48-3 and Iowa State's secondary was being absolutely humiliated. TCU's starters ran the score to 55 early in the fourth but then the Frogs started subbing and running clock. Iowa State was looking for the door to the locker room for most of the 4th quarter...
Boykin had a tremendous day at 460 yards and 4 TDs thrown against 1 interception. Granted it was against an Iowa State secondary that came into the game ranked 103rd in pass defense in the NCAA, but it was a great performance nonetheless. Aaron Green also went over 100 yards on the ground. With the blowout win, the Horned Frogs staked their claim to a top-4 playoff spot.
Oklahoma State 38 @ Oklahoma (-19.5) 35
There was a lot to play for in this game, especially if you live in Stillwater. The Sooners were playing for bowl placement and pride, but the Cowboys were playing to extend their season. Okie State has played in a bowl for 8 seasons in a row and sitting at 5-6 on the year, a win against big brother would make that 9. As a 19.5-point dog though not many people thought that OSU could pull it off. Mason Rudolph was not one of those people. Rudolph looked sharp in his second start as the OSU QB and scored the Cowboy's 2nd touchdown on a 39-yard bomb to Brandon Sherperd to tie the score at 14 in the second quarter. Cody Thomas looked equally sharp for Oklahoma and connected with Blake Bell on a 47-yard strike that set up a 1 yard Aaron Ripkowski dive in for a touchdown. Samaje Perine also got into the action scoring 2 Touchdowns early as well. For much of the first half the game went back and forth with OSU refusing to let OU pull away.
The overwhelming strength of the Sooners began to become evident though and powered by Perine and Ripkowski, the Normans opened up a comfortable 28-14 lead late in the 2nd quarter which they held on to well into the 4th quarter. The Cowboys refused to give up though and the desperation of wanting to go to a bowl game kicked in. OSU went on a 21-7 run in the 4th to send the game to overtime. The Reindeer connected with Sheperd for 43 yards on one score but the evener came on a Tyreek Hill 92-yard punt return with 45 seconds to play. The interesting thing about that one is that it came on a re-kick after a penalty. The Sooners elected to kick again after a roughing the punter call to strand OSU deep in their own territory but it did not work out all that well. Oh my...
With all of the momentum heading into overtime, the Cowboys held the Sooners to a field goal attempt that was missed by Michael Hunnicutt from 44 yards out. The Cowboy's Ben Grogan got a chance to kick 4 plays later from 21 yards out and nailed it through to cap the most improbable of comebacks. Welcome to the bowl party Oklahoma State! One thing that is clear is that OSU has found their quarterback for next year. Mason Rudolph is good. The performance that he had against Baylor was no fluke.
Sunday Morning Quarterback
Another football season, another Big 12 Championship. Bryce Petty was absolutely brilliant in his final game in Waco and capped an amazing career at Baylor. The prime time showdown in Waco determined who got the second trophy with TCU already sitting on a share of the league championship from their win over Iowa State earlier. Baylor beat a top-10 Kansas State team to secure their trophy and did it with authority. Baylor never trailed in this game and was up by 14 points for much of the night. Kansas State was out of their element playing catch up and were never able to draw any closer than a touchdown behind.
With that result, Baylor and TCU are co-champions and by Big 12 bylaws, Baylor has the league's preference for the guaranteed slot in the Big 12's major bowl. Bob Bowlsby has repeatedly stated this week that the Big 12 will not designate a champion though for the College Football Playoff committee in a move that could backfire and leave the Big 12 on the outside looking in.
At this point it is all speculation as to what the committee will do, but if they were looking at resume alone then Baylor should get the nod. Baylor has wins over a top-5 team, a top-10 team, and a top-20 team going into the final week of the season, something that no other team has. Ohio State has a terrible loss at Virginia Tech and proved that the Big 10 is fairly weak overall after hammering the Badgers of Wisconsin 59-0. TCU has played well in the stretch but lost to Baylor and rightfully should be lower on the totem pole now that the resumes are virtually identical.
Do I think that will happen? Unfortunately I do not. I sincerely hope that I am wrong, but I think that all of the wrangling about the Big 12's Non True Champion will hurt the league and leave both TCU and Baylor on the outside looking in. Given the fan base and the money involved, Ohio State is likely to slot into the final position. Fair? No. Probably happening? Yes. We will see later today what the committee does and to be honest, anything could happen. They have rolled out surprise after surprise all season and have not shown much consistency at all. The one thing that is for sure is that Baylor is the back-to-back conference champion and is going to a major New Year's day bowl, something that all fans should revel in.
Just in case you missed it earlier this season, here is a Bowl Primer about how it all works in the Big 12: http://www.ourdailybears.com/2014/11/9/7184523/the-big-12-bowl-primer
Go Bears, Big 12 Champions...