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Even in “Down” Year, the Big 12 Delivered in 2018

NCAA Football: Texas Tech at Baylor Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

By 3:00 PM Saturday afternoon, the Big 12 was wrapping up an intense conference championship game and an overall enjoyable season. Despite losing a Heisman trophy winner, breaking in multiple new quarterbacks, and losing a lot of veteran talent to the NFL, the Big 12 still supplied the fans with the drama and entertainment that we have come to love.

The Big 12 may have lost one Heisman winner, but come next Saturday Kyler Murray could make it two in a row for Oklahoma and the conference. Murray wasn’t the only one making outstanding plays in the conference, however. West Virginia’s Will Grier was also in the Heisman conversation throughout the year, T.J Vasher from Texas Tech made the catch of the year in all of college football in week 1, and I believe Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger played his way into an early conversation Heisman hopeful for 2019. And what about the players that came from nowhere? Brock Purdy, from Iowa State, was a third string quarterback to start the year, and yet he played well enough to have his team in the conference championship game conversation. At the beginning of the year we knew that Tech would have one matchup nightmare in their receiving corps, but did anybody expect Antoine Wesley to have such a breakout year. Even the struggling Kansas Jayhawks gave us a reason to tune in to their games, if only to watch Pooka Williams run wild all season long. The list could go, but a few honorable mentions include Jalen Hurd, Jalen Reagor, Tyrone Johnson, and both Texas receivers Johnson and Humphreys.

Then there is the fantastic games. Both the top rivalry games in the conference (Red River Shootout & Bedlam) exceeded the hype. Who could forget Baylor’s last second wins against KSU and OSU? West Virginia played both Texas and Oklahoma in heart-pounding fashion, and Iowa State vs Kansas State will likely end up being the last game that Bill Snyder coached.

Speaking of coaches, how about the job both Matt Campbell and Matt Rhule did this year. Matt Campbell showed that last year was no fluke, and Matt Rhule earned the trust of an alumni base. I also have to give credit to where it is due. Gary Patterson’s TCU squad looked dead in the water late in the season, only to rally to a 6th win. We also witnessed the tenure’s of two big coaching personalities come to an end, both of whom added a lot of entertainment value to the conference.

It was a memorable season of Big 12 football. Incredible talent and growth from both the coaches and the players made for some truly captivating Saturdays of football.