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Thoughts And Observations On The Wild And Crazy Big 12

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NCAA Football: Baylor at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

As the 2019 season enters the last month, the Big 12 race is still up for grabs for seemingly every team in the conference. I can’t verify it, but I heard there is still an outside chance that Kansas could still make the title game. Each team has reasons for optimism and that alone will make it enjoyable for fans to watch.

Baylor – I’m still taking the survive and advance approach with this Bears team. As opposed to years past, I’m not really concerned about how crisp the team looks, or whether they win a low-scoring/high-scoring affair, or how they appear to national pundits. But one thing is evident this season. This team is no longer all about the play of Charlie Brewer. The defense picked up the slack during the first half against Texas Tech, and it was the defense who made the game clinching play against Iowa State. That is definite improvement from the 2018 season. And looking around the rest of the conference, the Bears must feel go about where they stand in the Big 12 race.

TCU/Oklahoma State – It’s fitting that these two teams play each other on Saturday. In my opinion, they are both in the exact same position. Both still have a chance to have a nice season in 2019, and both will have to rely on a young quarterback to get it done. The good thing is that there is plenty of help for the signal callers. Can these young quarterbacks get their play-makers the ball?

Oklahoma – The Sooners are in an all too familiar place. This isn’t the first time they have suffered a mid-season loss and have had to rely on help in order to make the CFP. So, it shouldn’t be panic time in Norman yet. If the Sooners win the rest of their games, they will be in the discussion for a playoff spot come early December.

Texas – The bye week could not have come at a better time for the Longhorns. Coming off a rough loss to TCU, head coach Tom Herman has a chance to earn his salary. A healthy Texas team still has a chance to contend for a Big 12 title game appearance. And even if they don’t make it back to Arlington, I am not yet selling on Tom Herman’s program; because as long as Sam Ehlinger returns for his senior season, they will most likely be the favorite going into 2020. Now, Texas must decide on how much momentum they are going to have going into the off-season. A few more rough outings by the Texas defense and it may not be that much.

Kansas/West Virginia– These schools have nothing to lose going into the final month of the season. Everybody expected rebuilding efforts from both programs and that is what they are doing. There is talent on the roster and teams can be dangerous when they aren’t playing with any pressure. Opponents should not take the Jayhawks and Mountaineers lightly.

Kansas State – This team has already exceeded expectations in 2019, and the Wildcats will have every chance to play in Arlington. Fans will find out if the win against Oklahoma was an anomaly or something to be expected in the coming years.

Texas Tech – One of the most underrated stories in the Big 12 is the inevitable quarterback controversy that will be taking place in Lubbock. Alan Bowman and Jett Duffy have each had their moments, but neither one has really separated from themselves. Making things more complicated is the fact that they are sophomores with no classification separation between them either. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where both quarterbacks hang around for the next two years. The good news for the Red Raiders? Both quarterbacks have shown the ability to win in the Big 12.

Iowa State - Their loss against Oklahoma State was probably the most surprising thing of the past weekend. They looked to have figured it out and had just completed two dominant wins against TCU and Texas Tech. Fortunately, with remaining games against both Texas and Oklahoma, the Cyclones will get a chance to right the ship