Week 11 in the Big 12 is slim. There are just two games, neither of which featuring a team ranked in any of the top 25 polls. But this light slate is by design. When the conference released its modified 2020 schedule, it did so with a few built-in open weeks to accommodate any disruptions that would inevitably occur due to COVID-19. While that was a smart move, it also leads to Saturdays like this.
Things pick up starting Nov. 21 and the Big 12 is headed towards a fun finish. The top five teams in the conference -- Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Oklahoma and Texas -- all have a realistic shot of making the conference title game. What's more, each one of those teams plays at least one other contender over the next month. Here's how those remaining schedules play out between Nov. 21 and Dec. 5.
- Iowa State: Kansas State, at Texas, West Virginia
- Kansas State: at Iowa State, at Baylor, Texas
- Oklahoma: Oklahoma State, at West Virginia, Baylor
- Oklahoma State: at Oklahoma, Texas Tech, at TCU
- Texas: at Kansas, Iowa State, at Kansas State
*Note: Oklahoma State and Baylor are scheduled to play on Dec. 12, making up a previous postponement from Oct. 17. That is currently the only Big 12 game scheduled for that weekend.
Here's how those remaining schedules rank based on remaining opponent win percentage:
- Texas: .43
- Oklahoma State: .44
- Oklahoma: .58
- Kansas State: .58
- Iowa State: .62
There's a lot that will work itself between now and mid-December. And to be sure, there are many factors that go into a team's chances of making it to Arlington. Iowa State may have the "hardest" remaining schedule, but two of those games are at home against beatable opponents. Oklahoma State has the second "easiest" schedule, but three of those games are on the road. How well teams are playing at the moment matters, too. Oklahoma may have two losses and some challenging games ahead, but you could argue it's playing better than anyone else in the conference.
I'd be surprised if anyone from the Big 12 will be in a position to make the College Football Playoff, but that doesn't need to be the only metric for interest. The cannibalization that has been the hallmark of Big 12 play throughout the season now means the league will be in for a tight finish entering December.
TCU at West Virginia
Hope you like low scoring games! West Virginia averages 2.19 points per drive while TCU sits at 1.8. Both of those numbers are average to below average nationally. The 'Eers are a field goal favorite, but if the Frogs are going to get another road win, quarterback Max Duggan has to be a difference maker with his legs. He's coming off a win over Texas Tech in which he ran for a career-high 154 yards and three touchdowns. If he can't get going, though, West Virginia has an advantage. This defense legit and no offense has scored more than two touchdowns at Mountaineer Field this year. This has a toss-up game feel and with a 45.5 point total, it could be a great day to #punttowin. Folks, the temperatures may be dropping, but these unders are heating up. Come sweat with ya boy. Pick: Under 45.5
Baylor at Texas Tech
Even though Baylor is 1-4, it showed plenty of fight in a 38-31 loss to Iowa State. Certainly, quarterback Charlie Brewer had one of his better games on the year and the Bears defense picked off Brock Purdy three times. If nothing else, that game helped Baylor get over the slow starts that have plagued it this season. Neither Baylor nor Texas Tech has been good this year, but the fight from Dave Aranda's Bears has been encouraging. Pick: Baylor +1.5
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1. Oklahoma State (5-1, 4-1 in Big 12): The Pokes followed up their loss vs. Texas with a come-from-behind victory at K-State. It's rarely been pretty, but Mike Gundy's team usually finds a way to win. The Bedlam game on Nov. 21 will be a real litmus test.
2. Oklahoma (5-2, 4-2): The Sooners are red hot since the Texas game. The road to the Big 12 title game still won't be guaranteed with a win over Oklahoma State, but it will increase the likelihood considerably.
3. Iowa State (5-2, 4-1): The Cyclones were sloppy against Baylor, but they made one more play and came away with a victory. If they win their final three games, they're in the Big 12 Championship Game. Breece Hall is playing like the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year.
4. Texas (5-2, 4-2): The Longhorns are finding some rhythm in the running game with freshman Bijan Robinson. He might be coming on at the right time.
5. TCU (3-3, 3-3): The Horned Frogs have won back to back games and could end the season on a high note if they get a road win at West Virginia. Duggan is an assassin when he has room to run.
6. West Virginia (4-3, 3-3): The Mountaineers are so close to breaking through, but if you have inconsistent offensive line play, it's going to dictate just how good you can be.
7. Kansas State (4-3, 4-2): K-State is headed in the wrong direction, which isn't unexpected given how hard the schedule is becoming. Still, the 'Cats had Oklahoma State shut out in the first half of last week's game and had every opportunity to pull the upset.
8. Baylor (1-4, 1-4): Baylor played better at Iowa State and could have won outright. As a slight road dog against Texas Tech, can the Bears take those improvements and get a much-needed win? It feels like this team is close to stealing one.
9. Texas Tech (2-5, 1-5): The Red Raiders have just one conference win and have lost the rest by an average of nearly three scores. The missed field goal against TCU to get points on the board and save time in the fourth quarter backfired big time.
10. Kansas (0-7, 0-6): No one was expecting Kansas to come close to even challenging Oklahoma, but the Sooners nearly hit the point total (63) by themselves in a 62-9 rout. At least there's always Texas on Nov. 21.