Big 12 Report (Oct. 29)

10/29/2012 12:39 PM

10/29/2012 12:41 PM

Oklahoma used to benefit from a home-field advantage so strong that Memorial Stadium felt like a fortress.

At about this time last year, the Sooners had won 75 of 77 home games under Bob Stoops. No one wanted to play them in Norman.

But their perception of home invincibility is fading fast. Since Texas Tech ended Oklahoma’s 39-game home winning streak on Oct. 22 last year, it has lost three home games. No. 3 Kansas State started its march up the rankings with a 24-19 victory there earlier this season, and No. 4 Notre Dame strengthened its status as a national contender with a 30-13 win there on Saturday night.

Now, it’s not as if Oklahoma is losing to nobodies. The Wildcats and Fighting Irish are two of the best teams in college football and the Sooners were in position to win both games. But they were favored to win both games by double digits.

Something about that combination doesn’t sit well with OU fans. Perhaps realizing that, Stoops made some strange comments after the Notre Dame loss.

“It stinks to lose,” Stoops said in his postgame news conference. “But in the end, let’s recognize we played an excellent football team. I’m not looking through any rose-colored glasses, looking to get any moral victories.”

At Memorial Stadium, the only people that used to mention the words “moral” and “victory” in the same sentence were the visitors.

But after three homes losses in little more than a calendar year, things have changed. Maybe that was to be expected. Every team falters at home at some point. Stoops essentially predicted future struggles when Oklahoma lost to Texas Tech.

"I don’t know that it has to be all that surprising," Stoops said then. "The teams we play can come in here and beat us. And sometimes maybe too much is said about it, like it can’t happen.

"I told the players that anyone who we’ll play the rest of the year will whoop us if we don’t play better than we did today. They just flat out beat us."

So did K-State and Notre Dame.

TCU down another QB?

The news keeps getting worse for TCU quarterbacks. Trevone Boykin, who took over the starting job after Casey Pachall left the program following an arrest earlier this season, suffered a knee injury during a 36-14 loss at Oklahoma State on Saturday.

He fell to the ground with time winding down and had to be helped off the field. But the severity of his injury is unknown.

TCU coach Gary Patterson hasn’t given any updates on Boykin’s status. He was replaced by sophomore Matt Brown on the Horned Frogs’ final series.

If Boykin misses any amount of time, TCU might struggle moving forward. Its schedule is back-loaded with games against West Virginia, K-State, Texas and Oklahoma. Not an easy stretch for any team, especially one possibly playing without its top two quarterbacks.

Movable object vs. resistible force

A game between the Big 12’s only two teams without a conference victory won’t attract any national viewers, but Kansas at Baylor is loaded with local appeal – in the it’s-so-bad-it’s-good kind of way. The Bears have one of the worst defenses in the country. The Jayhawks can’t pass the ball. It might be ugly, but someone has to win.

“We’ve lost 100 in row in the Big 12,” KU coach Charlie Weis said, stretching the number by 83. “We need to beat somebody."

Injury non-update

K-State linebacker Tre Walker and left tackle Cornelius Lucas both needed to be helped off the field after suffering injuries against Texas Tech. Bill Snyder isn’t sure if they will be available to play against Oklahoma State. He said that decision will be made later in the week.

Who’s hot

Collin Klein: Four touchdowns against Texas Tech kept him on top of the Heisman Trophy race and won him Big 12 offensive player of the week honors.

Joseph Randle: Quietly is having another impressive season. The Oklahoma State running back from Wichita can eclipse 1,000 yards with a good game against K-State.

Steele Jantz: After throwing for 381 yards and five touchdowns against Baylor, Iowa State’s starting quarterback job once again belongs to him.

James Sims: KU running back rushed for 176 yards against a Texas defense that knew he was getting the ball on almost every play.

Who’s not

David Ash: When you get replaced for ineffective play against Kansas, you know you’re playing poorly.

Mack Brown: The Texas coach is on a two-game winning streak, but the victories were so underwhelming most Longhorns fan see a four-game losing streak.

Baylor defense: This may be Phil Bennett’s last season as Baylor’s defensive coordinator.

What to watch

Must-see games: Oklahoma State at K-State.

Worth watching: TCU at West Virginia, Texas at Texas Tech, Oklahoma at Iowa State.

Avert your eyes: Kansas at Baylor.

Power rankings

1. Kansas State (8-0, 5-0): Wildcats will be favored in final four games.

2. Oklahoma (5-2, 3-1): Big-game Bob (Stoops) has lost big games lately.

3. Texas Tech (6-2, 3-2): Second-half meltdown at K-State knocked it out of league title contention.

4. Oklahoma State (5-2, 3-1): Cowboys control their own destiny in league title race.

5. West Virginia (5-2, 2-2): Mountaineers face must-win against TCU.

6. Texas (6-2, 3-2): On the bright side, Longhorns are bowl eligible again.

7. Iowa State (5-3, 2-3): Impressive bounce back against Baylor.

8. TCU (5-3, 2-3): Quarterback troubles continue for Horned Frogs.

9. Baylor (3-4, 0-4): First conference win could come against Kansas.

10. Kansas (1-7, 0-5): First conference win could come against Baylor.

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