The Big 12 is going out with a bang.
On Saturday, while most major conferences will hold made-for-national-TV championship games, the Big 12 will hold two. Oklahoma will head to Oklahoma State at 11 a.m. in a must-see rivalry game. Then Texas will face Baylor at 2:30 p.m. in a game that could decide Mack Brown’s future. By the end of the day, Oklahoma State, Baylor or Texas could be crowned outright league champion. Or two could share the title.
Bottom line: The final day of the regular season will be filled with drama.
On Monday, Texas quarterback Case McCoy admitted to reporters that, though it killed him to say so, he hopes rival Oklahoma plays well against Oklahoma State.
“All the marbles are on the table,” McCoy said. “This will determine if our season is a success.”
Credit the Big 12 executives in charge of football scheduling for that. Once again, they have proven they know what they’re doing. Last year, K-State and Texas squared off in a December game that decided the conference title. The year before that, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State met in a winner-take-all finale.
When the Big 12 dropped to 10 teams, many argued that the loss of a conference championship game would weaken the league. While other conferences were in the spotlight during championship week, some thought the Big 12 would be an afterthought. But that hasn’t been the case.
The Big 12 has found a way to keep the stakes high in December.
Briles vs. Patterson
No season is truly complete until opposing coaches get into a public argument. Maybe that’s why TCU coach Gary Patterson was so displeased with Baylor coach Art Briles following their game on Saturday.
When the two met for a postgame handshake, cameras caught Patterson angrily mumbling under his breath and Briles urging him to leave his complaints “on the field.”
The dispute stemmed from a targeting call on Baylor defensive back Ahmad Dixon on TCU quarterback/receiver Trevone Boykin. Bears coaches didn’t agree with the penalty, and patted Dixon on the back as he exited the field. Dixon was ultimately ejected, and he sarcastically blew kisses to the crowd on his way to the locker room.
Patterson thought Baylor should have taken the incident more seriously, and inferred that Briles showed a lack of class throughout the game.
The incident seemed odd and unnecessary. Shouldn’t Patterson have cared more about the game at hand than how the Baylor sideline reacted to a penalty?
On Monday, Briles did his best to downplay the situation.
“Growing up in west Texas,” Briles said, “I was taught if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
Does the ending of one season impact the beginning of another season?
We are about to find out.
In the span of two games, West Virginia went from expecting a bowl invitation to losing to Kansas and Iowa State. In that same time frame, Iowa State went from hapless to a winning streak.
The Mountaineers head into next season with more questions than answers. The Cyclones finished off a down season on an upswing. They stayed positive through a lengthy losing streak and ended the year with back-to-back victories. That will give Iowa State fans something to look forward to during the offseason.
With one week remaining in the regular season, here is a guess at where each bowl-eligible team in the Big 12 will end up this postseason.
If two Big 12 teams qualify for a BCS bowl, the Texas Bowl would have to look elsewhere for a team to play a Big Ten opponent.
Ranking this week’s games
Big 12 football rankings