Joseph Randle and Blake Bell gave the Big 12 a bit of a City League feel on Saturday.
The former Wichita high school football players scored touchdowns and helped their teams win easy game by playing important roles.
Randle, a former Southeast standout, rushed for 152 yards and four touchdowns against Baylor. It was arguably his best game, although a 134-yard, four-touchdown performance a week ago against Missouri, which featured a receiving score, wasn't far off.
"It was just my turn to make plays," Randle said by phone Monday. "On our team we have a lot of playmakers, but I guess they just needed me the last two weeks. So they used me a little more. I enjoyed it."
Big things were expected out of Randle entering his sophomore season with Kendall Hunter heading to the NFL. In Oklahoma State's high-powered offense, he has shined.
He has rushed for 820 yards and 16 touchdowns, and looks like a lock for the Big 12's all-conference team.
This week, he will try to continue that streak against Kansas State, which features several friends from the Wichita area. Randle said he talks to Arthur Brown, Tysyn Hartman and Chris Harper on a regular basis, and used to play alongside them in youth sports.
"Kansas State has a great team and I really respect all those guys," Randle said. "We're expecting a tough challenge, but it's Week 9. This game would be exciting no matter who we play."
While that kind of excitement is nothing new from Randle, it is for Bell. The former Bishop Carroll standout, who serves as Oklahoma's backup quarterback behind Landry Jones, scored the Sooners' first touchdown Saturday on a short run near the goal line.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops sent him into the game to run the wildcat formation. Based on his success, Bell may get more chances as the season continues.
"He's a big guy who also throws well," Stoops said. "You can mix that in, too... We'll continue to work some things in with that package."
Let me see if I've got this straight. Kansas State beat Texas Tech 41-34, which beat Oklahoma 41-38, which beat K-State 58-17. And Texas Tech is coming off a head-scratching 41-7 loss to Iowa State, which was previously winless in Big 12 play.
Clearly, the transitive property has no bearing in college football.
Every week is self-contained. If the results listed above don't convince you of that, then maybe Red Raiders coach Tommy Tuberville can.
"We don't know how to handle success, obviously," Tuberville said, a week after Texas Tech shot into the top 25 with a big win at Oklahoma.
Or maybe K-State coach Bill Snyder can.
"Maybe we're not as good as some might want to think," Snyder said. "Oklahoma is a lot better than some people want to think."
The question now is: How good is Iowa State?
Race for third
While everyone looks toward Oklahoma State's battle with Oklahoma in the regular-season finale for both teams as the most interesting game remaining in the Big 12, there is an intriguing undercard playing out beneath the Bedlam rivals.
As many as six teams could find themselves in the race for third place in the conference standings, and possibly an invitation to the Cotton Bowl.
K-State, which has one loss, is the leader. But the Wildcats face a difficult closing schedule. Texas and Texas A&M have two conference losses, and Missouri, Texas Tech and Baylor have three.
You can't rule any of them out yet.
K-State junior cornerback Nigel Malone, fresh off a two-interception game against Oklahoma, is one of 15 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, awarded to the nation's top defensive back. He has six interceptions.
Malone is the first K-State player since Terence Newman in 2002 to be up for the award.
This week's games
Must-see: Kansas State at Oklahoma State, Texas Tech at Texas, Texas A&M at Oklahoma
Worth watching: Missouri at Baylor
If you're desperate: Kansas at Iowa State
1. Oklahoma State (8-0, 5-0 Big 12)
Legitimate national title contender
2. Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1)
How, again, did Sooners lose to Texas Tech?
3. Kansas State (7-1, 4-1)
We've seen Cats at their best, Saturday was their worst
4. Texas A&M (5-3, 3-2)
Aggies can't close out games
5. Texas Tech (5-3, 2-3)
How, again, did Red Raiders beat OU?
6. Texas (5-2, 2-2)
Back on track after pounding Kansas
7. Missouri (4-4, 2-3)
Beating Texas A&M helps bowl chances
8. Baylor (4-3, 1-3)
Bears are in total free fall
9. Iowa State (4-4, 1-4)
Texas Tech victory was classic Paul Rhoads
10. Kansas (2-6, 0-5)
At least basketball practice has started