Get the Athlon Sports Newsletter
Surprising Baylor, Texas Tech take top two spots
The BCS standings began Sunday with Baylor and Texas Tech representing the Big 12 in the top 10.
There have been many surprises this season, but that has to be pretty high on the list of shocking developments. Even though both teams have the toughest portion of their schedules ahead of them, there are enough reasons to believe the Bears and Red Raiders may end up playing for the Fiesta Bowl — or more.
Baylor and Texas Tech are Nos. 1 and 2 in the Big 12 in offense, as you’d expect, but the they also No. 1 and No. 2 in fewest yards allowed per play.
Strange times indeed.
Big 12 Post-Week 8 Power Rankings
|1||1||Baylor (6-0, 3-0): The Bears returned to Waco and returned to their 70-point ways, defeating Iowa State 71-7. Baylor remains on pace to set records for points per game (64.7) and yards per play (9.0) among others, but the defense against deserves note this week for having its best game of the season in holding Iowa State to 174 yards and 2.9 yards per play. Baylor gets one more tuneup against a lower-tier Big 12 team before its gauntlet in November. This week: at Kansas|
|2||3||Texas Tech (7-0, 4-0): More and more, it’s getting easier to be a believer in Texas Tech. The Red Raiders fell behind by 11 points in the second half on the road before scoring three unanswered touchdowns for an easy win. Freshman Davis Webb is 71 of 106 (67 percent) for 877 yards with five touchdowns and one interception since becoming the starter. Beat the Sooners in Norman, and the Texas Tech bandwagon will be at full capacity. This week: at Oklahoma|
|3||2||Texas (4-2, 3-0): This may be a surprise: Texas is third in the Big 12 in total offense and fourth in yards per play. The Longhorns are at their best when Johnathan Gray is controlling the ground game, but they’ll face the top run defense in the league this week. This week: at TCU|
|4||4||Oklahoma (6-1, 3-1): The Sooners defeated Kansas comfortably, but it’s hard to get too excited about Oklahoma’s long-term prospects. The defense continued to look vulnerable without tackle Jordan Phillips and linebacker Corey Nelson. Kansas had success in the run game, rushing for 185 yards and two touchdowns on 39 carries. Blake Bell continued to struggle to stretch the field against the Jayhawks. He’s averaging five yards per pass attempt in Big 12, ranking 10th among league quarterbacks with at least 50 attempts. Against KU, receiver Lacoltan Bester had the longest pass play of the day with a 49-yard pass on a trick play. This week: Texas Tech|
|5||5||Oklahoma State (5-1, 2-1): After two weeks of sticking with struggling quarterback J.W. Walsh, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy had seen enough after two interceptions, one in the end zone. Gundy yanked Walsh and replaced him with Clint Chelf, who immediately threw an interception of his own. Gundy stuck with Chelf after the turnover, and Chelf finished 10 of 25 for 178 yards. Oklahoma State may also have had a changing of the guard at tailback where freshman Rennie Childs rushed for 45 yards and a score on nine carries. Childs had six total carries prior to Saturday. This week: at Iowa State|
|6||6||Kansas State (2-4, 0-3): The Wildcats may be a better team that the record indicates, but Kansas State still needs to pick up some wins to reach a bowl game. The good news is that four of the final six are at home, and one of the road trips is at Kansas. This week: West Virginia|
|7||7||West Virginia (3-4, 1-3): The Mountaineers’ offense had its best game of the season, but it still went dormant late as Texas Tech railed back for 21 consecutive points to finish the game. Clint Trickett was 27 of 43 for 254 yards with a touchdown and Dreamius Smith and Charles Sims combined for 166 rushing yards on 31 carries. Yet West Virginia gained only one first down on the final five possessions. Visiting Kansas State could be a critical swing game for West Virginia’s bowl hopes. This week: at Kansas State|
|8||8||TCU (3-4, 1-3): The Horned Frogs have been awful on offense, but never worse than in the first half. Oklahoma State became the third team to shut out TCU in the first half this season even though the Frogs intercepted OSU three times. TCU has five offensive touchdowns in the first half all season with two of those coming against Southeastern Louisiana. At one point, Gary Patterson was frustrated enough to pull starting quarterback Trevone Boykin. Freshman Tyler Matthews responded by fumbling his first snap. The target date for quarterback Casey Pachall’s return has been Nov. 2 against West Virginia. So that's good news. This week: Texas|
|9||9||Iowa State (1-5, 0-3): After a close call with Texas and a competitive game against Texas Tech, Iowa State didn’t have anything left for Baylor. Iowa State didn’t score its first touchdown until the final 47 seconds. Giving up a ton of points to Baylor isn’t a shock, but Iowa State also gave up two special teams touchdowns (a punt return and a kickoff return following Iowa State’s only touchdown of the game). Aaron Wimberly, who had become the bread and butter of Iowa State’s offense, rushed for 21 yards on only five carries. This week: Oklahoma State|
|10||10||Kansas (2-4, 0-3): Kansas played without two of its top players in linebacker Ben Heeney (knee) and wide receiver Tony Pierson (head). Still, Kansas got off to a 13-0 start before another punt mishap, this time a blocked kick, opened the doors for Oklahoma to win decisively. Quarterback Jake Heaps also had one of the worst quarterback stat lines of the season, going 5 of 13 for 16 yards with a touchdown and three sacks. This week: Baylor|
Big 12 Week 8 Recap and Awards
Offensive Player of the Week: Josh Stewart, Oklahoma State
With a quarterback change in Stillwater, Josh Stewart remained the constant. The Cowboys struggled with passers again this season, but no matter who is taking snaps, the goal should be to get the ball to Stewart. The junior caught 10 passes for 141 yards, including a 27-yard pass from receiver Charlie Moore that set up a touchdown. Stewart flourished in his matchup with Jason Verrett and the standout TCU secondary, but he found the end zone on a 95-yard punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter.
Defensive Player of the Week: Charles Tapper, Oklahoma
With starters Jordan Phillips and Corey Nelson out, Oklahoma has struggled at times to stop the run. Thanks to defensive end Charles Tapper, OU clamped down on Kansas after falling behind 13-0. Tapper finished with six tackles, two sacks and three tackles for a loss in a 34-19 win. With 15 yards passing and three sacks, Kansas quarterback Jake Heaps accounted for minus-3 yards of total offense.
Freshman of the Week: Davis Webb, Texas Tech
At this point, the Big 12 freshman of the week should be renamed the Baker Mayfield/Davis Webb freshman of the week award. Red Raiders quarterbacks have owned this spot this season. Webb completed 35 of 50 passes for 462 yards with two touchdowns in a 37-27 road win over West Virginia. Webb had a potentially game-turning fumble at the 1-yard line in the second quarter, but he rebounded to lead three unanswered scoring drives in the final 17:26.
Team of the Week: Texas Tech
The meat of Texas Tech’s schedule begins next week with a road trip to Norman, but the Red Raiders continue to answer the call. West Virginia led by 11 at home, but Tech scored the final 21 points to preserve a 7-0 start. In his first season, coach Kliff Kingsbury has matched Tommy Tuberville’s best regular season and has brought Texas Tech into the top 10 for the first time since the magical 2008 season.
Coordinator of the Week: Phil Bennett, Baylor
The Baylor offense had its fourth 70-point day of the season, a milestone that is quickly becoming routine in Waco. What wasn’t routine was Baylor’s defense. The Bears had their best defensive game of the season, holding Iowa State to 174 total yards and 2.9 yards per play. Both were season-bests for the Baylor defense. Iowa State didn’t find the end zone until the final 47 seconds.
• Baylor’s 64-point win over Iowa State was the largest margin of victory for the Bears in a conference game, Big 12 or Southwest Conference.
• If Baylor defeats Kansas next week, it will have the longest win streak in school history at 11 games.
• Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty picked up his first red zone touchdown of the season with a four-yard score to Antwan Goodley in the first quarter.
• Texas Tech’s 7-0 start overall and 4-0 start in the Big 12 are both the best for the Red Raiders since 2008. Kliff Kingsbury is the first Big 12 coach to start his career 7-0.
• Texas Tech was ranked ninth in the coaches’ poll and 10th in the AP poll Sunday, the first time the Red Raiders have been in the top 10 since the 2008 season.
• TCU forced four turnovers and lost. The Horned Frogs are 35-2 in the last 37 when forcing at least three turnovers.
• Oklahoma allowed Kansas quarterback Jake Heaps to complete only 5 of 13 passes. The Sooners hadn’t allowed five or fewer passes since Chattanooga went 3 of 17 on Aug. 30, 2008. OU has allowed single-digit pass completions twice this season, giving up nine to Notre Dame.