When it comes to the Big 12, offense is the name of the game. This season in the Big 12 was no exception to that rule as the conference packed plenty of offensive shootouts to enjoy from start to finish. Just because a game offered plenty of scoring does not mean there were not other noteworthy performances this season. The Big 12 enjoyed some success against SEC opponents on the road, and key Big 12 contests went down to the wire at times. Yes, the Big 12 had a little bit of everything to offer this season.
Here are a few games that just missed the cut:
Oklahoma State 70, Texas Tech 53: The highest-scoring game in the Big 12 this season lived up to the hype. The Cowboys pulled away from Texas Tech to keep their Big 12 and possible College Football Playoff hopes alive.
California 45, Texas 44: Sure, it was a loss for the Big 12, but the early-season matchup between Cal and Texas provided quite a wild finish with the Longhorns seeing a fourth-quarter rally falling one point shy.
TCU 28, Baylor 21 (OT): The preseason game of the year was diminished in value due to injuries and prior losses, and the weather did neither team any favors. TCU picked up the overtime win to eliminate Baylor from Big 12 championship contention.
Oklahoma 58, Oklahoma State 23: This would have deserved top-10 consideration given the circumstances and stakes, but the Sooners turned what could have been the Big 12's game of the year into a rout in Stillwater.
Texas 23, Baylor 17: Baylor played without a quarterback for the majority of the game and still almost came up with a win.
Kansas State 24, West Virginia 23: Bill Snyder and the Wildcats became bowl eligible with a one-point victory over the Mountaineers in the final game of the season.
Oklahoma State's close calls
Special recognition for a handful of Oklahoma State victories is worth a brief section to its own. The Cowboys may have stumbled in their final two games of the season, but before that they went 10-0 with tight victories over Texas, Kansas State, West Virginia and Iowa State (we'll touch on that last one in a little bit). Oklahoma State needed overtime to get out of Morgantown with a win in mid-October and two fourth-quarter field goals to escape Austin with a win over the Longhorns. A late field goal against Kansas State came the week before topping West Virginia. Unlike Nebraska, Oklahoma State fans have experienced the thrill of close calls this season.
10. Texas 24, Oklahoma 17 — Oct. 10
With Texas scuffling to a 1-4 start to the season and Oklahoma ranked in the top 10, few expected the Longhorns to give the rival Sooners much of a fight in the annual Red River Rivalry game. Texas turned in a stellar defensive performance against Oklahoma, holding the Sooners to just 278 yards of offense. The Texas offense jumped out to a stunning 14-0 lead in the first quarter and then held on to a seven-point cushion in the fourth. A sack of Baker Mayfield for a loss of 17 yards on 3rd-and-14 on Oklahoma's final possession of the game led to the Sooners losing their first and only game of the 2015 season (thus far).
9. Oklahoma State 35, Iowa State 31 — Nov. 14
A few years after Oklahoma State saw a national championship dream bust at Iowa state, the Cowboys were determined not to allow history to repeat itself in mid-November. Down 24-7 in the second quarter, Oklahoma State roared back in the second half and scored twice in the fourth quarter to take its first lead of the game following J.W. Walsh's touchdown pass to Jeff Carr with three and a half minutes remaining. Oklahoma State's defense then forced a three-and-out and picked off a pass on Iowa State's last offensive play of the game to escape Ames with a much-desired victory.
8. Texas Tech 48, Texas 45 — Nov. 26
Texas Tech and Texas met on Thanksgiving night for the regular season finale for both, and it was packed with offense from start to finish. Texas Tech rolled up 665 yards of offense and the Longhorns totaled 467 yards in the shootout. It was a bit of a sloppy game as well though with six combined turnovers, four by Texas Tech. But it was the Red Raiders who dipped into the bag of tricks to get by the Longhorns. Texas Tech appeared to set up in a kneel-down formation with just under three minutes to play, but Jakeem Grant took the handoff then snuck to the outside for a 40-yard touchdown run that would prove to be the game-winning score. Texas scored two plays later, but Texas Tech held on for the win.
7. Texas Tech 35, Arkansas 24 — Sept. 19
It was a good year for the Big 12 in statement game opportunities against the SEC. Texas Tech joined in the early season fun of beating up on Arkansas, and Red Raiders head coach Kliff Kingsbury had no problem boasting about it and pouring some salt on the wounds of his counterpart, Bret Bielema. Patrick Mahomes scored three touchdowns (one passing, two rushing) in the 35-24 victory over the Razorbacks and the Red Raider defense held Arkansas to just three points in the second half.
"He just got his (butt) kicked twice in a row and probably next week by (Texas) A&M as well," Kingsbury said after the game, referring to Bielema. "That did feel good." Arkansas did lose the following week, for what it is worth.
6. Oklahoma 31, Tennessee 24 (2OT) — Sept. 12
A week before Texas Tech would score a road victory in SEC territory, Oklahoma made a trip to Knoxville for a top-25 matchup with Tennessee. After digging a 17-0 hole in the first half, the Sooners chipped away at the Vols and scored a game-tying touchdown with just 40 seconds left in regulation to force overtime. Baker Mayfield forced a second overtime with his short keeper on fourth down from the one-yard line and then gave the Sooners a lead with an 18-yard pass to Sterling Shepard, who danced around a couple of would-be tacklers as he reached for the end zone along the right sideline. Oklahoma's defense, which allowed just 254 yards through a double-overtime effort, prevented Tennessee from forcing a third overtime when Zack Sanchez picked off a pass from Vols quarterback Joshua Dobbs on third down.
5. TCU 52, Kansas State 45 — Oct. 10
TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin proved capable of carrying his team to victory with a huge fourth-quarter effort on the road against Kansas State. Boykin ran for a 14-yard and a 69-yard touchdown to dig TCU out of a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter and then tossed a 55-yard TD to Josh Doctson with a little over a minute to play to give the Horned Frogs a late 52-45 lead on the Wildcats. At the time, Boykin's effort helped keep No. 2 TCU in the thick of the Playoff picture midway through the season. Boykin also kept his name among the Heisman contenders with the effort, throwing for 301 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 124 yards and two more scores to help the Frogs leave Manhattan with the wild win.
4. Oklahoma 44, Baylor 34 — Nov. 14
The outlook of the Big 12 changed when Oklahoma walked into Waco and handed Baylor its first loss of the season in mid-November. The win also catapulted Baker Mayfield into the Heisman Trophy discussion for a late push. Mayfield passed for three touchdowns and Samaje Perine rushed for 166 yards and two scores as the Sooners took control of the Big 12 following a back-and-forth evening. Oklahoma never trailed after taking a 7-6 lead in the first quarter following Perine's first touchdown run of the game. For Oklahoma, the win was the fifth straight since losing to Texas, and the offense continued to light up the scoreboard with five straight games of at least 40 points.
3. TCU 55, Texas Tech 52 — Sept. 26
Before Trevone Boykin got a chance to make his in-season Heisman case against Kansas State, he seemed to have an earlier Heisman moment against Texas Tech. The Red Raiders had plenty of offense to top the Horned Frogs, they just did not have enough time left on the clock. On fourth-and-goal from the Texas Tech four-yard line, Boykin completed a pass to Aaron Green, who hauled in a tipped pass intended for Josh Doctson, for a touchdown with 23 seconds remaining. Texas Tech made TCU sweat it out though with an insane final play that saw Patrick Mahomes complete a pass under pressure over the middle to DeAndre Washington for a 24-yard gain. Washington then lateralled to Le'Raven Clark, who lateralled to Devin Lauderdale, who lateralled to Jakeem Grant. The play that started at midfield advanced all the way to the TCU 10-yard line before being forced out of bounds as time expired.
2. Baylor 45, Oklahoma State 35 — Nov. 21
Baylor bounced back form its first loss of the season to Oklahoma in a big way on the road against Oklahoma State. The Bears got three total touchdowns from third-string quarterback Chris Johnson, who was replacing an injured Jarrett Stidham, giving the Cowboys their first loss of the season, thus keeping Baylor alive for the Big 12 championship and, perhaps, even the Playoff. Baylor wide receiver KD Cannon went off against Oklahoma State for 210 yards and two scores, including a 71-yard touchdown in the third quarter to help pull Baylor farther away from Oklahoma State on the scoreboard. Cannon had a 59-yard score in the first four minutes of the game as well, as Baylor jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead in Stillwater. Baylor's three turnovers helped Oklahoma State stay within reach, but Baylor's offense was too much to handle this week.
1. Oklahoma 30, TCU 29 — Nov. 21
A week after topping Baylor in Waco, Oklahoma returned home and got off to a great start against TCU in Norman. The Sooners took a 23-7 lead in the first half with a pair of touchdown passes thrown by Baker Mayfield and Austin Seibert kicking three field goals. TCU was playing without quarterback Trevone Boykin and wide receiver Josh Doctson at this point, so the Horned Frogs could have rolled over and given up pretty easily. Of course, that would not be like a Gary Patterson-coached team. The Horned Frogs rallied with three touchdowns and a field goal after halftime. Oklahoma's only score of the second half came on a 72-yard touchdown run by Samaje Perine in the third quarter. TCU's rally was nearly completed with a Bram Kohlhausen touchdown pass to Emanuel Porter with 51 seconds to play. Rather than kick the extra point and roll the dice in overtime, Patterson opted to go for the two-point conversion and the lead. With Oklahoma playing without an injured Mayfield, that seemed like a good move for TCU as the Horned Frogs shut down Oklahoma in the second half. However, Kohlhausen's pass attempt on the conversion try was swatted down by Oklahoma's Steven Parker, and the Sooners survived for a key Big 12 victory that would lead to a conference championship in the final game of the season against Oklahoma State.