Oklahoma's path to a sixth straight Big 12 title featured several thrilling matchups
Thank Oklahoma for, in a year that wore out the word "unprecedented," providing some normalcy. The Sooners won their sixth consecutive Big 12 championship in 2020, providing a routine conclusion to a season of uncertainty.
Along the way to a standard finale, however, the Big 12's campaign experienced its share of unpredictability — like Iowa State reaching its first-ever conference title game.
10 Best Big 12 Games of 2020
10. TCU 29, Oklahoma State 22 – Dec. 5
TCU endured an up-and-down 2020, but the Horned Frogs' highs were exceptional. Case in point, Max Duggan's 71-yard connection with Derius Davis isn't the last game-winning score you'll see from the TCU quarterback in this countdown.
This score capped an outstanding second half, as the Horned Frogs rolled off 22 points after an anemic first half and held the Cowboys to just six after intermission.
9. West Virginia 27, Baylor 21 (2OT) – Oct. 3
A redux of the 70-63 game in 2012 this was not, but arguably made for much more compelling football. After holding Baylor to just seven points for more than 58 minutes, the West Virginia defense allowed two Bears touchdown passes over a span of six snaps — roughly akin to the scoring pace of that game eight years prior.
The first sent it to overtime tied at 14, the second continued extra frames, where Leddie Brown's second touchdown run of the day gave the Mountaineers the win.
8. Oklahoma State 20, Kansas State 18 – Nov. 7
A truly bizarre game in terms of rhythm, Kansas State held Oklahoma State scoreless through the first half but left a lot of points on the field with two red-zone field goals and a missed two-point conversion.
That was the window Oklahoma State needed to reel off 20 straight points and take the lead, only for Kansas State to score in the waning moments — but come up short on a second missed two-point conversion attempt.
7. Baylor 32, Kansas State 31 – Nov. 28
In one of the most exciting fourth quarters of the 2020 season, Baylor and Kansas State combined for 31 points — nearly half of the game's entire output — 17 of which came in the final nine minutes.
Baylor had to rally from two different two-score deficits in the period, with things looking especially bleak after Deuce Vaughn went up the gut for a touchdown.
But two scoring drives, including a perfectly executed final-minute drill to set up the game-winning field goal, sealed the Bears' win.
6. Texas 63, Texas Tech 56 – Sept. 26
Explain Big 12 football in one box score, it might be best summarized with Texas' come-from-behind win against Texas Tech. Points were plentiful and no lead was safe in this shootout, most notably the Red Raiders' 15-point lead with 2:40 to go.
Both teams squandered double-digit leads in regulation, and both defenses gave up more points than either Chris Beard or Shaka Smart accept from their basketball counterparts. In keeping with the hardwood analogy, though, Joshua Moore's monster day included this touchdown catch that was reminiscent of an alley-oop dunk.
5. TCU 33, Texas 31 – Oct. 3
Against Oklahoma State, it was a touchdown pass that proved to be the game-winner. In TCU's win over Texas, Max Duggan's legs produced the thrilling, game-winning score.
4. Oklahoma 27, Iowa State 21 (Big 12 Championship Game) – Dec. 19
The rematch between Oklahoma and Iowa State earns bonus points for its stakes, despite being somewhat underwhelming for the first two quarters and change. The Sooners appeared headed for a blowout win, until Iowa State finished two long drives with Breece Hall touchdown runs — furthering the case that he probably should have been a Heisman Trophy finalist — and mounting stops made for an intense fourth quarter.
Forcing punts on five straight Oklahoma possessions showed the might of Iowa State's defense, and offers a sneak preview of an expectation-filled offseason to come for the Cyclones.
3. Oklahoma 53, Texas 45 (4OT) – Oct. 10
The Texas State Fair may have been canceled due to COVID-19, but Red River rivals Oklahoma and Texas provided plenty of festivities in the annual carnival's stead. The Longhorns rallied from two different two-touchdown deficits, the second culminating in Sam Ehlinger's touchdown pass to Keaontay Ingram with 14 seconds left in regulation to force overtime.
Dueling missed field goals in the third overtime, first on a Perrion Winfrey block for Oklahoma followed by a short-range Sooners miss, only added to the surreality of this year's installment of the Red River Showdown.
2. Kansas State 38, Oklahoma 35 – Sept. 26
Seth McGowan's touchdown run late in the third quarter to stake Oklahoma to a 35-14 lead seemed to put the punctuation on an emphatic receipt for last year's Wildcats upset of the Sooners. Instead, one of the most electrifying quarters of the college football season ensued.
Kansas State rolled off 24 unanswered points in a run that included Jahron McPherson forcing a Spencer Rattler fumble and A.J. Parker blocking a punt. Both set up short fields and quick Wildcats touchdown, all leading to Blake Lynch's 50-yard field goal for the win.
In two seasons, Chris Klieman accomplished something Bill Snyder hadn't since the transition from the Big 8 to Big 12: back-to-back wins over Oklahoma.
1. Iowa State 37, Oklahoma 30 – Oct. 3
The 2020 campaign was magical for Iowa State in many ways, including a Fiesta Bowl romp over Oregon and the program's first-ever Big 12 Championship Game appearance. The arguable highlight, however, came early on when the Cyclones scored their first win in Norman since Dwight Eisenhower was president.
Perhaps making it all the more thrilling, Iowa State rallied from down in the fourth quarter thanks to all three phases. Kene Nwangwu nearly housed a kickoff return, setting up an easy Brock Purdy touchdown pass, the Cyclones' defense then came on to force a three-and-out, which led to a Breece Hall touchdown run. Finally, Isheem Young's pick of Spencer Rattler as Oklahoma threatened slammed the door.
— Written by Kyle Kensing, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a sportswriter in Southern California. Follow him on Twitter @kensing45.