The game that is usually the standard bearer in the Big 12 is almost an afterthought.
The Red River Rivalry will be played this week, but the main story in the Big 12 so far is Baylor’s record-setting pace on offense. That's a worhty storyline, but Oklahoma-Texas will still be a major game in the Big 12 race.
The records indicate Oklahoma and Texas can’t afford to overlook this rivalry game — both teams are 2-0 in the Big 12 — but the Sooners’ primary foe in the Big 12 race may not be the team in Austin. And Texas, by luck and skill, still has its goal of winning the conference in its sights after squeaking by Iowa State on Thursday.
Big 12 Post-Week 6 Power Rankings
Oklahoma (5-0, 2-0): Why do the Sooners take the top spot over Baylor? Oklahoma has a more complete resume with two conference wins over West Virginia and TCU. The road win over Notre Dame also looks a lot better after the Irish beat Arizona State last week. The Sooners’ defense was stifling despite the absence of starting defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, holding TCU to 44 rushing yards. The Sooners have the league’s best D despite only one player (linebacker Frank Shannon) in the Big 12’s top 25 in tackles or tackles for a loss. This week: Texas (Dallas)
Baylor (4-0, 1-0): The offense is dominant. No question about that. But the Baylor’s defense isn’t so shabby, either, even after a game in which it allowed 42 points to West Virginia. Baylor ranks eighth nationally in fewest yards per play (4.2 yards allowed) and fourth in yards allowed per carry (2.4). Now, we’ll find what Baylor can do on the road: The Bears are 1-7 on the road in the Big 12 the last two seasons, the lone win by one point at Kansas two years ago. This week: at Kansas State
Texas Tech (5-0, 2-0): The Red Raiders fell behind 10-0 to Kansas, but ended up cruising to a 54-16 win to remain undefeated. They’ll have their questions this week, though, as quarterback Baker Mayfield left with a knee injury. Davis Webb replaced him in the third quarter, and Michael Brewer got his first game action of the year. Whoever starts this week for the Red Raiders will have a the standout duo of tight end Jace Amaro and wide receiver Eric Ward. Ward caught seven passes against KU, as many as his previous three games combined. This week: Iowa State
Oklahoma State (4-1, 1-1): The Cowboys have some major concerns on offense even after a win. For the second consecutive week, J.W. Walsh struggled to keep the offense moving, and Mike Gundy showed little indication he’d go back to Game 1 starter Clint Chelf. In the first three games of the season, Oklahoma State converted all nine of its red zone opportunities into touchdowns. Against West Virginia and Kansas State, the Cowboys have converted only three of nine red zone opportunities into touchdowns. This week: Off
Texas (3-2, 2-0): The Longhorns seem to be determined to go as far as Case McCoy will take them. Against Oklahoma, David Ash will miss his third consecutive start with a head injury. McCoy passed 45 times in the win over Iowa State while Texas tailbacks carried only 23 times. Johnathan Gray, who had a breakout game against Kansas State two weeks ago, ran the ball 16 times for 89 yards. This week: Oklahoma (Dallas)
Kansas State (2-3, 0-2): The Wildcats started a new quarterback but stuck with a rotation at the position. Daniel Sams got his longest look of the season, particularly as a passer, in the 33-29 loss to Oklahoma State. Sams moved the offense, completing 15 of 21 passes for 181 yards and rushing for 118 yards on 27 carries. But he also threw three interceptions. Not helping matters was an injury to wide receiver/kick returner Tyler Lockett. This week: Baylor
West Virginia (3-3, 1-2): If West Virginia patted itself on the back after a strong defensive performance in the win over Oklahoma State, it probably stopped sometime during the first quarter against Baylor. The Mountaineers gave up the second-most points in school history in the 73-42 loss to the Bears. The defense may prove to be somewhere between the Oklahoma State and Baylor results, but the ongoing issue remains at quarterback. Clint Trickett struggled with signals from the bench, finishing 9 of 28 for 161 yards. This week: Off
TCU (2-3, 0-2): The second-half explosion two weeks ago against SMU looks more and more like an aberration. TCU’s offense is a mess. The Horned Frogs’ slow starts continued in spectacular fashion as TCU didn’t pick up a first down until the second possession of the third quarter. TCU is averaging 4.2 points in the first half against FBS opponents this season. This week: Kansas
Iowa State (1-3, 0-1): Paul Rhoads’ teams usually play with an edge, and they’ll need it to recover from a disappointing loss to Texas on Thursday. Texas’ non-fumbles on the goal line got most of the attention, but Iowa State also was called for a pass interference on the final drive to set up the Longhorns in a good spot. Despite the poor record, Iowa State still does plenty of good things: The Cyclones are plus-3 in turnover margin and 13 of 13 in the red zone. This week: at Texas Tech
Kansas (2-2, 0-1): Just about everything went right for Kansas in the first quarter against Texas Tech before everything went wrong. Jake Heaps led two scoring drives, and the Jayhawks seemed poised for the first Big 12 win in more than two years. After giving up 10 points, the wheels fell off on an ill-advised fake punt on fourth and 13 from KU’s on 16-yard line. Lucky for Kansas, this week’s opponent isn’t nearly as explosive offensively. This week: at TCU
Big 12 Week 5 Recap and Awards
Offensive player of the week: Bryce Petty, Baylor
Last season’s Baylor-West Virginia game featured 1,507 total yards and 133 points. By halftime, there was a sense Baylor could approach those totals alone if it really wanted to. Quarterback Bryce Petty continued to lead an unstoppable Baylor offense with a Big 12-record 864 yards its conference opener against West Virginia. Petty completed 17 of 25 passes for 347 yards with three total touchdowns and an interception in the 73-42 win over the Mountaineers. Nearly all of the damage occurred in a 56-point first half as Petty threw only two passes after halftime.
Defensive player of the week: Shaun Lewis, Oklahoma State
Defense may need to carry Oklahoma State for the time being, and linebacker Shaun Lewis proved to be up to the task in a 33-29 win over Kansas State. Lewis finished with eight tackles, a tackle for a loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in the win, but his biggest play was an interception late in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys led by 1 at the time, but Lewis’ pick and 24-yard return set up a field goal to force K-State to go for the touchdown on the final drive.
Freshman of the week: Ben Grogan, Oklahoma State
A week after special teams were a major liability in the loss to West Virginia, Oklahoma State relied on special teams to defeat Kansas State 33-29. As the Oklahoma State offense stalled in the red zone, freshman kicker Ben Grogan converted four of his five attempts, the lone miss a blocked 43-yard attempt. Grogan made field goals of 30, 34, 23 and 28 yards.
Team of the week: Baylor
Baylor’s schedule is backloaded with the toughest Big 12 competition waiting until November. But after the 73-42 rout of West Virginia, the question is who is going to stop the Bears? Baylor’s scoring output against West Virginia alone was more than Connecticut, Georgia State and Southern Miss have scored all year. The 56 points in the first half alone were more than FIU, Miami (Ohio) and UMass have scored this season. And remember, this was against a West Virginia defense that is vastly improved over the one from a year ago.
Coordinator of the week: Mike Stoops, Oklahoma
The question of who could stop Baylor falls on the shoulders of Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops. The Sooners have the Big 12’s top defense and proved it again in a 20-17 win over TCU. The Horned Frogs gained only 16 yards in the first half, failing to gain a first down until their second possession of the third quarter. TCU finished with 44 rushing yards as Stoops’ defense picked up four sacks and seven tackles for a loss.
• With 172 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries, Baylor’s Lache Seastrunk has topped 100 yards in eight consecutive games.
• Baylor has the top three games in total yardage this season with 864 against West Virginia and 781 each against ULM and Buffalo. Each was a school record.
• Kansas State became the fifth Big 12 team to start a different quarterback since the opener. Daniel Sams started against Oklahoma State, replacing Jake Waters. Sams had been a running specialist, but he completed 15 of 21 passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 118 yards and two touchdowns. Sams, though, struggled with the deep ball, throwing three interceptions.
• Michael Brewer, who was the projected starting quarterback for Texas Tech this season, made his first appearance of the season in the final minutes of the rout of Kansas. Brewer never threw a pass but appeared in the final three possessions after missing the first four games with a back injury.
• Texas Tech starting quarterback Baker Mayfield left with an injury in the third quarter after passing for 368 yards. The extent of his injury was not known after the game.
• By now, you’ve probably seen Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads’ impassioned postgame press conference after questionable officiating went in Texas’ favor in the Cyclones’ loss Thursday. In case you’ve haven’t seen it...
• One place where Rhoads has a legitimate beef is penalties: Iowa State’s 10 penalties against Texas doubled the Cyclones’ output this season. Rhoads received a reprimand from the Big 12, but not a fine, for his critical comments.
• Texas wide receiver Mike Davis received a reprimand from the Big 12, but not a suspension, after he lunged at the legs of a defenseless Iowa State player after the whistle in Thursday’s game. He was assessed a 15-yard personal foul on the field.
• Regardless of the outcome Thursday, Iowa State found it has a focal point for its offense in running back Aaron Wimberly, who rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries. Wimberly has rushed for 254 yards in his last two games. Quarterback Sam Richardson also had the best game of his career with 345 yards of total offense (262 passing, 83 rushing).