By Melissa Triebwasser
Frogs Today staff writer
The Big 12 picture is starting to shake out, as only three teams remain undefeated as we near the halfway point of the season. Half of the league’s teams reside in the top 25, with Oklahoma State nearing the top five ahead of their big game in Fort Worth this weekend.
Let’s get you caught up on all the goings on around the Big 12 from last week.
The first shall be last?
Oklahoma is bad. There’s really no way to sugar coat the Sooners after they fell 49-0 to Texas in the Red River Rivalry. And, honestly, the game wasn’t even that close.
With starting quarterback Dillon Gabriel still out of the lineup, the Sooners’ offense was impotent, while the Longhorns were clearly rejuvenated by the return of quarterback Quinn Ewers. The transfer earned Newcomer of the Week honors after throwing for 289 yards and four touchdowns against his new archrival, while star running back Bijan Robinson added 130 yards and two scores.
It was a top-to-bottom bludgeoning and a clear changing of the guard. Oklahoma, which has 14 Big 12 titles and won six straight from 2015-2020, seems destined to finish at our near the bottom of the league, while a healthy Texas looks primed to return to Arlington for the title game for the first time since 2018, looking for their first title since 2009.
Will he or won’t he?
Jalon Daniels was a fringe Heisman candidate through five games this year, and may well still be — if he can get back on the field.
That’s currently the question, as there were conflicting reports Tuesday as to whether or not Kansas’ star quarterback was out for the season or not.
Reports came out that Daniels had a separated shoulder that would cost him the season, only to be refuted by the quarterback himself. That led Kansas coach Lance Leipold to chime in, with photographic evidence.
While conspiracy theories around injuries are nothing new — nor is hiding the status of your star player — Kansas is currently throwing their support behind backup Jason Bean, who was very good Saturday against TCU. The Jayhaws will likely be looking to him as they look to get back on track against the Sooners and maintain their status in the top 25.
You’ve got to like the Big 12.
Well, when you’re talking about a roster full of four- and five-star recruits as one of the bottom teams in your conference, that’s a pretty solid group. And so far in 2022, it looks like the Big 12 may well be college football’s best conference, top to bottom.
Former bottom feeder Kansas is now a legitimate football team, and West Virginia, picked to finish eighth in the preseason, isn’t terrible by any stretch. Texas Tech has a win over Texas under its belt, and TCU is 5-0 with two victories over ranked opponents. Those were your preseason bottom four.
At the top, Oklahoma State is probably best positioned to be in the conversation for a playoff berth, but it won’t be an easy road to get there. Texas might be the conference’s best team, but already has two losses. Baylor, picked to win the Big 12 for a second consecutive season, has flaws and two early losses as well.
So, while the Big 12 is very good, there might not be an elite team among the bunch. Which means we are primed for another season without a representative in the College Football Playoffs, not a great sign as commissioner Brett Yormark positions the league for its next TV deal.
Melissa Triebwasser, firstname.lastname@example.org