RGIII gives Klein props, West Virginia limps into bye week

Hank South

As conference play approaches the halfway mark of the season, the Big 12 is far from being decided. With pivotal matchups this weekend, including Texas Tech at Kansas State and the nonconference game between Notre Dame and Oklahoma, week nine of the season will have a major impact on how the conference and national standings shape up. Let’s take a look at some of the notes around the Big 12 heading into the weekend.

• Kansas State sits one spot ahead of Oregon in the latest BCS rankings at No. 3, in part due to the lack of strength of the Ducks’ schedule. However, the two teams were supposed to meet in Eugene this season, in the second game of a home-and-home series that should have started last season in Manhattan. The series was called off in 2010 when Oregon asked K-State to move the 2011 game because of the Ducks’ game with Louisiana State early in the season. Kansas State in response proposed cancelling the series all together, in which Oregon agreed.

• Former Baylor quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III announced that he would cast his Heisman ballot in favor of K-State quarterback Collin Klein if the season ended today. Klein has rushed for 551 yards and fourteen touchdowns, while passing for 1,397 yards and ten more scores on the season.

• After West Virginia’s home blowout loss to Kansas State last weekend, the Mountaineers are heading into their bye week after dropping two straight games. After defeating the Longhorns in Austin there was no hotter team in the country than the Mountaineers. Since then, West Virginia has dropped to No. 19 in the polls and is facing its worst month of football record-wise since 2001. The Mountaineers are scrambling to fix their defense, which has given up the most passing yards in the FBS and has just one interception and three sacks over the last three games.

• No team has bounced back from a loss quite like Oklahoma has since dropping a home game to Kansas State in September, 24-19. After the loss, Sooner fans lost all faith in senior quarterback Landry Jones after his dismal start to the season. However, since Sept. 22 Jones has averaged almost 300 yards passing per game, thrown seven touchdowns, led Oklahoma to 40 or more points per game and planted the Sooners right back in the mix of the national championship hunt.

• Iowa State might have a welcome addition on Saturday when the Cyclones host Baylor. Junior running back James White, who had a knee operation a couple of weeks ago, might be ready to go against the Bears. Before his injury, White was averaging 5.5 yards per carry. The Cyclones will also have senior wide receiver Josh Lenz back after missing last week’s game with a quadriceps injury. Lenz has 279 yards and four touchdowns on the season. Baylor’s defense ranks last in the FBS, giving up just over 553 yards per game.