Oklahoma holding onto BCS bowl hopes, TCU’s November resurgence continues


The Associated Press

Oklahoma wide receiver Jalen Saunders (18) returns a punt 81 yards for a touchdown against Oklahoma State in the fourth quarter of a game in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 24. Oklahoma won in overtime, 51-48.

Hank South

With one week left to play, the Big 12 bowl picture has yet to unfold. Scenarios exist where three different teams could play their way into a BCS bowl game, the most probable being Kansas State and Oklahoma. Excitement continues to build across the Big 12 landscape. Let’s take a look at some of the headlines around the conference.

• Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein is a finalist for the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, which will be presented on Dec. 6. Other finalists include Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o.

Klein’s head coach, Bill Snyder, is in favor of the Big 12 conference expanding, separating the conference into two divisions and re-establishing a conference championship game. Snyder believes the system would create more excitement around the conference for multiple loss teams having an opportunity to turn their seasons around late.

• With head coaches being let go at many major institutions around the country, TCU head coach Gary Patterson’s name is atop many athletic directors’ short lists of replacement candidates. When questioned about future opportunities elsewhere Patterson responded, “When someone calls, you should always listen, because it’s the right thing to do. But I’ve been at TCU for 15 years now, and I’ve always let that fact speak for itself.”

• The Horned Frogs have seen late-season resurgence, in large part to their No. 17 defense. TCU leads the Big 12 in total defense allowing 323.9 yards per game, and apart from Kansas, has held every offense under its average in yards. Oklahoma visits Amon G. Carter stadium this weekend with the No. 9 total offense in the country averaging 514.5 yards a game.

• A negative trend has been spotted in Stillwater. When Oklahoma State has worn the same uniform combination in a game this season it wore in a game last season, it’s 0-3. Versus Arizona, Texas and Oklahoma in 2012, OSU wore the replica of uniforms worn versus Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Missouri in 2011. The Cowboys sport many jersey-pants-helmet combinations, but it’s fair to say when OSU wears the all neon-orange throwback uniforms, everyone loses.

• This Saturday when West Virginia hosts Kansas, it will be the first time this season the Mountaineers will play a team with absolutely nothing to play for. Every team West Virginia has faced in conference this season has been ranked at some point and is now bowl-eligible. The three teams the WVU faced prior to Big 12 play all were vying for an upset of the then Top 10 Mountaineers.

• Oklahoma fans are in unchartered waters, forced to root for the Longhorns. If Texas was to upset Kansas State this weekend, the Sooners — with a victory over TCU — would win an outright Big 12 title and a trip to the Fiesta Bowl. If the Longhorns’ upset of the Wildcats doesn’t pan out, the Sooners have to hope Kent State stays out of the BCS Top 16, which would secure a BCS bowl bid for the Golden Flashes over the Sooners.