The Horned Frogs escaped West Virginia with a win to keep their hopes alive of winning the Big 12 championship and earning a spot in the College Football Playoff. They have a monumental matchup Saturday against Kansas State. After that, the Horned Frogs face Kansas, Texas and Iowa State — all teams with a losing record. With redshirt junior quarterback Trevone Boykin leading the nation’s second best offense and a defense holding opponents to just over 22 points a game, there’s no reason why TCU shouldn’t be able to run the table.
2) Kansas State
As each week passes, the loss to Auburn hurts more and more. Auburn is the No. 3 team in the nation, and the Wildcats had them, if only junior kicker Jack Cantele hadn’t missed three field goals in the 6-point loss. But since then, freshman Matthew McCrane has taken over the kicking duties and is a perfect 8-for-8, and Kansas State has yet to lose. Senior Jake Waters is one of the best quarterbacks in the Big 12 and is very capable of leading his Wildcats to a perfect finish against the toughest remaining schedule of TCU, Baylor and West Virginia.
Two close losses hurt the Sooners, but that doesn’t make them any worse. They are a well-rounded team with a top-10 offense and a stingy defense. After trampling Iowa State in a bounce-back performance, they host Baylor on what should be a great day of football in the Big 12. Sophomore quarterback Trevor Knight is starting to find his rhythm, and that’s scary for the rest of the Big 12.
4) West Virginia
A close loss to TCU hurts, but the Mountaineers didn’t look bad. They had TCU on the ropes and let it slip away. Redshirt senior quarterback Clint Trickett is putting up a monster year for the Mountaineers, leading them to an incredible resurgence after last year’s debacle. He had a rough game against TCU but is still top five in the nation in passing yardage. Pair him up with senior receiver Kevin White, and you have one of the deadliest combos in the Big 12.
The Bears’ offense is really good — everyone knows that. But in their two games against teams with winning records, they gave up 58 and 41 points. They can’t count on their offense to bail them out of those kinds of games too many times. They face off against Oklahoma on Saturday, and, afterwards, things don’t get much easier as they end the season against Kansas State.
6) Oklahoma State
There’s still a big gap between the Cowboys and the Big 12’s top-five teams. They’ve lost three in a row in ugly fashion, and, in their final three games, they get Texas, Baylor and Oklahoma. They need to win one of those games to become bowl eligible, and only one of those looks winnable given the way the Cowboys are playing right now.
The Longhorns beat up Tech’s backups, but they weren’t entirely dominant. Their offense is sluggish, and the defense is beatable. Unsurprisingly, Texas’ best unit is its secondary, which ranks No. 9 in the nation in pass yards allowed.
8) Iowa State
Oklahoma beat them up, but they have Kansas and Texas Tech next on their schedule. That’s good news for the Cyclones, who are 0-5 in Big 12 play but have kept it close. Although their offense is respectable, their defense is atrocious, allowing nearly 40 points per game. Their offense isn’t good enough to compensate for that.
9) Texas Tech
If Iowa State’s defense is atrocious, then we would need a new word to describe the Red Raider defense. They are allowing over 41 points per game, and they haven’t even played Baylor or Oklahoma. Yikes. Remember when Kliff Kingsbury was touted as the best up-and-coming coach in the nation? Yeah, that feels like a long time ago.
Former head coach Charlie Weis is gone, the basketball season is only a couple weeks away and they host Iowa State this weekend. Things are looking up for Jayhawk fans.