Conference play is starting to heat up in the Big 12. Although it's early, many teams already have big games coming on their schedules. Here's where some them stand right now:
The Longhorns head into the Red River Rivalry on a four-game winning streak — their first under head coach Tom Herman. Texas went into Manhattan, Kansas, and beat the Wildcats, 19-14. Despite the win, there were still areas of concern for Herman’s team, specifically on the offensive side of the ball. The Longhorns went into halftime up 19-0, but then proceeded to be shutout in the second half. The Texas offense has been one of the primary issues since Herman took the job in Austin.
This week, however, the offense will need to step up and look like the offense that scored 37 and 31 points in back-to-back weeks, respectively. Quarterback Sam Ehlinger and the Longhorns will need to find a way to light up the scoreboard to make this matchup live up to the hype.
For the Red Raiders, recovering loss that came from the hands of West Virginia is on the back of their minds. Their star freshman quarterback, Alan Bowman, has been released from the hospital after suffering from a collapsed lung. Bowman suffered the injury during Texas Tech’s loss to West Virginia on Saturday. Luckily for Texas Tech, their game against TCU isn’t until next Thursday. There is still a possibility for Bowman to play in next week’s game.
On the football side of things, the Red Raiders are still trying to figure out a way to be more consistent against the better teams in the conference. At 3–2 and 1–1 in Big 12 play, they need to make a push at the tail end of the season in order to put themselves in a bowl situation. The entire team will have to step up, become playmakers and try to move this team forward considering they might have to do it without their quarterback.
West Virginia is right where they want to be. They are undefeated and ranked in the top 10 heading into October. The No. 9 Mountaineers went into Lubbock and beat then-No.25 Texas Tech for their fourth win this year. The future for West Virginia looks bright as its next three games are against Kansas, Iowa State and Baylor — three of the bottom four teams in the Big 12. The Mountaineers have a very realistic shot at being 7–0 when November hits and being in the running to hold a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Their quarterback and Heisman candidate, senior Will Grier, has been West Virginia’s driving force. Grier has been consistent and dynamic, putting up big numbers every week. His QBR, a measure of overall performance for a quarterback, has been 90.9 out of 100 for the year. If Grier continues to perform the way he has, West Virginia could very well find itself hoisting the Big 12 championship trophy at the end of the season.