Big 12 wrapup: The Big 12 is America’s best conference

The AP Top 25 came out on Sunday afternoon, and the Big 12 could not have been better represented. Five of the league’s 10 teams are ranked in the top 25.

No other conference has five teams ranked, even though every other Power 5 conference has more teams. Fifty percent of the Big 12 is ranked; no other league has more than a third of its teams ranked.

From top to bottom, the Big 12 is the best conference in America.

Three teams are ranked in the top 11, but there’s an argument all three are underranked. TCU has the best resume in America – better than Alabama, Georgia and Penn State. No other undefeated team has multiple wins over AP Top 25 teams. The Horned Frogs should be No. 1.

Oklahoma is ranked No. 10, four spots behind Ohio State. Remember, the Sooners blasted the Buckeyes on their home field. For some reason, beating bad teams seems to be enough to have Ohio State be that far ahead. Oklahoma State’s lone loss is over No. 4 TCU, too.

It only continues down the list. West Virginia and Iowa State both broke into the AP Top 25 after exploding during Big 12 play. Texas Tech, Texas and

Just compare the other conferences, too. The Pac-12 doesn’t have a top 10 team. The SEC’s third-best team as ranked No. 19, and the fourth-best team lost to Troy.

The ACC is probably the team with the next-best argument, but Clemson isn’t national caliber if Kelly Bryant can’t stay healthy. The top four is excellent, but the bottom of the conference is as bad as it has been in a while, and it’s a larger lower class than usual.

Even independent of status, the Big 12 is just fun. Three different conference games came down to the wire yesterday. Texas and Oklahoma State went to overtime in Austin. Oklahoma needed a late rushing score to ice the game. Baylor was a two-point conversion away from overtime in Waco. Watching Big 12 football is plain exciting.

Granted, there are arguments against the Big 12. Kansas is probably the worst Power 5 team in America. Baylor still has zero wins, though it’s hard to argue the Bears are the worst after watching them the past few weeks. They have been within one possession in all but one fourth quarter this season.

Texas Tech has also struggled the past few weeks, but the Red Raiders still have big-time wins over Houston and Arizona State in nonconference. Texas’ struggles to this point are a product of its schedule, but the Longhorns could miss a bowl.

But regardless, it doesn’t matter. The rest of the conference is so strong that it balances everything else out. Seven teams should make a bowl game, despite the difficult calculus of playing a nine-game round robin schedule. No other conference can compare to the Big 12’s talent and depth.

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Iowa State coach Matt Campbell led the Cyclones to a national ranking for the first time since 2005. (David Purdy/Getty Images)

Iowa State earns national ranking

The last time Iowa State was ranked in the AP Top 25, Matt Campbell was just three years out from being a player at Mount Union. Vince Young was burning through the conference schedule at Texas. Gold Digger by Kanye West was the No. 1 song in America.

Campbell is only in Year 2. For the first time in 12 years, he led Iowa State to a national ranking. The Cyclones are ranked No. 25 in the AP Top 25 after a 31-13 win over Texas Tech.

It’s hard to contextualize just how impressive that is. The Cyclones have been ranked just 11 years in a 120-year existence. Iowa State has finished the season ranked just twice in program history.

Two coaches achieved a national ranking in their second seasons: Donnie Duncan in 1980 and Jim Yeager in 1938. Duncan did it after taking over a program that won 24 games in the three years before he took over.

Campbell was a surprising hire when he took over in 2016. Most expected he would have other historically better opportunities, but he signed on quickly with Iowa State. In just his second year, Campbell has exceeded expectations.

The Big 12 is better with Matt Campbell at Iowa State. The Cyclones better offer him a massive contract extension – today.

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A slew of Baylor freshman playmakers helped lead a furious comeback against No. 23 West Virginia. (Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

Charlie Brewer gives Baylor spark  

With very few exceptions, Baylor’s offense has been anemic this season. Through three quarters against West Virginia, the Bears had just 267 yards and 0.3 yards per rush. Things changed dramatically when freshman Charlie Brewer went into the game in the fourth quarter.

Brewer brought a spark to both the pass and run game. He completed 8-of-13 passes for 109 yards and 2 touchdowns. Brewer also added 10 rushes for 48 yards down the stretch to help extend drives.

The Bears posted 230 yards in the fourth quarter alone, nearly doubling their total for the rest of the game. More importantly, the Bears held onto the ball for more than 75 percent of the fourth quarter and gave the defense a chance to rest. A failed two-point conversion meant the Bears lost 38-36, but the Bears looked rejuvenated.

This was the offense Matt Rhule imagined when he came to Baylor. P.J. Walker, his quarterback at Temple, also had dual-threat ability to help take pressure off his offensive line. Brewer brings that in the same way Baker Mayfield does for Oklahoma. Adding him turns three-yard losses into three-yard gains. It’s incremental, but makes a drastic difference.

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Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph failed to reach 300 yards, but the Cowboys still pulled off a victory. (Tim Warner/Getty Images)

Elite teams tested, but hold serve

Two of the Big 12’s top three teams from last weekend were surprisingly tested against unranked teams. Both had to win games in a way that was unfamiliar to them. The Big 12’s top team had absolutely no issues against the Big 12’s worst team.

  • No. 10 Oklahoma State 13, Texas 10 (OT): Oklahoma State’s offense didn’t show up on Saturday, but the defense helped keep them in the game. Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger threw a wild interception in the end zone to end the Longhorns’ chances. Hanging around in games is nice, but these have to turn into wins for the Longhorns to make a bowl.
  • No. 9 Oklahoma 42, Kansas State 35: Oklahoma has been blowing leads the past few weeks, but the Sooners went down 21-7 in the first half against a less-than-explosive offensive team. At that point, Baker Mayfield and Rodney Anderson woke up. Mayfield threw for 410 yards and 2 touchdowns in a come-from-behind victory. Anderson added a 22-yard touchdown run with 7 seconds left to ice the game.
  • No. 4 TCU 43, Kansas 0: Question the TCU defense at your own risk. The Horned Frogs held Kansas to 21 yards, the worst total in Big 12 history. Kenny Hill had a great day with 278 yards and 5 touchdowns in the win. David Beaty has some hard questions to answer, as it looks like the Jayhawks aren’t showing improvement.

The post Big 12 wrapup: The Big 12 is America’s best conference appeared first on Diehards.

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