Stealing from the lead in the Kansas City Star’s story this morning about K-State at Oklahoma: “This changes everything.”
Indeed. I do not recall a Big 12 season in which four contenders have lost at Home so early. We have OU over Texas in Austin, K-State over OU in Norman, KU over Baylor in Waco, and Iowa St over West Virginia in Morgantown. And at least three of these losses are by serious Contenders who should be around in late February. (I will leave it to your expertise to determine which one might ultimately prove to be a Paper Bear.)
Off the top of my head, I seem to recall years where the top Contenders have not lost four Home games between them during an entire season.
The upshot of all this is that:
1. Texas and West Virginia have dug themselves serious holes. Both now are in need of a Road win vs. a Contender to negate their Home losses.
2. Texas needs to stop digging NOW, having also lost an at-risk game at Okie St. The analyst at that game, displaying some understanding of the REAL Standings principles, accurately acknowledged that UT’s second loss this early in the season was not fatal, because it was on the Road . He also correctly noted that the game was more important to Okie St, because they could not afford to lose at Home. Still, with a loss in Austin and in an at-risk game, UT probably has to win multiple Road games vs. other Contenders. In other words, they are behind the proverbial 8-ball. And not the Magic One. It Is Certain.
3. West Virginia’s position is not quite as bad as Texas’s. They can still get back to Point Zero with one Big Road W and by taking care of business in their at-risk games.
4. OU has fallen back to where UT and WVU are now struggling to be: Point Zero.
5. Although Iowa St and KU are tied in the REAL Standings, ISU has a slight edge, because: 6. Baylor (KU’s Road Win) is hanging on for dear life to Contender status. Their win in overtime at TCU keeps them from falling to Tier 2 for the time being, but they have not inspired confidence in the premise that they are on the same level as KU, ISU, WVU, and Oklahoma—either personnel-wise or in execution. Can’t demote them after a Road Win, though. Any Road Win.
7. With its victory in Norman, K-State earned a battlefield promotion to Tier 2. In REALity, they never were a 2-16 type of team. It is just that they had been inventing ways to lose. This Saturday, they found a way to win in overtime.
8. Not to plagiarize anyone in particular, because this thought belongs in the public domain by now: The Big 12 still goes through Lawrence.
Tier 1: Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia
Tier 2: K-State, Okie St, TCU
Tier 3: Texas Tech
Iowa St: (2-0) Projected Losses: at BU, at KU, at OU, at UT At risk games: at OSU, at KSU, at TCU
KU (2-0) Projected Losses: at ISU, at UT, at WVU, at OU At risk games: at TCU, at OSU, at KSU
West Virginia (2-1) Projected Losses: at UT, at OU, at ISU, at BU, at KU At risk games: at KSU, at OSU
Oklahoma (2-1) Projected Losses: at WVU, at KU, at BU, at ISU At risk games: at OSU, at TCU, at KSU
Baylor (1-2) Projected Losses: at WVU, at KU, at ISU, at UT At risk games: at KSU, at OSU
Texas (1-2) Projected Losses: at ISU, at BU, at OU, at WVU, at KU At risk games: at TCU, at KSU
Okie St (2-1) Projected Losses: at KU, at OU, at KSU, at UT, at BU, at TCU, at WVU At risk games: BU, OU, KU, ISU, WVU, at Tech
K-State (1-1) Projected Losses: at ISU, at KU, at WVU, at TCU, at BU, at UT At risk games: BU, WVU, at Tech, UT, OU, KU, ISU
TCU (0-3) Projected Losses: at WVU, at ISU, at BU, at UT, at KU, at OU, at OSU At risk games: at Tech, at UT, KU, OU, ISU
Texas Tech (0-3) Projected Losses: at KSU, at OSU, ISU, at OU, at WVU, at ISU, KU, at UT, BU, OU, at TCU, at BU At risk games: TCU, KSU, OSU
BIG 12 SCHEDULE Tuesday (Not Monday due to V coverage of some lesser event)
1. Okie St at KU (6:00pm)**** (Projected W: KU)
The analyst in the Okie St/UT game Saturday declared that the Cowboys were a Contender. I don’t think they have enough talent at enough positions to justify that status over an 18 game schedule.
On the other hand, if they want to be taken seriously as a Contender, here is their chance.
2. Oklahoma at West Virginia (6:00pm)**** (Projected W: WVU)
Two teams fresh off devastating Home losses. Another one here for the Mountaineers, and this just might turn into a “once promising season.”
3. Texas Tech at K-State (7:00pm). *1/2 (Projected W: K-State)
K-State could not possibly beat OU in Norman, then turn around and lose to Texas Tech in Manhattan. Could they?
4. Iowa St at West Virginia (8:00pm) ***** (Projected W: BU)
Like West Virginia, Baylor cannot afford a second Home loss. Not if they want to remain in Tier 1. They are on a shorter leash than the Mountaineers.