Unless you have been in a state of suspended animation on a voyage to Mars from which you will never return, you have seen the Dollar Shave Club commercial where a guy gets tased for trying to buy a razor. The pitchman walks out and says, “It’s like they don’t want you to buy their razors.” This kinda sums up the Big 12. Nine teams gripe about KU winning ten straight championships, but it’s like they don’t want to win it themselves. Like they all want someone else to do it so they can soak that team with Gatorade.
Latest example: Oklahoma. Hottest team in the league with five straight victories, one a Roadie in Stillwater. Playing Saturday night against a team coming off five straight losses, albeit without the services of their best player in the previous three. Win out and the Sooners have a heck of a shot at grabbing at least a share of the title, what with KU still having Road trips to Morgantown, the Little Apple, and—TaDa!—Norman.
The Sooners now know why Road games against One Tier Lower teams are referred to as At-risk games in the REAL Standings. It is because the better team is REALly at–risk of losing. KU learned this recently at Okie St. Okie St learned it Saturday night at TCU.
And Oklahoma? Because their risk was REALized Saturday night, the Sooners are all but in “Wait ‘til next year” mode.
In other action, KU won at Home, as projected, to the best coached Baylor team of the Scott Drew era. (Wait. Did I just award Scott Drew an era? And refer to his team as “coached”?) Take note, Duke. K can’t go on forever.
Iowa State won at Home, as projected, to the non-Road Warriors from West Virginia.
And Texas. Do I even have to mention that they won at Home, as projected, against Tech. Even if you are currently on your way to Mars, have no worries: I will personally wake you when Tech wins a Road game.
As a result:
1. Let’s elevate it to Point No. 1 this week: The Road to the Big 12 Title still goes through Lawrence. If the Jayhawks win their last three Home games (TCU, Texas, West Virginia), they go dormie with one Road victory or one ISU loss.
Texas might prove to be salty, because talent will be served when it seeks redemption and has nothing to lose.
Still, this Self guy is pretty good at Home. It might even now be all over but the shouting, unless he tries to buy razors between now and March 3.
2. Iowa St is the only challenger that can get to 14 wins, which will be good enough for the outright title if KU loses their three remaining Road games (or two and a loss at Home).
If the Cyclones win at Okie St, Texas, and K-State, they could take this thing down to the wire.
3. It is no coincidence that the top two teams in the REAL Standings are the two with unblemished Home records. Iowa St will rue the day they took the day off in Lubbock. That loss and KU’s win at the same venue are all that stand between the Cyclones and being in a flat-footed tie with KU. REALly.
4. You asked for it. You got it. It might seem a little harsh to demote Baylor to Tier 2 just for falling short in their bid for the biggest Road upset in Big 12 history. But 6 losses in the newspaper standings just sit there staring at you, bogus newspaper standings notwithstanding. They are REAL losses, and 12-6 as your ceiling won’t cut it, REAL world or elsewhere.
5. Which raises the question: if Baylor, why not West Virginia? The Mountaineer’s attempt to beat second place place Iowa St was more feeble than Baylor’s thwarted try at taking down frontrunner KU.
• They don’t have 6 losses (yet) • They play KU Monday night at Home. Let’s not give them bulletin board material. I mean, who wouldn’t have extra incentive to avoid a REAL Standings demotion? Probably no one.
Tier 1: Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia
Tier 2: Baylor, K-State, Okie St, Texas
Tier 3: TCU
Tier 4: Texas Tech
KU (10-2) Projected Losses: at WVU, at OU At risk games: at KSU
Iowa St: (7-4) Projected Losses: N/A At risk games: at OSU, at UT, at KSU
Oklahoma (8-5) Projected Losses: at ISU At risk games: N/A
West Virginia (7-5) Projected Losses: at KU At risk games: at OSU, at BU
Okie St (7-6) Projected Losses: at WVU At risk games: ISU, WVU
Baylor (6-6) Projected Losses: at ISU, at UT At risk games: WVU
Texas (6-6) Projected Losses: at OU, at WVU, at KU At risk games: ISU
K-State (6-7) Projected Losses: at BU, at UT At-risk games: at TCU, KU, ISU
TCU (2-9) Projected Losses: at KU, at OU, at OSU, ISU At risk games: KSU
Texas Tech (2-11) Projected Losses: BU, OU, at TCU, OSU, at BU At risk games: N/A
BIG 12 SCHEDULE
1. KU at West Virginia (8:00pm)**** ( Projected W: WVU)
Are the hopes and dreams of all Big 12 teams met in Morgantown this night?
Is a bear Catholic?
2. Baylor at Texas Tech (6:00pm)*1/2 (Projected W: BU)
Are these Bears Catholic? No, but after a Home loss and an emotionally draining effort in Lawrence, they are vulnerable.
3. Texas at Oklahoma (8:00pm)*** (Projected W: OU)
Texas is out to avenge the loss that got their Big 12 season off on the wrong foot, from which they have never recovered. Lately, have won three straight gimme games. Make this tester, and they will be a force to be concerned about down the stretch—if not for the title, then for each game as it comes. They could, in fact, become the conference’s Great Orange Hope.
Quite frankly, UT would have a better chance if OU were on a six game winning streak instead of coming off a loss in Manhattan.
A game worthy of paying attention to. If not for the Big 12 race, for its post-season implications.
4. K-State at TCU (7:00pm)** (At-risk game)
TCU justified its continued position above Tech in the REAL Standings Saturday, despite its worse record in the newspaper standings, with a 15 point win over previously streaking Okie St. K-State better come loaded for bear.
5. Iowa St at Okie St (8:00pm) **** (At-risk game)
The Cyclones cannot afford another loss anywhere. That is not the ideal situation for facing Nash, Forte, and Cobbins on their Home court.