Kansas, Baylor, Kansas State, and Texas Tech make up the four-way tie atop the Big 12 standings. Just like everyone expected it to. Who are we kidding? Coming into the season, there was an expectation that this conference was going to be wide open. After week four’s games, it appears to be wider than a Great Wall in space that takes 10 billion light years to travel across. The rest of the Big 12 race will be unexpected and loads of fun. And while some of the Big 12 week four takeaways revolve around the surprises of the last week, there were two familiar storylines that future SEC members can’t wait to move on from.
Big 12 Week Four Takeaways
Same Old Texas
Texas was supposed to have matured. They were over losing a game they should win. And at different points against Texas Tech, the Longhorns appeared in complete control and seemed they were just one more drive away from ending the game. They were up by two touchdowns in the second half and could not close the deal. For those singing the same Longhorn tune that has been on repeat for the last 10+ years, this was just another verse to learn.
Last year alone, Texas blew double-digit leads in losses to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Baylor. Those debilitating losses triggered their six-game losing streak. Head coach Steve Sarkisian knows that he has to re-group quickly. Texas returns home to take on West Virginia with Red River looming. If Texas cannot take down the Mountaineers, how many Longhorns fans will utter Yogi Berra’s famous line, “It’s like déjà vu all over again.”
Cat Scratch Fever
Texas and Texas Tech have their own bad blood that could lead to that game ending for the foreseeable future. And while both sides claim they won’t miss the other one, there is a Big 12 member that Oklahoma cannot wait to bid farewell to. Thanks to their 41-34 victory, Kansas State has defeated the Oklahoma Sooners three out of the last four years. As the game unfolded, it was hard not to cheer for Wildcat quarterback Adrian Martinez. Martinez’s struggles during his time at Nebraska are well documented at this point. So to witness the best game in his college career was a feel-good story only those in crimson and white could not enjoy.
He would pass for 234 yards on 21 completions and one touchdown. But he tore it up rushing the football. Martinez had four touchdowns and 148 yards on 21 carries. Every time Oklahoma threatened to take the lead back, Martinez had an answer ready for them. After last week’s sleepy loss to Tulane, there was real concern about the Wildcats. It is safe to say they have quickly put those to bed and re-established themselves back in contention for an opportunity to play for a Big 12 title.
Strength Of Conference On Full Display
The future SEC teams were left licking their wounds after getting upset to start conference play. But these Big 12 week four takeaways are now shifting to highlighting just how good this conference is top-to-bottom. There were a couple of big non-conference road games in which the Big 12 team left victorious. West Virginia, who very easily could be 4-0 if just a few plays go differently, demolished Virginia Tech to defend the Black Diamond trophy. TCU’s offense finally showed us that, no matter who is playing quarterback, Sonny Dykes should have this offense rolling. The Horned Frogs got to bring home the Iron Skillet from University Park after they beat SMU 42-34.
The hottest team in the conference continued its winning ways. Kansas, in front of a sellout crowd, controlled most of the game against Duke. The Blue Devils rallied late, but a last-minute stop by the defense secured a 35-27 victory. Jalon Daniels was tremendous again, and his Heisman trophy momentum continues to grow. Of course, poor Kansas fans are seeing Nebraska, Arizona State, and now Georgia Tech needing coaches. Will head coach Lance Leipold stay with this meteoric build in Lawrence or will a program present him an offer he can’t refuse?
Baylor bounced back nicely on the road against a gritty Iowa State team. The Bears went into Ames and held on to a 31-24 win as they look to successfully defend their Big 12 crown. Joey McGuire’s Red Raiders took down the Longhorns in front of a raucous crowd at Jones At&t stadium. It was all confirmed that there isn’t a weak link in this conference. Of course, if readers would have taken note of some pre-season bold predictions, this shouldn’t have been a surprise. But the culmination of all these Big 12 week four takeaways is this: buckle up, buttercup. This ride to determine a champion is going to be bumpy and exhilarating until the end.