The Big 12 has provided twists and turns throughout the season. With five games left, here is how its top teams are preparing for the last part of the season.
After a Week One loss to Maryland — who currently sits at 4–3 — nobody thought Texas would be in the position they are right now. A bounce back was anticipated, but Texas has bounced back and soared since its 34-29 opening day loss. The Longhorns sit alone atop the Big 12 and at No. 6 in the AP poll. For Texas, the College Football Playoff is becoming more and more of a possibility every week. Top programs such as Penn State, Ohio State and Georgia have all dropped games, opening the door for the Longhorns. Texas has a potential trap game this week at Oklahoma State, and next week the Longhorns are slated for a season-defining matchup at home against West Virginia.
The Mountaineers are coming off a bye week after a shocking loss at unranked Iowa State. The loss not only lowered their ranking to No. 13, but also put a damper on their playoff hopes. Senior quarterback Will Grier had a disappointing game, only throwing for 100 yards and one touchdown. West Virginia has a good opportunity to get its rhythm back on Thursday as it plays host to Baylor. On the bright side for the Mountaineers, they will still have an opportunity to put themselves in playoff position with games against No. 6 Texas and No. 8 Oklahoma later this season.
Explosive offense is a staple of the Oklahoma Sooners. Following a bye week, Oklahoma was back to its winning ways, beating TCU 52-27. They have began to climb in the rankings again — rising to No. 8 this week. The preseason goal for the Sooners was a Big 12 Championship. Even after a loss to Texas, that goal is still very much in reach. They don’t play another ranked team until their season finale on the road against No. 13 West Virginia. The Sooner offense should set themselves up to steamroll their competition until the season finale. If they make it there, then they very well could have the scenario they crave: a rematch with rival Texas with a conference championship on the line.
Texas Tech has quietly moved into fourth within the Big 12 after stringing together consecutive wins. Their starting quarterback, true freshman Alan Bowman, returned to the field after having a partially collapsed lung. In his return. Bowman threw for 408 yards and three touchdowns. With the luxury of having their dynamic quarterback back in the lineup, the Red Raiders control their own destiny following this week. They have back-to-back games against No. 8 Oklahoma and No. 6 Texas, with both meetings happening in Lubbock. In the following two weeks, the Red Raiders have opportunities to dethrone two of the top three teams in the Big 12 and possibly get to the conference championship.