Bedlam prevails throughout Big 12 and co-leaders play next
By STEPHEN HAWKINS, AP Sports Writer
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Bedlam indeed in the Big 12 Conference, and not just in Oklahoma.
Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield had a possible Heisman Trophy moment in arguably the wildest game in the rivalry actually known as Bedlam. TCU stayed defensive in another win over an in-state rival and surprising Iowa State, already with wins over both Big 12 co-leaders, had a bit of a stumble.
That was only the start of what could be a wild November in the Big 12.
There are three weeks left in the regular season, and at least half of the 10 teams still have legitimate shots at getting into the Big 12’s first championship game in seven years. The real drawback in all the madness is that the conference will be down to a single one-loss team after No. 5 Oklahoma and No. 8 TCU play next Saturday in Norman.
“Next week, we’re going to have to score points. We’re going to have to move the football,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said after his Horned Frogs rebounded from their only loss with a 24-7 win over Texas.
Mayfield passed for a school-record 598 yards with five touchdowns, and ran for another score, as the Sooners outlasted Oklahoma State 62-52 in the highest-scoring game of the 112 the rivals have now played.
TCU and Oklahoma are both 8-1 overall, 5-1 in the Big 12. While pretty much out of playoff contention, No. 12 Oklahoma State, No. 23 West Virginia and No. 24 Iowa State all have 4-2 conference records and are still very much alive in the conference race.
It may still be a bit early to start working through those tiebreaker scenarios, but that often-overlooked page could come into play when it’s time to determine which two teams play in the Big 12 championship game.
“The sad part about it will be is it will come down to that piece of paper of how all the ties would work out when we all get done,” Patterson said. “I’d be interested because I didn’t read it past if you tie, the winner between head to head will go. Outside of that, it’s like a full page.”
The Sooners and Cowboys met in Bedlam before the final weekend of the regular season for only the second time in 13 years. That switch in the schedule avoided the potential of the two teams meeting in a finale, and then again the very next week in the Big 12 championship game. That would have been the case each of the last two years had there been title games then.
“We win ballgames, no matter how you put it. We win ballgames. And right now, that’s all that matters,” Mayfield said. “Championship November, you keep winning and we’ll take care of our own destiny.”
Mayfield, a top-four finisher in the Heisman voting each of the past two seasons, said he’s not worried about college football’s most prestigious individual trophy. He only wants to win games and get another playoff chance.
The Sooners are the only Big 12 team that made the four-team College Football Playoff in the first three years of that format. That began in 2015, Mayfield’s first season as their starter.
Oklahoma and Oklahoma State could still meet again Dec. 2 in Arlington, Texas. Or maybe the rematch in the Big 12 title game could be Oklahoma vs. TCU, or Iowa State vs. the Sooners or the Frogs. With the round-robin schedule, it is guaranteed that the championship game opponents already will have played this season.
Iowa State’s four-game winning streak ended Saturday in a 20-16 loss at West Virginia, which jumped ahead 20-0 before halftime. That kept the Mountaineers in the Big 12 chase, and they have games left against Kansas State and Texas before their regular-season finale at Oklahoma.
While the Cyclones dropped 10 spots in the AP poll released Sunday, they can make another statement next Saturday when they host Oklahoma State in their home finale on the same day the Big 12 co-leaders are playing in Norman, Oklahoma.
“We have to be effective in terms of situational football. I have said that from the start of the season on,” Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said. “We can’t put ourselves in tough situations and in the first half. We did that at times. We played behind the sticks, and it’s hard to play offensive football in this conference if you’re going to do that.”
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