Weatherford Democrat

Big 12 Sports

October 24, 2012

Big 12 drama: Wild games, shifting story lines

WEATHERFORD —  

Two more Big 12 games were decided late by teams that scored more than 50 points apiece. National title talk faded for good in West Virginia, replaced by similar chatter at Kansas State.

Intrigue is building as the Big 12 essentially hits the halfway point of the season, and the 10-team league looks like it’s going nine deep. Nobody wants to dismiss the one outcast — Kansas — because coach Charlie Weis is a former NFL offensive whiz who has the experience of being the head coach at Notre Dame.

“I’m almost tentative to say ‘I told you so’ or give you that story,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. “For three or four years, I’ve been saying that with the skill players that are coming out now, the spread offenses, the fast pace, the blitzing style of defenses, the parity is greater than it’s ever been in college football. There’s not any question the parity in this league is more than ever.”

Three weeks ago, West Virginia was entering the national title picture and had the Heisman Trophy front-runner in quarterback Geno Smith. That has vanished in blowout losses to Texas Tech and Kansas State.

Kansas State was getting patted on the head as a good little team before going to Oklahoma and knocking off the Sooners in a tense game that declared the race was on. Now coaches are quick to call the Wildcats the big dogs.

For now.

“What you’re having to do now unlike the early years is you’re having to play every week,” said Texas coach Mack Brown, whose Longhorns suffered consecutive losses to West Virginia and Oklahoma. “It did not surprise me when West Virginia left here and went out to Lubbock and got beat.”

No. 4 Kansas State doesn’t have to go to Lubbock, but the Wildcats are catching Texas Tech at possibly its highest point in three years under coach Tommy Tuberville. The Red Raiders bounced back from a lopsided loss to Oklahoma with the win over West Virginia, then survived three overtimes at TCU for a 56-53 victory after letting a late 10-point lead slip away.

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