Big 12 football notebook: League remains wide open with five teams within a game of each other

Texas Tech (4-0), Baylor and Texas (each 3-0) are in a three-way tie atop the conference standings. Oklahoma and OSU, each with one loss, are a game behind.
by Erik Horne Published: October 21, 2013


photo - Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury watches play from the sidelines during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury watches play from the sidelines during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

With five teams within a game of each other, control of the Big 12 is still up for grabs headed into Week 8.

Texas Tech (4-0), Baylor and Texas (each 3-0) are in a three-way tie atop the conference standings. Oklahoma and OSU, each with one loss, are a game behind.

To lead off the Big 12 coaches' conference Monday, Texas coach Mack Brown said the Longhorns divide the season into different segments. The Oklahoma game was the end of the second part of the Longhorns' season.

Texas is coming off a bye and will play at TCU this weekend.

“We're playing better defense, which was obvious at Oklahoma. We're getting the identity we thought we thought we would have at the first of the year,” Brown said. “This league is wide open. It's an exciting time for our team because they know they have a chance to win our conference.”

Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury is facing Oklahoma for the second time this calendar year. Kingsbury was offensive coordinator at Texas A&M, when the Aggies demolished OU 41-13 on Jan. 4 in the Cotton Bowl.

Texas Tech comes into Norman ranked 10th in The Associated Press poll, but Kingsbury said this OU defense will be different from the last time he saw the Sooners.

Kingsbury called OU the Red Raiders' toughest challenge so far.

“They're much-improved, playing with a lot more confidence,” Kingsbury said. “Schematically, they're different; it looks nothing like what people saw in the Cotton Bowl.”

The first six games for Baylor have been an offensive explosion, but the final stretch will be more challenging for the Bears. Before a run of three consecutive top-15 teams (OU, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State), Baylor draws Kansas on Saturday.

Baylor goes into the game as the Big 12's crown jewel, ranked sixth in the AP poll.

“All we see is this Saturday against Kansas,” Baylor coach Art Briles said when asked about the tough schedule ahead. “We'll just try to go up to Lawrence and play as well as we can play.”

K-STATE, ISU TRYING TO GET OUT OF BIG 12 BASEMENT

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Kansas State, Iowa State and Kansas are all winless in conference play (0-3).

Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said the off week was helpful for the Wildcats, who play at West Virginia on Saturday.

“Off weeks go either way,” he said. “I would like to think we've given a significant amount of time trying to correct mistakes we've made. Off weeks give you the opportunity to do that, but you're without a week of competition.”

Iowa State goes to Oklahoma State on Saturday with a 1-5 record. TCU, after an ugly offensive performance against OSU, will play Texas.

TCU is only 1-3 in the Big 12, but it hasn't lost consecutive games all season.

“One thing about our group right now is that they're really playing hard,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said. “Usually when teams keep doing that, something good happens to them.”

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by Erik Horne
Online Sports Editor
Erik Horne joined The Oklahoman as a sports web editor/producer in September 2013, following a five-year stint at The Ardmoreite (Ardmore) – first as a sports writer, then sports editor. At The Ardmoreite, Horne reported on everything from prep...
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