TCU (7-4 4-4) fell flat in its home opener, losing 37-23 to Iowa State in quarterback Trevone Boykin's debut. The Horned Frogs also dropped a wild, triple-overtime affair to Texas Tech, 56-53, and lost to Kansas State at home.
But the Frogs, in place of A&M as Texas's Thanksgiving night opponent, thumped the Longhorns 20-13 for their first win over a ranked opponent this season.
"The thing that everybody said, we'd hear on the recruiting trail before we joined the Big 12 was, 'Well, they win ballgames. But they don't play good competition every week.' And now, we've been in every ballgame and we've won our share of ballgames," TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "We've got to raise our level of athletic ability at a lot of positions. But I think our kids play hard."
Texas Tech will also return to the postseason after a brief dip in 2011. Despite losing four of their final five regular season games, the Red Raiders are 7-5 after winning just five games last season.
Perhaps no team epitomizes the depth of the Big 12 better than Iowa State. The Cyclones could wind up in ninth place at 3-6 in the league, but they're still going bowling because they swept their nonconference slate.
Iowa State didn't play three cupcakes, either. The Cyclones beat Tulsa, which is 9-3 and playing for the Conference USA title this weekend, and won at Big Ten rival Iowa for the first time in a decade.
"I went on record early, even back in the summer stating that I thought the Big 12 would be the deepest conference in the country this year," Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said. "Very proud of our league, very proud of our accomplishments in the league this year."