Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

5-Things: The Race Begins

Get the party started. November craziness for the Big 12 has arrived. TCU is the first to go down, with Baylor and Oklahoma ready to square off.

1. This truly was the beginning of the craziness to end the 2015 College Football season.  When the weekend started, there were 8 Power conference teams still undefeated.  TCU, Michigan State and LSU all suffered their first losses of the season.  Even the Group-of-five saw their perfect records fall quickly, as Memphis and Toledo both suffered their first losses of the 2015 season.  In the end, there are just 6 FBS teams still unbeaten:  Clemson, Ohio State, Baylor, Iowa, Oklahoma State, and Houston.  That is it.  The Horned Frogs suffered the biggest loss of the group at 14th ranked Oklahoma State.  The Frogs were blown out in a 2nd and 3rd quarter barrage of points by OSU and mistakes by Trevone Boyin.  A 21-0 run put the game at 35-9 and left TCU dazed and injured.  Star receiver Josh Docston appeared to suffer a serious wirst injury late in the first half, and his loss is massive.  

LSU had the toughest assignment of all of the teams, having to go on the road against rival, and 4th ranked Alabama.  Star Leonard Fournette was held in check, and the Tigers lost 30-16.  Michigan State had the easiest assignment, having to go on the road to Nebraska, fresh off a humiliating 55-45 loss to Purdue. The Boilermakers could do what the Spartans couldn't, as Nebraska secured a late, and somewhat controversial win over the Spartans 39-38. 

2. The road to the College Football Playoff simplified quite a bit, knocking off many contenders, but the Top-4 might have gotten even more confusing.  What happens when a previously undefeated 2nd ranked LSU team loses to the 1-loss Alabama team ranked 4th?  Alabama will move up, and rightfully so.  Will they pass Ohio State and go up to 2nd?  An even bigger question, at least to Baylor fans, is how far will LSU fall?  How much does a loss on the road to a Top-4 team hurt?  In the eyes of the committee, a 1-loss Alabama team whose loss came at home to Ole Miss, was still better than Baylor.  It would make sense that the committee will keep LSU ahead of Baylor even with that 1-loss as well, at least until the Bears can play the difficult part of their schedule.  With Notre Dame beating 6-win Pittsburgh on the road 42-30, that might be more than enough to keep them aboe Baylor, at least for one more week.  Even with all of the chaos around them, the Top-6 might look very close to the same, with Alabama and LSU switching places, and the Bears still in 6th. 

3. The round-robin tournament has begun, and Oklahoma State rightfully deserves to be at the top spot.  They are undefeated, and have the best win out of the four contenders for the Big 12 title (Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and TCU).  Their dominant win over TCU announced themselves to the college football world as legitimate contenders for the College Football Playoffs.  Could they rise up to the Top-4 due to their win over 8th ranked TCU?  I doubt it, but they could have a chance of knocking the Bears down a rung into 7th and being the top-ranked Big 12 team.  They have the best win of the Big 12 contenders, and it isn't even close.  If the committee continues to value the quality of wins over anything else, the Cowboys should be above the Bears. If they continue to use the eye test, and look at how the teams have performed all year, the Bears will still easily be ahead of OSU, who will likely climb from 14th to around where TCU was last week.  

Baylor's first shot in the round robin is this weekend, as Oklahoma travels to Waco, TX for possibly the biggest game of the 2015 schedule.  Baylor still has to go to TCU and Oklahoma State, so this is the one shot for Baylor fans to see a Top-10 matchup.  With this being the Bears "Black-Out" game, and ESPN College GameDay announcing their plans to be in Waco as well, this game could be the biggest home game in Baylor history.  A win for the Bears would give them their first marquee win of the season, and a dominant win would easily move them up the College Football Playoff Poll.  A loss might end their championship hopes, especially with those two road games still on the schedule.  

4. With the losses by LSU and TCU, and the dismal performances from Leonard Fournette (31 yards on 19 carries with 1 touchdown) and Trevone Boykin (4 interceptions) have openend the door for some new contenders for the Heisman Trophy.  At the top of the list might be Baylor's Corey Coleman.  With Seth Russell out, there were concerns if a new quarterback would limit Coleman's potential, but another 2 touchdowns and over 200 receiving yards Thursday night against Kansas State quelled any of those concerns.  Coleman has 20 touchdowns already, and has been the most profilic wide receiver in the nation.  He gets another chance to impress the voters this weekend with Oklahoma, and College GameDay, visiting the Bears.  

The odds are stacked against Coleman though.  No wide receiver has won since 1991, when Desmond Howard from Michigan claimed the prestigious trohpy.  However, Howard made a huge impact in the return game, an area where Coleman has not been utilized very much this year for Baylor. Even worse, Howard is just one of two receivers in the history of the award to win it, with Tim Brown also claiming the trophy in 1987. Outside of that 5-year span, no other receiver has been able to hear their name called. In the last 25 years, only three receivers have finished in the Top-3 of the voting; Raghib "Rocket" Ismail in 1990, Larry Fitzgerald in 2003, and Amari Cooper in 2014.  

With Coleman's lack of involvement in the return game (1 kickoff return for 5 yards, and 3 punt returns for 9 yards), he will have to continue his ridiculous touchdown pace, and lead the Bears to a perfect record.  A single loss, a single bad game, or even a strong contender from the traditional quarterback or running back positions, will knock Coleman down the list.  However, a Top-3 finish is definetly on the table, with an outside shot for the win.  

5. Ranking the Big 12

  1. Baylor - New quarterback? No problem. Now, getting that defense up to speed against mobile quarterbacks is.  
  2. Oklahoma - Maybe the best playing team right now in the Big 12, especially in their four games after that still very curious loss to Texas. They have won by a combined 232-50  
  3. Oklahoma State - Well that certainly was a statement win for the Cowboys.  They just flat out beat TCU on both lines and made the big plays the needed.  TCU ran over two-times as many plays, gained 200 more yards, but still lost by 20 points.
  4. TCU - That was a tough one.  The loss knocks them down in the CFP chances.  Boykin is more than likely out of the Heisman running, and Josh Doctson might be hurt for a while.  Ouch.
  5. West Virginia - The Mountaineers are a very good team, even with an 0-4 start to conference play. They ran all over Texas Tech to get their first Big 12 win of 2015. 
  6. Texas Tech - The Red Raiders are not going to win very many games scoring just 26 points.  That defense is just not good enough to hold anyone down.  
  7. Texas - A 59-20 win over Kansas gets the Longhorns back in the winning column after that disastourous loss to Iowa State last week.  Honeslty 7-9 might just be 7a, b, or c.  
  8. Kansas State - The Wildcats have been close a few times, but just not enough to get that big win. One touchdown losses to Baylor, TCU and OSU.  
  9. Iowa State - A team that looked so good against Texas last week, but looked lost against Oklahoma.  They have the undefeated Cowboys coming to Ames next weekend, and we all remember how that worked for OSU. 
  10. Kansas - Its almost over Jayhawks, its almost over. 

Bears Illustrated Top Stories