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Guerin Emig: OSU, Iowa State, K-State hold at 1-2-3 atop Big 12 rankings

Guerin Emig: OSU, Iowa State, K-State hold at 1-2-3 atop Big 12 rankings

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Oklahoma State wide receivers Tylan Wallace (2) and Braydon Johnson (8) celebrate a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit was asked last week about gloomy perceptions of Big 12 Conference football one month into this season.

“With Oklahoma getting off to a very, very slow start, Texas coming close a week ago and then losing last week, it’s almost as if people are writing the Big 12 off from a national standpoint,” he said. “The way I look at it, what’s wrong with celebrating Iowa State and Kansas State and TCU and Oklahoma State? To me, it makes this conference more interesting and even more competitive and exciting.”

Something to consider as the Sooners and Longhorns remain stuck in unfamiliar positions...

1 – Oklahoma State (3-0 overall, 2-0 in the Big 12)

Last week: Did not play

This Saturday: Scheduled game at Baylor postponed until Dec. 12

Next game on schedule: Oct. 24 vs. Iowa State

The Cowboys had their season opener against Tulsa rescheduled after a coronavirus outbreak within the Golden Hurricane. Now, the virus has interrupted the Pokes’ schedule again through no fault of their own. This time the problem is at Baylor.

That’s maddening for OSU players who are aching to play games, and who appear to be following the health and safety protocols designed to help them do so.


2 – Iowa State (3-1, 3-0)

Last week: Controlled Texas Tech 31-15

Breece Hall rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns. Brock Purdy passed for 302 yards and two touchdowns. The ISU defense allowed zero points until Texas Tech’s touchdown with 4:54 remaining.

That’s how you become 3-0 in the Big 12 for the first time since Dan McCarney coached and Seneca Wallace quarterbacked in 2002.

This Saturday: no game


3 – Kansas State (3-1, 3-0)

Last week: Won at TCU 21-14

Eli Howard replaced the injured Skylar Thompson at quarterback and ran more often than he passed. No matter. He ripped off an 80-yard gain at one point. Scatback Deuce Vaughn was his typical pesky self. K-State’s defense chipped in with a pick-6.

A proverbial gut check win for the Wildcats in Fort Worth.

This Saturday: no game


4 – West Virginia (2-1, 1-1)

Last week: Did not play

This Saturday: vs. Kansas, 11 a.m. (FS1)

Underrated bonus to OSU’s schedule – the Cowboys have already played West Virginia. They don’t have to mess with Mountaineers defensive lineman Darius Stills again.

Stills made 3½ tackles for lost yardage and recorded 2½ sacks in WVU’s victory over Baylor Oct. 3, a performance that earned him the Chuck Bednarik Award National Player of the Week honor. He is a future NFL millionaire.

It’s frightening to imagine what he might do to Kansas this weekend.


5 – Oklahoma (2-2, 1-2)

Last week: Won first quadruple-overtime game in school history, 53-45, over Texas

Lincoln Riley before leaving Dallas: “The last couple weeks have been hard on our team and we’ve had to really bear down... There’s no magic pill to fix something when it’s going wrong. You’ve just got to grind your way out of it. I give our team credit. They have not just done what we’ve asked them to do but they’ve continued to stay extremely eager and have hung in there through all parts of this.

“I knew we would we get better after the week we had. And obviously, it’s great to have the success to back it up and some momentum going into the back half of the season.

“I’ve never been prouder of a football team than I am this team right now.”

This Saturday: no game


6 – Baylor (1-1, 1-1)

Last week: Did not play

This Saturday: Scheduled game vs. OSU postponed until Dec. 12

Next game on schedule: Oct. 24 at Texas

A lousy week for the Bears. They suspended practice last Thursday after a COVID-19 outbreak within the program, a development that would eventually force the postponement of their game against OSU.

Then there was this from the Waco Tribune-Herald Friday: “The U.S. Department of Education has fined Baylor University $461,565 for violations of federal campus crime reporting law between 2011 and 2016.”

The sexual assault scandal involving Art Briles and his old football program continues to cloud Waco.


7 – TCU (1-2, 1-2)

Last week: Dropped 21-14 game to K-State

Gary Patterson on his mysterious offense after the loss: “You can’t go backwards. Number one, you can’t have penalties. Number two, you can’t take sacks. We have to be able to run the football. It’s a pretty simple formula for us.”

Actually, the Frogs ran it OK Saturday, totaling 189 yards at 5 yards a pop. The problem was they averaged just 7 yards per completion on a day quarterback Max Duggan could not get the ball downfield.

This Saturday: no game


8 – Texas (2-2, 1-2)

Last week: Subdued by the Sooners, 53-45, in four OTs

Sam Ehlinger threw several 50/50 passes Saturday, asking his receivers to outplay OU defensive backs for the ball. That never happened.

Meanwhile, the longest rush by a Texas running back was 9 yards.

The Sooners may not have the same caliber of skill position playmakers this year, but the Longhorns are even more lacking. They have been lacking for far too long.

This Saturday: no game


9 – Texas Tech (1-3, 0-3)

Last week: Lost at Iowa State 31-15

A quarterback controversy in Lubbock, where ineffective starter Alan Bowman was yanked for Henry Colombi during the loss in Ames.

Kansas beat Tech last year. At this rate it could happen again Dec. 5.

This Saturday: no game


10 – Kansas (0-3, 0-2)

Last week: Did not play

This Saturday: at West Virginia, 11 a.m. (FS1)

Continued well wishes to Les Miles, who tested positive for COVID-19 last week. It isn’t just players whose health is of utmost concern amid the virus, it’s coaches, especially those at a more vulnerable age.

Guerin Emig


Twitter: @GuerinEmig

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Sports Columnist

I'm the proud father of Gretchen and Holden. Devoted husband to Christy, who has been my best friend since biology class at Booker T. Washington. I covered the OU Sooners for 15 years. That was both challenging and rewarding. Now I get to write columns.

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