The North is up for grabs: Who would have thought before last weekend that Kansas State would have a chance at defending its Big 12 title? After a 45-21 victory over Nebraska, the Wildcats are just one game back of frontrunners Nebraska and Missouri, who face off this week for ownership of first place. Also a game back, Kansas and Iowa State still have an outside chance, but one's chances will go out the window as these two also do battle this upcoming Saturday.
Click your heels three times: Kansas (0-2) and Kansas State (0-3) have yet to win a game outside of the Sunflower State. They are 0-5 on the road joining Colorado (0-3) and Baylor (0-3) as the four Big 12 teams without a road victory. The entire Big 12 North is having road struggles, going 3-14 on the road, while the Big 12 South is 10-5.
A few bad losses: Nebraska is the lone Big 12 team with a winning record despite having given up more points than it has scored (201-205 overall, 104-50 conference). The Cornhuskers have some big wins under their belt (56-17 over Western Michigan and 59-27 over Baylor), but it's the 70-10 loss to Texas Tech and this week's 45-21 loss at Kansas State that has put Nebraska in this unique position.
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A tale of two games: The Missouri-Oklahoma State showdown was a classic Jekyll and Hyde game. The Tigers jumped out to a commanding 17-0 lead with 54 seconds left in the first half only to allow the Cowboys to go on a momentum-changing touchdown drive scoring with just four seconds left before halftime. From that point, OK State dominated play, out-gaining Mizzou in the secnd half by a 276-to-87 margin at a 7.3 yards per play clip in route to the 20-17 victory.
Offensive Dynasties? Four Big 12 teams are in a race for the top scoring offense in the Big 12. Texas Tech is clinging to its lead after a 51-21 loss to Texas at 36.6 points per game. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are tied for second at 35.1 points, just edging the Longhorns at 35.0 per game. The same four teams and Kansas State battled it out for the top offense in 2003, too. The Sooners eventually edged the Red Raiders 42.9 to 42.5 points with the Longhorns in third at 41.
Double Trouble: Cedric Benson (168 yards rushing) and Vince Young (158 yards rushing) are the only combination in Texas history to have rushed for 150 yards or more in the same game, which they have now done twice. In 2003, Benson posted 174 yards rushing, and Young accounted for 163 yards rushing against Nebraska.
Defending the Heisman: Ever since the Adrian Peterson Heisman train became picking up steam two weeks ago, reigning Heisman winner Jason White has picked up his game. For the second consecutive game and the sixth time in his career, White threw for four touchdown passes. In 2004, he has completed 128 of 197 passes for 1,617 yards and 17 touchdowns and just four interceptions. If White stays close to this two-game pace, he'll finish with approximately 2,907 yards, 43 touchdowns and six interceptions. He had 3,846 yards, 40 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 2003.
A case of the Big 12 Blues: With its 26-25 win over Baylor, Iowa State ended a 13-game Big 12 losing streak that began on Nov. 9, 2002 with a 58-7 loss to Kansas State. The loss extends the Bears' Big 12 losing streak to 11 games which is now the longest in the conference.
Ready for prime time players: In Texas A&M's 29-26 overtime win over Colorado, Aggie junior quarterback Reggie McNeal set a Big 12 mark in passing. McNeal has thrown 195 passes without an interception, surpassing the old mark of 179 by Texas Tech's Kliff Kingsbury in 2002. The win was also a significant turning point for the team. It ended a three-game overtime losing streak (Mississippi State 43, A&M 41, Independence Bowl, 2002; Texas Tech 48, A&M 47, in College Station, 2002; Missouri 33, A&M 27, in College Station) for Texas A&M who faces Baylor and its 11-game conference losing streak this week.
The Race to 1,000/1,000: As we hit the midway point in the Big 12 race, our three contestants are separated by slightly more than 100 yards. Texas A&M's McNeal leads the race to 1,000 yards rushing and passing with 593 yards on the ground and 1,568 yards in the air. After a 163-yard performance at Texas Tech, Texas' Young climbs into second place at 489 and 900. In third, Missouri's Brad Smith has 410 and 1,291. With four conference games left, it's anyone's race to win.
"Baby steps ... That game was important, Saturday. No matter what the rhetoric was, those players had to have a great deal of doubt, particularly given their youth. We may not have a winning season, but I bet we get two more wins.
"I also get the feeling that many of you would rather see us lose. Your hatred of Mac is getting in the way of your being a Cyclone." - CloneForever on CycloneReport.com after Iowa State's 26-25 win over Baylor.
"48 hours to renewed hope ... taken me that long to calm down. Didn't need to warm my brandy or light my cigar after that fiasco. Read most of the posts and everyone has some valid points, everyone has some invalid points, but one thing did come to mind and something we can all agree on: We care again. It's been along time since this many people cared, really cared, about Mizzou football.
Will Pinkel take us to the Promised Land? Heck I don't know, but the one thing I do know is that he is our best chance and coach since the Devine years. After 48 hours to cool off I am ready to back off and give him the opportunity to try.
After all, I really do care about Mizzou football again. - doylegr on PowerMizzou.com early Monday morning after Missouri's 20-17 loss to Oklahoma State.