As promised, November in the Big 12 is shaping up to be far more interesting than the first two months of the season.
Though the 52-34 win by Oklahoma State over Texas Tech on Saturday wasn't the closest game, it showed why the Cowboys were preseason favorites to win the conference. The Pokes are playing great football at the right time. And, would you know it, they get Baylor at home on Nov. 23.
What else did we learn in the Big 12 in Week 10?
TCU's suffering may not know any bounds
TCU has had an abysmal year after starting with such high expectations. Thanks to a crushing 30-27 overtime loss to West Virginia, the Frogs are now 3-6 and need to win their final three games just to become bowl eligible. With Baylor still looming on the schedule, that goal looks like it could be hard to achieve.
winnable, winnable, blood RT @BenKercheval: TCU needs to win its final three to be bowl eligible. Opponents are ISU, KSU and Baylor.— Matt Kirchner (@MKirchner12) November 2, 2013
The Frogs got off to a nice, and surprising, start on offense by jumping out to a 17-3 lead over the Mountaineers. Quarterback Casey Pachall looked sharp one week after returning from a broken arm and receivers, including former QB Trevone Boykin, were making plays.
Then, it all fell apart. WVU went on a 24-0 run and TCU needed 10 quick points to send the game into overtime. But a 15-yard personal foul penalty on the Frogs forced an impossible 62-yard field goal attempt, which was no good. WVU scored the game-winning field goal on its next possession.
And the fact that a 62-yard FG was attempted in overtime is all you need to know about this TCU-WVU game.— David Ubben (@davidubben) November 2, 2013
It was one of the toughest losses for Gary Patterson's team this year—and in a crossroads game, no less. According to Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Frogs have lost three straight games for the first time since losing four straight in 1998, Gary Patterson's first year as the program's defensive coordinator.
Patterson is an outstanding coach, one of the best in the conference. But this has to go down as one of the most frustrating years for him. The self-inflicted wounds aren't doing anyone any favors and it's costing TCU a lot of games.
The shine is coming off Texas Tech
Texas Tech is beginning to slip after starting 7-0. The turnovers and penalties that the Red Raiders were able to get away with against Iowa State and West Virginia are catching up to them.
So, too, is Tech's run defense, which has given up 558 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground over the past two games. Heading into the Oct. 26 game at Oklahoma, Tech was 23rd in the country in run defense, allowing 123 yards per game.
Tech's final three opponents—Kansas State, Baylor and Texas—aren't the easiest to bounce back against, either. All three have good rushing attacks too. If Tech's mistakes don't result in more losses, the inability to stop the run will.
Tight end Jace Amaro had a career day against Oklahoma State with 15 catches for 174 yards and a touchdown. But he won't be enough to save Tech if it starts sliding.
Baylor's final stretch is getting more intriguing by the week
Thursday's home game against Oklahoma will be Baylor's biggest test of the year. That doesn't mean it will hold that title for long, though.
Thanks to Oklahoma State's impressive win on the road at Texas Tech, Baylor's Nov. 23 road game in Stillwater is beginning to pique some more interest. The Pokes are getting hot at the right time, it seems, and winning at Boone Pickens Stadium is no easy task.
Also in the final month of Baylor's schedule is a neutral site game in Arlington against Texas Tech and a season-ending home game against Texas, another undefeated team in conference play. The Bears are the best team in the Big 12 right now, but there are realistically three other teams—the Cowboys, Sooners and Longhorns (oh my!)—that have something to say about that.
Other happenings from around the Big 12 in Week 10
Best offensive performance: Oklahoma State quarterback Clint Chelf. He threw a couple of head-scratching interceptions, but Chelf also accounted for four total touchdowns (two passing, two rushing) and 299 yards of total offense. Chelfs 67-yard touchdown run was also apparently the longest for a Cowboys quarterback in over 30 years.
Best defensive performance: Texas defensive tackle Chris Whaley. The converted running back picked up his second fumble recovery for a touchdown on the season. In all, he has more touchdowns on the year than Longhorns wide receiver Jaxon Shipley.
Best sideline dance moves: Texas Tech defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt. Dude knows how to shimmy on the sidelines.
Best quote: "I was beginning to wonder what touchdowns looked like." — West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen following the Mountaineers' win over TCU. (Via Allan Taylor of WVMetroNews.)
Ben Kercheval is the lead writer for Big 12 football. All quotes obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise. You can follow Ben on Twitter @BenKercheval.