Big 12 Football: What We Learned in Week 15

Ben KerchevalCollege Football Lead WriterDecember 8, 2013

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Just like that, the season is over. 

At least the Big 12 went out in the best way possible. Thanks to a Bedlam game that lived up to its name, Baylor and Texas played for the conference title in the last regular season game of the year. You simply couldn't have planned it any better. 

On that note, what a season it has been for the Baylor Bears, the 2013 Big 12 champs. Enough can't be said about the job head coach Art Briles has done in Waco. The Bears are Fiesta Bowl-bound and will likely be paired up against UCF. That won't necessarily move the interest meter too much, but there's potential for it to be a fun game to watch. 

What else did we learn in the Big 12 in Week 15?


Bob Stoops Is Still the King of Bedlam

Oklahoma may be the quietest 10-win team in the country. That's likely due in large part to the Sooners being mathematically eliminated from a conference championship heading into Week 15.  

However, a 33-24 win over Oklahoma State has Bob Stoops' team thinking about a possible at-large berth in the Sugar Bowl. 

Speaking of Stoops, he still owns Bedlam—and Mike Gundy, too. Stoops is 8-1 against Gundy, the only loss coming in 2011, when the Cowboys won the Big 12. But, as David Ubben at Fox Sports Southwest notes, that win-loss record is a tad misleading. Oklahoma used to be far and away the superior program. That hasn't been the case lately. Still, the Cowboys don't have the Bedlam wins to show how far they've come. 

Dec 7, 2013; Stillwater, OK, USA;  Oklahoma State Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy and Oklahoma Sooners head coach Bob Stoops before the game at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Rowe-USA TODAY Sports
Richard Rowe-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday's loss is up there among the most perplexing under Gundy. He had the better defense—which allowed one offensive touchdown, by the way—and a better quarterback. The offense played its worst game in nearly two months, though, and Oklahoma State couldn't get it done. 

Oklahoma, meanwhile, was way more imaginative by throwing in trick plays and scoring on a fake field goal. Sometimes, that's what a team has to do when it's a road underdog. Then, when the game was on the line, the Sooners offense connected. 

What else is there to say? Stoops did it again. It's one thing for a team to have another's number based on matchups and the like. It's startling to see it happen between coaches. 


Texas Has to Draw the Line of What Is Acceptable and What Isn't

Mack Brown deserves some credit for keeping his team in a position to win the Big 12 title up until the final game. He's not going to get that credit, but he should. With all the injuries the Longhorns have sustained this year, it was going to be an uphill battle. 

That said, Texas' four losses have come by an average of 21 points. The latest was a 30-10 loss to Baylor. Putting on the captain obvious hat, that's not losing a close game here or there; that's getting thoroughly outcoached and outplayed. Four times, no less. 

Dec 7, 2013; Waco, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns head coach Mack Brown watches from the sidelines against the Baylor Bears during the second half at Floyd Casey Stadium. The Bears won 30-10 to win the Big 12 championship. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TOD
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

That shouldn't be acceptable at Texas, though it also shouldn't be acceptable at most places with a roster this experienced. For the fourth straight year, the 'Horns are guaranteed to win no more than nine games. According to Jerry Palm of CBS Sports, Texas is projected to meet Oregon in the Alamo Bowl

That game could turn out to be either gruesome or memorable for Texas. It may depend on whether the Ducks, not too far removed from some unflattering Rose Bowl comments, show up or not. 

It's impossible to account for injuries, but could new Texas athletic director Steve Patterson live with the chance of getting blown out five times in the same season? Could Brown, for that matter?


Baylor's Here to Stay, so Get Used to It

If you haven't read Adam Kramer's write-up on Baylor's incredible rise, do so now, because he's good at putting words together.

Dec 7, 2013; Waco, TX, USA; Former and current Baylor Bears Gale Galloway and Don Trull and Jay Allison and Bruce Davis and Grant Teaff and guard Cyril Richardson (68) and Ken Starr and coach Art Briles gather to turn out the lights at Floyd Casey Stadium
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

To summarize: Baylor's ascent may have been quick, but there appears to be no equal and opposite descent of which to speak. The Bears, with Briles' 10-year contract extension inked, should be a feared program for years to come. 

Briles first made a believer out of recruits. Then, he made a believer out of a city, followed by a state and a conference. Now, he's made a believer out of the national landscape. Baylor has made the financial investment to match Briles' vision. The best recruits in one of the most talent-rich states are beginning to head to Waco as a result.

The unknown is what strikes fear into people. The only thing unknown about Baylor is how high its ceiling is. 


Other Happenings from Around the Big 12 in Week 15

Best Offensive Performance: Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty. Offenses were generally uninspiring in Week 15, but Petty had 287 yards passing and a pair of touchdown passes. 


Best Defensive Performance: Baylor cornerback K.J. Morton. He had two interceptions against Texas, returning them for a combined 60 yards. Amazing stat: Texas quarterback Case McCoy had 54 yards passing. 


Best Video Bomb by an Airborne Cheerleader: Oklahoma State. Caption contest: "HEEEEEEYYYYYYYYYYY." 

Via SB Nation


Best Cousin It Costume: This Baylor fan, covered in pom poms.

Via B/R


Ben Kercheval is the lead writer for Big 12 football. You can follow Ben on Twitter @BenKercheval