As we continue to look back on the 2018 football season that was, every Big 12 team had its good and bad moment. Of course, some had more good moments (Oklahoma) and others had more bad moments (Kansas). But regardless, every program can find one game that defined their season and that they can build on. So let’s go team by team, in alphabetical order.
Baylor Bears: 35-24 win vs. Texas Tech
After a tough loss to TCU, this win got the Bears to reach bowl eligibility. That was huge for a program building off the one-win season of 2017, to get the three to four extra weeks of practice and then cap it off with the win over a decent SEC program in Vanderbilt. What a great December it was for the Bears and none of it would have been possible without the win over the Red Raiders.
Iowa State Cyclones: 48-42 @ Oklahoma State
The Cyclones were 1-3 and desperate to turn around a rough first month of the season. Enter: Brock Purdy on the road in Stillwater and he lit up the Pokes on the way to an Iowa State win. While it’s easy to point to the WVU game, had Matt Campbell not made the move to the true freshman and had they not picked up that win over the Cowboys, it’s possible none of the momentum from there on out happens to cap off a really good season in Ames.
Kansas Jayhawks: 27-26 win vs. TCU
It was the team’s first Big 12 win in nearly two years and the only Big 12 win of the season. If nothing else, it gives some confidence to the returning players on the team and reminds them that while there is still a long ways for KU football to go under new head coach Les Miles, they can win Big 12 football games.
Kansas State Wildcats: 21-6 win vs. Texas Tech
It turned out to be Bill Snyder’s final home game in front of the Manhattan faithful and he picked up a win against the Red Raiders. It pulled the team to within a win of bowl eligibility, which they could not reach, but it still gave the team some optimism down the home stretch. It would’ve been nice for Kansas State fans to give Snyder the proper send off, but that’s a story for another day.
Oklahoma Sooners: 59-56 win @ West Virginia
The tough road win over the Mountaineers put the Sooner into the Big 12 Championship Game, which led to the College Football Playoff Berth. The game continued Kyler Murray’s comeback ascent to the Heisman Trophy and the Sooners actually made a couple of solid defensive plays, which helped their standing in the eye of the committee.
Oklahoma State Cowboys: 38-35 win vs. Texas
The Cowboys had lost two in a row and three of four heading into Homecoming Weekend against the Longhorns. Texas was rolling and was the No. 6 team in the country coming into Stillwater. Taylor Cornelius had one of his best games of the season with over 320 passing yards and three touchdowns, along with Tylan Wallace with 10 catches for over 200 yards. Plus, there was Mike Gundy’s, “Are you not entertained?!” at the end of the game. Legendary.
TCU Horned Frogs: 16-9 win vs. Baylor
The Horned Frogs needed to win their final two games to become bowl eligible. The first game was against the Bears, their biggest rival, who was much improved from 2017, and the game was in Waco. The Horned Frogs played a great defensive game and won the turnover battle in the win. It kick started an end to the season that saw TCU win three straight games.
Texas Longhorns: 28-21 win vs. Georgia
It’s easy to point to the Red River Rivalry. But even Charlie Strong beat Oklahoma once and it’s not like it changed much for the program. But beating the SEC runner-ups, who many thought should be in the College Football Playoff, in pretty dominant fashion, was as important as it gets for Texas as it heads into the 2019 season under Tom Herman. That’s why it was ultimately bigger and more important than the win over Oklahoma in October.
Texas Tech Red Raiders: 41-17 win vs. Oklahoma State
This was Alan Bowman’s introduction to the Big 12 with an outstanding performance to open up conference play. It gave the Red Raiders their third win in a row and was part of a stretch that saw Texas Tech win five games in six games. It also kept the optimism going in Lubbock, as many were concerned if the wheels would fall off to start conference play, as they had in the past. Granted, the wheels did eventually come off, but it was later than expected.
West Virginia Mountaineers: 42-41 win vs. Texas
It was the best game of the Big 12 season. There were plenty to pick from, but the drama of this one in Austin, and the game of chess that was played on the final drive between Dana Holgorsen and Tom Herman was outstanding. Plus, I’m admitted biased since I was at the game, which you can read about here. The win also kept the Mountaineers in position to reach the Big 12 Championship Game, but unfortunately, the season would end with three losses in four games and Holgorsen’s departure for Texas.
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