The Big 12 right now is a mess to say the least. Oklahoma, who has won five-straight Big 12 championships, took one on the chin yesterday in a 38-35 loss to Kansas State. Texas, who many expected to be in the Big 12 championship game with the Sooners, had to take it into overtime to beat Texas Tech, 63-56. From top to bottom, the conference has been total and complete chaos.
Oklahoma State on the other hand has been consistent. Sure, they were only able to beat Tulsa by a score of 16-7, but they field a solid defense, and have an offense that could go off at any point. Really and truly, this team looks like they could be the eventual Big 12 champions in 2020 – and that my friends is why I am not putting too much stock into WVU’s 27-13 loss to the Pokes on Saturday.
The Cowboys’ defense returned 10 of 11 starters in 2020 and it showed. Oklahoma State’s defense was a pure headache for the Mountaineers. Aleve is likely Quarterback Jarret Doege’s best friend today after he took a pounding by their front seven. The Cowboys blitzed and took risks throughout the entirety of the game and won the majority of plays. The talent and experience aspect helped them prevail in this department.
If we were to look at this game on paper, the Cowboys should have honestly blown out West Virginia. Their talent is far superior, and they have one of the best coaching staffs in the nation. The fact that the Mountaineers were able to play them tough, and have it within a touchdown with only minutes to go is promising. Yes, our offense struggled and penalties were a major issue, but the Mountaineers playing the Pokes tough in Stillwater should bode well for the team moving forward.
Losing to one of the best teams in the conference is nothing to be ashamed of and is honestly expected. The Mountaineers are still in the midst of a major rebuild, and improvements are starting to show throughout the board. Despite this loss not always looking great, Neal Brown and company have a lot to build on coming out of this game.
Next week presents a grand opportunity against an opponent West Virginia also played tough on the road last season. Baylor was undefeated, and had a depleted Mountaineer team in Waco on Halloween night. West Virginia was able to keep it close, but ultimately lost 17-14. The Bears were also an opponent whose talent was far better than that of West Virginia, and had no business playing such a close game against them.
If West Virginia can pull off the victory against Baylor, it will show just how far they have really come. It is difficult to gauge improvements against a team like Oklahoma State. Next Saturday at noon will tell the tale of what Mountaineer Nation can expect from 2020.