AMES — Saturday was a nutty day in the Big 12.
It started with Kansas State upsetting No. 5 Oklahoma, then Oklahoma State knocked off No. 23 Iowa State, TCU beat No. 15 Texas and the day ended with Kansas edging Texas Tech to earn Les Miles’ first Big 12 win at KU.
“It’s a wild time,” Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said after Saturday’s loss at Jack Trice Stadium. “The fact of the matter is, the one thing it says about this conference is this conference is from top to bottom. You better come ready to play and you better come ready to play your best football. If you don’t, I think it’s really hard to win games in this conference.”
Baylor had one of the best and most fortunate bye weeks in Big 12 history. With all of the madness, the Bears (7-0, 4-0) moved into sole possession of the top spot in the conference.
Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1), Iowa State’s next opponent after the bye week, is second and also off this week.
Iowa State and Texas, both 5-3 overall and 3-2 in the Big 12, are tied for third. Kansas State (5-2) and TCU (4-3) are tied for fifth with 2-2 records in the conference.
“It’s just crazy,” Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy said. “It’s a great conference, everybody competes every single week. It’s not like you have a couple top-dog teams.”
In theory, Oklahoma and Texas are supposed to be the top dogs. But Texas just got beat by TCU, a team Iowa State thumped 49-24, and the week before, Texas almost lost to Kansas.
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Oklahoma might still be a top dog, but it took one on the chin against the Wildcats and could be a little wobbly right now.
“Anybody can beat anybody,” Purdy said. “From here on out, we just have to roll.”
Campbell always says teams have to play their best football in November. The Cyclones haven’t always done that under Campbell, going 4-4 over the last two seasons, but he has a bye week to get his players’ minds right as they enter the last month of the regular season.
“Regardless of what the outcome was (Saturday), I think No. 1 is, you’re getting into the heat of the battle,” Campbell said. “We’ve been inching towards getting there week in and week out. I still feel like we didn’t take a huge step back (Saturday). We know there’s a brand of football that is successful, that when we play it, that’s when we play at our best. It’s about pounding away at how do we continue to get there?
“This was the seventh game in a row for us, we’re going to have to do a great job of taking care of ourselves and then our kids are going to have to decide where we want to go. What’s going to happen in the month of November? Will we have a chance to become the absolute best version of ourselves we can be? What a great challenge and what great opportunities for the Cyclones.”
After visiting Oklahoma, the Cyclones host Texas for the first time ever in the month of November. Kansas follows Texas with a trip to Ames and Iowa State ends the season with a game at Kansas State.
Tight end Charlie Kolar sees how close the Cyclones are to potential greatness.
“We’ve lost three close the games,” Kolar said. “The difference between 8-0 and 5-3 is 10 points. We have to keep getting better.”
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