Big 12 teams now going head-to-head rest of regular season
The preliminary contests are over. The entire Big 12 will now be reuniting on weekends, and going head to head until early December.
While a couple of games last weekend counted in the Big 12 standings, the final non-conference games were also played. Now the full focus is on trying to win a conference title.
Six of the league's 10 teams are still undefeated, though that number will be trimmed by at least two Saturday when No. 23 West Virginia (3-0) plays at No. 15 Oklahoma (3-0), and Kansas State (3-0) goes to No. 20 Oklahoma State (4-0, 1-0 Big 12).
Sooners coach Bob Stoops feels his team did what it needed to do in non-conference play.
''Yeah, we've had probably a more challenging one going to Tennessee than most everybody else, so it's worked so far,'' Stoops said Monday on the weekly Big 12 coaches teleconference.
Along with their comeback double-overtime victory at Tennessee, the Sooners had home wins over Akron and Tulsa. Kansas State's non-conference wins came over South Dakota, UTSA and Louisiana Tech, the last game in triple overtime.
K-State coach Bill Snyder said his team is rested and healthier heading into its Big 12 opener after an open date. But are they where they need to be for the start of conference play?
''Well, probably not,'' Snyder said. ''But we have made improvement and we have gotten some things corrected that were issues for us.''
ADMIRATION SOCIETY: David Beaty was first at Kansas as a receivers coach in 2008-09. After being a high school coach and then two seasons at Rice, he was on the staff of then-Jayhawks head coach Mark Mangino.
Mangino is now offensive coordinator at Iowa State, where Kansas plays its Big 12 opener.
''I obviously have a dear spot in my heart for Coach Mangino and his family,'' said Beaty, in his first season as the Kansas head coach. ''They gave me an opportunity when I'm not sure I even deserved it. ... He saw something in me that I'm not sure I had even seen in myself.''
No. 23 West Virginia plays at No. 15 Oklahoma, where Lincoln Riley is in his first season as offensive coordinator.
Riley was a Texas Tech quarterback in 2002, then a student assistant for three seasons and an Red Raiders assistant from 2007-09. West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen was on Tech's staff from 2000-07 and Riley's wife was once the nanny for Holgorsen's children.
''It's been fun to watch him to develop as a coordinator to a point where he's doing a good job,'' Holgorsen said. ''I'm proud of his accomplishments.''
Some other notes from the Big 12 call:
- Oklahoma State never trailed at Texas, but traded scores until Ben Grogan's two field goals in the final 1:33 finally gave the Cowboys a 30-27 victory. ''It was a rollercoaster, and I'm not sure that I want to make that ride again,'' Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said.
- When Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury was asked if his greatest challenge was physical or emotional after the Red Raiders' closing-seconds home loss to No. 4 TCU, he quickly responded, ''It shouldn't be either.'' Kingsbury said players should be good to go physically going into only the fifth game, and that mentally his team is excited about playing No. 5 Baylor in the Dallas Cowboys' NFL stadium on Saturday.
- Paul Rhoads said Iowa State had a positive open date and will have its healthiest team so far this season after getting back several guys that either haven't played or have been banged up the first three games.