Kansas, Iowa St enjoying wins far from Big 12 title chase
While Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are set for a de facto Big 12 title game, the two teams that have routinely been at the bottom of the league standings are having late-season upticks.
For the first time since November 2007, Kansas and Iowa State are coming off conference victories on the same weekend. The Jayhawks and Cyclones are now prepping for their season finales this weekend, while the Sooners and Cowboys get a break before settling the Big 12 title on Dec. 3.
''It's definitely huge for us, the reality of starting new and building a foundation,'' said first-year Iowa State coach Matt Campbell, whose team has won consecutive Big 12 games. ''We've been learning the whole season. I think you saw our team get better as the season has gone. We're learning how to practice, we're learning how to prepare, we're learning what detail looks like.''
The Cyclones (3-8, 2-6 Big 12) overwhelmed Texas Tech 66-10 on Saturday, a week after beating Kansas (2-9, 1-7), which then snapped a 19-game conference losing streak with a 24-21 overtime victory at home over Texas.
Iowa State wraps up its season at home Saturday against No. 19 West Virginia . Kansas plays the Sunflower Showdown against Kansas State after its first conference win in Beaty's two seasons .
''It changes the dynamic greatly for us,'' Beaty said Monday during the weekly Big 12 coaches teleconference. ''Reality is getting that win validates basically all the work and the continued fight that these kids have put in over the last two years.''
Iowa State and Kansas both won on consecutive Saturdays in November 2007. That stretch ended when the Jayhawks, on way to an 11-0 start and eventual Orange Bowl victory, beat Iowa State on the third Saturday that month.
Since 2006, either Kansas or Iowa State has been the last-place finisher in the Big 12 - in the North Division through 2010 when the league was still 12 teams, then in a 10-team league without divisions since 2011.
Beaty was asked how soon he will know if the upset of Texas is indeed a turning point for the Jayhawks.
''That's something that will take a little bit of time. ... I certainly think that will be one that we will always go back to and draw upon,'' he said. ''But for it to be a turning point, there's got to be more production behind it.''
Before back-to-back wins, Iowa State had hung tough in a 34-24 home loss to Big 12-leading Oklahoma.
Campbell wants to ''lay a really rock-solid foundation'' for the Cyclones, and said having some success because of how they are preparing and playing ''is huge'' for the future of the program.
Some other notes from the Big 12 call:
WHO WOULD STOOPS CHOOSE?
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting a year ago, and is starting to get some notice again with the seventh-ranked Sooners on an eight-game winning streak. So is big-play receiver Dede Westbrook. So which one would get a vote from Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops?
''I can't be the guy to choose between my two children,'' Stoops said.
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said every coach he has spoken with agrees with him about ''the difference in right and wrong and what happened'' to the 10th-ranked Cowboys in a loss to Central Michigan, and a Hail Mary pass for a touchdown on an untimed play that officials later admitted should have never been allowed. While the Cowboys are officially 9-2 with a seven-game winning streak, Gundy's believes that the College Football Playoff selection committee also ''sees us as a one-loss team.''
OUT OF CONTENTION
West Virginia's chance at the Big 12 title ended with a 56-28 loss at home Saturday night to Oklahoma. ''Pressure's off, didn't get it done when it came to the Big 12,'' coach Dana Holgorsen said. But he noted that the Mountaineers (8-2, 5-2) can still win 10 games in the regular season and more than five Big 12 games for the first time.
ITS OWN BOWL
After three consecutive losses, Texas Tech (4-7, 2-6) can't get bowl eligible. So coach Kliff Kingsbury said the emphasis this week is on sending 12 seniors out on the right note and treating Friday's season finale against Baylor at the Dallas Cowboys' stadium like their own bowl game.
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