Here are some trends we learned about the Big 12 in Week 12:
Revenge was sweet for the Red Raiders: Texas Tech had been waiting for its chance to “Jump Around” on Oklahoma for a year. The Red Raiders were still miffed after having that House of Pain song ring through their ears during a demoralizing whipping last season in Norman. They returned the favor with a 41-13 beatdown against the Sooners -- tied for the second-worst defeat for a Bob Stoops team in a Big 12 conference game. The Red Raiders, ranked 117th rushing in the nation before the game, punished the Sooners by gashing them for 161 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Oklahoma can salvage some of its season by ruining Oklahoma State’s BCS at-large hopes with a victory. If not, there’s the very real possibility that Stoops’ team could finish the season with a losing season record after losses to the Cowboys and in a bowl game. Few could have ever imagined those possibilities this season -- even after potential All-Americans like Sam Bradford and Jermaine Gresham were lost with season-ending injuries.
Kansas State was bitten by its weak nonconference schedule: No team in the Big 12 could have used the extra bowl practice as much as Kansas State, which will end up being denied a bowl trip largely because of the transition from Ron Prince to Bill Snyder. The Wildcats ended up with six wins but couldn’t make a bowl trip because two of the triumphs came over nonFBS programs and could count only one for bowl purposes. The change in leadership left the new coaching staff and the KSU program scrambling for a late addition to its schedule. The result was a victory over late addition Tennessee Tech that doesn’t count for bowl eligibility and will keep the Wildcats out of those needed December practices. In the future, look for Snyder to put aside his previous appetite for gooey scheduling treats for a more determined challenge. Too much early sugar isn’t good for a developing program.
Colt McCoy hopes his memorable "Senior Night" isn't the end: McCoy beat Big Bertha and shot off the mammoth Texas cannon after leading Texas to its first Big 12 title game appearance since 2005. But it’s still undetermined if he can produce a Heisman Trophy as his ultimate reward for this season. If McCoy becomes the first Texas quarterback in history to receive the Heisman, voters are going to have to be sold on a “career achievement” kind of spin. He started it by claiming his record-setting 43rd career victory Saturday night. Big performances against Texas A&M Thursday night and against Nebraska in the Big 12 title game will be important as McCoy tries to make a late Heisman charge. It's not out of reach, but he absolutely, positively has to produce two huge performances in his remaining games in order to win it.
"The Bear's" soft side might have emerged too late to save his job: We saw the lovable side of Mark Mangino Saturday night in Austin, not the angry one that some of his players have decried over the last week in a series of troubling revelations that have surfaced around his Kansas program. Mangino, known as "The Bear" by his coaching friends, hugged his players and even told a referee he was “a good man” during an exchange that was picked up by a sideline microphone. It has taken a determined, forceful leader like Mangino to pull the Kansas program out of the abyss that he inherited in order to get them to a BCS bowl game. It's a shame that Mangino didn’t show his compassion more often during the building process.
Unsettled Texas A&M needs more stability in the future: I can’t remember a more up-and-down team in Big 12 history than the Aggies. Their 6-5 season has qualified them for a bowl trip with one more game to play despite an amazing run of emotions this season. The Aggies won games by 35, 37, 22, 25 and 35 points -- including their 38-3 whipping of Baylor Saturday that earned them the bowl trip. Earlier this season, the Aggies lost games by 28, 48 and 55 points. The Aggies are going to a bowl game, but Mike Sherman’s biggest job over the offseason will be to build consistency so that his team won’t have the week-to-week volatility that has marked his team in 2009.