Big 12 this week: TCU always close at WVU; Mayfield to Tech

The Associated Press - October 20, 2016 11:43 am

Here are some things to watch in the Big 12 Conference in Week 8:

BEST MATCHUP

Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield vs. Texas Tech. Mayfield plays in Lubbock for the first time since he was a Red Raider in 2013, the season he became the first true freshman walk-on quarterback to start a season opener for an FBS team. Mayfield transferred to Oklahoma after that season, and was redshirting when the No. 16 Sooners last played in Lubbock in 2014. In last year’s 63-27 win in Norman, Mayfield threw for 212 yards and two touchdowns. Texas Tech junior QB Patrick Mahomes is the national leader with 2,579 yards passing, and is fifth with 21 TDs.

LONG SHOT

Kansas is a nearly four-touchdown underdog at home against Oklahoma State. The Cowboys have won six straight in the series, winning those games by an average margin of 29 points – even though their last two trips to Lawrence were wins of 27-20 and 20-14. The Jayhawks are coming off a 49-7 loss at Baylor, which came a week after Kansas missed three field goals in the fourth quarter of a 24-23 home loss to TCU.

IMPACT PERFORMER

Oklahoma senior Dede Westbrook has eight touchdowns catches , all in the last three games, a stretch when he has 26 catches for 574 yards. Six of those touchdowns are 40 yards or longer, including an 88-yarder last week against Kansas State.

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Staying at 10, Big 12 now has to decide divisions – or not

Now that the Big 12 has decided to stay at 10 schools, it’s time for the conference to figure out whether to split up into football divisions and determine who will play in the Big 12 championship game that returns next season.

“We weren’t able to move forward in a direction until we knew about the composition of the conference going forward,” Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said. “We are looking at several options.”

If the league opts to return to divisions, the big question then becomes how to split into groups of five.

As a 12-team league until 2010, the Big 12 had North and South divisions. That is possible again, or maybe a roughly East-West split? There are four Texas schools, two each in Kansas and Oklahoma and one each in Iowa and West Virginia.

 

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