It was on the third Saturday in November 2011 that Robert Griffin III captivated the college football watching nation with a stellar performance to sink Oklahoma, and essentially sew up the Heisman Trophy. One year almost to the day, tremors emanating from Waco, Texas once again rocked the country. Baylor rumbled to the BCS to its core in a thoroughly dominating 52-24 upset of No. 1 Kansas State.
A 12-0 Big 12 champion would have face an uphill climb to the BCS championship game against conference champions with 13 wins — at 11-1, Kansas State is all but eliminated from the national championship discussion.
Nov. 17, 2012 could go down in history as either the day venerable coaching legend Bill Snyder came his closest to the grand prize and was denied, or as the day the 10-member Big 12 became fully committed to expansion. Or both.
Neither could be the case, but considered 73-year-old Snyder defied all expectations, all logic, in leading the Wildcats to 20 wins over the past 15 months. Going out on top would have been a fitting ending. As it stands, the Wildcats part with the star of these past two convention-defying teams, quarterback Collin Klein.
Perhaps still showing the effects of an injured suffered in the Nov. 3 defeat of Oklahoma State, Klein struggled with a Bear defense that had given up totals of 42, 35, 56, 49 and 70 in its Big 12 losses.
Baylor’s dissection of the K-State defense was stupefying. Most everything went right for the Bears, particularly in a decisive third quarter wherein BU notched 24 points. The capper was Lache Seastrunk’s 80-yard touchdown — he of the former Oregon commitment and Willie Lyles’ connection.
Oh, the irony; Seastrunk’s 185 yards hindered the BCS aspirations of Kansas State, but could buoy those of Oregon. Should the Ducks falter between now (as of this writing, they are in overtime with Stanford) and the BCS selection show, UO’s championship route becomes more likely with K-State also sporting a loss.
And that ties into tonight’s second potential takeaway: a Big 12 member would not be sunk in the championship race with one-loss if it had that 13th game. This is shaping up as one of those seasons when every championship contender is tested, and could possibly lose. We could have our first BCS championship game with two one-loss teams since 2008, should USC upend Notre Dame next week and Oregon lose.
The lack of that extra game puts K-State at a decided disadvantage to Alabama, Georgia and Oregon. On a day when the Big Ten and Maryland/Rutgers are alleged to be flirting, the significance of large conferences is magnified.