The most telling statistic regarding the 2017 Big 12 Conference wasn’t about Baker Mayfield, Mason Rudolph, Lincoln Riley, Bill Snyder, Dana Holgorsen or Mike Gundy’s mullet.
It was this: Each time TCU had suffered a losing finish under Gary Patterson, the Horned Frogs have come back the next year and won their conference championship. It happened in 2005. It happened in 2014, when TCU tied for the Big 12 title. Then came last season’s 6-7 record. History told us what would happen next.
No. 15 TCU topped No. 7 Oklahoma State 44-31 on the Cowboys’ home field to upset the perceived power structure in the Big 12. Before Saturday, the hierarchy went Oklahoma, then the Cowboys, then TCU. The Horned Frogs now move into second, meaning few games remaining across the Power Five conferences hold more intrigue than the team’s Nov. 11 matchup with the Sooners.
That’s down the road. But who’s beating TCU before then? The Horned Frogs’ next five games come against West Virginia, Kansas State, Kansas, Iowa State and Texas. Maybe they’ll lose once, if that. Either way, the November date with OU will have significant College Football Playoff implications.
Here are the rest of Saturday’s winners and losers in college football:
Miami (Fla.). Miami showed little rust in a 52-30 win against Toledo, the team’s first game in three weeks as a result of Hurricane Irma and its aftermath. The Hurricanes look the part of a top-20 team. Don’t ignore the score because of the competition: Toledo is really good, actually, as one of the top three or four teams on the Group of Five ranks.
North Carolina State. Big things — or bigger things, at least — were expected of N.C. State heading into September. A loss to South Carolina to open the year tempered those expectations. But the Wolfpack have responded with three wins in a row, with the latest Saturday’s 27-21 victory at Florida State. The Atlantic Coast Conference is Clemson’s league to lose, but N.C. State could make things interesting.
Texas Tech. Kliff Kingsbury has long dream of teaming his powerful offense with an…