Apr. 30, 2017
Biggest Heartbreaks For Each Big 12 Team In The Last 25 Years
Earlier in the off-season I was doing a bit where I was looking at every heartbreak for every college team in the major conferences. With the website changing, my format I was doing was not working with the new way. There were also kinks that would have made the post horrible and gave me more issues than anything else. Now that the site seems to be better, I will attempt to go back and try it again as it was my last post over it. No, I was not trying to avoid doing the Big 12, my FAVORITE conference in the world (rolls eyes). But here we go.
BAYLOR: COTTON BOWL VS. MICHIGAN STATE, 2015: You could make the argument that the biggest heartbreak was nearly a month before with Baylor as they were jumped ahead by Ohio State in the first ever College Football Playoff. Had Baylor won this game, then yes. However, it was the other Big Ten powerhouse that resided with Ohio State from 2013-2015 in Michigan State. The Spartans had grown into a fierce defensive squad and in the 2014 season actually had a strong offense to go with it. The defense was fine, but had fallen off because of players leaving for the NFL draft, but still it was a challenge. Going into the 4th quarter the Bears had easily solved Michigan State's defense, scoring 41 points after 3 quarters. And then, Baylor fell apart, allowing 21 unanswered points to the Spartans as Baylor choked. They had two major chances to put the game away and failed both times. One of the monumental plays in the 4th quarter was a field goal block by Michigan State where Baylor kicker Chris Callahan was rocked by Tony Lippett as he was trying to stop Michigan State from running the ball back. It was somewhat indicative of how the game, and the past month, had gone for the Bears.
IOWA STATE: EDDIE ROBINSON CLASSIC VS. FLORIDA STATE, 2002: Hard to really find one for a program that has historically struggled like Iowa State. But I guess the Cyclones best shot at any kind of hope for the program was in 2002. Seneca Wallace was the quarterback and a very good and underrated one at that. And they had faced #3 Florida State that year in the Eddie Robinson Classic in Kansas City. Many thought the Noles would blow them out, but really Iowa State had played them hard and tough. The game was decided late when Iowa State came up short by the goal line from Wallace that would have tied the game, but replays shown he may have crossed that would have tied the game. It may not be the biggest heartbreak to Cyclone fans and I would actually like to hear it, but had the Cyclones won that game, who knows where the program would have gone.
KANSAS: BORDER SHOWDOWN VS. MISSOURI, 2007: Similar to Iowa State, Kansas has not generated much success over the years. The only time where the Jayhawks had been a major player was in 2007 when they were #2 in the nation according to the BCS and heading into the final regular season week against their big rival Missouri and on neutral ground. Mizzou beat the Jayhawks 36-28, giving the Tigers the North Division title and eliminating Kansas from the national championship picture.
KANSAS STATE: BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP VS. TEXAS A&M, 1998: Kansas State has always been overlooked in the Big 12, thanks in part to the likes of Texas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska (when they were around). But they have been one of the more consistent teams in the past 25 seasons, but their biggest shot at a national championship was 1998. The Jayhawks were ranked #2 at 11-0 and a win would send them to face off against Tennessee. And for three quarters it looked like the Wildcats would have done it as they frustrated the Aggies offense and quarterback Michael Bishop was doing his thing. And then the rest of the way, it was all Texas A&M, scoring 15 unanswered points in the 4th quarter to send the game into overtime where both kicked field goals and then the Aggies scored the game winning touchdown after Kansas State had kicked the field goal. It was heartbreak central for the Wildcats, who have not been anywhere near as close as they had in 1998.
OKLAHOMA: BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP VS. KANSAS STATE, 2003: Since 2000, the Big 12 has really been ruled by the Sooners. They won the national championship, beating Florida State that year and have been the really the biggest threat the Big 12 has in this time span. However, over that time, the Sooners have been regarded as really an "also ran," a team that chokes in big games, similar to what Ohio State had (or has, pending on who you talk to) gone through. Where it probably started was 2003 in the Big 12 Championship when Oklahoma was ranked #1 and many thought they were invincible that season, pouring points all over the field on teams (48 points per game) including a 65-13 win over rival Texas and 77-0 win over Texas A&M. Kansas State, not really considered a major power (despite having a #15 ranking), was figured to be another blowout. Add in the fact you had Heisman Trophy winner Jason White at the helm and it seemed like the Sooners would just rout. And it looked like that early with a quick touchdown run by Kejuan Jones to start the game. But then it was ALL Kansas State, scoring 21 in the 3rd and keeping the Sooners at by with 5 straight 3 and outs. It was an epic blowout as many figured, but it was a different result for the blowout. Oklahoma looked sluggish and figured the Wildcats would have rolled over. That said, the Sooners still got the nod for that national championship, which the legend of blowing it in big games continued, losing to LSU.
OKLAHOMA STATE: VS. IOWA STATE, 2011: This was quite possibly the most heartbreaking of them all. The Cowboys were rolling in 2011 as they won their first 10 games and minus the Texas A&M game, with ease, blowing out all they faced and many wondered if either the two SEC powers of LSU and Alabama could handle that kind of offense. Before Bedlam, the Cowboys faced off against a mediocre Iowa State squad on a Friday night. But Oklahoma State had tragedy as the Cowboys women's basketball head coach Kurt Budke and assistant Miranda Serna were both killed in a plane crash the night before. And if you're in athletic programs in college, you have a bit of a family, not just with the sport you're on but all athletics and many had been hurt. Many of the people believed the game should have been postponed so the players and coaches could deal with the tragedy. The Cowboys early probably played off on emotion and raced to a 24-7 lead and then the Cyclones came back scoring 17 unanswered to send the game in overtime. And interception by Brandon Weeden in the 2nd overtime gave the Cyclones the ball to win. A few plays later, it happened as the Cyclones brought down Oklahoma State, knocking them out of the national championship picture and sending Alabama back to the national championship game, despite losing to LSU a month earlier. The lone positive was that it did create the playoff from this game.
TCU: VS. BAYLOR, 2014: One reason why the Big 12 is overlooked by many is the fact that there isn't a conference championship since Nebraska and Colorado left the conference and were content on the status quo. The attitude was "unlike the other power conferences, we play everybody in ours and that is good enough to determine a conference champion." Well, given that two of the first 3 years the Big 12 hasn't sent anybody pretty much defeats that idea. But where it stung was this game. The game was about what you would expect from a Big 12 game with high scoring, but TCU had a 24 point lead late in the 4th quarter, only to lose it in overtime 61-58 and give Baylor the edge in the standings. The Big 12 considered both TCU and Baylor champions of the conference since they compiled the same record in the conference. However, with no championship game later on, both saw themselves on the outside looking in for the playoff as Ohio State stomped on Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship that year to propel them past both co-champions. It was a shame too because had TCU not blown it in this game, there probably is no debate the Frogs would have been in the playoff.
TEXAS: NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP VS. ALABAMA, 2010: Probably not the worst heartbreak the Longhorns had given all of their woes with Oklahoma, but the Horns really believed they had the best team in the nation in 2009 when they went up against Alabama. After a good drive, Texas lost starting quarterback Colt McCoy to injury, stagnating the offense while Alabama stormed back on the Horns, 24-6 at halftime. But the Longhorns fought hard, despite the inconsistencies of backup Garrett Gilbert and made some key plays, notably to Jordan Shipley to cut it to 24-21. But Alabama pulled away with a turnover deep in Texas territory and scored while the next two drives were of turnovers as the Tide won their 13th national championship. It really sent the Horns backwards and they were not the same team after this loss.
TEXAS TECH: MIKE LEACH FIRING, 2009: I couldn't pinpoint one game offhand that was heartbreak for the Red Raiders (though I think many would point to the beatdown by Oklahoma when Texas Tech was ranked #2 as the heartbreak), but I think the program was hurt when Mike Leach was fired for his treatment towards Adam James when James suffered a concussion and told James to "stand in the equipment room." However, controversy surrounded as Leach said he told them to get James "out of the light," but didn't know where he was taken. However, more issues arose when it was shown that Leach was not fond of James and his attitude and James more or less was in Leach's doghouse. Leach claimed it was an excuse for the Red Raiders to get rid of him and not pay the extra incentives in his contract as well. He got fired and the Red Raiders really have not been a legit threat in anything in college football since.
WEST VIRGINIA: BACKYARD BRAWL, 2007: 2007 was an oddball year in college football. It was like nobody wanted the national championship. If you were a team ranked #1 or #2 late in the year, you blew your chance with a heartbreaker that you should have won. The game that still sticks out to me was West Virginia against Pittsburgh in the famed Backyard Brawl rivalry when both resided in the Big East. The Mountaineers were ranked #2 in the BCS at the time. And given that the other teams who were making a huge push (Kansas, Missouri, Ohio State, LSU, etc.) were all having their own woes and losing, a win would have put the Mountaineers in the title game with ease. And being 28 point favorites with the Panthers already using their backup QB, they were considered a lock to win. Instead, the Mountaineers and their spread offense, which was their staple, was incredibly ineffective and did not execute to the shock of everybody. West Virginia could only muster 7 points and after the game, Rich Rodriguez split for Michigan. But what it did was show West Virginia was not ready to take that next step in the college football world, despite having one of the more consistent programs in the last 25 years.
That's it for the Big 12. Back to regular college football posts later.
18 more weeks until kickoff.
-Fan in the Obstructed Seat