Off year for Big 12 football

It’s officially an off year for the Big 12 Conference.

The Big 12 has a dismal 16-12 nonconference and only two remaining unbeaten teams – No. 16 Baylor and unranked West Virginia.

Oklahoma, ranked has high as No. 3, lost to No. 2 Ohio State Saturday by a score of 45-24 in Norman and now has a 1-2 record. The Sooners are No. 25.

No. 21 Texas suffered its first loss Saturday night. TCU, picked to finish second in the conference, is 2-1, and Iowa State is winless.

In contrast, the Big 10 has eight undefeated teams with no winless members and six teams ranked in the Top 25. The Southeastern Conference has six undefeated teams and no winless members plus seven ranked teams. The Atlantic Coast Conference has five undefeated teams, one team with no wins and four teams in the Top 25. The Pac-12 has four undefeated teams, no winless teams and three ranked teams.

The Big 12 has two undefeated teams, one winless team and three ranked teams.

The top four teams make it to the college playoffs and as it stands, Baylor and West Virginia hold slim hopes to be included. The Bears and Mountaineers have weak nonconference schedules and probably have to go undefeated and hope for a slew of Top 10 upsets to get to the playoffs.

Also, should Houston of the American Athletic Conference win all its games, the Cougars could knock out another Power Five conference champion.

The Sooners are off this week after a poor showing against the Buckeyes and will start league play October 1 at TCU.

“Our football team – I take responsibility – was not near good enough in a big game,” OU coach Bob Stoops said after the game Saturday. “Sorry to disappoint the fans. I wouldn’t ever say better effort, that’s not the case.

“We just need to play better in a lot of areas, and that’s what I take responsibility for. I felt we got really beat in all phases of the game.”

OU quarterback Baker Mayfield threw two touchdowns pass but two costly interceptions (and one near interception call that was reversed).

“Obviously, it wasn’t near good enough,” Stoops said of Mayfield. “He had his moments, he had some nice plays, but overall, the three interceptions and a few of the third and fourth downs that we might have had a chance at something, we didn’t execute very well there either, and those are like turnovers. Not near good enough.”

Mayfield hit 17 of 32 passes for 22 yards.

“He was kind of like as a whole offensively,” said OU offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley. “He did a lot of really good things and made a few uncharacteristic mistakes. We kind of got ourselves down there late in the second half and we had to try to make things happen if we wanted any realistic chance of having a chance of winning it.

“He can play better and he needs to be coached better to.”

Mayfield tried to field the blame for the poor showing.

“It’s just the fact that we didn’t play very well,” Mayfield said. “Personally, I haven’t played well this season. I felt that game goes to show that I haven’t been the player that I was. I have been trying to work on it and have been trying to get better and better but it just goes to show that in big games like that I haven’t played well. I let this team down. Coach Stoops can beat around the bush but I let this team down with my performance. I need to lead better, I have to keep people positive and I have to take responsibility for that loss. It’s all on me at this point.

“We haven’t played a Big 12 game yet and I’m going to work harder than anyone in this program. I’m going to work harder than anyone Coach Stoops has ever seen. We’re going to win a Big 12 title and that’s just my mindset. We got our asses kicked. They came in and they played well. They had a great game plan and JT Barrett played well. They capitalized on my mistakes and our turnovers. They played better than us.”

Ohio State had two 100-yard rushers in Mike Weber (124 yards) and Curtis Samuel (100 yards). Quarterback J.T. Barrett had 82 yards on 17 carries.

OU running back Joe Mixon had 79 yards on nine carries while Samaje Perine only had 62 yards on 17 carries. Mayfield added 31 yards rushing on eight carries.

Mixon had 225 all-purpose yards, including 132 yards in kickoff returns (one for a touchdown). “Joe had a great kickoff return and seemed to have a lot of other nice plays,” said Stoops. “I thought he and Samaje [Perine] overall ran the football well.”

“With that many possessions and that many plays, I want Samaje [Perine] to touch the ball, I want Joe [Mixon] to touch the ball, I want Dede [Westbrook] to touch it more, I want Mark [Andrews] to touch it more,” said Riley. “When we’re playing like that, it’s not our best. Joe, along with the other guys, aren’tgoing to get the amount of touches they should get.”

OU kicker Austin Seibert continued to struggle, missing a 27-yard field goal attempt.

“There wasn’t a problem with the kick,” Stoops said. “He just didn’t hit it well. There wasn’t a problem with the operation. That was my first question, and there wasn’t. He just hit a bad ball, which leads to that he hit a horrible punt, and then the next drive or two, we had a 50-yard field goal, and I went for it on fourth down because I didn’t feel he was in any kind of confidence or shape to go for it, and then we don’t convert. Everything just kind of snowballs together.”