Four-Down Territory: Big 12 facing CFP pressure already

Venerable Cotton Bowl remains treasured home to Red River Rivalry

Iowa State’s Joel Lanning, who stars on offense and defense for the Cyclones, played 78 snaps last Saturday in the Cyclones’ win against Oklahoma. (Sue Ogrocki/The Associated Press)



1. Which Power Five conference is in the most jeopardy with the CFP?

Well, duh. The Big 12 was before the season ever began after missing the playoff two of the first three years. So, the Big 12 panicked and instituted a league championship game. Well, that and the additional $3 million it nets each member. League balance packs drama, but does not boost credibility.

2. Is there a better tradition than the Red River Rivalry?

Apparently not. In this day and age of maximizing home amenities, the Cotton Bowl remains home to the Oklahoma-Texas showdown. The venerable stadium was built in 1932. Yet few atmospheres in college football are as cool as the colorful split in allegiances on the Texas Fairgrounds.

3. Can any opponent pry the football away from K-State?

Well, yes. Quite easily. In two Big 12 games, the Wildcats’ average time of possession has been 28:40, which ranks eighth in the conference. Very un-K-State-like. The passing attack attempts 20 passes on average and completes 11.5, which puts pressure on rushers, especially if Jesse Ertz cannot contribute.

4. Is Joel Lanning the most valuable player in the Big 12?

Truthfully, Oklahoma would not consider swapping Baker Mayfield. Even after an upset loss to Iowa State. Still, Lanning’s heroics in all three phases, which led to him play 78 snaps in the upset at OU, make the ISU senior as versatile as any Big 12 player. How many two-way college players can you name?



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