The Big 12 Report

Find out which two Big 12 Title contenders are in danger of a late season upset

The Longhorns fans will be out in full force this week. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Week 11 was full of excitement as the Longhorns and the Sooners escaped with narrow wins to keep their Big 12 championship hopes alive. With just two weeks remaining in the college football season, there is no room for error as the Big 12 title still remains a four-team race. Week 12 has potential to provide fans with plenty of excitement as two of the conference’s top programs will face off against middle of the pack teams that are known for seizing the opportunity to collect a big upset win.

The Longhorns will have their hands full with the Iowa State Cyclones who took down No. 7 West Virginia to spark their five-game winning streak. Also, the 8-1 Mountaineers will take on an Oklahoma State team who upset Texas earlier this season and came just one point away from defeating No. 6 Oklahoma in week 11. Find out the specifics of each of these matchups and which players need to have big performances for their teams to walk away from week 12 victorious.

Must watch games week 12

(13) Texas vs: (18) Iowa State: After losing two straight the Longhorns saved their season with a big win against rival Texas Tech. Despite getting off to a slow start, Texas scored 17 points in the second quarter and continued to fight until they came out victorious 41-35. The game came down to the wire before a last-second touchdown catch by one of the nation’s most dynamic playmakers Lil’Jordan Humphrey. A big story following the game was the absence of Humphrey’s counterpart WR Colin Johnson. The Longhorns will hope to have Johnson back vs. an Iowa State team who has now climbed to No. 18 in the nation after five straight victories. Both programs have talented playmakers on the offensive side of the ball that have given college football some of its most spectacular moments this season. Look for this matchup to come down to which defense can step up in the big moments. The winner stays alive in the Big 12 race.

(7) West Virginia vs. Oklahoma State: Another big-time matchup in week 12 will be the West Virginia Mountaineers vs. the Oklahoma State Cowboys. The Mountaineers and quarterback Will Grier have been red hot in recent weeks, scoring 40+ points in each of their last three games. This offensive dominance can be attributed to the high level of play by quarterback Will Grier who has thrown for at least 340 yards and three touchdowns in those last three 40+ point performances. Oklahoma State on the other hand has struggled in their last two games, falling to Baylor by just four points and to Oklahoma by only one point. While these have been very disappointing losses for the Cowboys, it also shows just how dangerous they can be. West Virginia will need to make sure they don’t get ahead of themselves looking forward to their end of the season showdown with Oklahoma, because a slight laps in focus could be just enough of an opportunity for the Cowboys to steal a big win.

Players to watch week 12:

Texas Longhorns defense: The balance has shifted for a Longhorn team whose unexpected success in 2018 was sparked by a tenacious defense early in the season. Now Texas has survived by its offense in recent weeks who has scored nearly 40 points in their last three games. Despite their uptick in offensive production, the Longhorns defense has been on a downward spiral giving up 114 points since returning from their bye week. UT has a matchup with Iowa State this coming weekend who is one of the hottest teams in college football, winning their last five games. Because of the multitude of dangerous playmakers, the Cyclones possess, the Longhorns will need their defense to step up to keep their Big 12 championship hopes alive.

Iowa State QB Brock Purdy: The Longhorns were torched in week 11 by third string Texas Tech quarterback Jeff Duffey. The Texas defense allowed Duffey to throw for over 400 yards passing and four touchdowns, as well as rush for 80 yards. This should be reason for optimism for the Cyclones dual threat quarterback Brock Purdy. Since taking over as the starter Purdy as thrown for 1,315 yards and 13 touchdowns on his way to leading Iowa State to five straight wins. Not only has Purdy been extremely successful through the air, but he has also had at least ten rushing attempts in each game and has two rushing touchdowns. Look for the Cyclones to utilize their young quarterback's dual threat abilities to pick apart the Longhorn defense much like the Red Raiders did with Duffey.

West Virginia WR David Sills: One of the nation’s most reliable receivers has been playing at his highest level in recent weeks as he rides an impressive scoring streak. Sills has scored at least one touchdown in each of his last five games and is currently tied for fourth in the nation with 12 total touchdown receptions this season. On top of that, Sills also has also hauled in multiple touchdowns in four games. With this season coming to an end there is no doubt that the connection between Sills and QB Will Grier is reaching its peak as the two have combined for five touchdowns in their last three games. The Oklahoma State defense will have its hands full trying to slow down them down.

 

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Watson's accusers appeared on Real Sports on Tuesday night. Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images.

HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel’s heavily promoted and much anticipated examination of Deshaun Watson’s legal mess involving alleged sexual misconduct shed little new light and merely presented a summary of well worn he said/she (x22) said accusations and denials.

The episode debuted Tuesday night on the premium cable service and will be repeated dozens of times throughout the week on HBO’s platforms. Check your local listings for times and channel.

The segment was hosted by Soledad O’Brien who presented compelling face-to-face interviews with two of the quarterback’s accusers: massage therapists Ashley Solis and Kyla Hayes. Their stories were detailed and graphic. Both cried during the interviews.

Solis: “As I’m working, he deliberately grabs himself and put his penis on my hand. I pulled my hand away instantly and I started crying. I told that I’m done. I don’t want to do this anymore.”

Solis said she felt threatened when Watson, before leaving the session, allegedly told her: “I know you have a career to protect, and I know that you don’t want anyone messing with it, just like I don’t want anyone messing with mine.”

Solis added, “That’s when I got really scared because that sounded like a threat to me.”

Hayes: “He wanted me to kind of make a V motion in his pelvic area. I just kept massaging and did what he asked, until his penis kept touching me repeatedly as I did it.”

Hayes said that Watson had an orgasm, which she said was “mortifying, embarrassing and disgusting.”

O’Brien asked Hayes why she continued to have contact via email with Watson after their encounter.

Hayes: "I wasn't sure what he was capable of. He could've physically assaulted me. He could've bashed my business, so I had to protect myself and my business the best way I saw fit. Did I ever see him again after that? No. Did I give him the runaround? Yes."

O’Brien pointed out that two separate grand juries in Texas heard criminal accusations against Watson and neither found enough evidence to indict him.

Solis and Hayes, and 20 other massage therapists have filed civil suits against Watson. The cases aren’t expected to reach a courtroom until next March. Both sides could reach a settlement before then which would effectively shut down any legal action against Watson. However, both sides say they aren’t interested in any pretrial settlements. That’s what they say now, anyway.

After being banished to the sidelines for the 2021 season by the Houston Texans, Watson signed a historic, 5-year fully guaranteed $230 million contract with the Cleveland Browns.

Hayes said she feels Watson “is being rewarded for bad behavior." Solis said, "It's just like a big screw you. That's what it feels like. That we (the Browns) don't care. He can run and throw, and that's what we care about.”

Watson currently is participating in preseason workouts with the Browns and, at the moment, is cleared to play the upcoming NFL season.

That is unless the NFL suspends Watson for some, most or all of the 2022 season. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said the league is nearing completion of its independent investigation into Watson’s case and will reach a decision “shortly,” probably this summer. The NFL and NFL Players Association mutually agreed to have former U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson decide whether or not Watson violated the league’s Personal Conduct Policy and what discipline should be handed down if he did.

The Browns are scheduled to play the Texans on Dec. 4 at NRG Stadium in Houston.

O’Brien said, while producing the Real Sports piece, she tried to interview Watson, his attorneys and the Cleveland Browns for their side of the story. All declined.

During a press conference in March to announce his joining the Browns, Watson denied any inappropriate behavior with the massage therapists.

Watson: “I never assaulted any woman. I’ve never disrespected any woman. I was raised to be genuine and respect everyone around me. I’ve never done the thing that these people are alleging. My mom and my aunties didn’t raise me that way.”

Leah Graham, a member of Watson’s legal team, sat for an interview after O’Brien’s segment was complete.

Graham: "It's 22 women. It's one lawyer. There's only one lawyer who was willing to take these cases. And as we know from Ashley Solis’ deposition, Mr. (Houston attorney Tony) Buzbee was not the first, probably not the second or third lawyer she went to, but he was the only one to take her case. Why? Not because it had merit, but because he would use these cases to increase his social media following and quite frankly to get on shows like this one.”

My reaction after watching the Real Sports segment? We weren’t in the room when the massage therapists worked on Watson. We weren’t in the grand jury room when evidence against Watson was presented. We don’t know what happened. We don’t know what will happen if these cases go to trial.

Until then all we have is one big, lurid, embarrassing mess. In American courtrooms, defendants are presumed innocent. That’s often the opposite in the court of public opinion. We’ll just have to wait while the wheels of justice grind painfully slow.

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