Big 12 Report

West Virginia strikes a big blow in Austin but the Big 12 excitement is far from over

Tom Herman and the Longhorns had a rough finish to Saturday's game. Tim Warner/Getty Images

Week 10 in the Big 12 held two of the most exciting matchups of the entire 2018 season. The potential Big 12 championship preview matchup between Texas and West Virginia went down to the wire as the Mountaineers scored on a two-point conversion to secure the win with just 16 seconds left. This game was littered with highlight plays and surprisingly became a scoring shootout as both quarterbacks threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns.

College football and Big 12 fans alike would be lucky to see these two teams face off again during championship week. But the excitement did not end there. The Sooners escaped Lubbock with a 51-46 win. Texas Tech came just one score away from completing the upset even after starting quarterback Alan Bowman was forced out of the game at halftime with an injury. Up to that point Bowman had thrown for an efficient 227 yards and two touchdowns, leading many to believe that the Red Raiders would have been able to complete the upset if it wasn’t for his unpredicted departure. What this means heading into Week 11 is that both Oklahoma and West Virginia remain just one loss teams and are set to face off in the Big 12 championship game.

Must watch games week 11:

(15) Texas vs. Texas Tech

Despite both teams currently suffering through two consecutive losses, the Longhorns vs. the Red Raiders will without a doubt be one of the most exciting games in college football this coming weekend. This game will carry a lot of significance for each of these programs not only because of their long history of epic battles but also because each of them are in dire need of returning to their winning ways. Texas came just one point away from bouncing back from their upset loss to Oklahoma State in Week 9 but were not able to hold off one of the nation’s top quarterbacks, West Virginia’s Will Grier. The Longhorns will not get much of a break in week 11 as they are tasked with the challenge of containing one of the most exciting freshman this season, Tech quarterback Alan Bowman. Neither team should need much help finding motivation to leave it all on the field in week 11, so fans should be in for a good show.

Oklahoma State vs. (6) Oklahoma

A Week 11 showdown in Oklahoma should also make your list of must watch games this Saturday. The in-state rivalry between the Sooners and the Cowboys should not disappoint as both teams have shown the potential to light up the scoreboard week in and week all season. At this point in the season Oklahoma will be fighting for their playoff lives as they sit just two spots outside the Final Four. OU has not lost a game since losing in the Red River Showdown but suffered a good scare in week 10 when Texas Tech came within just five points of handing the Sooners their second loss. The fact that Oklahoma does not seem to have completely overcome all of their flaws on the defensive side makes this matchup extremely interesting. Though the Cowboys were defeated by Baylor 35-31 last weekend, they proved themselves to be an extremely dangerous team when they took down the Longhorns in week 9. OU knows they cannot take this game lightly.

Baylor vs. (23) Iowa State

The final matchup to keep a close eye on in week 11 will be the 5-4 Baylor Bears vs. the 5-3 Iowa State Cyclones. Both teams notched big wins in their last matchups and will be heading into week 11 with plenty of momentum. The Bears took on a hot Oklahoma State team who was coming off their biggest win of the season and were able to overcome them 35-31. Iowa State easily handled Kansas 27-3 thanks to a big performance by freshman quarterback Brock Purdy and his 6’6 target Hakeem Butler. Purdy threw for almost 300 yards and 3 touchdowns, while Butler was on the receiving end of one touchdown pass and 164 yards. Look for this game to be become a stat sheet stuffing shoot out.

Players to watch week 11

Texas RB Trey Watson: While you are watching the biggest game of the week, I would recommend paying attention to Texas running back Tre Watson. Watson is coming off his best performance of the season in the Longhorns loss to West Virginia when he accumulated 80 yards rushing, 35 yards receiving and two touchdowns. If Watson's recent performance is not reason enough to keep him on the radar, the Texas Tech defense gave up 206 yards rushing and three touchdowns to Oklahoma running back Trey Sermon in their loss last Saturday. Look for Texas to try to take advantage of this weakness and keep the Red Raider defense guessing all game.

Iowa State RB David Montgomery: Another highly talented player and arguable one of the most underrated running backs in college football to watch in week 11 is the Cyclones David Montgomery. Montgomery has been a key piece to the Iowa State offense and is one of the most difficult backs to bring down in the nation. While his numbers may not always jump off the stat sheet, he must be respected by opposing defenses each week. Montgomery will get his shot at a Baylor defense that was gashed by Oklahoma State running back Justice Hill in week 10, who averaged 6.6 yards per-carry on his way to 119 yards rushing and 1 touchdowns. Iowa State would be smart to establish the running game early, letting Montgomery find his rhythm and taking pressure off Freshman quarterback Brock Purdy.

Oklahoma State WR Tylan Wallace: The final player on Week 11’s watch list is Oklahoma State wide receiver Tylan Wallace. Although he is only a Freshman, Wallace is fourth in the nation in receiving yards this season and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Wallace has racked up six games with 100 or more yards receiving, on his way to his season total of 1,052 yards and 7 touchdowns. The Cowboy’s will need their electric playmaker to be at the top of his game in week 11 when they face off against the No. 6 ranked Oklahoma Sooners. Good news for Wallace is the fact that the Sooner defense gave up 199 yards receiving to Texas Tech star Antoine Wesley who is just two spots ahead of Wallace at No. 2 in the nation for receiving yards.

 

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Composite photo by Jack Brame

Former Astros manager Andrew Jay Hinch is on a short list of candidates to become manager of the Detroit Tigers in 2021.

The question is, after being suspended and later fired for his role in the Astros sign-stealing scandal, does A.J. Hinch deserve to manage again in baseball?

It's weird to think because so much has happened in 2020, but Hinch was suspended and fired only nine months ago. His banishment, however, ends in a matter of weeks with the final out of the upcoming World Series. At that point, he will be available to manage the Tigers or any other team. There's a possibility that the Mets are interested. Some were hoping it'd be the Astros, but the Astros are committed to manager Dusty Baker for next year. After that … never say never.

Shortly after getting the Astros ax, Hinch went on MLB TV and apologized for his role in the Astros cheating scandal. Although baseball's investigation said the garbage can banging scheme was "with the exception of (Astros coach Alex) Cora, player-driven and player-executed," Hinch took responsibility as manager and didn't challenge his punishment. No players were punished.

"I still feel responsible and will always feel responsible as the man out front," Hinch said. "As the leader, I was in charge of the team. I put out a statement to apologize. But there is something different to doing it on camera and putting a face to an apology, and saying I'm sorry to the league, to baseball, to fans, to players, to the coaches.

"It happened on my watch. I'm not proud of that. I'll never be proud of it. I didn't like it. But I have to own it. And the commissioner's office made very, very clear that the GM and the manager were in position to make sure that nothing like this happened. And we fell short."

In effect, while Hinch didn't authorize or participate in the sign-stealing scandal, he didn't do enough (really anything) to stop it. He is the rare case of being a guilty bystander.

To be clear, Hinch has not been offered the Detroit manager job. However, he has more experience and more wins under his belt than most of the other candidates being considered.

Hinch's reputation is blemished, but his credentials can't be disputed. During his five years as Astros manager, the team never had a losing season, won 100 or more games three times, including a team record 107 wins last year, made the playoffs three times and won a World Series.

Has baseball forgiven Hinch, and does he deserve another chance to manage in the big leagues? This is America, the land of forgiveness and second chances.

As Mahatma Gandhi said, "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."

Hinch knew his team was cheating and didn't do enough to stop it. There's no defense for that. But I think he's paid enough of a price to get back in baseball.

Mike Tyson raped a woman, went to jail, and now he's practically America's sweetheart. Hillary forgave Bill. We not only forgave Confederate leaders, we built schools and statues to honor them. Martha Stewart went to jail for insider trading, now she's back on TV baking crumpets. Ozzy Osbourne was arrested for pee'ing on a monument outside the Alamo, there is no more sacred place in Texas, and now he sells out concerts at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.

Pee-wee Herman, well, let's not say what he was caught doing, but he's planning to tour the U.S. celebrating the 35th anniversary of Pee-wee's Big Adventure movie.

Remember, Hinch was suspended for a year. It could have been worse. Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has the power to ban people for life. Since becoming the commish, Manfred has permanently banished two people: former St. Louis Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa for hacking into the Astros computer database, and former Atlanta Braves general manager, John Coppolella for signing international players illegally.

Manfred also has temporarily banned Astros assistant general manager Brandon Taubman for shouting inappropriate comments at female reporters last year. Taubman is eligible to apply for reinstatement after this year's World Series. However, if he commits one more violation of baseball rules, he will be banned for life.

Lifetime bans aren't as unusual as you might think. Since baseball's beginnings in the 1800s, dozens of players, managers and team owners have been banned, mostly, like Pete Rose and the Chicago Black Sox, for gambling-related offenses.

A.J. Hinch copped to his crime, suffered the consequences, now it's time for him to manage a baseball team again. It's not like he'd be landing a plum job with Detroit. The Tigers are out of this year's playoff picture. They lost 114 games last season. And were 64-98 the two years prior. Managing the Tigers will be punishment enough.

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