Some observations while watching the gridiron journey Saturday of America’s football student-athletes.
1If Seth Russell’s neck injury leads to an extended absence, Baylor freshman backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham’s baptism will be by inferno. The No. 2 Bears’ application for a berth in the College Football Playoff will be based on their closing stretch of at Kansas State, No. 14 Oklahoma, at No. 12 Oklahoma State and at No. 5 TCU.
2Has Oklahoma figured out its running game? Hard to tell if the Sooners’ season-high run totals with Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon represented an emergence or an opponent. Texas Tech owns the distinction of the conference’s worst rushing defense.
3The Sooners would be well served with an improved running game. Oklahoma’s conference — and perhaps CFP if it can win out — hopes will go through a rugged battle zone. After consecutive games against Kansas and Iowa State, the Sooners end the season with No. 2 Baylor in Waco, No. 5 TCU at home and No. 12 Oklahoma State for Bedlam in Stillwater.
4Two Texas Tech defenders had career highs in tackles against Oklahoma, which gave them plenty of opportunities on Saturday. In Tech’s three Big 12 losses — TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma — the Red Raiders have surrendered an average of 60 points and 682 total yards.
5Speaking of Texas Tech, the Raiders likely will stand between Texas and the Longhorns’ bowl eligibility. Following winnable games at Iowa State and at home against Kansas, the presumptive 5-4 Longhorns face long-shot odds in games at West Virginia and at Baylor sandwiched around a Thanksgiving dinner date at home against the West Texicans.