The final week of the regular season is here, and Oklahoma and TCU appear to be on a collision course for a rematch in the Big 12 title game.
But there remains plenty of intrigue surrounding the head coaching situations at Texas Tech and Kansas State. Texas is playing for its first winning regular season since 2013.
And if you haven’t heard, there’s some drama surrounding the very talented, equally polarizing quarterback at Oklahoma.
Here’s what you will be talking about on Monday:
1) Is this the final game for Kliff Kingsbury?
Entering his fifth season, the prevailing notion was that Kingsbury likely would need to lead Texas Tech to a bowl game in order to keep his job. The Red Raiders had an encouraging start to this season, especially defensively, before it all fell apart.
Now, after one of their most futile offensive efforts in years — a 27-3 loss to TCU — they must beat Texas in Austin in order to become bowl eligible. That’s a tall task.
Kingsbury has yet to lead Tech to a winning Big 12 record in any season. If Tech loses, no one should be surprised if his tenure ends.
2) How motivated is Texas to secure a winning season?
By all accounts, very motivated. The Longhorns haven’t had a winning regular-season since 2013 and Tom Herman didn’t exactly get off to a blazing start this season.
It’s been a grind, and while Texas showed flashes against the likes of USC, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, it mostly failed in attempts to earn a signature victory. It beat the teams it was supposed to beat, mostly, and lurked in mediocrity.
That said, securing a winning regular-season would be a step forward for Herman. And a higher bar is already set for next season.
3) Is this the final home game for Bill Snyder?
This one has been tough to read. Snyder, whose impact on college football has been well-documented, is 78, so whether it’s after this season or next, the end of his illustrious career at Kansas State certainly is near.
Snyder said Monday his plan is the same as always, to evaluate everything after the season is complete. And Kansas State has said he can coach as long as he wishes to coach.
What is more fascinating is how the transition will take place. Snyder has wanted his son, Sean, to succeed him as head coach in Manhattan. But the recent report that Snyder nixed the administration’s plan to make Jim Leavitt the head coach-in-waiting has cast uncertainty into the equation.
4) How will Baker Mayfield fare?
Not starting at quarterback and not serving as team captain in the final home game of his college career is a significant penalty in the wake of Mayfield’s vulgar gesture in the Kansas game. His emotional address to the media this week showed how much it means to him.
Regardless of where you stand on whether the penalty was just, this much is certain: Every move, gesture and utterance by the polarizing Mayfield will be scrutinized the rest of this season. He has brought that upon himself.
Given his competitive personality, the safe bet is that we see the best of the talented quarterback when he takes the field against West Virginia. Expect a highly motivated quarterback to perform at his very best.
5) Does TCU have any adversity?
Nope. With a berth in the Big 12 title game on the line, the Horned Frogs have way too much to play for to take Baylor lightly. Little has gone right for the Bears on the field this season, and while they were occasionally competitive in big games, they are more likely to be overwhelmed in Fort Worth.
Look for a TCU-Oklahoma rematch in the Big 12 Championship Game in Arlington on Dec. 2.