By Stephen Hawkins
The Associated Press
NORMAN — Baylor coach Art Briles described his team as disappointed after its first loss of the season. But not discouraged.
“We hit a bump in the road. ... Shoot, we’ve still got a lot of things out there,” Briles said Monday. “We’ve got to learn from it and get better and move on. That’s what we’ll do.”
The Bears’ 49-17 loss at Oklahoma State dropped them to ninth in the rankings and BCS standings, pretty much wiping out any chance of a national title.
Briles’ message to the team this week is “Go win at TCU.”
Baylor (9-1, 6-1 Big 12), which plays the Horned Frogs on Saturday, can still share in its first Big 12 title. And the Bears could still win it outright for a spot in the Fiesta Bowl by winning their last two games, including the regular season finale at home against Texas, if the seventh-ranked Cowboys (10-1, 7-1) lose to No. 20 Oklahoma (9-2, 6-2 ) on Dec. 7.
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, whose team like the Sooners has an open date this week, said the Cowboys expected to play well against Baylor. OSU has won seven games in a row since an unexpected loss at West Virginia in its Big 12 opener.
“The team came together and said we have a lot to play for,” Gundy said during the Big 12 coaches’ teleconference when asked about his team’s response to the lone loss. “They decided they wanted to be a good football team.”
With Baylor’s loss, it means the Big 12 champion won’t be undefeated in league play for the seventh time in eight years.
The last team to not lose a Big 12 game was Texas in 2009, and the Longhorns then lost to Alabama in the BCS national championship game.
The Longhorns were also the last team before that, going 13-0 during their 2005 national championship season.
While Baylor still can recover from one loss, four Big 12 teams are done after their games Saturday.
Along with TCU, Kansas, Iowa State and West Virginia already are guaranteed losing seasons and won’t play in bowl games.
Bowl-bound Texas Tech (7-4, 4-4), which has lost four games in a row, plays its regular-season finale on Thanksgiving night at Texas (7-3, 6-1). The Longhorns are playing for the first time since losing control of the Big 12 race with a 38-13 home loss to Oklahoma State, though they still have to play Baylor and like the Bears could still share the title or win it outright with help.
“We were talking about the Big 12 championship probably too much before Oklahoma State, and didn’t play well,” Texas coach Mack Brown said. “Our total focus is on Thursday night to do a better job and beat Texas Tech. ... If we can beat Texas Tech, then we’ll k now what’s ahead of us the next week.”
Iowa State (2-9, 1-7), coming off a 37-0 win over Kansas in its home finale for its first Big 12 victory, finishes at West Virginia (4-7, 2-6).
“Our football team is excited about playing. We’re coming off a nice win and have a chance to finish the season on a really positive note,” Cyclones coach Paul Rhoads said. “It meant a lot. It was a huge victory.”
It will be senior day for the Mountaineers, who in their second Big 12 season will have their bowl streak of 11 in a row ended.
While the Jayhawks (3-8, 1-7) lost a week after ending their 27-game Big 12 losing streak, their attention quickly turned to Kansas State (6-5, 4-4).
“How tough is it when you’re playing against your instate rival. It’s a very easy answer to that question,” Kansas coach Charlie Weis said. “Saturday night after the game, I ripped into them as bad as you can be ripped into. Sunday, we moved on to Kansas State. I think coach (Bill) Snyder has done a great job of magnifying the importance of this game from the K-State perspective.
I think Kansas has to take more of that same mentality, and that’s what we’ve tried to do.”
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