CHARLESTON, W.Va. —
Texas has won four straight since back-to-back losses to West Virginia and Oklahoma raised new speculation that Longhorns coach Mack Brown may consider retiring. Not only did Brown quickly dismiss the suggestions, his players have turned the season around.
“The guys have just understood that we didn’t play well at times against West Virginia. We didn’t play well at all against Oklahoma,” Brown said. “I think they just circled the wagons. Young guys are growing up on defense. The offense continues to build and grow.
“The biggest thing is they quit listening to any outside sources and went back to work. And they understood that the only thing that’s important when it comes to football is the product that we put on the field. And for two weeks, the product wasn’t very good and it needed to get better. Now we’ve got to finish strong.”
Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and TCU are bowl eligible. Not counting the BCS, the Big 12 has tie-ins to seven bowls and would look for a possible open slot elsewhere if more Big 12 teams than bowls are available.
Iowa State (5-5, 2-5) plays at one-win Kansas on Saturday and finishes the regular season at home against West Virginia on Nov. 23. The Cyclones are looking for their second straight bowl appearance.
Over the summer, the Oklahoma-West Virginia game was envisioned as having title implications.
Instead, West Virginia (5-4, 2-4) is fighting to keep a 10-year streak of going to bowls intact. The Mountaineers have lost four straight games, their longest losing streak in 11 years.
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen still envisions Oklahoma’s first visit to Morgantown as exciting, especially for the fans.
“They’ve had it circled for a while because OU is such a storied program,” Holgorsen said.
In addition to playing Oklahoma and Iowa State, West Virginia finishes the regular season at home Dec. 1 against Kansas.
Baylor (4-5, 1-5) needs two wins in its final three games to have the chance of going to an unprecedented third straight bowl.
The Bears’ uphill trek starts Saturday at home against Kansas State, followed by a Nov. 24 matchup with No. 23 Texas Tech at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, and a Dec. 1 home game against Oklahoma State.