The Big 12 had a solid bowl season, perhaps even exceeding the expectations of outsiders with a 4-2 record. Below we present the best and worst of the 2016-17 bowl season for the Big 12.
Best win: Oklahoma State def. Colorado, 38-8 in the Texas Bowl. You could certainly select Oklahoma’s win over Auburn, but the Cowboys made a huge statement with their win over the Buffaloes. No Big 12 team had a more dominant performance than the Cowboys, who also got …
The best news of bowl season: Cowboys QB Mason Rudolph and WR James Washington announced in a joint video that they will return for their 2017 seasons, thus making the Cowboys a legit co-favorite in the Big 12 with Oklahoma.
— Cowboy Football (@CowboyFB) December 30, 2016
Worst loss: West Virginia lost to Miami (FL), 31-14 in the Russell Athletic Bowl. The Mountaineers laid an egg. QB Skyler Howard was their leading rusher. That’s all you need to know. Not a good look going into the offseason.
Best individual performance (offense): WR K.D. Cannon, Baylor. Cannon caught 14 passes for 226 yards and 2 touchdowns as he nearly single-handedly beat Boise State in the Cactus Bowl. Had Cannon and the Bears played like that the back half of the season they might have been in a better bowl game. Cannon declared for the NFL Draft right after the game. But he ended his college career right and kept a promise to new Baylor head coach Matt Rhule.
— Hit Stick Football (@HitStickTV) December 28, 2016
Best individual performance (defense): LB Taylor Young, Baylor. Young finished the Cactus Bowl with 17 tackles, 12 of them solo. He was up in Boise State’s business all night.
Best individual performance allowed by a Big 12 defense: (tie) QB Brad Kaaya of Miami (FL) and RB Nick Chubb of Georgia. Kaaya threw for four touchdown passes on West Virginia’s normally stout pass defense. Chubb, who had just told the Georgia faithful that he was coming back for the 2017 season, hung 142 yards and a touchdown on TCU in the Liberty Bowl.
Best coaching job: Bill Snyder, Kansas State. I do NOT want to play poker with this guy. The Wildcats stuck to their identity, ran the ball 41 times and played solid defense against an A&M team that was considered the favorite in the Texas Bowl. No one gets more out of what he has than Snyder and no one influences his team’s post-game celebration decisions more.
Kansas State coach Bill Snyder, on his players dumping him with a bucket of confetti instead of a bucket of Gatorade: pic.twitter.com/Dx6zmzwhsO
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) December 29, 2016
Best ownership of a conference: Well that would be Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops. Ever since he said — and I’m paraphrasing — that the SEC wasn’t all that tough a few years ago the Sooners are 4-0 against the league. They dominated Auburn in the Sugar Bowl and remain national title contenders in 2017.
Best defense: That would be the Big 12. No conference gave up fewer points per game than the Big 12 (21.5 ppg). That’s nearly a point better than the ACC and four points better than the SEC.
Worst storyline of the bowl season: Joe Mixon. The Sooners handled this poorly. Stoops said in a press conference before the Sugar Bowl that the punishment should have been more severe. Well, he and other OU officials saw the video of Mixon’s violent incident long before anyone else, so why wasn’t it more severe? Mixon talked to the media and seemed contrite, but what did he really lose out of the incident? It doesn’t look like much. Then Brent Musburger weighed in awkwardly during the ESPN broadcast and then there was this:
It sure looks like Oklahoma is celebrating Joe Mixon’s TD by fake punching him in the face https://t.co/Ke7C9ns1sN
— SEC Mike (@MichaelWBratton) January 3, 2017
Celebrating with Joe Mixon by fake hitting him shows the Sooners really haven’t gotten it.
My biggest issue — aside from the incident itself — is that Mixon simply wasn’t punished enough. He was suspended from the OU football team for a year. I mean that’s basically a redshirt season. He was charged with a misdemeanor and pled down to a one-year deferred sentence, 100 hours of community service and cognitive behavior counseling for hitting a woman and breaking her jaw. This is as much the fault of Mixon and OU as it is the local DA, who failed to prosecute Mixon more fully. And we wonder why women who suffer these violent acts sometimes fail to come forward to the police or school officials, or are cynical of what will come of it.