AP Top 25 Takeaway

AP Top 25 Takeaway: With the Big 12 having a bye weekend, the SEC becomes a day of survival and advance across the country.

AP Top 25 Takeaway

Oklahoma Oklahoma St. Football

Oklahoma State running back Ollie Gordon II, right, celebrates with Oklahoma State tight end Josiah Johnson, center, and offensive lineman Preston Wilson after scoring a touchdown in the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, in Stillwater, Okla. (AP Photo/Mitch Alcala) Associated Press

A split weekend in the Big 12 and Southeastern Conference turned into a survive-and-progress Saturday around college football.

the month of November just wins Don’t bother on how.

No. 1 Georgia won a score-fest with No. 14 Missouri and No. 8 Alabama at No. 13 LSU to put the SEC superpowers on a collision course for another championship game meeting.

If you counted out Jalen Milroe and the Crimson Tide after a shaky September, shame on you.

Elsewhere, No. 3 Ohio State trailed Rutgers for the first time at the half before pulling away in the fourth quarter; No. 4 Florida State didn’t shake Pitt until late in the third quarter; No. 5 Washington leaned on its running game to win a shootout with No. 24 USC; And No. 7 Texas blew a 20-point lead to beat No. 25 Kansas State in overtime.

The Longhorns’ fellow Southeastern Conference-bound Big 12 rival was unable to complete the mission.

In the Big 12’s final Bedlam game — and for the foreseeable future — Oklahoma State handed No. 10 Oklahoma an unfriendly split.

Ollie Gordon II and the resurgent Cowboys handed the Sooners their second straight loss, crippling their now-rival Big 12 Championship and College Football Playoff hopes.

It’s been a remarkable in-season turnaround for Cowboys coach Mike Gundy, whose team started 2-2 and has now won five straight.

Gundy has been one of the best coaches in the country for more than a decade at his alma mater, but Bedlam’s wins are rare. He’s just 4-15 against Oklahoma, but that could be an overcount.

“There’s only Oklahoma and it ends with state. And it ends with state,” said Gordon, who has rushed for more than 100 yards in six games.

A rare losing record took a hit in Norman after coach Brent Venables’ first loss in a season of major change for the Sooners. Beating Texas vaulted the Sooners into the top 10 last month, but it looks like there’s still a lot of building to do as they head into the SEC next year.

For about 40 minutes against Kansas State, Texas looked like it was on its way to making a statement Saturday.

The Longhorns jumped out to a 27-7 lead in the second half before things unraveled and K-State forced overtime on a last-second field goal.

Down to three and a first-and-goal, the Wildcats went nowhere with a fourth-and-goal from the 4 to go. Instead of kicking for a tie, Kansas State went for it and blew the Texas pass rush game.

Kansas State coach Chris Kleiman made a call to be controversial at the bottom of the first and only OT period. Kleiman said he has no regrets.

“I’m upset we lost, but it was pretty special to see what our guys were able to do in the second half,” he said.

What became most clear Saturday in Austin, Texas, is that the Longhorns could use their starting quarterback back.

Malik Murphy started again for the injured Quin Yers (shoulder) and was all kinds of shaky (19 for 37 for 248 yards), missed some easy throws, and threw two interceptions that fueled a Kansas State comeback.

Texas hasn’t won the Big 12 since 2009. It was the favorite to do in the last year of the conference and should still be considered. But losing the Red River game to Oklahoma means the Longhorns still don’t have much room for error down the stretch.

A five-way tie atop the Big 12 earlier in the day was finally down to two: Texas and Oklahoma State hold one-game leads over Oklahoma, Kansas State, Iowa State, and Kansas, which defeated the Cyclones in Ames.

The Cowboys and Longhorns do not play in the regular season.

This Texas looks talented enough to be first in the College Football Playoff and maybe even win a game or two. Coach Steve Sarkisian saw other things to like about his team Saturday.

“Versatility, resiliency, persistence … those are all qualities that championship teams have,” Sarkisian said. “They can make plays in critical moments.”

The beat continues

AP Top 25 Takeaway

Another week for No. 2 Michigan: Dominate the headlines with controversy and scandal and then dominate another opponent on the field.

Purdue provided little resistance to the Wolverines. When it was done, first-year Boilermakers coach Ryan Walters didn’t seem to be in the mood to make small talk with Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh.

The traditional postgame handshake seemed brief at best.

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