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College football Anxiety Games for Week 12

Week 12 has a handful of Anxiety Games to dive into. They include an underwhelming Bedlam Game, Jim Leonhard fighting to take the interim tag off at Wisconsin, and TCU trying to remain unbeaten.

Oklahoma v Iowa State Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images

Week 12 of the 2022 college football season has arrived and so has our weekly look at Anxiety Games across the country. For those new here, we’re keeping tabs on games where a bad outing could pivot things into a negative direction for a program. And with more coaching staffs getting the axe as the season nears its end, these matchups matter even more.

There’s plenty to dive into for this week’s slate. Let’s take a look.

TCU at Baylor, noon ET, Fox

The 118th edition of the Revivalry will be a high stakes matchup as TCU makes the short trip down I-35 to Waco, TX, to meet Baylor.

The pressure is on the Horned Frogs here as they are 10-0 and are currently ranked No. 4 in the College Football Playoff rankings. They’ve already clinched a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game but the entire league’s hopes of making it into the big dance this season rests on their shoulders. Sonny Dykes’ crew has had several close calls over the past month and a loss to an up-and-down rival in Baylor could potentially bring their momentum to a screeching halt. We’ll see if TCU can hang on here.

Wisconsin at Nebraska, noon ET, ESPN

The race for the Big Ten West division title is an absolute mess and that’s thanks to Illinois dropping two straight games and Wisconsin falling to Iowa in a 24-10 loss last Saturday. It was an ugly affair as the Badgers lost by two touchdowns despite only yielding 146 yards of total offense to the Hawkeyes.

For Wisconsin interim head coach Jim Leonhard, his chances of securing the permanent HC position took a huge blow with this loss. He is 3-2 since taking over for Paul Chryst midseason and how he finishes the year will determine his immediate future with his alma mater. A loss to a 3-7 Nebraska team (also under the direction of an interim) could effectively take him out of the running. No pressure Jim.

Texas at Kansas, 3:30 p.m. ET, FS1

One year ago, Kansas went into Austin and took down Texas in a massive upset that displayed the yeoman’s work head coach Lance Leiopold had done in a short period of time. One year later, both teams are on equal footing at 6-4.

The Longhorns are starting to fade a bit as they’ve dropped two out of their last three games. Quarterback Quinn Ewers has hit a wall since lighting up the scoreboard in the Red River Shootout and the offense couldn’t get anything going in a 17-10 loss to TCU last week. Head coach Steve Sarkisan has built up a lot of equity with Texas fans this season, from the team’s near upset of Alabama to landing top quarterback prospect Arch Manning. A second straight loss to Kansas, however, could liquidate that equity really quickly.

Oklahoma State at Oklahoma, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC

This year’s edition of Bedlam won’t have the same level of pomp and circumstance as last year’s game given the peculiar situations both teams find themselves in at the moment.

Injuries to players like starting quarterback Spencer Sanders derailed OSU’s momentum and it dropped two out of three games before winning an ugly 20-14 contest against Iowa State last Saturday. The Cowboys are still very much alive in the hunt for a Big 12 Championship Game berth, but needs lots of help in these last two weeks of the regular season.

The real pressure in this one is on Oklahoma, who is 5-5 under first-year head coach Brent Venables and is on the verge of its first six-loss season since 1998. The Sooners have dropped two straight heading into Saturday, falling 23-20 in an inexplicable loss to previously last place West Virginia last Saturday. For all of its history, Bedlam has been an incredibly one-sided rivalry that OU has dominated and there’s only been five instances where the Cowboys have won two games in a row. If Venables and staff lose this one, serious questions will arise whether his tenure in Norman, OK, will be one-and-done.