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Baylor shakes up college football

With a shocking upset of No. 1 Kansas State, the Bears threw the race for the national title and the Heisman in disarray.

Ronald Martinez

Memo to teams ranked number one in the BCS: Don't mess with Texas.

For the second consecutive week, the No. 1 BCS-ranked team has been upset by a team from the Lone Star State. It has reshuffled the race for the National Championship, the Big 12 conference, and the Heisman Trophy. And it was done in truly stunning fashion.

The Baylor Bears, coming into the game at 4-5 overall and 1-5 in the Big 12, completely dominated the No. 1 Kansas State Wildcats 52-24, never trailing in the game. It follows on the heels of the upset of Alabama by Texas A&M, but it is a much more surprising game, since the Aggies went into Tuscaloosa 7-2 and were ranked in the Top 25.

Many analysts thought the Aggies had a chance against the Crimson Tide, with their up-tempo offense and the emergence of Johnny Manziel, but almost no one thought that the Bears had a hope facing Kansas State and Heisman hopeful Collin Klein. But no one told Baylor that, and they delivered a masterful performance, with Lache Seastrunk shredding the Wildcats for 185 yards on the ground, including a brilliant 80 yard touchdown run to put the game out of reach by the end of the third quarter.

They also got an excellent game out of quarterback Nick Florence, who passed for two touchdowns and rushed for a third. On defense, linebacker Bryce Hager was the biggest contributor in neutralizing Klein, harassing him in the backfield all night.

The impact on the BCS bowl picture is likely to be huge, because it was such an embarrassing loss for Kansas State. In the history of the BCS rankings, it was the first time ever a No. 1 team had lost to a team with a losing record coming into the game, tying the mark for the biggest margin of defeat at 28 points.

Now, Kansas State has not only seen its chance for a national title go up in smoke, but the Wildcats have to beat a surging Texas team in two weeks to win the Big 12. If they can't, Oklahoma could claim the title by beating Oklahoma State and TCU in their final two games.

The SEC stands to benefit hugely from the upset. Alabama, Georgia and Florida were ranked 4, 5 and 6 in the BCS. One of those three teams will most likely emerge from the SEC Championship as one of the two teams to play in the BCS Championship, thanks to the defeat of Oregon by Stanford. Notre Dame also is in the driver's seat, only needing to get by USC in their season finale to finish the year undefeated at No. 1.

And one SEC player in particular also got a huge boost when Baylor did such an effective job neutralizing Klein, holding him to 286 yards passing and 39 yards rushing while picking him off three times. While Klein was having a less than stellar day, Johnny Football became only the fifth quaterback in NCAA history, and the first freshman, to pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 in the same season. None of the other likely candidates did anything to improve their chances on Saturday, and if he has a good game in his finale against Missouri, he may be able to overcome the disinclination to give the award to a freshman.

But the biggest boost goes to Baylor. They notched their first ever win over a No. 1 team. They now have a real chance to become bowl eligible if they can win one of their last two games, against Texas Tech and Oklahoma State.

Even if they do not manage another win, the season now is marked by what is probably the biggest victory in school history. In this game, the Bears made the whole college football world take notice of them. And they completely and totally deserve it.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.