November separates the winners from the losers in college football. The first College Football Playoff rankings are out and there are three Big 12 teams ranked in the top-25. Oklahoma State sits at No. 11 with a 7-1 record. Baylor is one spot behind at No. 12 and also has a 7-1 record with the lone loss coming to Oklahoma State. Oklahoma is ranked at No. 8 despite an undefeated 9-0 record. The Sooners have a tough schedule left with the three best teams in the Big 12 conference left on their schedule. Let’s take a look at the Big 12 slate and preview other games around the nation.
No. 11 Oklahoma State @ West Virginia
Oklahoma State will be weary of dropping a game in Morgantown after West Virginia knocked off Iowa State at home a week ago. The Mountaineers are 4-4 so far this season but have played well at home and against ranked teams. West Virginia beat Virginia Tech early in the season when it was ranked, and Iowa State was ranked last weekend as well. The only loss West Virginia has to a ranked team this season was a 16-13 road loss to Oklahoma in which the Sooners didn’t lead until the game-winning field goal.
Oklahoma State is coming off a momentum building 55-3 win over Kansas at home last weekend. The Cowboys offense finally looked like it should and the defense continued to play well against Kansas. There is reason for Oklahoma State to feel good, but the confidence shouldn’t spike too much after a beatdown of the worst power five football team.
When West Virginia has lost this season, the Mountaineers have really struggled to run the ball. That’s good news for an Oklahoma State defense allowing less than three yards-per-carry so far this season. The defense will once again be the key to victory for Oklahoma State. West Virginia managed to score 38 points on an Iowa State defense that only allowed OSU to score 21 points. The Cowboys will likely need to hold West Virginia to less than 38 points in order to win. Kickoff is set for 2:30 on Saturday afternoon on ESPN.
Kansas State @ Kansas
The Kansas bowl takes place in Lawrence this year with a Saturday morning kickoff on FS1. Kansas is coming off its worst loss of the season but returning home where it last played Oklahoma close in its best game of the season. The Jayhawks are 1-7 so far this season and likely won’t win another game.
Kansas State is coming off a 31-12 win over TCU and has beat a team that subsequently fired its head coach after the loss for a second straight week. A win over Texas Tech the week before did former Red Raider coach Matt Wells in. The Wildcats have rebounded from a tough start to Big 12 play with back-to-back wins and are now a 5-3 football team. Kansas State should become bowl eligible in style this weekend with a big win over Kansas.
No. 12 Baylor @ TCU
In case you needed a reminder, these two schools don’t really like one another. This should be an emotional home game for the Horned Frogs as TCU plays at Amon Carter for the first time in decades without Gary Patterson on the sideline. Instead it will be Jerry Kill leading TCU against a Baylor team that TCU loves to hate.
The hate is mutual from the Baylor side and the Bears will look to make a bad week worse for TCU. One of the likely reasons for Patterson’s demise is the poor play from the TCU defense, which was always a strength for Patterson. The Baylor offense scored 31 points on Texas last weekend and has scored at least that many points against every Big 12 team it’s played so far except for a 14 point showing against Oklahoma State. TCU will also have to decide if it will start Max Duggan at quarterback or roll with OU transfer Chandler Morris, who replaced Duggan in TCU’s loss to Kansas State.
The Baylor offense should continue to roll against a TCU squad that hasn’t held an FBS team to less than 29 points (West Virginia) so far this season. TCU is 3-5 and needs a win to keep its postseason hopes alive. Baylor needs a win to remain in the hunt for an appearance in the Big 12 Championship Game. Baylor should win this one by a few scores. Kickoff is a t 2:30 on Saturday afternoon on FOX.
Texas @ Iowa State
Texas has a blown a double-digit second half lead in three straight games now. The 31-24 loss on the road to Baylor last week drops the Longhorns record to 4-4 and UT needs a win in Ames or else it will drop to a losing record. Texas still has to play West Virginia and the Kansas schools and will need two wins out of that group to become bowl eligible.
Iowa State saved its season temporarily with a home win over a previously undefeated Oklahoma State squad to jump back into the AP Poll Top-25. The Cyclones immediately proceeded to lose to West Virginia on the road and tumble out of the rankings. Iowa State has been a perplexing football team so far this season. The Cyclones got off to a slow start before turning it around with wins over the Kansas schools and OSU. Iowa State took a step back with the loss to West Virginia and is needing another big win at home to get back on the right track.
If the Texas Longhorns have taught us anything this year, it’s that it knows how to blow a second half lead. That being said, Texas still has enough talent to win football games in the Big 12. The bad news for Texas is that the offensive line has not been good this season and Iowa State has a good defense. I think this will be a close game but Iowa State will pull out a win in the end. Kickoff is set for 6:30 on Saturday night on FS1.
Games Around the Nation
There are plenty of good games around the nation today. LSU takes on No. 2 Alabama on the road and Kentucky hosts Tennessee in a pair of intriguing SEC games that kick off at 6:00. No. 14 Auburn faces No. 12 Texas A&M in College Station at 2:30 on CBS. Undefeated Wake Forest faces a North Carolina team with a high-powered offense. An undefeated UTSA team (that should be ranked in the CFP Top-25, by the way) travels to El Paso for a game against UTSA at 9:15 on ESPN2. USC takes on Arizona State in the other intriguing late game. Here are some of our picks from around the nation.