The two teams that control their destiny in the Big 12 championship race meet up Saturday in prime time (7 p.m., ABC).
Kansas State is No. 2 in this week's BCS Standings, which means the Wildcats (8-0, 5-0) are in prime position to earn a spot in this season's national championship game. K-State has three victories over teams ranked in the top 15, with two of those coming on the road.
Last Saturday, Texas Tech came to Manhattan with hopes of moving into a first-place tie with the Wildcats in the Big 12 standings. The Red Raiders left with a 55-24 loss. Oklahoma State (5-2, 3-1) is in a similar position this week. With a victory, the Cowboys would have the head-to-head tiebreaker edge on K-State.
"That's where we want to be. Obviously, you want to control your own destiny," Oklahoma State senior lineman Lane Taylor told ESPN.com this week. "It's a great thing and we need to take advantage of it."
A year ago, Kansas State went to Oklahoma State in a similar situation. The Cowboys were undefeated and in first place in the standings and survived a shootout, winning 52-45. The game ended with the Wildcats on the Oklahoma State 5-yard line.
"Collin [Klein] said that no one on the team that is here right now has beat Oklahoma State," K-State senior fullback Braden Wilson said. "That is a big deal, especially after the heart-breaker last year. This is a game that we really want."
The winner of Saturday's game will be in position to close the season strong. That will be a special challenge for Oklahoma State, which will play three more ranked teams after already facing a tough schedule.
"We really started three weeks ago," Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. "Had a ranked Iowa State team and TCU's been ranked most of the year. This stretch forward, we're going to play teams ranked or have been ranked, some of them fairly high. We can only take it one day and one play at a time and one game at a time. These are all good teams.
"Our guys are excited about competing. I like the attitude of our football team. For the most part, I think we're a much better team than we were a month ago."
All time Central
Oklahoma at Iowa State
Need to know: 11 a.m., Jack Trice Stadium, ABC.
Records: Oklahoma 5-2, 3-1; Iowa State 5-3, 2-3.
Scouting Oklahoma: The Sooners still have a shot at winning the Big 12 title but will need to bounce back from a disappointing loss to Notre Dame. Oklahoma had a season-low 379 yards of total offense and failed to establish its running game. Starting running back Damien Williams, who leads OU in rushing, might not play because of an ankle injury.
Scouting Iowa State: Cyclones quarterback Steele Jantz threw for a career-high 381 yards tied the school record for completions (36) and touchdown passes (5) last week against Baylor. That's the type of offensive production Iowa State has been lacking. The Cyclones are eighth in the Big 12 in pass offense and last in rushing offense.
This and that: The 14th-ranked Sooners have won 13 straight over the Cyclones. ... Iowa State ran 102 plays last week, tying a school record and racking up 557 yards of offense, the most since 2008 against Kansas State. ... Cyclones senior linebacker Jake Knott, who leads the Big 12 in tackles, had shoulder surgery and is out for the season.
TCU at West Virginia
Need to know: 2 p.m., Milan Puskar Stadium, FOX.
Records: TCU 5-3, 2-3; West Virginia 5-2, 2-2.
Scouting TCU: The Horned Frogs have lost three of their last four. Redshirt freshman quarterback Trevone Boykin twisted his knee late in last week's loss at Oklahoma State but is expected to play. In three Big 12 losses, TCU has allowed 12 touchdown passes and seven completions of 25 yards are longer.
Scouting West Virginia: The Mountaineers have scored just a total of 28 points in their last two games and have had a week off to correct the problems that led to losses in those games. After averaging 399.2 yards and totaling 24 touchdown passes in his first five games, WVU senior quarterback Geno Smith has averaged 209.0 with a combined two TD passes in his last two.
This and that: West Virginia averaged 220 yards after the catch in its first five games, all victories. In their last two games (losses), the Mountaineers are averaging just 119 yards after the catch. ... Since completing all 13 of his third-down pass attempts against Baylor, TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin is just 9-of-25 on third down in his last two games.
Texas at Texas Tech
Need to know: 2:30 p.m., Jones AT&T Stadium, ABC.
Records: Texas 6-2, 3-2; Texas Tech 6-2, 3-2.
Scouting Texas: The Longhorns still have a shot at winning 10 games and perhaps an invitation to the Cotton Bowl. Texas is 96th in total defense, a huge decline from last season when it finished 11th. Kansas totaled 234 yards rushing last week and nearly knocked off UT. In four of its five Big 12 games, the Longhorns defense has allowed 234 rushing yards or more.
Scouting Texas Tech: The Red Raiders will wear their "Lone Star" uniforms as they face their in-state rival. Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege leads the nation in touchdown passes and he leads an offense that is averaging 507 yards per game. The defense is much improved compared to last season but has allowed 50-plus points in the last two outings.
This and that: According to ESPN.com statistics, Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege has 13 touchdown passes and no interceptions on throws longer than 15 yards. He's completing 51 percent of his throws longer than 15 yards. ... UT's defense has allowed 18 completions of 25 or more yards; last season it allowed just 15 such completions.
Kansas at Baylor
Need to know: 6 p.m., Floyd Casey Stadium, FSN.
Records: Kansas 1-7, 0-5; Baylor 3-4, 0-4.
Scouting Kansas: The Jayhawks will try to bounce back after losing in the final seconds to Texas last week. Kansas relied on the running game against UT, gaining 234 yards on the ground and attempting just nine passes. Junior running back James Sims has four consecutive games with 100 or more yards rushing and KU has had a back gain at least 100 yards in six of eight games.
Scouting Baylor: The Bears return home after playing four of their last five games away from Waco. Baylor will try to end a four-game losing streak and needs to win three of its last five to become bowl eligible. Senior quarterback Nick Florence leads the Big 12 in total offense and is third in passing efficiency.
This and that: This will be Baylor's 103rd homecoming game, a tradition the school started in 1909. The Bears are 39-39-4 in homecoming games. ... Kansas ranks 13th in the NCAA in red zone defense, holding its opponents to just a 69 percent success rate in the scoring zone. The Jayhawks rank ﬁrst in the Big 12 in red zone defense.
Oklahoma State at Kansas State
Need to know: 7 p.m., Bill Snyder Family Stadium, ABC.
Records: Oklahoma State 5-2, 3-1; Kansas State 8-0, 5-0.
Scouting Oklahoma State: Freshman Wes Lunt returned to quarterback for the Cowboys. He played well but will be playing in just his second road game (Oklahoma State lost at Arizona in his other road start). Oklahoma State has held three straight league opponents under 20 points in wins over Kansas (20-14), Iowa State (31-10) and TCU (36-14).
Scouting Kansas State: Senior quarterback Collin Klein has become the Heisman Trophy front runner; he's accounted for 11 touchdowns the last two weeks in victories over West Virginia and Texas Tech. The Wildcats lead the Big 12 in scoring offense (44 per game) and scoring defense (17.1 per game). Oklahoma State is second in scoring offense.
This and that: Kansas State is fifth nationally in scoring and has scored touchdowns on 42 of its 86 offensive possessions. ... Oklahoma State running back Joseph Randle leads the Big 12 in rushing with 127.3 yards per game. Kansas State has allowed just one opposing rusher to gain 100 yards this season.