TCU coach Gary Patterson graduated from Kansas State and he is proud that the football program there has become nationally relevant. But when the Horned Frogs take on the Wildcats, Patterson's team will have a chance to ruin his alma mater's dream season.
"It's hard, because you love seeing, from their perspective, they've come so far and have an opportunity to be so close to playing for a national championship," he said. "It's a dilemma. But this is what they pay me to do."
Kansas State (9-0, 6-0) is No. 3 in the human polls but No. 2 in this week's BCS Standings. An undefeated season could put the Wildcats in the national championship game. A year ago, the Horned Frogs (6-3, 3-3) stunned Boise State and ended the Broncos' national championship chances.
There is considerable mystery surrounding the Wildcats. In last Saturday's victory over Oklahoma State, quarterback Collin Klein was sidelined for most of the second half. The nature and extent of his injury has been the center of much speculation. His playing status won't be known until K-State takes the field for their first offensive possession.
"Nobody knows what's going to happen," K-State wide receiver Tyler Lockett said. "We're going to have to prepare like we do every week. I think he's going to be able to play, we just don't know."
Kansas State coach Bill Snyder, who guards injury information like nuclear launch codes, said this about his senior quarterback: "Would I expect him to play? I certainly hope that's the case."
Klein is the leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy and part of the reason for that is that he has risen to the top of the NCAA's statistics in passing efficiency. Kansas State, though, has been winning because it has more than an efficient quarterback. The Wildcats lead the Big 12 in scoring offense and are second in scoring defense. They've scored six non-offensive touchdowns.
TCU will be seeking its first Big 12 victory at refurbished Amon G. Carter stadium. The Horned Frogs have overcome injuries and inexperience to become bowl eligible in their first season in their new conference. If TCU pulls off the upset, Patterson says he might have problems visiting his home state.
"I'll be on some post office wall if I win. I'll be one person that can't cross the state line," Patterson said. "I used to say once I cross the Kansas line, I knew I was within 30 minutes, somebody would help me. Now I cross the Kansas line, I need to not tell everybody I'm coming."
All times Central
Kansas at Texas Tech
Need to know: 11 a.m., Jones AT&T Stadium, FSN.
Records: Kansas 1-8, 0-6; Texas Tech 6-3, 3-3.
Scouting Kansas: Time and games are running out for the Jayhawks if they want to avoid back-to-back seasons without a Big 12 victory. The running game, sparked by junior running back James Sims, continues to be KU's strength. Sims has gained 100 yards in five consecutive games. The passing attack, though, is last in the Big 12.
Scouting Texas Tech: The Red Raiders are playing their final home game of the season and are anxious to close out their season in strong fashion. Texas Tech has lost two consecutive games and in its three losses the defense has allowed a total of 127 points. Senior quarterback Seth Doege is having an outstanding season with 31 touchdown passes and just eight interceptions.
This and that: Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege is fifth in the nation with 318.8 passing yards per game. ... Kansas has lost 16 consecutive road games and has lost its last 18 Big 12 games. ... In its last three games, Texas Tech's run defense has allowed 540 yards and six touchdowns.
Iowa State at Texas
Need to know: 11 a.m., Darrel K Royal/Memorial Stadium, LHN.
Records: Iowa State 5-4, 2-4; Texas 7-2, 4-2.
Scouting Iowa State: The Cyclones still need a victory to become bowl eligible. Iowa State's offense continues to struggle to produce big plays and scores. Texas has allowed more plays longer than 10 yards than any team in the Big 12. Quarterback Steele Jantz has been inconsistent and the Cyclones need their offense to provide some support for a hard-working defense.
Scouting Texas: The Longhorns' first offensive play will use the wishbone formation to honor former coach Darrell Royal, who passed away this week. Texas is coming off its most complete game of the season and needs to avoid letting down against an upset-minded Iowa State team. Quarterback David Ash and receiver Mike Davis are starting to become a big play duo.
This and that: Iowa State safety Durrell Givens leads the nation in takeaways with eight - five fumble recoveries and three interceptions. ... Texas wide receiver Mike Davis has six receptions of 40 or more yards. Last season through eight games, Texas had 10 plays of 40 more yards. ... Texas has blocked seven kicks this season (three punts; two extra points; two field goals).
West Virginia at Oklahoma State
Need to know: 2:30 p.m., Boone Pickens Stadium, ABC.
Records: West Virginia 5-3, 2-3; Oklahoma State 5-3, 3-2.
Scouting West Virginia: The Mountaineers' maligned defense played well against TCU but gave up a big late-game score that led to West Virginia's third consecutive loss. Quarterback Geno Smith has the second-most touchdowns in the Big 12 but WVU is next-to-last in the Big 12 in rushing offense.
Scouting Oklahoma State: The Cowboys' quarterback situation has become a revolving door. Freshman Wes Lunt was sidelined during last week's game at Kansas State and junior Clint Chelf stepped in and played well. Who starts vs. West Virginia is not known. Regardless of the quarterback, Oklahoma State's offense is second in the Big 12 in total offense, third in scoring.
This and that: West Virginia has converted just four of 10 field goal attempts, the worst in the Big 12. ... Conversely, Oklahoma State leads the Big 12 with 18 made field goals in 23 tries. ...
Baylor at Oklahoma
Need to know: 2:30 p.m., Gaylord Family/Memorial Stadium, FSN.
Records: Baylor 4-4, 1-4; Oklahoma 6-2, 4-1.
Scouting Baylor: By defeating Kansas last week, the Bears evened their overall record and they need to win two of their last four games to become bowl eligible. Quarterback Nick Florence and receiver Terrance Williams continue to have outstanding senior seasons. Florence leads the Big 12 in passing and total offense; Williams leads the Big 12 in receiving yardage.
Scouting Oklahoma: The Sooners could find themselves in a BCS bowl if they can close out the season with four more victories. Senior quarterback Landry Jones is coming off a 400-yard passing performance and Oklahoma's receiving corps gets better each week. The Sooners could roll up some big numbers against a team that is last in the Big 12 in total defense.
This and that: Baylor defeated Oklahoma for the first time last season but the Bears have lost all 11 games played in Norman. ... When facing ranked Big 12 opponents on the road, Baylor is 0-26. ... Oklahoma is allowing 17.8 points and 312.9 yards per game to rank first in the Big 12 in both categories.
Kansas State at TCU
Need to know: 6 p.m., Amon G. Carter Stadium, FOX.
Records: Kansas State 9-0, 6-0; TCU 6-3, 3-3.
Scouting Kansas State: The Collin Klein mystery - is he healthy enough to play? - will be solved when the Wildcats take the field on offense. Klein was sidelined in the second half last week against Oklahoma State. The Wildcats have risen to No. 2 in the BCS standings by being efficient in all three phases.
Scouting TCU: The Horned Frogs have turned it over 23 times, the most in the Big 12, and is 9th in the conference in red zone offense. To knock off Kansas State, TCU can't afford to make mistakes and must take advantage (preferably with touchdowns, not field goals) any time it gets the ball inside the Wildcats' 20-yard line.
This and that: Both teams thrive on turnovers. Kansas State has scored 111 points resulting from opponents' mistakes while TCU has scored 90 points off turnovers. ... Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein leads the nation in passing efficiency. ... TCU is playing Game No. 10; in its 10th game last season, the Horned Frogs upset Boise State.