By Wendell Barnhouse
Big 12 Sports.com Correspondent
Texas vs. Oklahoma
Need to know: 11 a.m., Cotton Bowl in Dallas, ABC.
Records: Texas 5-0, 1-0; Oklahoma 5-0 1-0.
Scouting Texas: The fifth-ranked Longhorns lead the nation with nearly four sacks per game and pressuring OU quarterback Sam Bradford will be crucial. Texas' offensive line has allowed just seven sacks and its ability to keep OU's pass rush from hassling QB Colt McCoy will be a a key factor. Other than McCoy, the Longhorns' ground game has been practically non-existent. It will be difficult to beat the Sooners without a balanced offense.
Scouting Oklahoma: The top-ranked Sooners are outscoring opponents 103-3 in the first quarter and quarterback Sam Bradford has thrown eight of his 18 touchdown passes in the opening 15 minutes. They're also highly efficient in the red zone (24 of 24 with 23 touchdowns inside the opponents' 20). OU is averaging 49.6 points per game and allowing 13.8 per contest. The Sooners' pass rush will try to pressure Texas QB Colt McCoy.
Colorado at Kansas
Need to know: 11:30 a.m., Memorial Stadium, ESPN2.
Records: Colorado 3-2, 0-1; Kansas 4-1, 1-0.
Scouting Colorado: The Buffaloes have lost two consecutive games and the offense has been sputtering. Colorado has just three rushing TDs (all in the season opener). Injuries have turned the offensive line into a patch work unit, a factor that has contributed to the offensive down turn. This starts a stretch of three road games in the next four for the Buffs so a loss could be the beginning of a major slide.
Scouting Kansas: The running game continues to be MIA. The 16th-ranked Jayhawks are last in the Big 12 in rushing. Running back Jake Sharp provided the spark in last week's second-half rally at Iowa State and Kansas fans hope he'll be the answer. The Buffs' defense has had trouble stopping the run. Quarterback Todd Reesing continues to be the driving force with his passing and scrambling ability.
Kansas State at Texas A&M
Need to know: 1 p.m., Kyle Field.
Records: Kansas State 3-2, 0-1; Texas A&M 2-3, 0-1.
Scouting Kansas State: The Wildcats need to prove their defense can stop somebody. Kansas State's defense is allowing over 420 yards per game and that has put plenty of pressure on the Wildcats' offense. Quarterback Josh Freeman is fifth in the Big 12 in pass efficiency but he's been inconsistent in the last few games. This game starts a stretch of four road games in the next five for KSU. Scouting Texas A&M: The Aggies desperately need to defend their home turf. A&M's run defense is last in the Big 12 but the Aggies' rush offense should be able to move the ball against Kansas State, which is 11th defending the run. If quarterback Jerrod Johnson plays most of the game, he needs to do a better job with ball security; the Aggies' loss at Oklahoma State turned on five first-half giveaways.
Nebraska at Texas Tech
Need to know: 2 p.m., Jones AT&T Stadium, FSN.
Records: Nebraska 3-2, 0-1; Texas Tech 5-0, 0-1.
Scouting Nebraska: The Cornhuskers allowed 43 points in their first three victories but have been torched for 87 in their two losses. Nebraska failed to stop the run and the pass in last week's loss to Missouri. The running game has produced just 134 yards in the last two games. That has forced too much emphasis on the passing attack. The Huskers will be hard pressed to avoid a repeat of their last trip to Lubbock - a 70-10 blowout.
Scouting Texas Tech: At least one (and as perhaps as many as four) of the teams ranked ahead of the Red Raiders will lose Saturday. That means Texas Tech could enhance is No. 7 ranking. Only one of the team's victories has been close - and that was a 16-pointer. Quarterback Graham Harrell appears to be in a groove and could have a huge day against Nebraska's defense.
Iowa State at Baylor
Need to know: 6 p.m., Floyd Casey Stadium, Fox College Sports.
Records: Iowa State 2-3, 0-1; Baylor 2-3, 0-1.
Scouting Iowa State: The Cyclones have lost three in a row and all three have been winnable games. Sophomore Austen Arnaud appears to have won the quarterback job but he needs to be more consistent. Iowa State is still searching for a steady running game. The defense continues to be solid but is too often forced to be perfect because the offense has periods of ineffectiveness.
Scouting Baylor: The Bears are clinging to hopes of a bowl bid but to reach six victories beating Iowa State is non-negotiable. After Saturday, Baylor plays three of its next four games on the road (Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Texas). Freshman quarterback Robert Griffin has yet to throw an interception but he needs to be careful against an Iowa State defense that has forced 17 turnovers.
Oklahoma State at Missouri
Need to know: 7 p.m., Faurot Field, ESPN2.
Records: Oklahoma State 5-0, 1-0; Missouri 5-0, 1-0.
Scouting Oklahoma State: The Cowboys are the only Big 12 team averaging over 200 yards on the ground and through the air. Second-ranked Missouri will be the best team Oklahoma State has faced and a victory could stamp Mike Gundy's team as a serious contender in the Big 12 South. The Cowboys' defense has been solid but it has yet to face a team as explosive as the Tigers. If OSU's running game could dominate, that could limit Missouri's "touches."
Scouting Missouri: The Tigers won at Nebraska for the first time in 30 years and travel to Texas next week. They can't afford to lose focus with 17th-ranked Oklahoma State coming to town. Missouri's offense has been unstoppable; in the last two games, the Tigers have not punted. The run defense has been solid, allowing 95 yards per game, but there are continuing concerns about the pass defense.