Big 12 early look: Black Friday, indeed, in the state of Texas

Herbstreit says Strong hasn't been told anything (1:54)

After speaking with Charlie Strong, Kirk Herbstreit says Strong hasn't been told by anyone at Texas that he's been fired. (1:54)

And then there were two. The Big 12 title again boils down to Bedlam as No. 11 Oklahoma State visits No. 9 Oklahoma, with the winner assured of a spot in a New Year's Six bowl game and left to hope for help outside the league to land in the College Football Playoff.

But that's next week. Friday and Saturday, the other eight teams play -- all games with intriguing subplots and the regular-season finales for four teams.

Here are the top storylines to watch in Week 13.

Battle for bowl eligibility: Who would have thought, one month or ago -- or ever -- TCU and Texas would arrive at this Friday-after-Thanksgiving clash both in need of a victory to extend their seasons? For the 5-6 Longhorns, after a devastating overtime loss at Kansas, all hope is essentially gone to salvage this season. Sure, Texas can get to the postseason with a win, as can TCU -- on Friday or eight days later against Kansas State. But expectations were much greater for both squads. And what's that, something we've failed to mention? Oh, yes, the burnt orange elephant in the room. According to ESPN and multiple reports, Friday will mark the final game for Texas coach Charlie Strong, though the school has yet to confirm reports of his impending exit. If the situation remains speculative, prepare for an awkward day-after-Thanksgiving finale in Austin. Individually for Texas, running back D'Onta Foreman needs 137 rushing yards to reach 2,000.

Welcome to the Put Them Out of Their Misery Bowl: Baylor and Texas Tech invade AT&T Stadium on Friday in Arlington, Texas (6 p.m. ET, ESPN). And like the game listed above, a collision between sinking ships isn't what university administrators anticipated when plans were drawn for this. The Bears enter on a four-game skid after falling apart in the second half at home against Kansas State. And that faceplant in the final home game for interim coach Jim Grobe was nothing compared Tech's disastrous Week 12 trip to Ames, Iowa. The Red Raiders lost 66-10 to Iowa State, a shocking result even for this group from Lubbock that has now lost six of seven games and will not achieve bowl eligibility this season for the second time in four years under coach Kliff Kingsbury. Could this be the final game at Tech for quarterback Patrick Mahomes? In making his decision on the NFL, Mahomes must gauge his confidence in Tech's ability to quickly reverse its course.

Sunflower showdown: Kansas State has won seven straight in its series with rival Kansas, but the Jayhawks head to Manhattan on Saturday off the high of their first Big 12 win since 2014 and first in 17 league games under second-year coach David Beaty. Kansas may have found its future quarterback over the past three weeks in freshman Carter Stanley, who threw for 220 yards and led the game-tying and winning drives in the upset win over Texas. K-State won its sixth game Saturday to secure a bowl bid for the seventh consecutive season. The Jayhawks have made strides defensively this year but still lag on offense, ranking last in Big 12 play by a large margin in scoring at 17.6 points per game. K-State, meanwhile, boasts one of the league's top defenses. It's especially stout against the run and allows a league-low 390.3 total yards per game.

Cyclone warning: As 8-2 West Virginia ponders its final two games -- Saturday at Iowa State and a week later at home against Baylor -- little doubt exists about the more serious challenge. It's the Cyclones, who blasted Texas Tech after earning their first Big 12 win in more than a calendar year in Week 11 against Kansas. The Mountaineers slid nine spots Sunday to 19th in the AP poll after losing 56-28 at home to Oklahoma. The College Football Playoff committee figures to act as harshly on Tuesday, though the committee already questioned West Virginia for its lack of quality wins. And while a victory over Iowa State won't qualify as something noteworthy to outsiders, those who've faced the Cyclones in the second half of this season recognize the rapid pace of their progression. So for West Virginia, this game is dangerous. And for Iowa State, it's an opportunity for coach Matt Campbell to add a marquee win and close his first season in Ames with as much momentum, likely, as any four-win team has recently carried into an offseason.