A quick preview of Week 8 in the Big 12:
Oklahoma State at Kansas, noon ET, FS1
The Cowboys are coming off a bye and finish the season with a five-game stretch of tough tests. But first, they must knock off Kansas for the seventh year in a row. The Jayhawks are quietly playing better defense, ranking second in the Big 12 against the pass and No. 1 on third downs. But they won’t stand a chance in these conference games if they’re going to continue to lead the nation in turnovers (22). Quarterback Ryan Willis has turned it over seven times in his past two starts.
Texas at Kansas State, noon ET, ESPN2
The wizard Bill Snyder and his Wildcats are a slight favorite, and they certainly should be considering Texas hasn’t managed to win a game in the Little Apple since 2002. Kansas State has the defensive talent to slow down Big 12 leading rusher D'Onta Foreman and put pressure on quarterback Shane Buechele. But even though Wildcats quarterback Jesse Ertz (shoulder) is expected to be healthy enough to start, K-State doesn’t have the passing attack to punish Texas' still-questionable secondary. So, as usual with these teams, the game probably gets decided by who thrives up front.
TCU at No. 12 West Virginia, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN2
Another big-time battle for a West Virginia team that's finally starting to get national recognition. The Mountaineers’ defense won a lot of admirers last week for successfully slowing down Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes, the No. 1 passer in college football. This week, they get the No. 4 passer in FBS. Kenny Hill had extra time to prep during TCU’s bye and might get dynamic playmaker KaVontae Turpin and center Austin Schlottmann back in the lineup, too. An upset win in Morgantown would put the Horned Frogs right back into Big 12 title contention.
No. 16 Oklahoma at Texas Tech, 8 p.m. ET, FOX
The Baker Mayfield Bowl is finally here. His long-anticipated return to Lubbock in front of a raucous Saturday night crowd ought to be entertaining. Last season, Mayfield kept his emotions in check and got his revenge with a 63-27 blowout win in Norman. He’ll be missing running back Samaje Perine this time, but still shouldn’t have any trouble moving the ball against the Red Raiders' struggling defense. Mahomes threw four interceptions against the Sooners last time, and can’t win the game all by himself. That being said, if he can land some shots early against a pass defense giving up 13.3 yards per completion, this game could be a lot of fun.