Week 3 in the Big 12: What to watch for

Why the Big 12 needs Texas and Oklahoma to shine (0:42)

Heather Dinich and Ryan McGee embrace their cartoon alter egos to explain that after a rough first two weeks, the Big 12 is in danger of missing the College Football Playoff. (0:42)

Here are the top storylines to keep an eye on during Week 3 in the Big 12:

Baker Mayfield vs. J.T. Barrett

This juicy matchup between the Buckeyes and Sooners features two of the top quarterbacks in the country. Barrett has been sensational so far for Ohio State and is already popping up near the top of Heisman straw polls. Mayfield will be eager to put his subpar performance in the Week 1 loss to Houston behind him and vault the Sooners back into the playoff picture. The team with the better quarterback Saturday is likely the one that will come away with the win.

Cal QB Davis Webb against Texas

Despite spending his first three seasons at Texas Tech, Webb has never played against Texas. Baker Mayfield got the start for the Red Raiders in 2013, Webb was injured in 2014, and Patrick Mahomes was Tech's starting quarterback in 2015. Although Cal lost to San Diego State last week, Webb has been putting up huge numbers for the Golden Bears and is second in the country in passing with 963 yards (trailing only Mahomes). Texas' secondary is talented, but slowing Webb will be a big test.

Can the Cowboys bounce back?

Last week, the Cowboys suffered one of the most heartbreaking losses in recent college football history, as Central Michigan pulled off a game-winning Hail Mary on a play that shouldn't have counted. Oklahoma State has no time to sulk, though, as upstart Pitt will arrive in Stillwater riding high after knocking off rival Penn State. The Cowboys have an immediate opportunity to put the Central Michigan fiasco in the past, but they'll have to play better than they did last week. After a potentially demoralizing loss, they can't afford a hangover, either.

Will the Texas Tech defense show up?

On the night Mahomes threw for 540 yards and five touchdowns, the Red Raiders still fell at Arizona State, as the Tech defense gave up 68 points, including a whopping eight touchdowns to running back Kalen Ballage. Can the defense pick up the pieces against a solid Louisiana Tech offense? If not, it could signal a long season in Lubbock, even with the electric Mahomes behind center.

Can TCU play a complete game against Iowa State?

The Horned Frogs have played two terrible first halves this season, one of which doomed them in a loss to Arkansas last week. TCU has flashed its potential on both sides of the ball, but the consistency has not been there. The Horned Frogs have the talent to challenge in the Big 12, but the first step will be playing a complete game in their conference opener against the Cyclones.