Big 12 title road still runs through Red River

Everywhere you look, there's evidence of a whole new Big 12.

West Virginia (!) is a member. TCU is, too, back from a nearly two-decade exile at the kids' table of college football. Oklahoma State (!) has a gigantic "Big 12 Champions" banner hanging on the wall behind its east end zone.

Still, cliches get that way for a reason.

"The more things change, the more they stay the same."

Texas and Oklahoma have ruled the Big 12 for the better part of the league's 16-year existence. The two superpowers have won a combined 10 Big 12 titles, and even when they don't win, whoever does has to beat them. Nebraska in 1997 is the only team in Big 12 North history to win a Big 12 title without beating Texas or Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Game.

Oklahoma State beat a below-average Texas team last year, but exorcised a decade worth of demons in a 44-10 thrashing of the Sooners with the Big 12 title on the line. That banner behind the end zone? It was hard-earned in the face of extreme pressure.

Kansas State proved it deserved the inside track to its first Big 12 title since 2003 when it walked into Owen Field and became the first ranked team to beat Bob Stoops' Oklahoma team in Norman. With one game left and the Big 12 title still up in the air, who's waiting to help keep Kansas State from spending Saturday night in the winner's circle?

Who else?

Kansas State faces Texas on Saturday night, and if the Sooners take care of business earlier in the day at TCU, the Longhorns will take the field with a chance to give Oklahoma a Big 12 title and reinstate their Big 12 duopoly after Oklahoma State cracked the glass ceiling for the rest of the league a year ago.

"They weren’t born yesterday,” Snyder said of his players. "Young guys understand what is at stake for this ballgame. It’s not something I have to go beat a drum about."

Kansas State has proved it's the Big 12's best team through 13 weeks, but it still needs to seal the deal.

Neither Texas or Oklahoma has had the season it imagined, but they're still both in position to decide who gets to be crowned the next Big 12 champion.

Just like always.