Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Here are the some items to watch for in the Big 12 in Saturday's games.
1. Success by ranked teams -- The Big 12's six ranked teams won't play each other this week, potentially allowing the conference another week jammed in the polls before the cannibalization begins in earnest next week with games like Oklahoma-Texas and Missouri-Oklahoma State.
2. Oklahoma's running game -- The Sooners struggled against TCU, producing only 25 rushing yards with an offense that was ultimately successfully with the pass. They won't be able to be as heavily tilted to passing and beat a good Big 12 team like Texas next week. Will the heralded Oklahoma offensive line regain its boost against Baylor Sunday? And can Oklahoma tailback DeMarco Murray regain some of his breakaway abilities? Aside from a 49-yard run against Chattangooga in the opener, Murray's longest run this season has been only 14 yards.
3. Missouri battles some heavy history -- The No. 4 Tigers will be looking for their first victory at Nebraska since 1978 -- a streak of 15 straight losses. The Cornhuskers have dominated the series, claiming nine of the last 10 home games against the Tigers by more than 10 points. A victory here will be an indication that the Tigers clearly are the North Division's team to beat and not just a one-year wonder after last season's title.
4. Texas faces a still-angry Colorado team - Even though the Longhorns' 70-3 Big 12 title game triumph over the Buffaloes happened nearly three years ago, several senior members of the Colorado team haven't forgotten the onslaught of that one-sided, embarrassing loss in Houston. It will be interesting to see if that loss sparks some emotion in the Buffaloes, who are in a similar position as when they hosted Oklahoma in the opener last season. Colorado had lost the previous two games to the Sooners by a combined 66-6 margin before last season. The Buffaloes responded with a 27-24 victory, starting a run of three-straight triumphs over South Division teams.
5. Texas Tech's running game against a leaky Kansas State defense -- The typically pass-happy Red Raiders also have developed an emerging running game that has topped 100 yards in four-straight games for the first time in any season under Mike Leach. Will that spark more use against a struggling Kansas State defense that has been gashed for at least 300 yards rushing in each of its last two games? It will be part of a huge challenge for a Kansas State defense that allowed Louisiana-Lafayette to score touchdowns in five straight drives last week before producing a big stop to preserve the game.
6. Austen Arnaud's role in Iowa State's offensive surge -- After spotting UNLV a 21-0 lead in their last game, Arnaud sparked Iowa State's comeback, leading a dramatic 98-yard drive that tied the score at the end of regulation. It was one of three touchdown drives of at least 80 yards in the second half than Arnaud directed. That late production should spark some confidence in ISU's offense, as well as giving Arnaud most -- if not all -- of the snaps as the Cyclones' starting quarterback. Some might bemoan Iowa State's lack of offensive firepower. But that shouldn't include Arnaud.
7. Oklahoma State's Hunter-Toston RB combination -- The Cowboys' backfield rotation ranks of Kendall Hunter and Keith Toston ranks as the top two rushers in the Big 12 in terms of yards. They are the only combination to lead a FBS conference in total rushing yards this week. That one-two punch has helped OSU to lead the nation in rushing, averaging 340.3 yards per game. OSU's ground-heavy attack will be vital against a struggling Texas A&M rush defense that ranks 115th nationally and was ripped for a season-worst 280 yards on the ground by Army last week.
8. Texas Tech reacts to the role of being a heavy road favorite -- The Red Raiders have struggled in previous seasons on the road against perceived lesser teams, losing at least one road game as a heavy favorite each of the last four seasons. Will this team, which comes into the game with the school's highest national ranking in nearly 32 years, play differently defending the unaccustomed ranking against Kansas State?
9. Darrell Scott's success against Texas -- The heralded Colorado freshman tailback nearly signed with Texas during an intense recruiting battle with the Buffaloes earlier this season before opting for the Buffaloes. But he's battled injuries and the emergence of Rodney Stewart to produce only 148 yards rushing and one touchdown this season. Scott's rushing total has dropped in every game this season. The Buffaloes will likely need a big effort from the bigger and stronger Scott along with Stewart if they have any hopes of springing an upset over the Longhorns.
10. Can Chase Daniel continue his incredible recent effectiveness? Missouri's offense has been humming with Daniel in control. In 40 possessions with Daniel at the helm this season, the Tigers have scored 26 times and have yet to go three-and-out with him directing them. The Tigers will be stepping up in class against Nebraska's defense, but still should have the weapons to make for a long day for coach Bo Pelini. We'll see if Pelini can keep his temper in control as he tries to check the white-hot Missouri offense.