Coming into the season, Kansas State's trip to Texas was supposed to be one of the big games to decide who would play in the Sugar Bowl.
Now after disappointing nonconference losses, the Wildcats and Longhorns know they can't afford any more slip-ups if they want to stay in contention for the national title game.
Texas, ranked 13th, ran into its early season problem against old rival Arkansas Sept. 13. The Razorbacks came into Austin and won, 38-28, snapping the Longhorns' 20-game winning streak at Royal Memorial Stadium.
The Longhorns responded to their loss by outscoring Rice and Tulane, 111-25. But they haven't been tested by a team as talented as Kansas State.
"We are pleased with their response," Longhorns coach Mack Brown said. "When you lose a ballgame, you are never sure why. In this case, we have to give all the credit to Arkansas because they played nearly perfect. From this game, we learned to take advantage of opportunities when given them."
Sixteenth-ranked Kansas State ran into its trouble a week later at home against Marshall, losing 27-20 to snap a 41-game home winning streak against nonconference teams.
After a week off, the Wildcats can't wait to get back on the field.
"We have a lot to prove after the Marshall game and we have had a good week of practice," defensive lineman Jermaine Berry said. "Playing Texas this weekend is an opportunity for us to go out and correct the things we have been doing wrong against a great team."
The Wildcats will get a boost with the return of quarterback Ell Roberson, who missed two games with an injury to his left, non-throwing hand.
Roberson provides an added dimension to Kansas State's attack and makes it that much more difficult to stop running back Darren Sproles.
"Those two are really something," Brown said. "We are expecting them to be at full-speed. They had this past week off, so they have had two weeks to prepare for us. They have probably been preparing for us since last year at this time. They'll be fresh and ready to play."
Texas has its own two-pronged attack with quarterbacks Chance Mock and Vince Young. Mock threw three touchdown passes and ran for another, and Young ran and passed for two scores last week against Tulane.
No. 1 Oklahoma (minus 21) at Iowa State
Sooners 35-1-1 vs. Cyclones since start of 1962 ... OKLAHOMA 37-10.
No. 4 Virginia Tech (minus) 25 1/2) at Rutgers
Hokies get easy one in first road game ... VIRGINIA TECH 34-10.
No. 7 Tennessee (pick 'em) at Auburn
Tigers can make up for slow start with big SEC win ... AUBURN 24-20.
No. 9 Michigan (minus 3) at No. 23 Iowa
Wolverines QB John Navarre is 0-5 on the road against ranked teams ... MICHIGAN 27-20.
No. 10 Southern California (minus 11 1/2) at Arizona State
Trojans try to bounce back from loss to Cal ... USC 27-10.
Alabama (plus 11) at No. 11 Georgia
Bulldogs have had an extra week to get over loss at LSU ... GEORGIA 27-20.
Troy State (plus 271/2) at No. 12 Nebraska
Cornhuskers might not need to pass once to win ... NEBRASKA 35-13.
No. 16 Kansas State (plus 6) at No. 13 Texas
Neither team can afford another loss ... TEXAS 27-24.
Arizona (plus 271/2 ) at No. 14 Washington State
New Wildcats coach Mike Hankwitz gets tough first test ... WASHINGTON STATE 38-7.
Ohio (plus 22) at No. 17 Northern Illinois
Huskies open up conference after beating up on BCS teams ... NORTHERN ILLINOIS 37-10.
No. 18 Washington (minus 1 1/2) at UCLA
Huskies hit the road for first time since opening loss at Ohio State ... WASHINGTON 23-17.
No. 19 Oregon (minus 2 1/2) at Utah (tonight)
Ducks try to bounce back from blowout loss to Washington State ... UTAH 24-21.
Army (no line) at No. 20 TCU
Horned Frogs look to improve to 5-0 ... TCU 34-10.
No. 21 Minnesota (minus 11) at Northwestern
Gophers look for first 6-0 start since 1960 ... MINNESOTA 27-20.
Illinois (plus 14) at No. 22 Purdue
Illini winless against I-A teams ... PURDUE 31-14.
Mississippi (plus 12 1/2) at No. 24 Florida
Eli Manning tries to do what Peyton couldn't: win at The Swamp ... MISSISSIPPI 24-23.
Indiana (plus 15) at No. 25 Michigan State
Spartans rolling after meltdown against Louisiana Tech ... MICHIGAN STATE 31-10.
Last week: 14-6 (straight); 8-11 (vs. points)
Season: 75-24 (straight); 43-48 (vs. points)