Kansas State (6-3) at No. 20 Missouri (7-2), 11:30 a.m.
Line: Missouri by 13
Fun facts: Missouri leads the all-time series, 59-31-5. The Tigers have won the past four matchups. Before that, K-State had won the previous 10 in the Big 12 era.
Player to watch: Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert. In the Tigers’ last two games, both losses, Gabbert has completed only 40 percent of his passes. And most of the completions are short, easy passes that aren’t going for much yardage. Gabbert’s average yards per completion this season is 6.4, but the last two weeks, he’s combined for 3.95 yards per completion. Kansas State is last in the Big 12 in rushing defense, so Missouri may have a game plan that doesn’t primarily involve Gabbert. But the junior must get back on track for the Tigers to break their losing streak.
Key matchup: Kansas State rush offense vs. Missouri rush defense. K-State started sophomore Collin Klein at quarterback last week against Texas and it added a new dimension to the Wildcats’ already splendid rushing attack. Only problem is, Klein is not a gifted passer. Texas knew K-State was going to run the ball last week (Klein attempted a whopping four total passes) and UT still couldn’t stop the Wildcats from 261 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. If Klein gets the nod again, it will be up to Missouri’s defensive linemen to control the line of scrimmage. It should be obvious what’s coming.
Iowa State (5-5) at Colorado (3-6), 12:30 p.m.
Line: Iowa State by 21⁄2
Fun facts: Colorado leads the all-time series, 48-15-1. The home team has won the previous six decisions.
Player to watch: Colorado quarterback Cody Hawkins. How will the senior quarterback respond after his father, former CU coach Dan Hawkins, was fired earlier in the week? Better yet, how will the Buffaloes respond after squandering a 28-point, fourth-quarter lead to Kansas?
Key matchup: ISU running back Alexander Robinson vs. CU rush defense. After being held in check at the start of the conference season, Robinson has gone over 100 yards rushing in his past three games. ISU is 2-1 in that time; the one loss was a 31-30 overtime heartbreaker to Nebraska. If Robinson gets going against Colorado the same way Kansas running back James Sims did last week (123 yards, 4 TDs), the Cyclones would have a solid chance of winning on the road. ISU is 1-3 in road games this season.
Texas Tech (5-4) at No. 19 Oklahoma, 2:30 p.m.
Line: Oklahoma by 15
Fun facts: Oklahoma leads the all-time series, 12-5. The home team has won the previous six matchups. OU is 6-1 against Tech at home in the Big 12 era.
Player to watch: Texas Tech quarterback Taylor Potts. Potts was benched in last week’s 24-17 Tech victory over Missouri, but he replaced an ineffective Steven Sheffield and led the Red Raiders to three touchdowns and 188 yards passing in three quarters. Potts will most likely get the start today against an Oklahoma team he torched last season in Lubbock, Texas. Potts threw for 388 yards and two scores in Tech’s 41-13 drubbing of OU in 2009. Playing in Norman, however, is a different scenario altogether. The Sooners own a 35-game home winning streak, top active streak in the country.
Key matchup: OU red zone offense vs. Texas Tech red zone defense. Texas A&M; stopped OU three times from one yard out of the end zone last week, a huge reason the Aggies pulled off the upset in College Station, Texas. When the Sooners get scoring opportunities like that today, they must come away with points.
No 23 Texas A&M; (6-3) at Baylor (7-3), 6 p.m.
Line: Texas A&M; by 3
Fun facts: Texas A&M; leads the all-time series, 66-31-9. The Aggies have won four of the past five meetings. Baylor’s lone win in that time came in 2008, a 41-21 decision in Waco, Texas.
Player to watch: Texas A&M; quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Since the junior has been involved with the offense and taken over for Jerrod Johnson, the Aggies are 3-0 and have scored 41 points per game. With the Aggies now suddenly ranked and the Big 12 South up for grabs (Oklahoma State leads at 4-1; A&M; is 3-2), don’t expect a change any time soon.
Key matchup: Texas A&M; defense vs. big-play ability of Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin. In Texas A&M;’s victory over Oklahoma last week, the Aggies limited big plays. The Sooners didn’t register a run more than 17 yards and didn’t register a pass longer than 29 yards. If A&M; can limit the dual-threat Griffin in the same kind of way, it would have a nice chance of winning on the road. The Aggies are 1-1 on the road this season.
No. 12 Oklahoma State (8-1) at Texas (4-5), 7 p.m.
Line: Oklahoma State by 6
Fun facts: Texas leads the all-time series, 22-2. The Longhorns have won 13 of 14 meetings in the Big 12 era.
Player to watch: Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden. You don’t hear much about Weeden for Heisman campaigns, but the Cowboys signal caller’s stats are as good as anyone’s. The junior’s 26 touchdown passes are tied for first in the country, and his 2,983 passing yards (331 per game) rank second in the country. The Cowboys’ 46.33 points per game are tops in the Big 12 and third in the country. Oklahoma State has never won the Big 12 South, but Weeden is a primary reason the Cowboys are in position to challenge for their first crown.
Key matchup: Texas QB Garrett Gilbert vs. Oklahoma State pass defense. Texas has lost three straight games, and in that time, Gilbert has thrown three touchdown passes and nine interceptions. If there’s an area of weakness with Oklahoma State, it’s the pass defense, which gives up 272 yards per game, second-worst in the Big 12 and 113th in the country. Gilbert must have more success throwing the ball and cut down on the interceptions for the Longhorns to win at home, where they find themselves in a rare position of being the underdog. UT is only 1-3 at home this year.