Big 12 Preview: Week Eight

Call it Separation Saturday, where four teams in the top five of the Big 12 square off against teams in the lower division.

PARITY OR MEDIOCRITY?

Through 13 Conference games this season, a ranked Big 12 team has fallen to an unranked conference opponent on three occasions – the most among the Power 5 leagues. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? On one hand, it would seem to point out that the league has quality depth. On the other, though, it might be just as strong an indicator that the Big 12 doesn't have a national-level power.

This will play out over the next few weeks as Texas Tech and Baylor face each other, as well as other schools near the top of the conference standings, but for now it's hard to view it as a totally positive development.

This isn't the first year that the Big 12 has shown such a level of competition. Since 2011 with the implementation of round-robin scheduling, the Big 12 has seen 15 unranked teams upset a ranked league brother. That's also the most among the Power 5.


STILL GOING

Eight Big 12 teams are averaging 95 percent capacity or higher for home game attendance. As the season progresses, it will be interesting to track this number and see if teams that fall out of contention or go through rough stretches see a corresponding decrease.

Oddly enough, Baylor is one of the two teams below the 95% threshold, joining Kansas as the bottomfeeders in home attendance.


PICKS

  • TCU travels to Oklahoma State, where the Cowboys might have the biggest homefield advantage in the conference. Tight sidelines, loud fans and the impression of playing at the bottom of a cereal bowl all give OSU and advantage -- and it's one they probably don't need against the Horned Frogs.

  • Texas Tech and West Virginia have both swapped quarterbacks all year. The problem for WVU is that their issues have been due to performance as much as to injury, while the Red Raiders have been able to plug in replacement parts and keep scoring. WVU is 3-0 at home this year, though, and might be able to surprise a Tech squad getting its first real road test.

  • Oklahoma will take out its Red River Rivalry frustrations on Kansas while watching the scoreboard and hoping for losses from the undefeateds above it in the standings.

  • Iowa State is just 1-4 this year, but those losses came by a total of just 22 points (with one of them, Texas, being stolen by a horrendous replay review). The Cyclones have played tough against every opponent, and at some point are going to knock off a ranked foe. This week, against Baylor, probably isn't the time, though, as they will be hard pressed to match the BU scoring machine.


    BAYLOR
    5-0 / 2-0
    vs. Iowa St
    Sat 10/19
    7:00 PM E / 6:00 PM C
    ESPNU
    BU is off to a 5-0 start for the first time since 1991, and is the highest ranked Big 12 team in both polls this week for the first time in league history.

    The Bears have had at least 400 yards of total offense in 32 straight games dating back to Dec. 29, 2011.


    IOWA STATE
    1-4 / 0-2
    at Baylor
    Sat 10/19
    7:00 PM E / 6:00 PM C
    ESPNU
    QB Sam B. Richardson has recorded eight consecutive games with a passing touchdown, which ties for third-most in school history.

    The Cyclones have scored 30+ points in three consecutive games for the first time since 2005.


    KANSAS
    2-3 / 0-2
    vs. Oklahoma
    Sat 10/19
    3:30 PM E / 2:30 PM C
    ESPN
    KU has stopped every 2013 opponent on the opening drive, limiting opposing teams to three first downs on opening drives through five games.

    The Jayhawks forced a season-high five turnovers, scoring 17 points off of them last week.


    KANSAS STATE
    2-4 / 0-3
    Open Date
    Next Game
    vs. West Virginia
    Sat 10/26
    QB Daniel Sams gained a career-high 199 yards on a career-high 30 carries and threw for 41 yards vs. Baylor. His rushing total was the second-highest by a Wildcat quarterback in school history.

    RB John Hubert rushed 15 times for 90 yards. He now has 2,303 career rushing yards to move into sole possession of sixth place in school history.


    OKLAHOMA
    5-1 / 2-1
    at Kansas
    Sat 10/19
    3:30 PM E / 2:30 PM C
    ESPN
    In the Texas game, Oklahoma had three players with 10 or more tackles for the first time since 2010.

    DL Chuka Ndulue set a career high with 15 tackles. He tied his previous career high of seven tackles by halftime.


    OKLAHOMA STATE
    4-1 / 1-1
    vs. TCU
    Sat 10/19
    12:00 PM E / 11:00 AM C
    FOX
    OSU owns an all-time Homecoming record of 49-35-7 (.577) The Cowboys have won 25 of their last 39 Homecoming games, including a 31-10 win over Iowa State last season.

    The Cowboys have won 20-straight home games against unranked opponents dating back to a loss to Houston in 2009.


    TEXAS
    4-2 / 3-0
    Open Date
    Next Game
    Sat 10/26
    at TCU
    The Longhorns had two 100-yard rushers in the same game (Johnathan Gray – 123; Malcolm Brown – 120) for the 31st time in school history, but first outing against Oklahoma.

    After posting 2 sacks over the first three games of the season, the Horns have racked up 13 over the last three games.


    TCU
    3-3 / 1-2
    at Oklahoma St
    Sat 10/19
    12:00 PM E / 11:00 AM C
    FOX
    TCU's defense limited Kansas to 198 total yards, marking the fewest allowed since holding Grambling State to 70 in the 2012 season opener. TCU has held three opponents to less than 300 total yards this season.

    Paul Dawson made his first career start and totaled a career-high 17 tackles, including three tackles for loss and a half sack.


    TEXAS TECH
    6-0 / 3-0
    at West Virginia
    Sat 10/19
    12:00 PM E / 11:00 AM C
    FOXSports1
    With the win over Iowa State, head coach Kliff Kingsbury becomes the first coach in school history to win his first six games. Texas Tech is 6-0 for just the sixth time in school history.

    Freshman quarterback Davis Webb is the sixth Texas Tech quarterback to make his first career start passing for at least 400 yards.


    WEST VIRGINIA
    3-3 / 1-2
    vs. Texas Tech
    Sat 10/19
    12:00 PM E / 11:00 AM C
    FOXSports1
    The Mountaineers have a total of 44 players with at least one game of starting experience. Seventeen Mountaineers have earned their first career start this season.

    WVU has 49 special teams/defensive touchdowns since 2000. The Mountaineers have returned 19 interceptions for touchdowns since 2000.