Big 12 games to watch

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KU running back James Sims rushes for ten yards and a KU first down during the second quarter of the annual Sunflower Showdown Saturday in Memorial Stadium in Lawrence. The Wildcats beat the Kansas Jayhawks 31-10, bringing their current win streak in the series against their intrastate rivals to five. (Parker Robb | The Collegian)

Kansas — Kansas! — nearly upset No. 5 TCU in a bizarre weekend around the Big 12. A Jayhawk win would have been arguably the biggest upset in conference history and K-State would have benefited in the standings. However, Gary Patterson’s Horned Frogs found a way to win — like most top-ranked teams do.

TCU will catch a breather in week 13. They’ll be off while eight teams from around the conference, including No. 12 K-State and West Virginia, go head-to-head as the regular season draws closer to an intriguing conclusion.

With that in mind, here’s what is ahead this weekend after the Wildcats and Mountaineers kick off from Morgantown, West Virginia on Thursday.

Kansas vs. No. 23 Oklahoma, 11 a.m., FOX Sports 1

(LINE: Oklahoma -25)

Eighty-nine yards. That’s how far Kansas was from upsetting the now No. 5 team in the country. After all that had gone their way, a late interception did not, and the Jayhawks ultimately fell to TCU 34-30.

Still, there’s no reason for Jayhawk fans to hang their heads. Interim head coach Clint Bowen looks like the right man for the job. Junior quarterback Michael Cummings has caught fire, throwing for 1,492 yards and seven touchdowns to just three interceptions. Other than a 60-14 drubbing from Baylor, Kansas has been in their last four ballgames up until the final whistle.

Meanwhile, in Norman, Oklahoma, optimism hasn’t been so high. The Sooners are out of playoff contention and are fighting for a reputable bowl. To make matters worse, they are without their star quarterback, sophomore Trevor Knight.

Oklahoma survived an early deficit last weekend against Texas Tech, using a 21-point fourth quarter to beat the Red Raiders 42-30. Despite the Jayhawks resurgence of late, Oklahoma still has the better talent and the home-field advantage to give them the edge.

Oklahoma State vs. No. 6 Baylor, 6:30 p.m., FOX

(LINE: Baylor -27.5)

FOX Sports columnist and analyst David Ubben had the best tweet of the weekend: “If KU wins this game (or TCU wins by single digits), Baylor fans may drive to Lawrence to help tear down the goalposts.”

The former didn’t happen, but the four-point margin between the Jayhawks and Horned Frogs might just have opened the door for Baylor to leapfrog — pun intended — TCU in the College Football Playoff discussion.

Baylor will need to win out, of course, but with two out their final three games against teams with a .500 record or worse, that appears very doable. The Bears start that stretch Saturday at home against Oklahoma State.

After starting 5-1, Oklahoma State has lost their last four games and look like an entirely different squad from the one that gave No. 1 Florida State a run for their money to kickoff the season.

With the Cowboys allowing 30 points a game and Baylor averaging just over 50, all signs point to the Bears running away with this one on their home turf.

Texas Tech vs. Iowa State, 2:30 p.m.

(LINE: Iowa State -1.5)

Texas Tech at Iowa State is probably the most intriguing matchup of the weekend, except it’s for all the wrong reasons.

The two teams are a combined 5-14 this season. Both are on three-game losing streaks and their best chance at tallying another win this season is on Saturday when the two play each other at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa.

Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury hasn’t had it easy this year. First, his starting quarterback went down. Then his backup went down a few weeks later. At that point, the Red Raiders were forced to go with a true freshman walk-on who wasn’t in camp until fall practices started.

It hasn’t been quite as bad in Ames for head coach Paul Rhoads, but it certainly hasn’t been that much better. The Cyclones have lost their last two games by a combined score of 93-28 and remain winless in the Big 12. It doesn’t get much better, either. After this weekend, Iowa State hosts 6-4 West Virginia before traveling to Fort Worth, Texas to take on 9-1 TCU.

It’s not the battle of unbeaten’s, sure, but these type of games sometime prove most entertaining to watch.

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