The matchup of week eight lost a little luster when Texas Tech blew out West Virginia last weekend.
Still, #4 Kansas State (6-0, 3-0) will be traveling to Morgantown to take on the 13th-ranked Mountaineers Saturday evening, and the winner may be in the driver's seat for the Big 12 Championship.
West Virginia (5-1, 2-1) has a lot to improve upon last week, though, if it hopes to be a top five team this week. It was no secret that the defense had been a liability going into the game against Texas Tech, but when the offense had trouble moving the ball, the game turned into a rout. Geno Smith will have to find a way to bring back the offense's explosiveness if the Mountaineers are going to rebound from the loss.
Then, there's still the issue of stopping Collin Klein and the Kansas State offense. If Smith hadn't been putting up the numbers we saw in the first five games, Klein very well may be the Heisman front-runner right now. Just about every other quarterback that has faced the Mountaineers has had success, so there's no reason to believe Klein will be any different. That being said, the odds makers in Las Vegas have given West Virginia the upper hand, so this one should be close.
There may not be anyone in the conference that needs a win as badly as #25 Texas (4-2, 1-2). The Longhorns were on the verge of the top ten when they lost by a field goal to West Virginia. Then, they got absolutely destroyed by Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry. Now, on a sudden losing streak and nearly out of the Big 12 title race, Texas will host Baylor (3-2, 0-2) to try to turn things around.
The Bears are on a losing streak of their own, though, and still looking for their first conference win. The defense, which has given up 119 points in the last two games, will have to be much better to beat Texas. This is a series that has been dominated by the Longhorns, but Baylor has now won two in a row. Both of those wins came with Robert Griffin III at quarterback. It will be up to Nick Florence to keep the streak alive.
There's another matchup of ranked teams that isn't receiving the same attention as the game in Morgantown. Coming off of the huge win over West Virginia, #17 Texas Tech (5-1, 2-1) will head to Fort Worth to take on #23 TCU (5-1, 2-1).
This game will feature two of the best defenses in the conference. Texas Tech held the high-powered West Virginia offense to just 14 points last week, and TCU forced six Baylor turnovers while holding the Bears to 21 points.
TCU will once again be playing without quarterback Casey Pachall, but Trevone Boykin looked much better against Baylor than he did against Iowa State. It will be interesting to see if he can find more success against the Red Raider pass defense than Smith did last weekend.
The Horned Frogs will have their hands full, too, as Seth Doege showed that he can throw the ball with the best of them. If one team can crack the other's defense, they'll likely see their conference record improve to 3-1.
Oklahoma State (3-2, 1-1) probably didn't think it would be hosting a ranked team when Iowa State (4-2, 1-2) came to Stillwater, but the Cyclones jumped to 24th in the polls after almost beating Kansas State.
Iowa State is also doing it with defense, but it will be a lot to ask to stop the Cowboy offense. If Oklahoma State is able to put up a lot of points, you have to wonder if the Cyclones have the ability to keep up. Jared Barnett has taken over at quarterback, and while he hasn't played badly, he hasn't had a big enough game yet to make anyone believe Iowa State can win a shootout.
As for #9 Oklahoma (4-1, 2-1), this weekend would be a typical trap game situation. However, one week after beating up on Texas, the Sooners get the benefit of playing Kansas (1-5, 0-3). It would seem that the Jayhawks would have little to no shot at the upset, despite keeping their game with Oklahoma State close last weekend.
If Oklahoma can take care of its business, the game against Notre Dame next weekend will be huge. An early season loss to Kansas State dropped the Sooners in the polls, but last week's win has them back on the rise, and a win over a top five team could put them back in the National Championship picture.
But that will have to wait one more week. There are plenty of quality matchups within the conference this week, and as we saw last week, those games tend to erase what we thought we knew about the Big 12.