As the college football season winds down to the final two weeks, there is still plenty to be settled in the Big 12.
First and foremost, the conference doesn't have a champion just yet, despite #6 Kansas State's dominance through the first eleven weeks. Ranked first and needing just two wins to go to the National Championship Game, the Wildcats were blown out by Baylor. Not only did that knock them out of the top five, but puts them in a tie with #13 Oklahoma for the Big 12 Championship.
Kansas State (10-1, 7-1) does own the tie-breaker, but still has to go on the road and beat #16 Texas next weekend. There will be a week to prepare between now and then, though.
The Sooners (8-2, 6-1) don't get the benefit of a week off after narrowly escaping Morgantown with a win last weekend. This week, they'll take on #21 Oklahoma State (7-3, 5-2), which still has a shot at a share of the title themselves. A win would tie them with Oklahoma in the standings, which would have both teams rooting for a Kansas State loss the following weekend.
Oklahoma had a lot of trouble with the West Virginia offense last week, and Bob Stoops will have to come up with a way to slow down an even better one this weekend. The Cowboys are third in the country in points and yards per game, so the Sooners could find themselves in another shootout on Saturday night.
Meanwhile, Texas (8-2, 5-2) is sitting back with just two conference losses, and hoping for Oklahoma to lose this weekend. If that happens, the Longhorns would just need to beat Kansas State next weekend in order to get their own share of the conference championship.
Before they can worry about that, they need to take care of business on Thanksgiving Day against TCU (6-4, 3-4). This will be the third consecutive game against a ranked team for the Horned Frogs. This one will be against one of the hottest teams in the conference, and it's going to take an upset in order for them to come away with a win.
That means if Texas wins the next two games, and Oklahoma State can beat Oklahoma this weekend, the Big 12 will be looking at a four-way tie at the top of the conference. Given the way the Wildcats ran through their first ten games, that almost seemed unthinkable.
Then, there are the teams still fighting for bowl eligibility. Speaking of unthinkable, one of those teams is West Virginia (5-5, 2-5), which was ranked in the top five after six weeks. Now, the Mountaineers are on a five-game losing streak and will be looking to end it against Iowa State (6-5, 3-5) on Friday.
If you believe in moral victories, West Virginia did look much more like the team we saw at the beginning of the year in its loss to Oklahoma. While the defense was bad once again, the offense moved up and down the field, led by Tavon Austin's 344 rushing yards. The Mountaineers caught Oklahoma off guard by putting Austin at running back, but Iowa State will have time to prepare for that. Whether the Cyclones can stop him, that is if he's even lined up in the backfield again, could determine who wins the game.
If WVU can't get the win this weekend, it will come down to a home game against Kansas (1-10, 0-8), which has the week off, in order to get to a bowl. Iowa State earned win number six against the Jayhawks last weekend, but will be looking to boost its record against the Mountaineers.
Baylor (5-5, 2-5) is also looking for that sixth win, but the Bears may have a tougher time getting it. This weekend, they'll be playing Texas Tech (7-4, 4-4) on Saturday afternoon. Of course, last weekend was the major upset of Kansas State. The Baylor defense, which had been terrible all year, came up huge against Collin Klein. It will take a similar performance against the Red Raiders to get a winning streak started.
Texas Tech leads the country in passing yards per game and should be able to find success against the Bears. Nick Florence will likely lead Baylor to a big offensive day like he has all year, but if the defense can't contain Seth Doege and the Red Raiders, it will be tough to keep up. If the Bears lose, it will take an upset of Oklahoma State at home next week to finish .500.
Everything seemed to be falling squarely into place a few weeks ago. Kansas State was clearly the best team in the conference, and Oklahoma was a solid second-place team. With one upset, though, the conference could be headed for a crazy finish.
With two weeks to play, there are still four teams with a shot at the conference title.