orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

Sports Headlines

October 30, 2012

Big 12 picture clearing up at midway point

AUSTIN — The Big 12 season is halfway done, with every team having played at least four league games, and this Saturday shapes up as a big one for teams across the conference.

There have been plenty of surprises so far, none bigger than Kansas State being picked to finish sixth in the preseason poll and instead standing third in the country and second in the BCS.

Here's a glimpse at what's ahead, starting with the meaningful games this weekend:

CAN KANSAS STATE CLOSE IT OUT?

Bill Snyder's Wildcats (8-0, 5-0 Big 12) can eliminate nearly all the drama in the conference title race by winning at home against Oklahoma State (5-2, 3-1). With a victory Saturday night, K-State would then have to lose two of its remaining three games against TCU, Baylor and Texas to fall short of the conference championship.

Every game is huge at this point for any team in the national title chase but while this one may not get the same billing as the last two — against West Virginia and Texas Tech — the defending champion Cowboys pose the most direct threat to Kansas State claiming the conference crown. OSU doesn't need help from anyone else, but would have to win four straight games against ranked teams.

"I think they know that we have the opportunity to control our own destiny but they also feel like we're certainly not in any position to look beyond the next game," coach Mike Gundy said Monday.

"We're getting ready to play the second-ranked team in the country and we'll have our hands full just traveling up to Manhattan."

None of the teams left on the Wildcats' schedule are currently in the Top 25.

"They've got a great chance to run the table. They're definitely one of the better teams in the country," Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said, having lost 55-24 at K-State on Saturday.

"They're more like an SEC team than a Big 12 team, ho they play defense, how they play offense, so I think they've got a great chance."

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