Some things to watch in the Big 12 this week, with an early start before only two conference games Saturday:
Game of the week
TCU (4-3, 2-2 Big 12) at Oklahoma State (5-3, 2-3). The two longest-tenured coaches in the Big 12, Gary Patterson (19th season) and Mike Gundy (15th season), have freshman starting quarterbacks. The Horned Frogs and Cowboys both had lost three of their four previous games before needed wins last week that knocked other Big 12 teams out of the Top 25. TCU was in danger of falling below .500 before a 37-27 win at home against then-No. 15 Texas when Max Duggan threw for 273 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 72 yards with a game-clinching TD with 1:59 left. Cowboys freshman Spencer Sanders threw for 249 yards and two TDs in a 34-27 win over then-No. 23 Iowa State. Oklahoma State holds a 4-3 series advantage since TCU joined the Big 12, though the Frogs have won the last two meetings.
West Virginia left offensive tackle Colton McKivitz vs. Baylor defensive end James Lynch in a Halloween matchup Thursday night. The 6-foot-7, 312-pound McKivitz is a fourth-year starting tackle for the Mountaineers who moved to the left side this season. He has made 42 career starts. Lynch is the Big 12 leader with 8 1/2 sacks, getting 5 1/2 of those in the past three games in the three-man defensive front for the No. 12 Bears. The 6-4, 295-pound Lynch has started 26 games and his 17 career sacks have him one short of taking over the school record.
Inside the numbers
There are four Big 12 teams with open dates Saturday, including all three teams that lost as ranked teams last week: Oklahoma, Texas and Iowa State. Texas Tech also has an open date. … Oklahoma and Texas last weekend lost on the same day for the first time in more than five years, since Oct. 4, 2014. … Baylor is 7-0 for fourth time in program history, the third time this decade. The Bears were also 7-0 in 1970, 2013 and 2015.
Can Kansas and first-year coach Les Miles do it two weeks in a row? The Jayhawks are again underdogs at home, this time against No. 22 Kansas State. The Wildcats have won 10 in a row in the Sunflower State rivalry, not long after an 11-game winning streak in the series. Kansas State got back in the AP Top 25 after its big home win over then-No. 5 Oklahoma last week. Kansas had lost 19 of 20 meetings against Texas Tech, including 11 in a row, before a 37-34 win over the Red Raiders last week.
Kansas sophomore RB Pooka Williams has 396 yards rushing in his last three games since being limited to 12 yards on eight carries at TCU. He is second in the Big 12 at 100.6 yards rushing per game. The Wildcats limited him to 59 yards on 14 carries last season.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.