5 Things to Know about Week 13 in college football
Baylor gets the big stage all to itself Saturday.
The third-ranked Bears, a close fourth behind Ohio State in the BCS rankings, face No. 11 Oklahoma State in Stillwater in a national television game.
With No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Florida State partaking in glorified scrimmages and No. 4 Ohio State at home against Indiana, the Bears are the one team in the thick of the BCS race that faces a stiff test this weekend.
What the Cowboys need to do to slow down the prolific Bears is among five things to know about Week 13 of the college football season.
1) POKEY POKES.
Oklahoma State's rise to prominence in the Big 12 and national has been built on one of the most consistently prolific offenses in the country. Coach Mike Gundy's fast-paced attack has chugged along no matter who is throwing, catching or running the ball. Or blocking. Finally, this season, the Cowboys have hit a relative rough patch offensively. The defense is the best part of this Oklahoma State squad. Oklahoma State probably can't beat the Bears 55-50 without a big turnover advantage. But if linebacker Caleb Lavey and crew can keep Bryce Petty and Baylor in the 30s, with help of a Kansas State-style, slow-play offense, Oklahoma State can pull the upset.
2) DIVISION WINNERS.
No. 19 Arizona State and No. 13 Michigan State can lock up division crowns and spots in their conference titles games with victories. The Sun Devils are at No. 14 UCLA. The Spartans visit Northwestern. The SEC East can also be decided this week. If No. 8 Missouri were to lose to No. 24 Mississippi, No. 12 South Carolina goes to the Southeastern Conference title game.
3) NOT SO BIG GAME.
The 116th meeting of Stanford and California - aka Big Game - could get ugly. The 10th-ranked Cardinal are 32-point favorites. Cal has yet to beat an FBS opponent and has one of the worst defenses in the country. Sonny Dykes' first year as coach of the Bears (1-10) has been awful. FYI, the most lopsided Stanford victory in the series is 41-0 in 1930.
4) OLD RIVALS, NEW CONFERENCE.
Pittsburgh plays at Syracuse in the first meeting between the former Big East rivals as members of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Panthers have won nine of the last 11 games in the series. Both teams are 5-5, so the winner becomes bowl-eligible. Pitt finishes with Miami and Syracuse closes at home against Boston College.
5) MUCH DIFFERENT TRIP.
Nebraska visits Penn State for a game that doesn't have much juice, despite the name brands. It's far different than the last time the Cornhuskers came to Happy Valley. That was Nov. 12, 2011, Penn State's first football game after the Jerry Sandusky child-abuse scandal broke and coach Joe Paterno was fired in the aftermath. Penn State was coached by longtime defensive coordinator Tom Bradley and Nebraska won 17-14 on strange day at State College, Pa.