Big 12 storylines: Week 15

Here’s what I’m keeping an eye on with the Big 12 title on the line in two games this Saturday.

Setting the stage: The Big 12 title race is very simple entering the final weekend. If Oklahoma State wins in the early game, they capture at least a share of the Big 12 and the league’s automatic BCS bid. That means they’ll had to the desert for the Fiesta Bowl.
Regardless of the early game’s result, Texas and Baylor will play for at least a share of the Big 12 title at 2:30 p.m. CT. Should Oklahoma State lose to Oklahoma, the two Lone Star State squads will play a legitimate, winner-take-all Big 12 title game. The winner would be the Big 12’s outright champion and capture the conference’s bid to the Fiesta Bowl.

Mack back on track or under attack?
It’s not as simple as saying Mack Brown is coaching for his job, but a win against Baylor would give Texas’ coach a nice bump in security and make it very hard for the university to win the PR war if it makes a change. Texas would have a share of a Big 12 title, and if OSU loses, could be headed to the BCS as the league’s outright champion. Conversely, a loss would mean tying for third in the league and posting an 8-4 record, which isn’t any better than last year. That would make it much easier for Texas to make a change. I’m betting a loss Saturday means Texas is looking for a coach this offseason.

It’s all in the numbers:
Oklahoma’s rediscovered a promising running game behind Trevor Knight and the zone read in the last two games, wins over Iowa State and Kansas State. It’ll try to do much of the same against Oklahoma State, but the Cowboys boast arguably the Big 12’s best defense, and a one-dimensional offense will be eaten up. He was benched early in the season because he failed to consistently complete passes. Can he change that this week and pull a Bedlam upset?

30 minutes or less or it’s free: Baylor safety Ahmad Dixon’s third-quarter hit on TCU’s Trevone Boykin ignited a ton of postgame controversy and spawned a five-minute rant from TCU coach Gary Patterson. It also overshadowed the fact that a new NCAA rule this season means Dixon will miss the first half against Texas. He can’t even be on the sidelines. He’ll have to wait in the locker room. Does Texas take advantage with Case McCoy trying to find Mike Davis downfield?

Your closing arguments, gentlemen: The Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year race is a jumbled mess. Among the guys who could win it: Ryan Mueller, Jackson Jeffcoat, Justin Gilbert, Jason Verrett and Caleb Lavey. Three of those guys play this weekend. Could a huge game leave a big impression in voter’s minds?