No. 12 Cowboys could win Big 12 South Saturday
Oklahoma State fans who've grown weary of living in Oklahoma's shadow could be in for a delicious day of football.
If the No. 12 Cowboys (9-1, 5-1 Big 12) beat woeful Kansas (3-7, 1-5) Saturday morning and Baylor gets by No. 16 Oklahoma on Saturday evening, the Cowboys will be the Big 12 South champions. And there will be nothing the Sooners can do about it when they meet the Cowboys the following week in their traditional regular-season finale.
How sweet would that be?
''I'm glad we're in the situation we are,'' said Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden. ''I think we've exceeded a lot of people's expectations. To do that and have a chance to do more, it's a pretty sweet deal.''
After sweeping all four Texas teams, the Cowboys are poised to at least clinch a tie for their first South title with a victory over the struggling Jayhawks, who are 20-point underdogs. If they win the division, they would be the first South team since 1998 other than Texas or Oklahoma to advance to the conference title game.
The Cowboys would also notch the first 10-win regular season in their history.
''It's not easy to win nine games, first of all,'' said Weeden, who guides a juggernaut offense that's been averaging 45 points and a nation-best 548 yards.
''Second of all, in this conference there are some good football teams. To be able to do that and have a chance to win two more in conference in the regular season, that's achieving a lot of goals we didn't really have on our plate because we didn't know where we'd be six months ago.''
Stopping the most productive offense they've seen all year will be a tall order for the speed-challenged Jayhawks.
''Their offense is very explosive,'' said first-year coach Turner Gill. ''The three areas where you try to get talent, they have done that, at quarterback, at running back and receiver. At every one of those positions, they have a guy there that can make plays. You're not going to stop them, but you're just going to have to slow them down.''
It's not mere coach-speak.
Weeden leads the nation with 3,391 yards passing while Kendall Hunter is fourth in the country with 1,356 yards rushing. Wide receiver Justin Blackmon is No. 1 in the nation in both yards receiving (1,436) and touchdown receptions (16).
As though that's not enough, the Cowboys are also blessed with two of the country's best kickers, punter Quinn Sharp and place kicker Dan Bailey.
Facing them on Kansas' senior day will be a defense that gave up 55 points to Baylor, 59 to Kansas State and 45 each to Texas A&M and Colorado.
''I get excited because we're going to need to keep up with them to stay in the game,'' said Kansas wide receiver Johnathan Wilson. ''That means we're going to have to score, because I know they're going to score points. I'm sure we're going to have to take some shots at them and get some points on the board.''
The Jayhawks will be hoping for a big day from James Sims. Their impressive freshman running back has gone over 100 yards in each one of their three wins.
''One thing I've noticed that they've been able to do is they've been able to find ways to run the ball,'' said Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy. ''Each week, they come up with a scheme or a way to give themselves an opportunity to run the ball, and they've done a good job with that. This week is a week that it's more important for us to get better in all areas and then go play our game.''