No. 6 Baylor needs to take advantage in Big 12
GAME OF THE WEEK (after Thursday): No. 6 Baylor vs. Oklahoma State. Baylor (8-1) is a four-touchdown favorite at home against the slumping Cowboys, and the playoff-hopeful Bears likely need that kind of outcome Saturday night. TCU is off after a 34-30 win at Kansas, then dropping from the top four to fifth in the this week's College Football Playoff rankings. Baylor remained seventh in the playoff rankings after being off last weekend, which followed their 48-14 win at Oklahoma. Oklahoma State (5-5) has lost four straight games, its longest losing streak since 2005, and the Cowboys have to win at Baylor or Oklahoma to get bowl eligible for the ninth season in a row. But Oklahoma State was responsible for Baylor's only regular-season loss last season and has a 16-2 series lead as Big 12 foes. TCU beat Oklahoma State 42-9 at home last month.
BEST MATCHUP: Shepard vs. Shepherd. Oklahoma junior receiver Sterling Shepard has been bothered by a pulled groin and the Sooners will again be without quarterback Trevor Knight, but Shepard has been one of the Big 12's top receivers, with 106 yards receiving per game. Kansas senior cornerback JaCorey Shepherd leads the Big 12 and is second in the NCAA with 18 passes defended (15 pass breakups and three interceptions). He is also the top kick returner for the Jayhawks.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Texas Tech (3-7, 1-6 Big 12) is already assured only its second losing record since the Big 12's inaugural season in 1996. The Red Raiders were 5-7 in 2011. ... Iowa State (2-7, 0-6) has three more chances to get a Big 12 victory. The Cyclones are home Saturday against Texas Tech, then play West Virginia and TCU. ... Oklahoma State, Kansas and Texas Tech have no home games remaining.
LONG SHOT: A six-way tie for first place in the Big 12 to end the regular season. Going into Thursday night's game, there was still the possibility that six teams could finish 6-3 in conference play. West Virginia would first have to beat Kansas State. A K-State win cuts the possibility to five 6-3 teams. But that would also necessitate TCU, Baylor and Kansas State all losing twice.
IMPACT PLAYER: Oklahoma State sophomore defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah leads the Big 12 with 10 sacks and 16 1/2 tackles for loss. He is the first Cowboys player with at least 10 sacks since 2003.
Compiled by AP Sports Writer Stephen Hawkins in Fort Worth, Texas.