Bedlam, Cowtown and Sunflower set for Big 12 rivalry games
There is Bedlam in Oklahoma, where for the fifth time in eight years the game between the playoff-contending Sooners and Oklahoma State will have a direct impact on who wins - or doesn't win - the Big 12 title.
In Cowtown, the league's two private schools and last year's co-champions meet in a rematch that lost some of its luster with No. 7 Baylor needing help to win a third consecutive Big 12 championship and No. 15 TCU coming off a loss that knocked the Horned Frogs out of contention.
The Sunflower State showdown has Kansas State trying to get another step closer toward bowl eligibility while the Jayhawks want to avoid being the first Power Five conference team since Washington in 2008 to go winless in a season.
A look at three rivalry games in the Big 12 that are part of this Thanksgiving weekend:
BAYLOR at TCU: Going into November, the Bears (9-1) and Horned Frogs (9-2) were both still undefeated and their Black Friday game was shaping up to be a de facto Big 12 championship game with playoff implications.
But TCU then lost at Oklahoma State, a week before Baylor's 20-game home winning streak was snapped by Oklahoma, which then last weekend held on to beat the Horned Frogs while the Bears were winning in Stillwater.
''The implications to us are we're trying to get back into the Big 12 hunt and have an opportunity to have another championship banner around here,'' Baylor coach Art Briles said this week. ''The bowl implications are looming pretty large also.''
When they played in Waco midway through the 2014 season, the Bears overcame a 21-point deficit in the final 11 minutes and won 61-58 on Chris Callahan's game-ending field goal. That was the only loss for the Frogs, and Baylor and TCU wound up Big 12 co-champs and the first two teams left out of the initial four-team College Football Playoff.
''It's been a long time ago,'' said TCU coach Gary Patterson, whose team has won its last 12 games in Fort Worth since losing to Baylor two years ago.
With the win last season, the Bears took a 52-51-7 lead in the series that is the most-played for both schools that are only about 90 miles apart.
No. 5 OKLAHOMA at No. 9 OKLAHOMA STATE: This is only the third time both teams in the Bedlam game are ranked in the top 10, but as often is the case, the outcome will have a significant impact on the Big 12 race.
Oklahoma has moved to third in the College Football Playoff rankings, and with a win Saturday night clinches its ninth Big 12 title. The Sooners have an 84-18-7 advantage in their instate series.
''The bottom line is we're trying to win an outright Big 12 championship this week,'' Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. ''That's what's primary on our minds.''
Oklahoma State clinched its only Big 12 championship in 2011 with a win in the Bedlam game, but lost to the Sooners two years ago to miss the chance to win another title.
The Cowboys were undefeated until losing at home to Baylor last week, but coach Mike Gundy anticipates no issues with his team getting refocused because of the opponent.
''The motivation should take care of itself,'' Gundy said.
KANSAS STATE at KANSAS: In the Sunflower State, the Wildcats have won 19 of the last 23 meetings, including their last three trips to Lawrence, where Saturday's game will be played.
Kansas State (4-6) needs to win its last two games to be assured of a bowl berth. The Wildcats snapped a six-game Big 12 losing streak by wiping out a three-touchdown deficit after halftime to win at Iowa State.
Since starting play in 1996, the Big 12 has never had a team finish a season without winning a game.
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