Texas Tech has a unique spot in the middle of the Big 12 standings.
Coach Kliff Kingsbury's team is the only one in the Big 12 not currently on a winning or losing streak. The five teams ahead of the Red Raiders in the standings, including the league's four Top 25 teams, all have won at least two consecutive games. The four teams below them all have losing streaks of three games or more.
''Yeah, it's been kind of a funky schedule,'' Kingsbury said Monday on the weekly Big 12 coaches teleconference. ''Teams that appear to be at the top of the league haven't played each other yet. ... It will be a very interesting ending to the Big 12 season the way the schedule-makers have it set up.''
Since an unexpected loss to Texas, the Sooners have won their last two games, including Saturday to snap Texas Tech's two-game winning streak. The Longhorns (3-4) had a week off after their Red River Rivalry win before beating Kansas State (3-4), which has the biggest surprise slump with four losses in a row.
''A number of things need to be better than they are, that we're capable of, that we have at one time or another proven that we can do,'' K-State coach Bill Snyder said.
The losses for the Red Raiders (5-3) have been to Baylor, TCU and Oklahoma. They will be at home Saturday to play Oklahoma State.
''That's kind of our message, we have three losses to basically top 10 teams, and two of those we had four turnovers,'' Kingsbury said. ''We have it all in front of us. We know these teams we have left to play are quality football teams. But we've played quality football teams already.''
BAYLOR'S BIG LOSS: Two-time defending Big 12 champ Baylor has lost star quarterback Seth Russell for the rest of the season.
Russell saw a specialist Monday, two days after he fractured a bone during a win over Iowa State. The school said surgery was recommended to repair damage to his cervical vertebra, and that the typical recovery time is six months.
Freshman Jarrett Stidham will take over as starter in place of Russell, the junior quarterback who is the top-rated FBS passer (2,104 yards with 29 touchdowns) and leading the NCAA's top offense (686 total yards, 61 points a game).
''We certainly have tons of confidence in Jarrett. ... Maturity-wise, he doesn't seem like a freshman, act like a freshman or perform like a freshman,'' coach Art Briles said. ''He's a guy that's instinctively and athletically ready to play.''
Stidham has played in every game so far, completing 24 of 28 passes for 331 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions. He has some extra time to prepare for his first start with the Bears off this week before playing Nov. 5 at Kansas State.
Some other notes from the Big 12 call:
-Reflecting on the Oklahoma State homecoming parade tragedy in which four people were killed and nearly four dozen injured Saturday, coach Mike Gundy said Monday that it is still difficult to comprehend. ''We have to do the very best that we can to deal with the circumstances and try to stay focused on school and be supportive of the families, and try to have good practices,'' he said. ''It's just one of those situations in life that there's really no answer. We just have to keep moving, and you handle it day by day.''
-Oklahoma sophomore running back Samaje Perine is this week's Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week after a season-high 201 yards and four touchdowns in a win over Texas Tech. Next up for Perine and the Sooners is a trip to Kansas. Against the Jayhawks last season, Perine broke the FBS single-game record with 427 yards rushing. ''We don't talk a lot about it,'' first-year Kansas coach David Beaty said. ''We really don't feel like one year to the next really helps, or hinders, us. It matters what we do when that ball gets snapped Saturday.''
-Iowa State has made a change at quarterback. Sophomore Joel Lanning, who has been getting more and more snaps recently, is replacing Sam Richardson as the starter Saturday against Texas.
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