With five teams within a game of each other, control of the Big 12 is still up for grabs headed into Week 8.
Texas Tech (4-0), Baylor and Texas (each 3-0) are in a three-way tie atop the conference standings. Oklahoma and OSU, each with one loss, are a game behind.
To lead off the Big 12 coaches' conference Monday, Texas coach Mack Brown said the Longhorns divide the season into different segments. The Oklahoma game was the end of the second part of the Longhorns' season.
Texas is coming off a bye and will play at TCU this weekend.
“We're playing better defense, which was obvious at Oklahoma. We're getting the identity we thought we thought we would have at the first of the year,” Brown said. “This league is wide open. It's an exciting time for our team because they know they have a chance to win our conference.”
Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury is facing Oklahoma for the second time this calendar year. Kingsbury was offensive coordinator at Texas A&M, when the Aggies demolished OU 41-13 on Jan. 4 in the Cotton Bowl.
Texas Tech comes into Norman ranked 10th in The Associated Press poll, but Kingsbury said this OU defense will be different from the last time he saw the Sooners.
Kingsbury called OU the Red Raiders' toughest challenge so far.
“They're much-improved, playing with a lot more confidence,” Kingsbury said. “Schematically, they're different; it looks nothing like what people saw in the Cotton Bowl.”
The first six games for Baylor have been an offensive explosion, but the final stretch will be more challenging for the Bears. Before a run of three consecutive top-15 teams (OU, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State), Baylor draws Kansas on Saturday.
Baylor goes into the game as the Big 12's crown jewel, ranked sixth in the AP poll.
“All we see is this Saturday against Kansas,” Baylor coach Art Briles said when asked about the tough schedule ahead. “We'll just try to go up to Lawrence and play as well as we can play.”
K-STATE, ISU TRYING TO GET OUT OF BIG 12 BASEMENT
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Kansas State, Iowa State and Kansas are all winless in conference play (0-3).
Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said the off week was helpful for the Wildcats, who play at West Virginia on Saturday.
“Off weeks go either way,” he said. “I would like to think we've given a significant amount of time trying to correct mistakes we've made. Off weeks give you the opportunity to do that, but you're without a week of competition.”
Iowa State goes to Oklahoma State on Saturday with a 1-5 record. TCU, after an ugly offensive performance against OSU, will play Texas.
TCU is only 1-3 in the Big 12, but it hasn't lost consecutive games all season.
“One thing about our group right now is that they're really playing hard,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said. “Usually when teams keep doing that, something good happens to them.”
HOLGORSEN ON BIG 12: EVERY WEEK'S A CHALLENGE
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen was asked about the biggest difference in the Big East and the Big 12. Holgorsen was head coach of the Mountaineers for a year in the Big East before WVU made the switch in 2012.
“It's every week. It doesn't matter who you're playing, every week is going to be a challenge,” Holgorsen said. “There's challenges in not knowing our opponent, not having previous wars with them. The history's not there, and that will continue to change over the years.”
Holgorsen said WVU's second- and third-team players aren't good enough to compete with what Baylor and Texas Tech has trotted out. The Mountaineers have been outscored 110-69 in the last two weeks against those teams.
QUARTERBACK QUESTIONS (NOT AT OU OR OSU)
Along with the issues OU and OSU are facing at quarterback, Kansas and Texas are dealing with their own.
Kansas was rolling along against the Sooners last week, but its offense struggled after coach Charlie Weis abruptly put true freshman Montell Cozart into the game in the second quarter.
Weis said he'll continue to juggle Cozart and Jake Heaps. Heaps is still the starter, but Cozart will continue to get playing time.
“We don't lie to our players; we told him (Heaps) from Monday we were going to do this,” Weis said of the quarterback rotation.
“As we go forward, you'll definitely see him (Cozart) show up in the game. There were a couple of things he could have done a little differently, but I think the best thing that happened is we got the butterflies out.”
With David Ash still out with a head injury, Brown said the Texas staff has wanted to get true freshman quarterback Tyrone Swoopes into games the last two weeks but hasn't.
CONFERENCE PLAYERS OF THE WEEK (NOT NAMED JOSH STEWART)
Oklahoma State WR Josh Stewart could have easily been both the Special Teams and Offensive Player of the Week in the Big 12, but he had to settle for the former. Texas Tech TE Jace Amaro was named Offensive Player of the Week after nine catches, 136 yards and two touchdowns in a 37-27 win at West Virginia.
Eddie Lackey of Baylor was named the Defensive Player of the Week. Lackey had eight tackles, a sack, 1.5 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery in a 71-7 blowout of Iowa State.
“Unless Johnny Manziel is transferring within the next three days, it does nothing for us.”
— Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury when asked whether or not his preparation for OU in January gives him an advantage going into Norman this weekend. Kingsbury was the Texas A&M offensive coordinator during the Aggies' 41-13 win in the Cotton Bowl Jan 4.
Future TV dates: The following television dates were announced by the Big 12 Conference on Monday: Nov. 2, Iowa State at Kansas State (Fox Sports 1, 2:30 p.m.); West Virginia at TCU (ESPNU, 2:30 p.m.); Kansas at Texas (Longhorn Network, 2:30 p.m.); Oklahoma State at Texas Tech (FOX, 6 p.m.); Nov. 7, Oklahoma at Baylor (Fox Sports 1, 6:30 p.m.).
BY ERIK HORNE