STILLWATER — It had been mere minutes since Oklahoma State had finished off its dominating 38-13 win over a ranked Texas squad on its home field.
But Caleb Lavey could already describe his emotions, knowing that mighty Baylor awaits.
“These are the ones that you live for,” Lavey said.
It's a clash at Boone Pickens Stadium between two teams ranked in the top 10 of the BCS standings. It can be viewed as a de facto Big 12 title game. And it features two new-age powers, with OSU projected before the season to win its second conference championship in three seasons and Baylor playing the role of popular sleeper pick that has surged into the national title race.
The No. 4 Bears will bring their dazzling offense — which racks up more than 61 points and 684 yards per game — and underrated defense to Stillwater, a place Baylor hasn't won since 1939.
The 10th-ranked Cowboys will counter with a stout defensive unit — which is tied for the national lead with 19 interceptions and has helped OSU lead the Big 12 in turnover margin (plus-13) — and an offense that has emerged in the last month.
With a backloaded Big 12 schedule, this game represents the toughest test both OSU and Baylor have faced thus far. It's the biggest contest of the day in college football, luring ESPN's College GameDay to campus. A primetime national television audience will be watching.
And the Cowboys, frankly, can't wait.
“I'm getting chills right now thinking about it,” offensive lineman Parker Graham said.
Oklahoma State and Baylor have been hit by injuries to key playmakers in recent weeks.
OSU: Josh Stewart, the Cowboys' top receiver and one of the best punt returners in the nation, missed the Cowboys' win at Texas with an ankle injury. His status for the Baylor contest is questionable, though there seems to be optimism that he will return.
Baylor: The Bears rolled up 63 points on Texas Tech even without three of its top offensive weapons in running back Lache Seastrunk (groin), receiver Tevin Reese (wrist) and running back Glasco Martin (knee). Reese is out for the regular season after having surgery. Seastrunk's and Martin's injuries appear to be less serious.
BIG 12 SHOWDOWN
Only 10 times in Big 12 history have league teams ranked in the top 10 met after Halloween:
Nov. 22, 2008: No. 5 OU 65, No. 2 Texas Tech 21
Nov. 8, 2008: No. 2 Texas Tech 56, No. 9 OSU 20
Nov. 1, 2008: No. 7 Texas Tech 39, No. 1 Texas 33
Dec. 1, 2007: No. 9 OU 38, No. 1 Missouri 17
Nov. 24, 2007: No. 4 Missouri 36, No. 2 Kansas 28
Dec. 1, 2001: No. 9 Colorado 39, No. 3 Texas 37
Nov. 13, 1999: No. 6 Nebraska 41, No. 5 Kansas State 15
Dec. 5, 1998: No. 8 Texas A&M 36, No. 3 Kansas State 33, 2 OT
Nov. 30, 1996: No. 4 Nebraska 17, No. 5 Colorado 12
Nov. 16, 1996: No. 6 Colorado 12, No. 9 Kansas State 0
STORY OF THE SEASON
Oklahoma State and Baylor have used very different roads to reach Saturday's massive contest.
The Cowboys, the preseason media pick to win the league, suffered a September loss at West Virginia and have climbed back into contention with six consecutive wins. The Bears, meanwhile, were unranked in the preseason and have shot up the rankings thanks to its high-powered offense and multitude of blowout victories.
Here's a quick glance at OSU and Baylor's seasons thus far:
OSU (9-1, 6-1 Big 12)
Best win: The Cowboys are coming off a 38-13 thumping at Texas, a team that was previously undefeated in Big 12 play. It was the most lopsided home loss in Mack Brown's tenure in Austin.
Close call: OSU needed a late touchdown drive and back-to-back takeaways to hold on for a 33-29 home victory against Kansas State on Oct. 5.
Still left on the schedule: Following a bye week over Thanksgiving, the Cowboys will host Oklahoma for Bedlam.
Baylor (9-0, 6-0 Big 12)
Best win: In a hyped Thursday night showdown in Waco, the Bears throttled Oklahoma 41-12 on Nov. 7.
Close call: K-State also gave Baylor trouble on Oct. 12, slowing the game down and hanging around throughout before the Bears pulled away with a 35-25 win.
Still left on the schedule: After its trip to Stillwater, Baylor travels to TCU and then hosts Texas in the final game at Floyd Casey Stadium.