The winner of Saturday's Baylor-Oklahoma State game will be in position to win the Big 12 South if they could go on to beat Oklahoma later this month.
"The players are aware of that, but we've never been really big on our staff here of mentioning anything other than tomorrow's practice," OSU coach Mike Gundy said on the Big 12 teleconference. "I've never really bought into that throughout my career. The players have to achieve what we want them to in practice."
Neither OSU, ranked No. 17 in the BCS rankings, nor No. 21 Baylor has ever won the Big 12 South.
Gundy, though, said scholarship limitations implemented years ago and the advent of spread offenses has leveled the playing field.
"If you're not prepared you can get beat any given Saturday," Gundy said. "There will be more parity from this point on. I'm convinced there will be teams that can beat schools that traditionally they wouldn't have thought they could beat."
Gundy said spread offenses allow teams that might not be as talented on the offensive and defensive lines to be competitive.
"When you can use the width of the field it allows players that may not be as big or as fast as other players to have an opportunity to have success compared to years ago when the game was played between the hash marks where the bigger and strong opponent had an advantage," Gundy said.
"Now the game is played from sideline to sideline. There are other teams that may have players that may not be as athletic as traditional schools but they still have enough of an opportunity to make plays to score points and win games."
OSU and Baylor are perfect examples.
The Cowboys rank second nationally in total offense, averaging 527.3 yards. The Bears rank eighth in total offense, averaging 490.4 yards.
Baylor features one of the nation's top players. Quarterback Robert Griffin ranks third nationally in total offense, averaging 333.6 yards -- 288.0 passing and 53.6 rushing.
"I'm going to guess if there are coaching staffs across the country that are picking quarterbacks he'd be a pretty high-round pick to be a part of their team," Gundy said. "He's definitely a guy who is worthy of big-time consideration for Player of the Year in this league."
Earlier in his career Griffin was known more for his running before suffering a knee injury last season. Now he's a viable dual-threat.
"He has the ability to take off and make big plays," Gundy said. "He's very elusive. He gives ground and can run around defensive ends. In my opinion where he's really improved is throwing the ball which is where he's more effective."
OSU counters with quarterback Brandon Weeden, who Gundy said has matured his first year as a starter.
"He's continued to grow in our offense and has a comfort zone in our system, handling pressure and blitz considerably better than he did even a month ago," Gundy said. "He's really getting a good feel how to handle those things and find a weakness in a defense and take advantage of it."
The Cowboys get back wide receiver Justin Blackmon, who was suspended for last week's game. Gundy said it was encouraging his team won at Kansas State without one of the nation's top receivers.
"Our ability to run the ball has helped us considerably," Gundy said. "And we had some other guys make plays. Bo Bowling made some plays. Isaiah Anderson made some plays. We have some maturity in our organization. I was proud of our other players for finding a way to step up and win the football game."