Baylor has ascended to No. 4 in the BCS standings, and there is talk in some circles that the Bears, and not No. 3 Ohio State, pose the biggest threat to the top two teams, Alabama and Florida State. Now the Bears face possibly their biggest test of the season to date Saturday, when they visit No. 10 Oklahoma State in the top game of Week 13.
The Cowboys have the talent to give Baylor's top-ranked scoring offense some trouble, led by senior CB Justin Gilbert, whose draft stock should continue to soar with a big game Saturday. Oklahoma State will probably look to him to cover Baylor's dangerous wide receiver, Antwan Goodley.
Also on the Week 13 slate, Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M look to avenge last season's loss to LSU, and Arizona State's Will Sutton tries to stop UCLA's two-way phenom Myles Jack.
Here are our top 10 games of Week 13.
10. Washington at Oregon State, Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2
The skinny: The Beavers are reeling, having lost their last three games, and quarterback Sean Mannion has thrown seven interceptions in his last two. The Huskies aren't faring much better. Redshirt freshman Cyles Miles is expected to start in place of the injured Keith Price. Washington is going to have to lean on running back Bishop Sankey and keep defensive end Scott Crichton (14 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks) from bearing down on a first-time starter on obvious passing downs.
9. Vanderbilt at Tennessee, Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2
The skinny: Vanderbilt senior receiver Jordan Matthews needs three catches to match the SEC career record of 236, set by former Commodore Earl Bennett. UT won't want that to happen on its home field against a rival, but Vandy's top prospect hasn't been held down all year. That record will fall. Keep an eye on Tennessee junior linebacker A.J. Johnson working against the Vandy offensive front and underrated running back Jerron Seymour. Another nice matchup: Vandy cornerback Andre Hal vs. standout Vols freshman WR Marquez North.
8. BYU at Notre Dame, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, NBC
The skinny: BYU (7-3) already has clinched a spot in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl; Notre Dame (7-3) is looking for a bowl berth. Both teams have defensive players and wide receivers coveted by the NFL. BYU's best player is senior LB Kyle Van Noy (6-3, 245), a big-play guy with 14.5 tackles for loss this season and 59.5 in his career. He also has 26 career sacks, second-most among active players. Notre Dame counters defensively with two juniors: NT Louis Nix (6-2, 357) and DE Stephon Tuitt (6-6, 312). Nix has battled a knee injury this season but remains a force in the middle. Tuitt got off to a slow start after offseason surgery for a sports hernia and has five sacks and 35 tackles. He also has played some at tackle this season. The receivers to watch are BYU senior Cody Hoffman (6-4, 210), who has 38 receptions and five TDs, and Notre Dame senior TJ Jones (5-11, 195), who has 54 receptions and eight TDs. Neither quarterback, Notre Dame's Tommy Rees and BYU's Taysom Hill, has been consistent, though Hill's running ability should worry Notre Dame.
7. Oregon at Arizona, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN2
The skinny: Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota still hasn't thrown an interception this season, but he hasn't looked the same since putting that bulky brace on his injured left knee. With control of the Pac-12 North again resting with Oregon, and Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey capable of turning this one into a shootout, Mariota will have to be a true dual-threat against a surprisingly salty scoring defense led by linebackers Scooby Wright and Jake Fischer.
6. Oklahoma at Kansas State, Saturday, 12 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
The skinny: The Sooners weren't exactly impressive against Iowa State, trailing late into the second quarter before a punt return for a touchdown sparked a 48-10 win. With the Wildcats on the upswing, another slow start would not be advised. Defensive end Ryan Mueller (16 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles) has sparked the K-State defense, which will face a reshuffled OU offense. The most compelling action should come when speedy junior wide receiver Tyler Lockett faces off with physical Sooners cornerback Aaron Colvin.
5. Wisconsin at Minnesota, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
The skinny: This is the 123rd game in the series, making it the most-played rivalry in the FBS ranks. Wisconsin (8-2) remains in the running for a BCS bid, and Minnesota (8-2) has been one of the nation's biggest surprises. The Gophers have a shot at a Jan. 1 bowl appearance, which would be their first since the 1961 season. The Gophers' offense is predicated on running the ball; if they can't run, their offense bogs down. Senior DT Ra'Shede Hageman (6-6, 311) should be a first-round pick; he's extremely athletic for a man his size, holds up well against the run and provides an interior pass rush. His battles with the interior of the Wisconsin offensive line, particularly senior guard Ryan Groy (6-5, 320), should be entertaining. The Badgers also love to run, and they have better backs than the Gophers. Third-year sophomore Melvin Gordon (6-1, 207) and senior James White (5-10, 195) have combined for 2,462 yards and 24 rushing TDs. White has 3,727 career rushing yards, second-most among active FBS players. Badgers senior WR Jared Abbrederis (6-2, 190) should have a good day against a so-so Gophers secondary. Senior LB Chris Borland (5-11, 246) is the Badgers' defensive standout. The winner takes home Paul Bunyan's Axe; the Badgers have won nine in a row in the series.
4. Missouri at Ole Miss, Saturday, 7:45 p.m. ET, ESPN
The skinny: Ole Miss freshman left tackle Laremy Tunsil is already one of the best offensive linemen in the SEC, and he'll get a tough test from Missouri pass rushers Kony Ealy and Michael Sam. How much one-on-one action will Tigers cornerback E.J. Gaines get in man coverage with Rebels receiver Donte Moncrief? Maybe not a ton, since Moncrief is seeing more action in the slot position of late, but it's a matchup worth monitoring. Both have NFL futures. A porous Ole Miss secondary will have its hands full with three Mizzou receivers who average 6-foot-5: Dorial Green-Beckham, Marcus Lucas and L'Damian Washington.
3. Arizona State at UCLA, Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, Fox
The skinny: The Bruins haven't exactly been rolling on offense, even as they have put up 117 points in their last three games. The return of Jordon James should boost a rushing offense that has received a spark from linebacker Myles Jack (179 rushing yards, 5 touchdowns on 19 carries) as three true freshman offensive linemen have shown steady improvement. Whether they can block Sun Devils defensive tackle Will Sutton is another matter entirely. Then again, Arizona State will have the same challenge trying to keep outside linebacker Anthony Barr (14.5 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, 4 forced fumbles) from setting up camp in the backfield.
2, Texas A&M at LSU, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
The skinny: The marquee game in the SEC this week will send either Texas A&M to a third loss or LSU to a fourth. Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel looks to avenge a loss to LSU last year, and weakside LB Lamin Barrow will have a measure of responsibility for containing Manziel's rushing exploits. The game features three of the top offensive tackles in the SEC in Aggies LT Jake Matthews, Aggies RT Cedric Ogbuehi, and LSU LT La'el Collins. One more matchup to watch: LSU RB Jeremy Hill, a potential early-entry candidate, against Aggies LB Steven Jenkins.
1. Baylor at Oklahoma State, Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, ABC
The skinny: Quarterback Bryce Petty has accounted for five touchdowns in each of Baylor's last two games, but now heads into the biggest game in school history -- again -- without left tackle Spencer Drango. How backup Pat Colbert handles his first start should determine whether the Bears keep rolling. Oklahoma State has the linebackers in Caleb Lavey and Shaun Lewis to at least slow down the potent Baylor ground game. NFL scouts will be watching with a keen eye to see if Cowboys cornerback Justin Gilbert can keep Antwan Goodley, who is averaging 22.4 yards per catch, from stretching the field.