Texas Tech at Oklahoma is top Big 12 game in Week 9

For all the great work Mike Leach did as head coach at Texas Tech, the Red Raiders were in the thick of the Big 12 title race only once, and that 2008 push ended with a 65-21 loss at Oklahoma. Kliff Kingsbury, a first-year coach and a former quarterback for Leach at Texas Tech, can one-up the Pirate on both counts with a program-defining victory against the Sooners this week. Road tests also await the two other teams that are unbeaten in conference play, though TCU should represent a slightly more difficult challenge to Texas than Kansas will for Baylor.

5. Baylor at Kansas, Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPNU

Rating: 1 star

The skinny: Is this the week the Bears score 80? If Jayhawks linebacker Ben Heeney, who did not play last week with a knee injury, is out again, it will certainly be in play for Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty and the collection of outstanding skill players around him. But for all that unreal offensive production, Baylor's defense has been playing nearly as well but without the national spotlight, leading the nation in three-and-outs forced. Linebacker Eddie Lackey was stellar in the 71-7 humbling of Iowa State last week, posting eight tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss with one sack and recovered a fumble.

4. West Virginia at Kansas State, Saturday, 3:45 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1

Rating: 1.5 stars

The skinny: It took a while, but the Mountaineers and Wildcats seem to have settled on their quarterbacks. Florida State transfer Clint Trickett is the man in Morgantown, and the mobile Daniel Sams better fits the run-heavy philosophy Bill Snyder would prefer to employ. But Sams is still raw as a passer, so expect WVU to load the box and create obvious throwing downs, where safety Darwin Cook (four interceptions) can create havoc.

3. Oklahoma State at Iowa State, Saturday, 12 p.m. ET

Rating: 2 stars

The skinny: The Cowboys have had their struggles in Ames, Iowa, with a shocking overtime loss in 2011 keeping Oklahoma State out of the BCS championship game. If the Cyclones are to add to OSU's misery, return specialist Jarvis West will probably be a main cause. The redshirt junior wide receiver is averaging 14.2 yards per punt return this season and scored on a 95-yard kick return against Texas Tech.

2. Texas at TCU, Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1

Rating: 3 stars

The skinny: The TCU defense is legit, with tackles Chucky Hunter and Davion Pierson anchoring the Big 12's top run-stuffing unit. However, Pierson suffered a leg injury at Oklahoma State last week and his potential absence would shift the balance toward Longhorns running backs Johnathan Gray and Malcolm Brown. And don't be surprised if things get chippy between Texas wide receiver Mike Davis and Horned Frogs corner Jason Verrett, elite talents that play with just as much intensity and attitude.

1. Texas Tech at Oklahoma, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, Fox

Rating: 4 stars

The skinny: Can Oklahoma slow down Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro? Can anyone? Amaro leads the Big 12 in receptions, but Sooners corner Aaron Colvin has both size (6-0, 192 pounds) and experience at safety in his favor. Having Colvin shadow Amaro in the red zone and on third down would make sense, as a second conference loss would all but end OU's hopes of winning the Big 12. Taking away the Red Raiders' leader in catches and yards would also up the pressure on true freshman quarterback Davis Webb, who has thrown for 877 yards and five touchdowns with one interception in two starts.

Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.

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