Big 12 goes into final weekend with title game matchup still undetermined

Kansas State wide receiver Keagan Johnson (10) scores on a touchdown catch against Texas during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Austin, Texas, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) (Eric Gay, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Things to watch on the final weekend of the Big 12 Conference regular season:

GAME O

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F THE WEEK

Texas Tech (6-5, 5-3 Big 12) at No. 7 Texas (10-1, 7-1 Big 12), Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET (ABC).

While there are supposedly 128 possible outcomes and seven teams, including the Red Raiders, still with a mathematical chance of reaching the Big 12 championship game, the Longhorns have the most direct path. They will be the home team for the Dec. 2 title game if they win their last regular-season game in the league before moving to the SEC next season.

Texas Tech is bowl eligible after a three-game winning streak, and will look to beat Texas in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1997-98. This is the last scheduled meeting in a series that has been played annually since 1960 — in the old Southwest Conference before the Big 12.

ALSO IN THE HUNT

Three teams go into the final weekend 6-2 in conference play, and a game behind Texas: No. 13 Oklahoma (9-2 overall), No. 19 Kansas State (8-3) and No. 21 Oklahoma State (8-3). The Longhorns lost to Oklahoma, beat K-State and didn't play the Cowboys.

Oklahoma, headed to the SEC with Texas after this season, gets the holiday weekend started Friday against TCU (5-6, 3-5), last year's national runner-up that has to win just to get bowl eligible. The Horned Frogs ended an eight-game losing streak in the series with a 55-24 win last year after Oklahoma QB Dillon Gabriel, now the Big 12's top passer, got a concussion early in the game.

Defending Big 12 champion Kansas State, which also lost to Oklahoma State but didn't play Oklahoma, is 6-0 at home. Iowa State (6-5, 5-3) visits Saturday night in the league's latest scheduled regular-season finale. The Cyclones lead the series 52-50-4 overall, but K-State is 21-6 in Big 12 matchups. Wildcats QB Will Howard has 14 TD passes the past five games.

Oklahoma State is home Saturday against BYU (5-6), another team needing a win to get bowl eligible. The Cowboys have won six of their last seven games, but the loss in that span was 45-3 at UCF two weeks ago.

IMPACT PLAYERS

The Big 12 has two of the nation's top three running backs: Oklahoma State's Ollie Gordon II and Texas Tech's Tahj Brooks. Gordon is tied for the national league at 128.5 yards per game and 15 rushing touchdowns. Brooks is third at 112.5 yards per game.

Both have seven 100-yard rushing games in Big 12 play. For Gordon, that came after averaging only six carries and 36 yards in the Cowboys' three non-conference games. Brooks ran for 98 yards in the lone Big 12 game that he didn't break 100.

LET'S GO BOWLING

The Big 12 has eight guaranteed bowl spots, and already eight bowl-eligible teams with TCU, BYU and UCF all going into the final weekend with a chance to add to that total. If not in the four-team College Football Playoff, the Big 12 champion will play in one of the other New Year's Six bowl games as determined by the CFP selection committee. The order of selection for Big 12 bowl games after that is Alamo, Pop-Tarts, Texas, Liberty, Guaranteed Rate, Armed Forces or First Responders (a flex pick) and Independence.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF, all finishing their first Big 12 season, are a combined 7-25 in conference games. Houston is at UCF on Saturday, BYU goes to Oklahoma State, and Cincinnati hosts Kansas. ... Baylor will play its single-season record eighth home game Saturday against West Virginia. The Bears are 1-6 at McLane Stadium.

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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football