Oklahoma State and Iowa State are trying to stay alive in the Big 12 title race
Oklahoma State knows all about traveling to Ames, Iowa. It only lost its chance at a BCS Championship Game trip because of one back in 2011. Now, the Cowboys return to Ames with their best team since that fateful night and there's still plenty on the line.
Like 2011, Oklahoma State is in the Big 12 championship picture. Unlike 2011, Iowa State is, too. The Cyclones have already done the unthinkable by knocking off two AP top-five teams (Oklahoma and TCU). Can it get another quality win as part of a dream season? Here's what you need to know about Saturday's game.
Date: Saturday, Nov. 11 | Time: Noon ET
Location: Jack Trice Stadium -- Ames, Iowa
TV: ABC/ESPN2 | Live stream: WatchESPN
Oklahoma State: The trendy playoff hopes and Heisman Trophy love for quarterback Mason Rudolph are probably gone, but a Big 12 title is still in sight. As it so happens, this is probably a must-win for both sides in the conference standings. A victory would also keep the Cowboys on pace to win at least 10 games for the sixth time in eight years. Coach Mike Gundy takes his licks for his Bedlam record, but any reasonable person knows he gets the most out of his teams and overachieves on an annual basis.
Iowa State: A Big 12 Championship Game appearance is still in the cards for Iowa State. After all, the Cyclones have wins over Oklahoma and TCU, both of which sit at the top of the conference standings and play each other on Saturday. But Iowa State needs a win here and it's a challenge. Oklahoma State has a top-five offense in college football, and while Iowa State has a capable defense, getting into a shootout or playing from behind is problematic. Yes, Iowa State can crawl back into games as it has show multiple times, but at 5.55 yards per play and 43 plays of 20 yards or more (27 in conference play), the Cyclones rank near the bottom of the Big 12 in explosive offense.
Iowa State is a well-coached team because of how it plays in the second half. Besides the Iowa loss, the Cyclones' defense has been almost impenetrable in the final 30 minutes. Since the loss to the Hawkeyes, Iowa State is outscoring opponents 97-24 in the second half and has allowed just two offensive touchdowns. The Cowboys have firepower, but they need to be in it for the long haul. Pick: Iowa State +6.5