The loser will fall two games behind in the loss column in the conference race.
“If you drop one from here on out, you’ve got to get some help to win” a championship, said Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy.
Texas Tech gave up a season high for points to Oklahoma and Kliff Kingsbury said he expects his players to be highly motivated this week against the Cowboys, who’ve beaten the Red Raiders the last two seasons by a combined score of 125-27.
“This is a group that will have a short-term memory,” Kingsbury said.
If Texas joins the others in becoming bowl eligible this week, that would leave a group that includes Kansas State, TCU and West Virginia fighting for the conference’s final two bowl berths.
TCU and West Virginia go head-to-head Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas.
“You turn them into one-game seasons,” said TCU coach Gary Patterson. “You’ve got four left. You’ve got to win three. If you don’t do that, then you go home for Christmas.”
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said he takes “full responsibility” for the lackluster play of his young offense. The Mountaineers (3-5, 1-4) have lost three straight and are trying to continue a streak of bowl berths in 11 straight seasons, while Patterson’s Horned Frogs (3-5, 1-4) have gone to a bowl in eight straight years.
Kansas and Iowa State haven’t been eliminated from postseason contention, but they’ll need remarkable turnarounds for that to happen. For now, they’re playing spoiler roles.
The Jayhawks (2-5, 0-4) have lost 25 consecutive league games, while Iowa State (1-6, 0-4) will be out of bowl contention with another loss. The Cyclones play at Kansas State (3-4, 1-3) on Saturday.
Wildcats coach Bill Snyder said he conducts “State of the Union”-type dialogues with his players every Monday and lately that’s included the bowl scenario, but he said it’s best to quickly put the subject on the backburner.
“It’s probably more damaging to go into the week of preparation for the upcoming ballgame with those kinds of thoughts in your mind,” Snyder said.