STILLWATER, Okla.-Its stunning 49-17 victory over a then-No. 4 ranked Baylor team may have pushed Oklahoma State, who wa the preseason favorite to win the title, to the forefront of the Big 12 Conference. It may also have ensured that no team from the 10-team league will receive an invitation to the final BCS championship game.
Oklahoma State moved up to No. 7 in the latest BCS rankings while the Bears (9-1, 7-1 Big 12) slipped to No. 9. No. 18 Oklahoma (9-2, 6-2) is the only other team in the poll released last Sunday.
"I'm convinced that our crowd and the sound affected some of the calls they were trying to make when the clock runs down with five or six seconds left because that's how they've done it all year," OSU Mike Gundy explained after the game. "Our crowd was a factor, and our players played very well. I can't say enough about our team. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I'm very proud of what our team accomplished tonight."
Work is right. But, it takes a week off as the Cowboys (10-1, 7-1 Big 12) have an open week before their annual in-state battle with the Sooners, who gave veteran head coach Bob Stoops his 158th career win at the school, making him OSU's winningest coach.
OU will also take the week off after slipping past a resurgent Kansas State program, 41-31. KSU had won four games in a row to climb out of the basement of the 10-team league and put itself in a position to attend a postseason bowl with a 6-5 mark (4-4 Big 12) and a game at Kansas (3-8, 1-7 Big 12) on Saturday.
With two weeks left, OSU is in the driver's seat for the conference title and its automatic BCS berth-most likely a trip to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Baylor can still tie for the conference lead with wins over TCU (4-7, 2-6 Big 12) on Saturday and in its season-finale against Texas (7-3, 6-1 Big 12) next weekend. If the Bears can win out there is still a very good chance that they will receive an at-large bid by the BCS.
The Longhorns of head coach Mack Brown is still in the picture, but faces a tough test against Texas Tech (7-4, 4-4 Big 12) on Thursday and then against a Baylor team that will be playing its final game at Floyd Casey Stadium.
In other news from around the Big 12 Conference: