After the West Virginia-Louisville showdown, one-loss teams will take center stage.
Texas, with a struggling secondary, will face an Oklahoma State team that has put up big numbers in recent weeks. In the SEC, Arkansas will face a critical stretch to end its season.
TBS college football analyst Charles Davis joined Rivals.com for his weekly question-and-answer session to discuss the game in Austin and other topics. Davis will be part of the team covering Oklahoma State at Texas at 7 p.m. Eastern on TBS.
TBS will also carry Washington at Oregon at 3:30 p.m. as part of a double-header.
10 Q&A with TBS Analyst Charles Davis
1. Texas' defense has struggled at times, allowing big plays to Nebraska and 518 yards to Texas Tech in the last two weeks. Why is that?
"They're beat up. That's the biggest thing. They're whole secondary is hurt. Tarell Brown has a broken toe. Marcus Griffin has two sprained ankles. Michael Griffin has a sprained ankle and a sprained wrist. Aaron Ross has a sprained wrist. That's the first thing. Also, no one runs the ball against them. They've only given up 45 yards per game on the ground. Texas Tech ran for (minus) 1 yard in the ballgame. On a crucial play on fourth and a foot, they couldn't even get a quarterback sneak. After awhile teams say, 'We can't run the football. Let's throw it more.' If you throw it 50-plus times, you typically have numbers. That being said, they're not the Texas defense against the pass that we're used to. I attribute that to them not being as healthy as they usually are this time of year."
2. Given that, can Bobby Reid and the Oklahoma State offense make things interesting in this week's game?
"I expect it to be interesting - especially if Oklahoma State can do what their personality is, which is run the football. They're pretty split on run and pass numbers. If they can get the combination of Dantrell Savage, Mike Hamilton and Keith Toston running the ball, Texas is really in trouble because then they're not one-dimensional. If Texas takes away the run from them like they have to everyone else, chances are Texas is in OK shape. Texas Tech put up 31 points in the first half and got zero in the second half. That's the kind of hidden stuff we don't see. Those are big-time numbers."
3. Was USC's loss to Oregon State a one-time deal, or have the Trojans been exposed?
"I was surprised that they lost at Oregon State. They had a week off the week before. They had a chance to heal up a few guys and take a break, because holding onto a streak is very difficult. They've been holding on tight to that winning streak. It's not easily done mentally and physically. I didn't think Oregon State was that good. I didn't think they were good enough to beat USC. We were looking more at Oregon, Cal or UCLA even - and definitely looking at Notre Dame. Now, USC has a chance to re-invent themselves. Now you're not the hunted as much. They might be freer in playing because there's a different mind-set when everyone is coming at you. To me, the focus now switches to Cal. I don't expect USC to fade into the woodwork. There's too much talent there."
4. Arkansas is entering a critical stretch with games at South Carolina, at home against Tennessee and against LSU in Little Rock. How will the Razorbacks handle this stretch?
"The stretch they have coming up is going to be interesting. Those are the real proving games for them. They've already proven they're a good football team with Darren McFadden and Felix Jones running the ball. That's their true personality. Mitch Mustain has 10 touchdown passes, seven interceptions and about 106 yards per game. What that tells you is that Arkansas likes to run, run, run. They can continue to play to that personality, keep the pressure off the freshman quarterback and allow him to make throws that aren't crucial on each down. I think a lot of people expect Arkansas to get beat, and they have to lose twice (to allow Auburn into the SEC title game). They have that opportunity, but that's a lot to ask because Arkansas is playing pretty well."
5. What is your opinion on the possibility of an undefeated Big East team playing in the national title game ahead of a one-loss team from another conference?
"I have a hard team putting a one-loss team ahead of the Big East champion if they go through undefeated. Everyone says the SEC is better than the Big East, and I don't doubt that. I played in the SEC. But we have to take a better look at the Big East. This is not a two-team race anymore. We are all talking about West Virginia and Louisville. But both of them still have to play Rutgers and Pittsburgh, the two next best teams in the conference. And we haven't proven that Rutgers isn't the best team in the conference. They're still undefeated. Rutgers may be the best team in the Big East because they do things the other teams don't do. That remains to be proven. What if they beat West Virginia and Louisville? This is a deeper Big East than we thought. I can't imagine an undefeated Big East team - especially if it's West Virginia or Louisville - being ranked behind a one-loss SEC, Big Ten, Pac-10 or Big 12 team. To me, they've earned that slot."