The roundtable returns after an eventful start to Week 5 in the Big 12 on Thursday night as Texas Tech beat Kansas 55-19, but may have lost quarterback Patrick Mahomes II for a while. Saturday promises more drama, with three games on the schedule that went down as split decisions in our staff picks.
Which team has the most to gain this week in the Big 12?
Jake Trotter: I kind of think it’s the winner of the West Virginia-Kansas State game. Texas, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and TCU have a lot to lose this weekend. But the Mountaineers and Wildcats both have a lot to gain. Nobody considered either a Big 12 title contender before the season. If K-State can pull off the upset, the Wildcats become an interesting team in the league, especially with potentially a Mahomes-less Texas Tech team coming up next week. West Virginia can really establish itself as a contender by opening 1-0 in the league, especially with Oklahoma, TCU and Baylor all later coming to Morgantown.
Mitch Sherman: I still think it’s Texas. The Longhorns’ strong start was subdued by their defensive faceplant at Cal and, to a lesser degree, Notre Dame’s brutal past two games. Were those first two weeks an illusion? Can Texas fix its defense? Is freshman quarterback Shane Buechele ready to play again like he did in Weeks 1 and 2 after suffering a setback at Cal? Sure, Texas has plenty to lose in this game at Oklahoma State, but I’d argue it has equally as much to gain a week before the Red River Rivalry meeting with Oklahoma. And the road team, incidentally, has won seven straight games in this series.
Max Olson: Texas definitely needs this one, but I wonder if the answer is actually West Virginia. They've quietly started 3-0 -- and I say quietly because apparently AP voters still haven't noticed -- with some pretty credible wins against BYU and Missouri. I'd hope a lot more people will be taking the Mountaineers seriously if they beat Kansas State this weekend. A win over a program they're 0-4 against since joining the Big 12 would definitely make a major statement, in my opinion.
Which team has the most to lose this week?
Olson: I still cannot believe Oklahoma and Oklahoma State might both have three losses by the end of Oct. 1. That's pretty preposterous, isn't it? It feels too early in the season to say this, but I guess it's sort of now-or-never time for those two teams. Wins this week would really help get them back on track. I don't know exactly how much damage losses would do, but I'd imagine knowing your big goals for the season are pretty much doomed after five weeks would be pretty hard to deal with.
Trotter: Oklahoma has the most to lose. The Sooners have started out 1-3 only one other time in the last 50 years. One. No matter the competition, a 1-3 start would be disastrous for the Sooners. Considering Oklahoma began the year with national championship expectations, the season could begin to spiral if the Sooners go down in Fort Worth. This is a must-win, if the Sooners have any hopes of salvaging this season.
Sherman: I can’t argue. The Sooners can gain a bit of redemption and refocus on a Big 12 title with a win at TCU, though it won’t restore any of their national-championship aspirations. But a loss puts OU in position to rate as the most disappointing team nationally through the first month of the season. The competition has been outstanding so far for Oklahoma, but now is the time to turn a corner or fall off the map in 2016.