Week 9 in the Big 12: What to watch for

Here are five storylines to watch in Week 9 in the Big 12:

Watch out for Baylor’s defense

For No. 8 Baylor, the showdown with Texas on Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC) provides an ideal stage to show off its defense. The Bears rank No. 2 nationally in yards per attempt, No. 2 at preventing 10-plus-yard plays and third-best in yards per play. This week, they get to attack a familiar Baylor-style offense operated by a freshman quarterback. And they had plenty of time to prepare during their bye week. That seems like a recipe for continued success, though Texas running back D’Onta Foreman does pose a serious challenge for Baylor’s defensive line and linebackers.

West Virginia takes the show on the road

The national awareness of the 10th-ranked and undefeated Mountaineers has graduated from “Are they legit?” to “Yep, they’re legit. Can they win the Big 12?” They’ve held three potent Big 12 offenses to 17, 17 and 10 points and are playing with so much confidence on both sides of the ball right now. Their second true road game of the season comes Saturday (noon ET, Fox), Oklahoma State, which them to overtime last season and won. A victory by any margin in Stillwater would be another impressive step for Dana Holgorsen’s rising squad.

TCU tries to get swagger back

That’s the word coach Gary Patterson used Tuesday to describe what’s missing from his offense right now. He needs to see some more swagger from quarterback Kenny Hill after poor games against Kansas and West Virginia. He needs a lot more swagger from his wide receivers. That group hasn’t played up to his expectations, and only three TCU wideouts have produced receiving touchdowns this season. The return of dynamic receiver/returner KaVontae Turpin from a posterior cruciate ligament injury should boost the Frogs’ play on offense and special teams, and facing Texas Tech’s defense on Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2) should help their numbers.

Mixon's chase for 428

We all remember what happened the last time Kansas came to Norman to face Oklahoma, right? Samaje Perine, then a freshman, broke the FBS single-game rushing record with 427 yards and five TDs on 34 carries. Perine is out this week, so it’s up to Joe Mixon to try to break that record against Kansas (7 p.m. ET, FS1). Sooners fullback Dimitri Flowers predicted that Mixon is capable of 428 rushing and 5,000 receiving. Mixon did come up only 51 yards short of 428 total yards against Texas Tech last week. He’ll get a bunch more Saturday.

The three home 'dogs

Might this be a weekend when we see an unexpected upset or two? In West Virginia-Oklahoma State and Kansas State-Iowa State, you’ve got a pair of home underdogs. The Cowboys are probably underrated. If not for the ridiculous end to the Central Michigan game, they’d be 6-1 and a Top 25 team. The Cyclones proved against Baylor and Oklahoma State that they’re not as bad as their 1-6 record suggests. And Texas, another home underdog, ought to play against Baylor as if it has nothing to lose. Don’t be surprised if one of these three finds a way to steal a victory.