What To Watch: Big 12 and Nationally

As the Baylor Bears begin the second-half of their season, fans will begin to schedule watch other teams while rooting for their own team's success. In this feature we help you with what to watch for this weekend.

All Baylor fans know the script by now - Baylor is #5 in the 2 polls that matter today - the Coach's Poll and the Harris Poll. While falling behind at #8 in the BCS, that seems likely to correct itself if the Bears keep winning.

So with the assumption that the Bears do indeed keep winning, what other games will Baylor fans keep an eye on?

The obvious place to start is the Big 12. You can find our staff predictions in another piece on this site, but let's take a quick look at the games.

Oklahoma State at Iowa State - Oklahoma State is the latest Big 12 team to re-enter the territory of an unresolved quarterback situation. J.W. Walsh vs. Clint Chelf - both played against TCU and Coach Mike Gundy is not letting the media know who his guy will be the rest of the year, likely because he still wants one to emerge. Iowa State meanwhile is struggling at 0-3 in conference. They are tough at home and will be looking for a bounce back game. If you're concerned about Baylor and the Big 12 Championship only, then it may be nice for Oklahoma State to rack up another loss.

West Virginia at Kansas State - This game should not have many implications for the Bears or the conference. Baylor knocked off both of these teams and they both have 3 losses already. Perhaps in order for Baylor's win at Kansas State to look better, Bear fans will root for the Wildcats.

Texas at TCU - Texas has become an interesting story, sitting at 3-0 in conference. Everyone knows about the showdown at the end of the year in Waco, and Baylor may need a win over a highly ranked opponent in the end to vault them into better BCS standing. However, if you are going after that Big 12 prize and want a little margin for error, you might root for the 1-3 TCU team tomorrow.

Texas Tech at Oklahoma - This is certainly the game of the week in the league, and carries several implications. Baylor fans probably will root for Oklahoma for 2 reasons - 1) Oklahoma is its next opponent and you want them ranked higher. If they lose, then the Baylor/OU game almost becomes a lose/lose scenario as one of BearsIllustrated.com's posters pointed out - a loss to them kills your ranking and a win will be billed as another win against a team struggling this year. However, if OU wins, then they are coming in as a top 15 team. 2) Texas Tech is 7-0, 4-0 in conference. At some point, Tech will need to lose a game or two for the Bears to win the conference.

Nationally, although the top 4 teams are all favored in their respective games, none of them seem to be absolute gimmies. Tennessee has shown signs of life after getting pounded by Oregon to start the year, so maybe they test Alabama a bit. NC State will likely lose bad to Florida State, but stranger things have happened when those two teams meet. UCLA is coming into Oregon after a tough defeat to Stanford. Although I expect Oregon to win, UCLA at least has the talent to potentially make this interesting. And Penn State has shown they are not going to let sanctions dictate their season, already upsetting Michigan. What would be sweeter for Penn State fans than upsetting Ohio State in the Horseshoe.

Two other teams hanging around Baylor in the standings have ranked vs. ranked games - Missouri and Stanford. Missouri is at home against South Carolina and seems to have all the momentum in the world. South Carolina is without their starting quarterback, as Missouri is as well. Stanford takes on BCS #25 Oregon State, who is a surprise team after suffering an early defeat to Eastern Washington. Since then, they have won 6 straight including 4 Pac-12 games.

There will be plenty to pay attention to on Saturday concerning Baylor's own game against Kansas. But as you are waiting for that kickoff, be sure to keep an eye on these games. Certainly this is a fun time for Baylor fans as they get to experience the BCS anxiety like never before.

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