The Week Ahead: Showdown in the Big 12

Ed Orgeron

Would USC really hire this guy? (Photo courtesy: USA Today Sports)

The five biggest stories that CBR is tracking this week:

1. Big 12’s big game.

The game with the biggest national implications this weekend will be taking place in Stillwater, Okla., as Baylor and Oklahoma State square off in what looks to be the Big 12 game of the year. For the Bears, it represents a chance to leap ahead of Ohio State into third place in the BCS rankings.

Both squads breezed to wins last weekend with key offensive weapons on the sidelines: running backs Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin for Baylor and wideout Josh Stewart for the Cowboys. The availability of those playmakers this weekend could go a long way towards giving one side an edge. Don’t be surprised if both programs keep their status close to the vest all week.

2. Missouri heads for the finish line.

The Tigers have given college football one of its biggest surprises this year, but a fun run through the SEC now enters a tough finishing kick. Before the season finale with Texas A&M, Mizzou has to get through a trip to Ole Miss.

The Tigers have literally no room for error if they want to capture their first SEC East crown. If they win out, they will have earned it.

3. Interim Coach O no mo?

The lasting image from USC’s upset win over Stanford last Saturday night was interim head coach Ed Orgeron, sword in hand, directing the Trojan band after the game. The heat of the moment prompted questions about Coach O potentially getting the gig on a permanent basis. A website touting Orgeron for the full-time job even sprang up yesterday (although it’s entirely possible some UCLA fan set that up).

Orgeron has done an admirable job since Lane Kiffin got the axe, but USC athletic director Pat Haden undoubtedly has his sights set much higher. Enjoy the ride, though, coach.

4. MAC about to get knocked out of whack?

Upset alert in the MAC. Despite Northern Illinois running rampant over conference competition this season, the guys out in the desert have made the Huskies’ game Wednesday night game against Toledo a virtual toss-up.

#MACtion devotees know that you don’t just walk into the Glass Bowl and set up shop. The Rockets put a scare into NIU last year. They may wreck the Huskies’ BCS dreams this time around.

5. Bloodbaths for the big dogs.

The top two teams in the country decided this weekend would make a good time for a tomato can. Around the same time Alabama is stuffing FCS opponent Chattanooga into a body bag, Florida State will probably be doing unspeakable things to 56-point underdog Idaho.

Don’t strain yourselves.