Oct 12, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns texas cowboys operate Smokey the cannon during the game against the Oklahoma Sooners during the Red River Rivalry at the Cotton Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Big 12 football picks: Week 15 predictions


If the Big 12 had its own semifinals, it would look a lot like this Saturday afternoon, when all four of the best teams in the conference will be taking each other on, and both games could factor into winning the Big 12 championship title.

It’s very simple for Oklahoma State: beat Oklahoma and they win the conference title. Lose, then Texas and Baylor will be playing in the unofficial Big 12 championship game.

Everyone else, including Iowa State, are done with their season unless they’ve become bowl eligible. That’s not happening with the Cyclones, who finish at 3-9 on the season. But they ended the season on a two-game winning streak, made some significant moves on the coaching staff that were necessary, and have gained momentum heading into the offseason.

(17)Oklahoma (9-2) at (6)Oklahoma State (10-1) – Saturday, 11:00 AM CT (ABC)

One of the least talked about improvements of any Big 12 team has been the Cowboys’ defense. They’ve held their previous three opponents (Texas, Kansas, Baylor) to an average of 12 points per game. Now that defense will be put to the test after Oklahoma found their rhythm offensively in the last two games, especially since the second half against Iowa State.

Both teams have plenty of rest after a bye last week. This has been the conference rivalry that’s received the most attention due to national championship significance. There’s unlikely any chance that Oklahoma State could reach it, but a BCS berth will be at stake for both teams. With an improved defense, the Cowboys won’t let the Sooners score over 40 points, but this will be a tight rivalry that should bring early excitement on championship Sautrday. OKST 34, OKLA 27 (Odds: OKST +10, O57)

(25)Texas (8-3) at (9)Baylor (10-1) – Saturday, 2:30 PM CT (FOX)

If Oklahoma State loses in the early game, this becomes the de facto conference championship game. The Longhorns bounced back after being blown out by the Cowboys, and the Bears held on by three points against TCU last Saturday. Texas is the best team defensively in the Big 12 to stop Baylor’s passing attack with the exception of Oklahoma, and the Sooners were able to keep the Bears at bay until their offense started coughing the ball up.

If the Longhorns continue to keep the rushing yards minimal, they will have a chance. Especially if Baylor can’t get rid of the hangover loss to OSU two weeks ago. It won’t happen, but this will be another classic in a great doubleheader for the Big 12. BAY 38, TEX 35 (Odds: TEX +15.5, O71.5)

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