The stakes aren’t high for Saturday’s Sunflower Showdown. Kansas State knows it’s going to a bowl game, Kansas knows it’s not. The Wildcats can finish as high as fifth in the Big 12, the Jayhawks could wind up as high as tied for eighth.
But there is this little something extra, for Kansas State.
The third year of a 10-team conference is about to conclude, and only Oklahoma State and Oklahoma have finished above .500 in each of the first two and are guaranteed an above average finish for a third.
Kansas State, 4-4 in league play, will join them with a victory over the Jayhawks.
It’s not a major thing, but a mark of consistency. Heading into the final games, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma are 20-6 in the Big 12’s round-robin lifetime. The others: Kansas State 19-7, Baylor 16-9 and Texas 15-10 before its Thanksgiving game with Texas Tech.Saturday’s Big 12 games
•Kansas State at Kansas, 11 a.m. on Fox Sports 1:
Both teams are coming off losses. Kansas State fell to Oklahoma, despite 440 all-purpose yards by Tyler Lockett. The Jayhawks fell 34-0 in Iowa State’s icebox last week as Cyclones quarterback Grant Rohach passed for 300 yards. K-State’s Jake Waters threw for 348 against OU. Kansas’ James Sims is the only Big 12 back to top 1,000 yards and he has rushed for 325 in the last two games.
•Baylor at TCU, 2:30 p.m. on ESPN2:
How will the Bears respond to the loss that dropped them from the national championship picture? Baylor faces its second strong defense in a row, but TCU doesn’t have the offense to match Oklahoma State. Plus Baylor has some revenge in their hearts. The Frogs won 49-21 in Waco last year.
•Iowa State at West Virginia, 3 p.m. on Fox Sports 1:
Some team gets to feel good at the end of a disappointing season. Both teams can play the what-might-have card with plenty of closes (Texas, for both). The Mountaineers are back after a week to think about their Kansas loss. Neither team has much rushing defense, but West Virginia should be able to take greater advance with running back Charles Sims.Saturday’s SEC games
•Arkansas at LSU, 1:30 p.m. Friday on CBS (Ch. 5):
The Razorbacks’ season mercifully comes to an end. Years from now, will fans remember Bret Bielema’s first year as the bottom? LSU got 149 yards from Terrence Magee in last week’s victory over Texas A, and Jeremy Hill is having an outstanding season.
•Florida State at Florida, 11 a.m. on ESPN:
Perhaps only rivalry pride can save this from being a blowout. The Gators have fallen to generational depths while the Seminoles are in a position to play for the national championship. The roles were reversed as recently as 2009. Now, this looks like mission impossible for the Gators coming off the Georgia Southern loss and with Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston playing well despite facing a sexual-assault allegation.
•Wake Forest at Vanderbilt, 11:21 a.m. on KSMO (Ch. 62):
The Demon Deacons pushed Duke until the final minutes last week. Vandy is going for eight victories in a season for the second straight year. This has been a season finale five times in the last six years.
•Georgia at Georgia Tech, 2:30 p.m. on ABC (Ch. 9):
Aaron Murray is out because of a knee injury and Hutson Mason finished last week’s victory over Kentucky by rushing for three touchdowns. The Bulldogs have had Tech’s number in recent years, winning four straight and six in a row in Atlanta. The Yellow Jackets will be doing plenty of scoreboard watching. They need Duke, Miami and Virginia Tech to lose to play in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game.
•Alabama at Auburn, 2:30 p.m. on CBS (Ch. 5):
Naturally, the highest profile game of the weekend has a love angle. Bama quarterback AJ McCarron dates Katherine Webb, an 2011 Auburn graduate. Who is her Iron Bowl choice? Love wins. “Of course I want to see AJ have that fourth championship ring, so I really want them to do well,” Webb told USA Today. To get that ring, Alabama has to beat her alma mater.
•Clemson at South Carolina, 6 p.m. on ESPN2:
Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier says this heated rivalry needs a name. “All the national media boys, they’re talking about Alabama and Auburn,” Spurrier said. “What do we call our game with Clemson? They’ve got the Iron Bowl. That’ll give you media guys something to come up with.”
•Tennessee at Kentucky, 6 p.m. on ESPNU:
The Wildcats, winless in league play in Mark Stoops’ first season, seek their breakthrough triumph. The Vols lost a home breaker to Vanderbilt. Tennessee is guaranteed a losing record for the fourth straight season, something that hasn’t happened since 1906.
•Texas A at Missouri, 6:45 p.m. on ESPN: The Aggies’ defense just never got it done this season. They surrendered 517 yards to LSU last week. A ranks last in the SEC in total defense (460.1 yards) and 13th in scoring defense (31.2 points). That means A plays shootouts and that could be the case here. But Missouri should be ready. The Tigers held down Mississippi last week in a 24-10 victory, holding the Rebels to their lowest point total since getting shut out by Alabama in September.