The No. 12 Oklahoma State Cowboys (8-1, 5-1) head to Austin, TX to take on the No. 24 Texas Longhorns (7-2, 6-0) this weekend in one of the biggest matchups of the 2013 Big 12 season.
Historically, Texas has owned this matchup, but the Pokes have managed to come out on top in two of the teams' last three meetings (with both wins coming in Austin).
That said, this is an intriguing tilt, as both teams are playing excellent football of late, leading this writer to believe that this should be an exciting contest throughout.
Date: Saturday, Nov. 16
Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Place: DKR Texas Memorial Stadium (100,119 cap.) Austin, TX
Radio: Cowboy Radio Network
All-Time Series: Texas holds a 23-4 advantage all time.
Can They Run the Ball Effectively?
The Oklahoma State Cowboys have always been one of the Big 12's best offenses under Mike Gundy, and part of that is because they are able to be so effective in both the passing and the running game.
This year's offense hasn't been as good as Pokes' fans are used to, but they've shown flashes when they're able to churn out yards on the ground.
The Texas Longhorns have a solid run defense and should prove a massive test for the Cowboys backfield.
However, if the Pokes can find a way to get Desmond Roland and Co. rolling, they'll have a great chance at winning this one.
Will They Hold Onto the Ball?
The Oklahoma State Cowboys pride themselves on being an aggressive defense that forces opponents to make big mistakes in the form of costly turnovers.
Texas has to keep its turnovers to a minimum and ensure that the Pokes' defense can't make the impact they want to.
If Texas lets the Cowboys get more than two turnovers, they're going to struggle.
Case McCoy has to be on his A-game, which could be tough considering he's thrown six picks in his last four games.
If you couldn't tell from the last slide, I'm betting that this game comes down to turnovers.
Enter Shaun Lewis.
True, Justin Gilbert makes opposing quarterbacks pay when they try and throw his way; however, Lewis seems to make big plays when the Cowboys need him to.
Look for Lewis to make at least two game-changing plays this weekend, and don't be surprised if Gilbert does the same.
Unfortunately for Texas, they lost star tailback Johnathan Gray to a season-ending injury.
Fortunately for the Longhorns, they have a host of talented playmakers waiting to make a statement in that backfield.
If Case McCoy struggles against Oklahoma State's excellent cornerbacks, it'll be up to Malcolm Brown to take over and keep Texas in the game.
The Cowboys are arguably the best defense in the Big 12 and will give Brown difficulties, but if he can produce, Texas fans will feel good about their chances.
One other player to possibly pay attention to: Tyrone Swoopes. I know he hasn't gotten much shine this season, but after the Kansas Jayhawks gashed the Pokes with the option a few times last weekend, I wouldn't be surprised to see Mack Brown trot the athletic freshman out there for a spark.
This is a tough game to pick because either team could easily walk away with a victory, it's that close.
Usually, in that situation I go with the home team, and I'm tempted to here.
However, the Oklahoma State Cowboys hold an edge on the defensive side of the ball, and with two quarterbacks that have been prone to mistakes, I think you have to pick the better defense.
It's close, and it wouldn't be surprising if it went the other way, but my money's on the Pokes.
Oklahoma State 34, Texas 28