Before turning its attention to one of the biggest games in program history, Oklahoma State must clear a much smaller hurdle. The No. 10 Cowboys (9-1, 5-1) will face the struggling Kansas Jayhawks (3-7, 1-5) on Saturday afternoon in Lawrence, Kansas.
Here is how they stack up:
OSU running game vs. Kansas front seven
The Jayhawks' inability to stop the run has been a glaring weakness during their miserable season. In six Big 12 games, Kansas has given up an average of 226.8 yards on the ground to go along with 18 touchdowns. You can bet Cowboys offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen has seen these numbers and plans to take advantage.
The Cowboys will make a concerted effort to control this game with Kendall Hunter and Joseph Randle. Expect a huge day for both backs.
Big Edge: OSU
OSU passing game vs. Kansas secondary
Although the quarterback position in college football is filled with huge names and Heisman hopefuls, the best statistical season may be coming from Stillwater. Brandon Weeden leads the nation with 3,391 yards and is second with 27 touchdowns.
Facing one of the worst defenses he has seen thus far, this game should be more of the same for Weeden and his talented receivers.
Big Edge: OSU
Kansas running game vs. OSU front seven
This is the one area of the game that does not look like a complete mismatch. As of late, the Jayhawks have run the ball effectively and the Cowboys have been susceptible to the ground attack. Kansas freshman running back James Sims is a versatile back, accumulating 712 yards from scrimmage and a team-leading eight touchdowns.
Meanwhile, over the last three games the Cowboys have given up eight touchdowns to opponents, all of the running variety. That is a surprising statistic that must be cleaned up.
Kansas passing game vs. OSU secondary
The reason for the Jayhawks' offensive struggles this season are not hard to pinpoint. The most important position on the field, quarterback, has been an absolute mess. They have started three different signal callers, none with much success.
In a conference known for high-powered offenses, it is unbelievable to think that Kansas has not had a 300-yard passing game or a 100-yard receiving game the entire year. Just think, Brandon Weeden averages 339.1 yards per game and Justin Blackmon has eclipsed 125 yards in all nine of his games.
Big Edge: OSU
Even the best defenses in the nation have had trouble stopping the Cowboys' top ranked offense, so there is no reason to believe a below average Kansas defense can even remotely contain it.
While the Jayhawks will have to work hard to score on an improving Oklahoma State defense, points will not be a problem for the Cowboys. Although some are worried about a potential trap game with Bedlam looming next week, superior talent on both sides of the ball will be too much for Kansas to overcome.
Oklahoma State 55-17