Texas visits Baylor today for an old-fashioned college football showdown.
For Baylor's Bears (6-3-1 overall, 5-1-1 Southwest Conference), a possible Cotton Bowl berth is on the line. No. 6 Texas (8-1, 6-0) is playing for the Cotton Bowl, too, but also for higher stakes - a possible shot at the national championship.The No. 1 spot in the national rankings has changed hands five times this season and there are no more unbeaten, untied teams in major college football. That would appear to give the Longhorns at least a shot at the title, but only if they can get to the Cotton Bowl with no more losses.
"This game is a chance to go to the Cotton Bowl, and we shouldn't be worried about anything else," Texas coach David McWilliams said.
But in this topsy-turvy season, it's obvious that just about anything can happen.
No. 1 Colorado appears safe until its Orange Bowl appearance against No. 7 Notre Dame since the Buffaloes have finished their regular season. But there certainly could be more shuffling in the ranks behind them.
On Saturday, with the anticlimatic official bowl invitations to be issued in the afternoon, the Texas-Baylor meeting highlights a schedule that also includes No. 2 Miami at home against Syracuse, No. 4 Brigham Young at home against Utah State, and Notre Dame at No. 18 Southern Cal.
On Friday, unranked Oklahoma crushed No. 10 Nebraska 45-10. The Sooners (8-3) are ineligible for postseason play, and so took out their frustrations on the Cornhuskers (9-2), who are headed for the Citrus Bowl.
It was only the second time since 1961 that the Oklahoma-Nebraska game didn't decide the Big Eight Title, long ago locked up by Colorado, a winner over both Oklahoma and Nebraska.
Baylor, which humiliated Texas 50-7 last season and has won seven of the last eight games against the Longhorns at home in Floyd Casey Stadium, needs a victory today and a triumph by Texas A&M over Texas in the regular-season finale to make it to Dallas on New Year's Day.
Texas needs only to beat either Baylor or the Aggies to earn the Cotton Bowl bid against Miami.
Baylor has already turned down a backup bid from the Independence Bowl. "It's Cotton or nothing," coach Grant Teaff said.
Miami (7-2) would love to get a shot at Colorado, but the Hurricanes can only keep winning and hope to become the first team with two losses to win the national title.
Dennis Erickson, staying out of the title debate, says his Hurricanes better not take unranked Syracuse (6-3-2) lightly.
"They are a couple of points from being 8-2," Erickson said of the Orangemen. "They're playing real well right now. They are a dangerous football team."
Miami will play this weekend without senior fullback Leonard Conley, who has been suspended indefinitely for violating team rules.
Conley is one of 17 Hurricane seniors who have never lost a home game.
Brigham Young (9-1) will try to vault past Utah State (5-4-1) before finishing its season next week at Hawaii, while Notre Dame (8-2) will try to bounce back from a loss to No. 11 Penn State against Southern Cal (8-2-1).
In other Top 25 games on Saturday, Pittsburgh is at Penn State, No. 13 Iowa tries to wrap up the Big Ten title and a trip to the Rose Bowl at Minnesota, Kentucky plays at No. 14 Tennessee, No. 15 Michigan is at No. 19 Ohio State, No. 17 Virginia is at Virginia Tech, Mississippi State plays No. 21 Mississippi at Jackson, Miss., Northwestern is at No. 22 Illinois, and Wisconsin is at No. 24 Michigan State.