3. Texas Longhorns
Opponent: at Iowa State | Time: Saturday, Nov. 18, 8 p.m. ET (FOX) | Spread: TEX -7.5
I'm sure everyone in Austin right now is wishing that Steve Sarkisian's Texas Longhorns would quit playing with their food, so to speak. With Maalik Murphy at the helm a couple of weeks ago, Texas had to survive in overtime against Kansas State. Then last week with the return of Quinn Ewers, the Longhorns jumped out to a big first-half lead over rival TCU only to allow the Horned Frogs to climb back into the game and make it quite precarious in the final minutes.
Texas survived both instances, though, remaining a one-loss team with a win over Alabama in its back pocket, making the Longhorns a prime candidate to win out, win the Big 12 Championship Game, and have a strong case to make it into the College Football Playoff.
To win out, though, that first means going on the road to Ames to play an Iowa State team that is simply much better at this point in the season than their 6-4 overall record would indicate.
After an ugly start to the season in non-conference with losses to rival Iowa and on the road at Ohio (the Bobcats, not OSU), the Cylcones have bounced back tremendously. Yes, they lost big on the road to Oklahoma and fell in a nail-biter against Kansas, but they are 5-2 in conference play overall with a win over Oklahoma State in their back pocket.
Matt Campbell has the ISU defense playing extremely well and Rocco Becht has started to give the offense some real life. The big question is if their run in the Big 12 has been more about the competition or the Cyclones. Texas certainly can't bank on it being the former, though, or they might get upset on the road at a tough place to play and see their CFP dream get washed away.