It's a marquee matchup in the Big 12 as the 17th-ranked Iowa State Cyclones are in Stillwater, Okla., for a showdown with the No. 6 Oklahoma State Cowboys on Saturday inside Boone Pickens Stadium. The undefeated Cowboys are 3.5-point favorites with an over/under of 52 as both programs enter this pivotal clash riding three-game winning streaks.
The Cyclones began the season ranked in the Top 25 but had to claw their way back after dropping their season opener to Louisiana at home, in arguably the upset of the weekend and the biggest win in Ragin' Cajuns history. Iowa State did not fold, however, and responded with wins over TCU, Oklahoma and Texas Tech.
As noted, Oklahoma State has also been victorious in three straight. However, the Cowboys' scheduled game against Baylor last week had to be postponed when the Bears were unable to meet the minimum roster requirements due to another COVID-19 outbreak. The game is currently rescheduled for Dec. 12 in Waco.
In fact, this is Oklahoma State's first game since Oct. 3 with a built-in off week as well. It's the first time that it has had back-to-back open weeks between regular-season games since 1918, during the influenza outbreak, and the pandemic that ensued.
This will be the first true test for the Cowboys, who own wins over Tulsa, West Virginia and Kansas to kick off their Big 12-only 2020 slate.
This conference collision will feature four of the Big 12's premiere offensive players that NFL scouts will certainly have their eyes on. Under center for Iowa State is Brock Purdy, who is fourth in the conference in passing yards with 912, and he's also added another 81 yards on the ground.
Purdy has been fortunate to be able to turn around and hand it to Breece Hall as well, as the sophomore leads the Big 12 and is third in the entire nation with 531 rushing yards. Hall has also rushed for eight touchdowns, which is tied for the second-most in the country.
On the other side of the field is preseason Heisman candidate Chuba Hubbard, who enters this contest as the Big 12's third-leading rusher. He is coming off a season in which he led the nation in both rushing attempts and rush yards.
The Cowboys' top target on the outside is Tylan Wallace, who leads the team with 19 receptions, and his 325 receiving yards are the Big 12's best.
If the Cyclones win this year's matchup, it will be considered an upset, though Oklahoma State's triumph in Ames last year was exactly that. The Cowboys forced three turnovers and scored three touchdowns of 50-plus yards en route to the 34-27 win as an unranked team over Iowa State, which was ranked No. 23 at the time.
This year, it could come down to the rest vs. rust debate for the Cowboys, but you can imagine they're itching to hit someone in a different uniform. The Big 12 is not known for low-scoring games, but both of these teams rely on their run games, and that will chew up the clock.
So the advantage will go to the OSU defense that has given up only 27 points total in three games. The Cowboys will remain the only undefeated team in the conference.
Pick: Oklahoma State -3.5