Texas Power 5 previews: A&M faces Alabama in top-10 showdown

Quarterback Trevor Knight, left, led Texas A&M to a 45-38 victory over Tennessee two weeks ago.
Quarterback Trevor Knight, left, led Texas A&M to a 45-38 victory over Tennessee two weeks ago. AP

Texas (3-3, 1-2 Big 12) at Kansas State (3-3, 1-2) (11 a.m. Saturday, ESPN2): The Longhorns and Wildcats desperately need a win, which should give this matchup an extra edge. They have identical records, but it’s Texas trying to tread water and keep its season, and coach Charlie Strong, alive. The Longhorns found some much-needed defense last week in a 27-6 win against Iowa State that stopped a three-game skid and eased the pressure on Strong for the moment. But a poor showing on the road at Kansas State, which is perfect at home this season, will bring back the distraction in Austin.

No. 6 Texas A&M (6-0, 4-0 SEC) at No. 1 Alabama (7-0, 4-0) (2:30 p.m. Saturday, KTVT/11): The game of the week features a Texas A&M team coming off a bye week, facing the No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide. The Aggies have the top rushing attack in the SEC and are No. 7 in the country with almost 275 yards a game. But A&M hasn’t faced Alabama’s tough defensive front. The Crimson Tide are the best in the country, giving up only 2.04 yards per rush and 63.9 rushing yards a game. All eyes will be on A&M transfer quarterback Trevor Knight, who defeated Alabama in the 2014 Sugar Bowl as a freshman with Oklahoma.

TCU (4-2, 2-1 Big 12) at No. 12 West Virginia (5-0, 2-0) (2:30 p.m. Saturday, WFAA/8): TCU can help throw the Big 12 into chaos with a road upset of the Mountaineers, who are coming off a 48-17 win at Texas Tech last week. The Frogs had the week off to regroup after losing to Oklahoma and nearly suffering what would have been an embarrassing loss at Kansas on Oct. 8. Statistically, TCU and West Virginia are evenly matched. But playing in Morgantown, W.Va., can be a huge advantage for the Mountaineers.

No. 16 Oklahoma (4-2, 3-0 Big 12) at Texas Tech (3-3, 1-2) (7 p.m. Saturday, KDFW/4): The Sooners have addressed their early season issues and appear to be back on track. Oklahoma has won three straight — at TCU, a tough rivalry game against Texas, and last week against Kansas State. Former Texas Tech quarterback Baker Mayfield is leading an OU offense that is scoring more than 40 points a game, and the Sooners are doing enough on defense to put games away. With ranked games against Baylor and West Virginia ahead, Oklahoma has a shot at fighting back into the top 10. Texas Tech has struggled mightily on defense this season, ranking No. 124 out of 128 in scoring defense with 40.2 points surrendered a game.