Oklahoma State beat Kansas 20-14, but had to hold on after a 20-0 lead in the fourth quarter nearly vanished when Kansas had the ball twice late with a chance to take the lead. The Jayhawks also led Texas late in the fourth quarter before losing 21-17 on a touchdown pass with 12 seconds to go and later took Texas Tech to two overtimes before losing 41-34.
"In no way do our guys think Kansas is going to come in here and not compete," running backs coach Robert Gillespie said. "They've lost by a lot in some games, but there were games they could have won that were very close and that gets a team mad."
WVU expects the Jayhawks to leave nothing to chance in their final chance to win a game this season.
"There's no doubt in my mind a few of those fourth downs when it's close, they're probably going to go for it," Gillespie said. "They've got a good kickoff team. Onside kicks could come. Reverses. Tricks. All those things. We've got to be ready for the best Kansas can give us because we think their coaching staff will pull out all the stops."
The Mountaineers also know Kansas has been beaten badly a few times - Iowa State, 56-16 at Kansas State, 52-7 at Oklahoma, 41-14 at Baylor - and doesn't pass the ball very much or very well, which is the unquestioned weakness of the WVU defense.
WVU is not without motivation, either.
"In our mind, there's a whole lot of difference between 7-5 and 6-6," Coach Dana Holgorsen said.
Once 5-0 and in the top five of both polls for the first time in five seasons, Mountaineers will finish the regular season unranked and miss a New Year's Day bowl game.
A win could send them to one of three postseason locations: San Diego for the Dec. 27 Holiday Bowl against the third pick from the Pac-12, Houston for the Dec. 28 Meineke Car Care Bowl against the sixth pick from the Big Ten or the Bronx, N.Y., for the Dec. 29 Pinstripe Bowl against the fourth pick from the Big East. The eventual pick depends on other outcomes this weekend.
A loss likely limits WVU to the Pinstripe Bowl.
The Mountaineers are concerned only with Kansas, a team that might seems like a break in the schedule, but one Holgorsen said is no different from all the others his team has encountered in its first Big 12 season.
"This was different last year, but I don't feel like we lined up one time this year to play an unmotivated football team," he said. "The fact we're going to line up for a 12th time this year and play a team that's motivated and ready to play is the way it should be. Is it problematic? Every game is problematic."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.