What to watch in the Big 12 Championship


1. Nebraska's quarterback, but not necessarily its starter. Taylor Martinez didn't play last week, suffering through a sprained right ankle and turf toe on his right foot. Cody Green played well against Colorado, which has two of the most talented corners in the Big 12, but there's no doubt Martinez gives Nebraska an offensive edge. Martinez had the Huskers on a record pace earlier in the year. Expect Bo Pelini to ride his hot hand if Martinez is healthy, but there's nothing saying either of the quarterbacks will get hot. In that case, look for lots of Wildcat with Rex Burkhead taking the snaps.

2. Turnover margin. You've read about Landry Jones rough night in Lincoln last year, and from time to time, he's been susceptible to turning the ball over this year, too. If Oklahoma's going to win, it can't turn the ball over. This should be a tight, low-scoring game just like last year, and turnovers are never more crucial than in games like that. The same goes for Nebraska and its fumbles. The Huskers have 37 fumbles, more than any team in college football, though they've lost just 12 of them.

3. The postgame scene: If Oklahoma wins, this point is moot (although maybe not). If Nebraska wins, Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe will hand the Huskers the Big 12 Championship trophy and Nebraska will wave goodbye on its way to the Big Ten. If Beebe takes the microphone, however briefly, expect boos from the Nebraska fans.

4. The penalty distribution. There's no avoiding this one. If it's slanted, it's going to be a story, for better or worse. To be clear, I don't think any shenanigans are going on, but you can bet you'll be hearing about it for a long time if the gap between Oklahoma's flags and Nebraska's is wide, or key calls late in the game go against the Huskers.

5. Extracurricular activities. Last week, after nearly every Nebraska penalty, cameras flipped to a shot of Nebraska coach Bo Pelini. Unlike against Texas A&M, he was on his best behavior, making good on his word that he wouldn't be as animated as he was against the Aggies. Nebraska was firmly in control of that one, but this week against Oklahoma should be noticeably more intense. Warranted or not, cameras will be on Pelini once again this week.