Time for the rest of the Big 12 to step up.

No. 2 Oklahoma gave the conference a signature victory last week at Ohio State that should serve the Sooners well when the College Football Playoff selection starts sorting through contenders.

Two other ranked Big 12 teams hit the road this weekend for the worst kind of games: against nonconference opponents that are good enough to pull an upset but not good enough to be considered equals.

No. 9 Oklahoma State is at Pitt and No. 18 Kansas State visits Vanderbilt, giving the Cowboys, Wildcats and the Big 12 far more to lose than gain this weekend. Too much energy is spent and too many words are spilled on the debate over which conference is best, but the only league to get left out of the playoff twice is in need of a narrative shift.

The picks:

Friday night lights

Illinois (plus 18) at No. 22 South Florida

The Bulls only played well in spurts during their first two games and then got an unexpected week off to deal with Hurricane Irma. It's hard to guess what to expect out of them ... USF 28-14.


Main events

No. 3 Clemson (minus 3½) at No. 14 Louisville

The three meetings between the Tigers and Cardinals have been decided by a total of 15 points and all won by Clemson ... CLEMSON 31-24.

No. 23 Tennessee (plus 5) at No. 24 Florida

Now might be the time for the Gators to start running the option. The Vols couldn't stop it against Georgia Tech and just about everything else the Gators have tried in recent years hasn't worked ... TENNESSEE 24-20, UPSET SPECIAL.

Upset alerts

Texas (plus 15) at No. 4 Southern California

If he wasn't playing with Sam Darnold, Trojans RB Ronald Jones might be a Heisman contender ... USC 48-28.

SMU (plus 19½) at No. 20 TCU

Horned Frogs have won six straight and nine of 10 in the Battle for the Iron Skillet ... TCU 49-27.

Potentially pesky

Air Force (plus 24) at No. 7 Michigan

Playing service academies and their option offenses can be a real pain ... MICHIGAN 30-14.

Army (plus 30) at No. 8 Ohio State

No, really: Playing service academies and their options offenses can be a real pain ... OHIO STATE 38-13.

Conference calls

No. 12 LSU (minus 7) at Mississippi State

Bulldogs need to work on those old-school fumble drills ... MISSISSIPPI STATE 27-21.

Oregon State (plus 21) at No. 21 Washington State

Cougars QB Luke Falk will start after leaving last week's game with an apparent injury ... WASHINGTON 45-17, BEST BET.

Ranked on the road

No. 9 Oklahoma State (minus 13½) at Pittsburgh

Cowboys needed overtime to beat the Panthers last season ... OKLAHOMA STATE 38-21.