Week 1 Fearless Predictions - Big 12, Part 2

Posted Aug 30, 2013

Week 1 Fearless Predictions - Big 12, Part 2 NMSU-Texas & More

Northern Iowa (0-0) at Iowa State (0-0) Aug. 31, 8:0

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Always a dangerous game for the FBS Iowa school, UNI brings the heat when it goes against Iowa or Iowa State. The Cyclones won 20-19 two years ago, but lost 24-13 in 2007 and in 1994. This isn't a top Panther team, but it should finish in the upper half of the Missouri Valley. With Iowa up next followed up by Tulsa and Texas, ISU can't afford a slip to start out the year – getting to six wins is going to be a fight.
Why UNI Might Win: Sawyer Kollmorgen is a dangerous passer who started to heat up as last season went on. The Panthers struggled out of the gate going 1-5, but they got it together finishing with four wins in the final five games. Kollmorgen and running back David Johnson provide a nice 1-2 offensive punch with an efficient passing game and effective running game. The O line should handle the Iowa State defensive front on a consistent basis.
Why Iowa State Might Win: There isn't much of a pass rush from the UNI defensive front. Iowa State is going to need a little while before the passing game comes together, but quarterback Sam Richardson should get time to work. The Cyclone offensive line has to be more physical and more effective for the ground game, but I should be effective in pass protection.

Who To Watch Out For: Will Iowa State be able to replace Jake Knott and A.J. Klein at linebacker? Jeremiah George is a big-hitting 5-11, 219 pounder who finished third on the team last season with 87 tackles with four tackles for loss. While he's not all that big, he has tremendous range and isn't afraid to get his nose dirty. This is his defense now, and he's about to show it.
What Will Happen: As always, UNI will give Iowa State everything it has. The Cyclones need some time and some seasoning on offense, while the defense will have a rough day closing down Kollmorgen and the passing attack. Iowa State will pull it out late, but it's going to be a fight.
Prediction: Iowa State 27 .. UNI 23
Line: Iowa State -9.5
Must See Rating: (5 Hard Knocks – 1 ‘N Sync on the VMAs) … 2

New Mexico State (0-0) at Texas (0-0) Aug. 31, 8:00, Longhorn

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Early games aren't always indicative of how good a team is, but for Texas, anything less than a huge win over a rebuilding New Mexico State team – isn't it always a rebuilding New Mexico State team? – would send off the panic sirens. This is the best team in the Big 12 with experience, depth, talent and reasonable expectations. Forget about the No. 15 preseason ranking; it's national title or bust for a team this good. However, with BYU, Ole Miss and Kansas State up next, everything has to be rocking and rolling after this week.

Kicked out of the WAC and waiting a year before diving into the Sun Belt, New Mexico State is spending live as an independent under new head coach Doug Martin. There's experience on both sides of the ball, and the defense could be good under Martin and defensive coordinator David Elson with a little bit of time, but it's going to be a learning process. Starting out against Texas won't help.

Why New Mexico State Might Win: The defensive backfield can hit. That's not necessarily a positive since the front seven isn't usually doing its job, forcing the defensive backs to come up with big plays, but the secondary can tackle. Martin, though, is an offensive mind and he should be able to do a little bit of tweaking to finally generate some semblance of offense. Quarterback Travaughn Colwell is a dangerous rushing option.

Why Texas Might Win: The Aggies just don't have the bodies on the defensive line. There was no pass rush last year and there will be little to none going into this season for the coaching staff to count on. There's a ton of experience returning, but the line can be powered on and should give up a slew of big plays. The Longhorn offense won't have to take any chances.

Who To Watch Out For: There's not a lot of talent on the Aggies compared to Texas, but it might have the best receiver on the field in junior Austin Franklin, a 6-2, 175-pound deep threat who dominated throughout last season catching 74 passes for 1,245 yards and nine touchdowns and seven 100-yard games on the season. A strong high school defensive back, he's a physical target with excellent quickness and great size for this corps. He can work at any of the receiver slots.

- David Ash, anything less than 12-of-14 for 119 yards and two touchdowns in one half of work will be a disappointment.

- Quarterback Andrew Manley might have been the offense last year for New Mexico State, but his transfer isn't the worst thing in the world. Colwell fits better.

- Watch and see how linebacker Jordan Hicks and defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat make the Texas defense instantly better.

What Will Happen: Texas will call its shot. This will be over after the first quarter, but the backups will keep pouring it on without really trying.
Prediction: Texas 55 … New Mexico State 6
Line: Texas -42.5 O/U: 57.5
Must See Rating: (5 Hard Knocks – 1 ‘N Sync on the VMAs) ... 1.5