Big 12 Week One Fearless Predictions
Posted Aug 31, 2006

Big 12 Fearless Predictions, Previews and Analysis for Every Game

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Big 12 Week One Fearless Predictions

Big 12 Game of the Week

Toledo at Iowa State 8 pm EST  Thursday, August 31st
Why to watch: Doesn't this have the feel of a minor bowl game? Toledo might turn out to be the MAC's best team and is more than capable of catching Iowa State in a shocker. The Rockets won three of their final four games last year including a 45-13 pasting of UTEP in the GMAC Bowl, while the Cyclones are looking for a big start after losing their last two games of 2005, including a 27-24 loss to TCU in the Houston Bowl, by a total of six points. With a nasty schedule ahead, Iowa State needs all the wins it can get early on. Toledo is hoping to start of the season on the right foot before jumping into MAC play next week against Western Michigan.
Why Toledo might win: While Iowa State has a strong enough team to challenge for the Big 12 North title, it'll take a little while for everything to come together. The defense has some massive holes to fill at linebacker and in the secondary, so if UT can get off to a hot start and establish its ground game in the second half, it has a shot at pulling off the road upset. The Rocket running backs and experienced line are more than good enough to control the tempo.
Why Iowa State might win: Toledo starting quarterback Clint Cochran is hardly an inexperienced rookie, but this he didn't do much in his only real test last season losing to Fresno State 44-14. The Cyclone crowd will be jacked up and should make things tough on the sophomore.
Who to watch: Toledo starting quarterback Clint Cochran is hardly an inexperienced rookie, but this he didn't do much in his only real test last season losing to Fresno State 44-14. The Cyclone crowd will be jacked up and should make things tough on the sophomore in the first game after the strong Bruce Gradkowski era. ... Iowa State running back Stevie Hicks is the difference maker in the attack. When he's healthy and productive, the Cyclones have the offensive balance to take the heat off QB Bret Meyer. Since he likely won't be given the ball 30+ times, a second back has to establish himself right off the bat with Jason Scales nursing a knee injury and Josh Johnson a true freshman.
What will happen: It'll be a battle for three quarters, but the Iowa State offense has too much experience (with ten starters returning) to not be far sharper than Toledo out of the gate.
CFN Prediction
Iowa State 38 ... Toledo 24 ... Line: Iowa State -7.5
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Pants Off, Dance Off) ... 3 
Final Score: 

North Texas at Texas  12 pm EST  Saturday, September 2nd
Why to watch: The defending national champions take the field for a light scrimmage before the showdown with Ohio State next week. All eyes will be on Texas in game one of the post-Vince Young era, and panic sirens will go off if this isn't a big-time blowout by midway through the second quarter. North Texas is coming off a horrendous 2-9 season and will have to wait a little longer before trying to turn things around. Obviously the Mean Green doesn't have a shot at winning, but SMU will look like it's going half speed next week after seeing a team as good as UT. If UNT can do anything with some success, it'll carry over in a big way.
Why North Texas might win: Jamario Thomas will regain his 2004 form and tear off over 200 yards helping the Mean Green control the clock and tempo while the veteran defense will confuse and confound new Texas quarterback Colt McCoy and Jevan Sneed and ... and then the off-ramp comes up to exit fantasyland. UNT will be trying well into the fourth quarter once the Texas second and third stringers are getting playing time, so there's a chance for a few late scores to make things look cosmetically better. There's enough experience on both sides of the ball to avoid a total disaster for a few drives, however ...
Why Texas might win: ... the Texas second and third stringers are good enough to beat North Texas 54-3. The Mean Green offense did absolutely squat last season against any defense with a pulse, and things don't look to be appreciably better right away. The UNT quarterback situation is still unsettled and there isn't nearly enough overall firepower, especially with wide receiver Johnny Quinn returning from surgery on his hand, to hope for more than a few oh-by-the-way points.
Who to watch: Everyone will be focusing on the quarterbacks. North Texas is looking for some consistency under center and is almost certain to play both Woody Wilson and Matt Phillips after 2005 starter Daniel Meager suffered problems from a concussion late in fall practice. Wilson, a JUCO transfer, is the one to watch. The Texas situation is a bit more settled with Colt McCoy getting the starting nod, but freshman Jevan Snead will get plenty of meaningful work. These two don't have to be Vince, but they have to prove they can get the offense moving.
What will happen: You don't think Texas is a wee bit miffed over being passed over by Ohio State and Notre Dame in the first round of rankings? You don't think Texas is a wee bit tired about hearing how it was all Vince Young last year? Expect a bit of an early statement.
CFN Prediction
: Texas 54 ... North Texas
6 ... Line: Texas -41
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Pants Off, Dance Off) ... 1.5 
Final Score: 

Montana State
at Colorado  3:30 pm  September 2, 2006 
Why to Watch:  The Dan Hawkins era kicks off in in Boulder in what's expected to be a bit of a transitional year. Despite coming off a Big 12 North title-winning season, Colorado is most remembered for the ugly end of the year with four straight losses lowlighted by a 70-3 loss in the conference title game against Texas. With the always nasty showdown with Colorado State coming up, this has to be the game that all the demons become quickly exorcised. While this is Montana State and not the great Montana D-IAA program, the Bobcats are still a solid team coming off a 7-4 season. 
Why Montana State Might Win:  The Bobcat offense got better and better as summer practices went on and appears to be peaking at just the right time. While there isn't enough firepower to pull off the upset, there are some good playmakers who could come up with some big plays to keep the chains moving and the score from getting out of hand. On the flip side, the CU offense is still a work in progress and might not be fully up to speed the was Hawkins might want it to be.
Why Colorado Might Win:  Defense. Lost in meltdown at the end of last year was a great performance by the Buffs throughout most of the season. The back seven should be a strength early on with enough experienced playmakers to take the MSU offense and make it look like the beginning of spring ball again. If CU can get up by two touchdowns early, this could get ugly with MSU almost certain to press with its passing game meaning some big mistakes will follow.
Who to Watch:  Can MSU QB Cory Carpenter handle the pressure? He's rock-solid when he has time, but he was off when there was a steady pass rush in practices. For Colorado, James Cox gets the starting nod at quarterback after some uneventful appearances over the last few years. He has to settle down and not try to make every play a big one. The more he can make the quick reads and the easy plays, the faster the passing game will take off.
What Will Happen: Expect CU to come out with a bit of a chip on its shoulder. MSU is good enough to keep this from being a total embarrassment, but it'll be over by halftime.
CFN Prediction: Colorado 45 ... Montana State 14 ... Line: No Line
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Pants Off, Dance Off) ... 1 
Final Score: 

Louisiana Tech
at Nebraska  3:30 pm  September 2, 2006 
Why to Watch:  Husker faithful haven’t been as excited about the opening of a season since, well, the days of former head coach Frank Solich and the option and before anything called a spread made its way to middle America. Well, the option isn’t going to be part of this Husker offense, but QB Zac Taylor will be with the pressure of having to carry the attack to an expected Big 12 North title.  The last time Louisiana Tech came to town, WR Troy Edwards caught more balls in one game, 21 for 405 yards, in a 56-27 loss.  The Bulldog receivers likely won’t combine for that output this year, but this is a good WAC program used to playing on the road.
Why Louisiana Tech Might Win: The Tech defense returns only two starters from last year, but one of them is talented FS Dez Abrams. His experience and leadership might be enough to get the right guys in the right spots against the Nebraska passing game, while the front seven is decent enough to keep the Husker ground attack from doing anything more than it was able to last season.
Why Nebraska Might Win:
  Mark it down. Nebraska DE Adam Carriker will be a finalist for the Lombardi Award, be a first team All-American and be a top fifteen draft pick in April.  At 6-6 and 294 pounds, Carriker is similar in size to last year’s first round pick Mario Williams with a bit more polish and a faster moving motor. The Husker defensive line will dominate making it impossible for the Tech backfield to get on track.
Who to Watch:  If Nebraska TE Matt Herian plays like he did before injuring his leg a few years ago, there might not be any stopping the passing game. Part receiver, part tight end and full force offensive threat, Herian should be a pass catching demon in 2006 seeing plenty of single coverage with attention needing to be paid to the other targets.  Louisiana Tech WRs Johnathan Holland and Eric Newman could put some pressure on the Nebraska corners, but it might be for naught if QB Zac Champion can’t get the ball off.
What Will Happen:  Taylor will spread the ball around to his plethora of pass catchers, but the key will be what the running game does on Saturday.  The closer to balanced that this offense gets, the scarier it will be when it goes off to face USC n two weeks. Champion will be visited by Carriker throughout the game and the Tech offense won’t be able to move the ball on the run against this tough, stout defense.
CFN Prediction: Nebraska 38 ... Louisiana Tech 13 ... Line: Nebraska -20.5
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Pants Off, Dance Off) ... 2.5 
Final Score: 

Murray State
at Missouri  7 pm  September 2, 2006 
Why to Watch: And who says there's no preseason in college football? Missouri gets a chance to stretch its legs against a Murray State team that went 2-9 last year and showed no defense whatsoever. The Racers have gone 10-24 in the three seasons under head coach Matt Griffin, but he has a better team coming into this season. That doesn't mean this won't be a chance to see all the Mizzou backups.
Why Murray State Might Win: Missouri has to implode to keep this from being a four -plus touchdown win. The Racers have a little bit of size on the offensive line and has a couple of decent offensive pieces in senior RB Chad Cook and junior QB Ryne Salyer to put a little bit of pressure on the Tigers for a half.
Why Missouri Might Win: The Tiger offensive line will steamroll over the Racer front four. MSU's D line averages around 235 pounds per man on the two deep with only one player over 280. Consider it a major upset of the Missouri running game doesn't crank out at least 300 yards. MSU allowed 221 per game last year. On the other side of the ball, the Tiger defensive line will have a field day with the backups good enough to dominate the MSU line.
Who to Watch:  It's the first game after Brad Smith for the Tiger offense, but there might not be a drop-off in overall production if he can utilize all his weapons. He has a little bit of mobility and is as tough as nails, but he has to try not to go for the big play on every play and has to make sure that he spreads the ball around like he did when he came off the bench.
What Will Happen: Tiger fans had better be in their seats right after kickoff or they might miss the meaningful part of the game.
CFN Prediction: Missouri 54 ... Murray State 3 ... Line: No Line
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Pants Off, Dance Off) ... 1
Final Score: 

Missouri State
at Oklahoma State  7 pm  September 2, 2006 
Why to Watch:  Just when you thought the Oklahoma State non-conference schedule couldn't get any softer after playing Montana State, Florida Atlantic and Arkansas State last year, here comes a Missouri State team that went 4-6 in 2005. Even so, OSU struggled way too much in those cupcake games last year and might still be trying to figure out how the Mike Gundy offense works. These two met in 2003 with the Cowboys winning a 42-3 squeaker.
Why Missouri State Might Win: Can the OSU spread offense finally get rolling? It struggled throughout last year to find any sort of consistency, and if it starts to sputter and cough early on, the best defense against the Cowboys might be the Cowboys themselves. While there's plenty of returning experience, this is still an extremely young OSU team with only ten seniors listed on the depth chart.
Why Oklahoma State Might Win: The MSU run defense doesn't appear to be appreciably better than last year when it allowed 212 yards per game and gave up 432 yards of total offense. Even if the Cowboy passing game breaks down, Mike Hamilton and the rest of the strong running back corps should be able to take over behind a solid offensive line. Corey Hilliard and the interior of the OSU line will open up mile-wide holes.
Who to Watch: As star recruit a few years ago, OSU QB Bobby Reid has yet to stay healthy and hasn't shown the slightest bit of consistency when he has gotten his chance. The talent is undeniable, but he has to put it all together and prove he can keep the offense moving. Razor sharp in late summer practices, he appears to have a better grasp of the offense and is better at taking what the defense gives him. Now he has to show he can do it in live action.
What Will Happen: Reid will be fantastic showing great mobility and an accurate arm. Missouri State won't hold up against the OSU ground game and will get pounded on for close to 400 yards.
CFN Prediction: Oklahoma State 38 ... Murray State 17..  ... Line: No Line
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Pants Off, Dance Off) ... 1
Final Score: 

Big 12 Week One Fearless Predictions