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Big 12 Fearless Predictions, Week 3, Part Two

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Sep 14, 2006


Preview and predictions for the week three Big 12 games ... Part 2


Big 12
North Colorado | Iowa St | Kansas | Kansas State | Missouri | Nebraska
South Baylor | Oklahoma | Oklahoma State | Texas | Texas A&M | Texas Tech
Past Big 12 Predictions: Week One |
Week Two

How'd we do so far? 21-3 straight up, 6-10-1 ATS

Big 12 Week Three Fearless Predictions

Baylor
(1-1) at Washington State (1-1) 5 pm EST Saturday, September 16th
Why to watch: Both Baylor and Washington State are coming off lopsided wins over patsies and looking to get over .500 before league play begins.  Two months from now, this is one of those games that could be the difference between bowl eligibility and being home for the holidays with each team still needing to face their tough conference schedules.  After opening at Auburn, the Cougar offense got back on track at Idaho’s expense cranking out eight touchdowns and 637 yards of evenly distributed offense.  Alex Brink is a prolific passer flanked by a trio of seasoned receivers, led by home run hitter, Jason Hill and emerging star Michael Bumpus.  Baylor, too, can get move the ball through the air with Shawn Bell at the controls and Trent Shelton starting to shine in the new passing attack.  The two hooked up nine times last week for 158 yards and a touchdown.  There will be lots of passing numbers in what should be an entertaining test for both teams.
Why Baylor might win: The Bears have an underrated, veteran defense that’s good enough to derail the Cougar attack.  They’ve already registered 15 tackles for loss and four interceptions, and have surrendered just three touchdowns in two games.  With the pass-rushers to win the battle with a suspect Wazzu line, Brink could be forced into making several mistakes. The offense needs to capitalize on any and all opportunities.
Why Washington State might win: Offensive balance.  The Cougars have it.  The Bears don’t.  On third down or near the goal line, Washington State can get the tough yards, but Baylor has absolutely no running game averaging just 2.4 yards a carry and ranked 117th in the nation in rushing offense. While that’s partly by design in the new attack, if Bell isn’t on, Baylor has no shot.
Who to watch: C.J. Wilson and Anthony Arline give Baylor one of the best cornerback tandems in the Big 12, and a pair of seniors that’ll press Hill, Bumpus and Chris Jordan from the opening series.  Wilson already has three interceptions, which ties him for tops in the nation. Hill has yet to break out with only six catches for 110 yards and a touchdown, but his presence has allowed Bumpus to flourish as a short-to-midrange target with 12 grabs for 92 yards and a score over the first two games.
What will happen: Both teams will make big plays through the air, but Baylor will learn that you can’t beat quality opponents on the road without a running game.  RB DeMaundray Woolridge will return from a deep thigh bruise and score a couple of short touchdown runs for the difference.     

CFN Prediction
: Washington State 34 ... Baylor 20
... Line: Washington State -13
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Dancing with the Stars) ... 3

Texas Tech
(2-0) at TCU (2-0) 5:30 pm EST CSTV Saturday, September 16th
Why to watch: 70-35. When these two met in 2004, Texas Tech ripped apart a Horned Frog team hoping for a big season. That was the beginning of the end to a disappointing year, but TCU bounced back with a fantastic 2005 on the way to the nation's longest winning streak at 12 games after beating Baylor and UC Davis without much of a problem. The Texas Tech game doesn't just represent the team's main chance at national respect, it also kicks off a brutal three-game stretch that'll make or break the season with BYU and Utah to follow. Texas Tech got pushed to the wall last week in a 38-35 overtime win over UTEP. With SE Louisiana next week, a win over TCU means it'll be a 4-0 start going into the Big 12 opener at Texas A&M.
Why Texas Tech might win: TCU got a bit of a dry run against a Texas Tech-like offense when it played Baylor, and it allowed 286 passing yards and a score. Texas Tech's attack is a wee bit sharper than BU's. The Horned Frog secondary will give up yards and the line isn't generating nearly enough pressure considering the talent up front. If Red Raider QB Graham Harrell gets a little bit of time, he'll pick apart TCU all game long. In the first two games, Harrell has been sacked just once.
Why TCU might win: TCU's defense might not be making too many plays in the backfield, but Texas Tech's defense is doing absolutely nothing to get to the quarterback with no sacks and not nearly enough consistent pressure. Its not like there haven't been chances; UTEP's Jordan Palmer threw it 5 times last week. TCU's secondary will get beat from time to time, but it'll also come up with some big plays with three interceptions so far.
Who to watch: Can Aaron Brown continue to carry the TCU running game? The team's great stable of backs has been quickly diminished with Lonta Hobbs hobbling with a foot injury and Robert Merrill struggling through a back problem. Brown has grown into a strong receiver with nine catches for 166 yards, but he only has 122 rushing yards. TCU needs both dimensions to keep the offense moving. Texas Tech RB Shannon Woods has been solid so far in place of Taurean Henderson running the ball, but he hasn't quite added the same flash as a receiver. He has the speed, and now he has to start getting the ball in space so he can make more big plays.
What will happen: TCU's offense will get its licks in, and the secondary will come up with at least two interceptions, but it won't be enough. Tech will start a pace the Horned Frogs won't be able to keep up with.
CFN Prediction
: Texas Tech 31 ... TCU 24
... Line: Texas Tech -2
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Dancing with the Stars) ... 3.5 

Texas (1-1) at Rice (0-2), 6:00 EST, ESPN2, Saturday, September 16th
Why to watch: For Texas, a humbling 24-7 loss to Ohio State ended the 21-game winning streak, and possibly hopes to repeat as the national champion unless it goes on a big-time run starting in Reliant Stadium in Houston.  It’ll be uncharted waters for a program that hadn’t lost a regular season game in two years or a regular season game to someone other than Oklahoma in three years.  Now it’s about reaffirming the position as the favorite to win a second straight Big 12 title, and that means getting the offense going this week against a Rice team that’s been far better than expected after giving Houston and UCLA all either could handle.  After just two weeks with Todd Graham on the sidelines, it’s obvious the Owls are much more competitive than they were in Ken Hatfield’s final year.  Rice’s offensive coordinator is none other than former Longhorn favorite son, Major Applewhite.
Why Texas might win: Rice enters the game with the nation’s 104th-ranked offense and top quarterback Chase Clement on the shelf with an injured thumb.  The ‘Horns give up just 43 yards a game on the ground, meaning backup QB Joel Armstrong will have to play well beyond his capabilities to keep the Owls competitive.  He’s not a passer, and Texas will be way too strong against the Rice running game for this to be any sort of a battle into the second half.
Why Rice might win: Rice has been one of the nation’s most impressive 0-2 teams after quickly adopted Graham’s philosophies.  They’ve been especially stout on defense, already racking up 18 tackles for loss and nine sacks, while keeping UCLA QB Ben Olson in check at the Rose Bowl.  If Texas is still hung over from last week’s high-profile loss, the Owls are just na├»ve and confident enough to make this mismatch interesting.
Who to watch: Texas QB Colt McCoy wasn’t that bad against Ohio State completing 19 of 32 passes. What he didn’t do was throw the ball down the field with any effectiveness.  He might be the key to the Big 12 race and has to use this game to start to establish himself as more than just a guy who hands it off to the great backs.
What will happen: Texas is sure to be a little heavy-legged in the early going, and Rice is developing a personality for not being intimidated.  The ‘Horns will pull away in the second half behind turnovers and the running of Selvin Young and Jamaal Charles, both of whom will rush for more than 100 yards.

CFN Prediction: Texas 43 ... Rice 10 ... Line: Texas -31
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Dancing with the Stars) ...

Arizona State (2-0) at Colorado (0-2), 7:00 EST, TBS, Saturday, September 16th
Why to watch: Let’s get Arkansas vs. Boise State on the undercard, and have a reunion of the last four Boise State head coaches.  Colorado’s Dan Hawkins worked for Arizona State’s Dirk Koetter with the Broncos, and the two have remained tight ever since and are still considered two of the best offensive minds in college football.  Hawkins, however, has a lot more than reunions to worry about these days.  His Buffs are one of this year’s biggest disappointments having lost to Montana State and Colorado State, and his baby, the offense, has been brutal.  Everyone knew there’d be growing pains in Boulder, but this 0-2 start has been worse than expected and things could get much, much worse with road trips to Georgia and Missouri after the date with the Devils.  Arizona State rebounded nicely from a shaky opener with Northern Arizona by pounding Nevada last week in an impressive 52-21 win.  Isn’t it funny how no one is talking about the Sam Keller-Rudy Carpenter saga after Carpenter threw for 333 yards and five touchdowns in the rout? With Cal, Oregon and USC over the next three weeks, ASU has to try to win impressively to go into the most important part of its season with sky-high confidence.
Why Arizona State might win: Right now, Colorado looks good for about 10 –to-14 points a game, which Arizona State can average in a quarter…especially now that Carpenter has begun to percolate.  The Buffs are 117th nationally in total offense, and they haven’t exactly been facing the Pittsburgh Steelers of college football. With off-Broadway quarterbacks James Cox and Bernard Jackson as Hawkins’ only options, and the two still needing more seasoning, don’t anticipate an overnight turnaround.  The Sun Devils lead the nation in sacks, and will salivate after watching film of the Buff pass protection.
Colorado might win: As bad as the offense has been in Boulder, the defense has been pretty stingy under new coordinator Ron Collins.  Colorado has allowed just 33 points all year, and behind the edge rushing of Abraham Wright, is No. 4 in the country in sacks.  Koetter better forget about establishing a running game; the Buffs are allowing just over a yard per carry through two games.
Who to watch: Arizona State’s Zach Miller has nine catches to start the season doing nothing to alter the notion that he’s the most gifted tight end at this level and a likely early entry in the 2007 NFL Draft.  When the Sun Devils are looking to move the chains, he’ll continue to be Carpenter’s first option to open things up for the rest of the offense. For Colorado, it might be sink or swim time with Jackson. He has the mobility and the intangibles to be a dangerous weapon, but he has to get the offense moving after completing eight of 13 passes for 70 yards, and rushing for 30 yards and score, against Colorado State.             
What will happen: Colorado’s bringing a knife into a gunfight, and simply doesn’t have the weapons to go step for step with an Arizona State offense that’s heating up.  Against the Buffs last weekend, Colorado State’s Caleb Hanie was 20-of-23 passing, a precursor to what Carpenter’s going to do at Folsom Field.
CFN Prediction: Arizona State 34 ... Colorado 16 ... Line: Arizona State -10
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Dancing with the Stars) ...

Florida Atlantic
(0-2) at Oklahoma State (2-0) 7 pm EST Saturday, September 16th
Why to watch: For those of you who couldn't wait for the rematch after last year's scintillating 23-3 Oklahoma State win over Florida Atlantic, this Saturday is your Christmas. The jury is still out on a Cowboy team that had little trouble with Missouri State and Arkansas State, but it's playing well and is starting to come together as a legitimate threat to go to a bowl game. With Houston next week followed by Kansas State and Kansas, a 6-0 start isn't completely out of the realm of possibility. Florida Atlantic is simply trying to do the best it can to stay one step ahead of Temple in the race for America's worst team after getting blasted 99-6 over the first two weeks by Clemson and Kansas State.
Why Florida Atlantic might win: As good as things have been over the first two weeks for OSU, it's not like it's played anyone and it's not like this team is going to challenge the another OSU for the nation's number one spot. The offense is still a work in progress with QB Bobby Reid continually trying to find his way as the starter, while the defensive back seven is young and inexperienced. Overall, this is a young, young, young team that's certain to make a few big mistakes somewhere along the road.
Why Oklahoma State might win: The one area FAU isn't bad, pass defense, is the one thing Oklahoma State isn't into doing. The Owl defensive front isn't having any luck generating any pressure, and with the mobile Reid under center, the Cowboys won't have to worry too much about taking sacks. The FAU ground game is non-existent and isn't likely to start steamrolling over anyone now because ...
Who to watch: ... no one's stepping up in place of DiIvory Edgecomb. The starter coming into the season, Edgecomb was declared academically ineligible meaning Charles Pierre has been forced to become the main man. A small, quick  back, Pierre needs room to move; he's not getting any. Under center, FAU has to find some sort of consistency between Sean Clayton and Rusty Smith. Smith has struggled more in the passing game, but Clayton hasn't done anything to move the offense. They'll both play.
What will happen: Oklahoma State will be slow out of the gate, and then will kick it into high gear in the second half.
CFN Prediction
: Oklahoma State 41 ... Florida Atlantic 10
... Line: Oklahoma State -28
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Dancing with the Stars) ... 1.5 

Missouri
(2-0) at New Mexico (1-1) 8 pm EST Saturday, September 16th
Why to watch: When last we saw these two meet, New Mexico came out of Columbia with a shocking 45-35 win that once again sent Mizzou fans screaming about why the Tigers couldn't get through a relatively light non-conference slate unbeaten. While there might not be a Brad Smith-like star on this year's team, this year's group is the best yet under head coach Gary Pinkel. Coming off an impressive 34-7 win over Ole Miss, the confidence is sky-high with the potential to go on a huge run to start the season before dealing with a road trip to Texas Tech. On the other side, New Mexico is trying to keep its head above water with quarterback issues and a defense that's having a nightmare of a time slowing anyone down. A home win over the Tigers is a must to start turning the ship back around.
Why Missouri might win: The New Mexico offensive line is getting its quarterbacks killed. Portland State and New Mexico State aren't exactly filled with elite pass rushing talents but they were able to get into the backfield early and often. Missouri's defense has been excellent so far at hitting the QB with Brian Smith and Evander Hood leading the way. This game might be a major step back for the passing game.
Why New Mexico might win: It's Missouri, so you know the dud game is coming soon. The Lobos have been excellent at getting to the quarterback thanks to Michael Tuohy, who lit up New Mexico State for three sacks last week. Missouri's Chase Daniel hasn't been under any pressure yet this season and could be forced into a few mistakes. Missouri hasn't faced anyone who can throw, so it might be in for a shock against ...
Who to watch: ... new star receiver Michael Smith. The 6-3, 210-pound former running back has quickly grown into a dangerous weapon catching 13 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns over the first two games highlighted by his brilliant three score performance against New Mexico State. He'll have to be even better with the New Mexico quarterback situation in a state of flux after starter Kole McKamey was lost for the year. Senior Chris Nelson is a former JUCO transfer with good size and great mobility, but he's not the all-around playmaker McKamey was.
What will happen: Missouri's offense is humming on all cylinders at the moment, and it's not going to be slowed down by the mediocre Lobo offense.  
CFN Prediction
: Missouri 31 ... New Mexico 16
... Line: Missouri -14
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Dancing with the Stars) ... 2 

Army
(1-1) at Texas A&M (2-0) 9:15 pm EST ESPN2 Saturday, September 16th
Why to watch: It's military tradition vs. the military academy as Army and Texas A&M go to San Antonio to play for the first time since Army beat a hapless Aggie squad 24-14 in 1972. A&M is rolling having outscored Citadel and UL Lafayette 86 to 10. With an apparent breather against the Black Knights followed up by a home date with Louisiana Tech, and 4-0 start is almost a given before jumping into Big 12 play against Texas Tech. Army struggled over the first two weeks losing to Arkansas State 14-6 and needing overtime to beat a hapless Kent State team. This might not be pretty.
Why Army might win: The only chance of this being close is if A&M takes its foot up off the gas. The Army secondary has been decent so far only allowing 189 passing yards, so if Stephen McGee and the Aggie air attack aren't on early, Army can tee off against the running game. That's easier said than done because ...
Why Texas A&M might win: ... A&M should be able to run over, around, and through a limited Black Knight defensive front. A&M steamrolled through its first two games with a balanced offense, but this will be a game for Courtney Lewis, Jorvorskie Lane and the ground attack to do the most damage. The veteran A&M offensive line should be able to open up mile-wide holes and should wear Army down early into the second half. The Black Knights don't have the players on either side of the ball to keep this close.
Who to watch: Lane was underutilized at times last year, but he's getting more of a chance to be in the mix early on this season and has been great at using his defensive lineman-sized frame around the goal ling with five scores in two games. He's a hammer on short yards and veteran Courtney Lewis has been effective in the rotation. The real excitement is over super-recruit Mike Goodson, who has shown flashes of his potential averaging 7.46 yards per carry with a team leading 97 yards. This three-headed monster will be a bear to slow down as the year goes on, and they've helped McGee grow into the role as the starter over the first two weeks.
What will happen: It's up to A&M and how focused it'll be.
CFN Prediction
: Texas A&M 31 ... Army 3
... Line: Texas  A&M -27.5
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Dancing with the Stars) ... 2 

Big 12 Week Three Fearless Predictions