Big 12 Fearless Predictions, Week 4
Posted Sep 19, 2006

Preview and predictions for the week four Big 12 games

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 | Week Three

How'd we do so far? 32-4 straight up, 11-17-2 ATS 

Big 12 Week Four Fearless Predictions, Part 2

Big 12 Game of the Week

Iowa State (2-1) at Texas (2-1) 3:30 pm EST ABC Saturday, Sept. 23
Why to watch: You'll have to forgive Iowa State if it has the dry heaves when it looks at its upcoming schedule. Not only is it coming off a nasty rivalry game with Iowa (a 27-17 loss), it has to play the defending national champion, then it gets a breather against Northern Iowa, then Nebraska, then at Oklahoma, then Texas Tech. It's not like the Cyclones can catch the Longhorns looking ahead to Oklahoma with a scrimmage against Sam Houston State to follow. Mack Brown's club bounced back from the drubbing from Ohio State to bomb Rice 52-7. With the road portion of the slate over the second half of the season, Texas has to take advantage of every home game it can to not just win, but to be impressive enough to get the pollsters buzzing again.
Why Iowa State might win: Colt McCoy has played well, but he's still a first year starter prone to making mistakes like any new quarterback. Iowa State has picked off three passes in the first three games and hasn't been turning the ball over. It has to win the turnover battle and it has to get consistent pressure on McCoy to do that. The redshirt freshman has been solid throwing six touchdown passes with only one interception, but the Cyclones have to force him into errors. If they don't ...
Why Texas might win: ... it's bombs away. The Cyclone secondary hasn't been close to slowing down a passing game yet giving up 367 yards to Toledo, 218 to UNLV (but struggled late), and 274 to Iowa. McCoy can dink and dunk on ISU, or it can bomb away. If his line gives him time, expect a fantastic day and the type of eye-opening big numbers that will get everyone to take notice.
Who to watch: Iowa State's Bret Meyer is one of the league's few veteran quarterbacks, and he'll need to use every ounce of his experience to keep this interesting. He hasn't had to run as much as last year with Stevie Hicks back and healthy at running back, but he's better when he's on the move and keeping defenses on their heels. He has to be deadly accurate coming off a 15 of 31 performance against Iowa and a mediocre day against UNLV. If he's not outplaying McCoy by a large margin, there will be big problems.
What will happen: Iowa State won't be a pushover, but Texas will have too much success in all phases of its offense to get upset.
CFN Prediction
: Texas 41 ... Iowa State 16
... Line: Texas -23.5
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Janice Dickenson Modeling Agency) ...

Louisville (3-0) at Kansas State (3-0) 12:10 pm EST Saturday, Sept. 23
Why to watch: Someone ought to hurry up and get a full-time psychologist on staff at Louisville.  Two weeks after losing Michael Bush to a broken leg, and on the same day the Cards humiliated Miami, Brian Brohm suffered a thumb injury that’ll shelve him for about a month.  The emotional rollercoaster ride continues with this week’s journey to Manhattan.  Even with Hunter Cantwell behind center, the expectations won’t change for a program that stamped itself among the nation’s elite with Saturday’s 31-7 dissection of the Hurricanes.  Kansas State is taking baby steps in Ron Prince’s first season as Bill Snyder’s successor.  The Wildcats have improved each week since eking out a win over I-AA Illinois State, particularly on a defense that’s creating turnovers and hasn’t given up a point over the last two games.  A win here instantly changes the program’s timetable for winning the Big 12 North. 
Why Louisville might win: All the talk about the Cardinals’ offensive playmakers makes it easy to lose sight of a defense that’s playing really well.  One week removed from shutting out Miami over the final 52 minutes, Louisville is No. 3 nationally in run defense and 17th in scoring defense.  They’ve also got a dozen sacks, which presents a problem for a jittery Wildcat offensive line that had five false starts last week.  Despite opening with three bad football teams, Kansas State is No. 87 in the country in total offense, raising doubts they can run with the Louisville offense. 
Why Kansas State might win: Everything seems to be lining up for the Wildcats to pull an upset that knocks Louisville out of the top 10.  No Bush and no Brohm this week for a quick Kansas State D that’s 14th nationally in scoring defense and No. 15 in sacks.  Defensive coordinator Raheem Morris will turn the dogs loose on Cantwell, who’ll be starting just the third game of his career.
Who to watch: Well, if Louisville is going to win a Big East title or more, it’s up to Cantwell to tap into his inner Earl Morrall long enough until Brohm gets healthy.  When Brohm went down last year, Cantwell was rushed into the lineup with no warning.  Today, he’s a very different quarterback with quality game experience against Virginia Tech and Miami to go along with a full spring as the No. 1 guy under his belt.
What will happen
: Louisville is ripe for the upset, but with its offensive stars on the mend, the underrated Cardinal defense will step up and prevent a post-Miami meltdown.
CFN Prediction
Louisville 31 ... Kansas State 17 ... Line: Louisville -7.5
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Janice Dickenson Modeling Agency) ...

(0-3) at Georgia (3-0) 12:30 pm EST GamePlan Saturday, Sept. 23
Why to watch: This appeared to be a good idea at the time. Who could've possibly imagined that Colorado would come into this game on a seven game losing streak with one of the nation's most inept offenses? Wasn't Dan Hawkins supposed to take a Big 12 North champion and make it blow up? Give Hawkins time and this program should be fantastic, but it's dying a painful death this season with no hope in sight. Georgia hasn't been anything special on offense, but the defense has been out of this world allowing just 12 points on the year and going more than two games without allowing a score. This tune up against the Buffs, and next weeks against Ole Miss, should have the Dawgs battle ready for Tennessee. But first, there's the formality of dealing with CU.
Why Colorado might win: Georgia's offense hasn't exactly rocked anyone's world. The special teams have been unbelievable, and the defense is playing at a national title level. However, the attack is still trying to find some sort of a groove, treading water while freshman QB Matthew Stafford gets more experienced. Lost in the horrific start for Colorado has been a solid performance by its defense, especially against the run. The front line has generated tremendous pressure so far, and it should be able to get to Stafford a few times. If the offense can do anything to capitalize on mistakes, this might not be a blowout.
Why Georgia might win: The Colorado offense simply isn't working. It ranks 115th in the nation in total offense averaging 194 yards per game, 115th in passing, and 114th in scoring with only two touchdowns so far this season. The Georgia defense has been eating opposing running games alive, which means CU and Bernard Jackson will have to try to win, or at least try to move the ball through the air.
Who to watch: The kickers. As crazy as this might sound, Colorado's Mason Crosby and Georgia's Brandon Coutu might be the two best pro prospects in this game, and they're certainly among the two best kickers in America. Coutu has been automatic so far hitting all seven of his field goal attempts and, for his career, nailing 59 of 59 extra points. While he has one of the strongest legs in college football, he doesn't quite have the range of Crosby. However, he's more accurate. Crosby has only hit three of six shots so far, but his range goes out to the parking lot.
What will happen: Colorado's offense is too inept to win this game, but the defense will keep it from being embarrassing.
CFN Prediction
: Georgia 26 ... Colorado 6
... Line: Georgia -26.5
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Janice Dickenson Modeling Agency) ... 2.5 

(2-1) at Missouri (3-0) 2 pm EST Saturday, Sept. 23
Why to watch: One ... more .. non-conference ... game to go. There was plenty of talk around Missouri this off-season about wanting to finally get through a non-conference schedule unscathed, and this is the team to do it. The defense is ranked second in the nation, the offense is diverse and effective, and very quietly, this is starting to become the sleeper team in the upcoming Big 12 race. Of course, Ohio isn't just going to come in and lie down for the Tigers. Frank Solich's team has played well over the first few weeks shocking Northern Illinois and playing Rutgers relatively well. However, this is the the team's third road game in a row before resuming MAC play against Bowling Green next week.
Why Ohio might win: The defense has held up well despite playing against two great backs in NIU's Garrett Wolfe and Rutgers' Ray Rice. The pass defense has been fantastic so far and the rest of the team is doing many of the little things right with good special teams and just enough timely offense, including an explosion over Northern Illinois, to be competitive. This is no cupcake rolling into Columbia.
Why Missouri might win: The Bobcat offense is way too inconsistent to win this game. It somehow found a way to tear up NIU for 332 yard through the air, but its running game, even with a great back in Kalvin McRae, was held to -6 yards against Rutgers. The Tiger defense has been a brick wall against the run so far allowing just 132 yards in three games. If Ohio doesn't get a brilliant game out of QB Austen Everson and/or Brad Bower, it's going to lose and lose big.
Who to watch: Brad Smith was both good and bad for Missouri. The record-setting former quarterback was a tremendous talent who could win games by himself, but he also had to try to often to do it alone. This year's Tiger team is getting more production out of all the skill players, and it's paying off in a better, finer-tuned attack. One of the big pluses has been the emergence of junior RB Tony Temple, who tore off 168 yards last week against New Mexico for his second 100-yard day in the first three games.
What will happen: Expect Ohio's defense to keep this tighter than Tiger fans might like for about a half. And then look for the Mizzou D to capitalize on a few big Bobcat offensive mistakes.
CFN Prediction
Missouri 30 ... Ohio 10 ... Line: Missouri -20.5
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Janice Dickenson Modeling Agency) ...

(1-2) at Nebraska (2-1) 7 pm EST Saturday, Sept. 23
Why to watch: Will someone please return the Nebraska offense? It was seen falling out of the team plane somewhere around Nevada on the way into the greater Los Angeles area. After a strange performance in the 28-10 loss to USC, the Huskers have to refocus and get their groove back in time for the start of the Big 12 season. This is still a real, live contender for the Big 12 championship, and it needs to show against a suddenly improved Troy defense that it can be the efficient machine it was over the first two games. The Trojans have been a nasty houseguest pushing Florida State around in a 24-17 loss and giving Georgia Tech a few problems in a 35-20 loss.
Why Troy might win: The defense has been fantastic for three quarters. It only allowed 14 points to Georgia Tech before a 21-point fourth quarter explosion, and it shut out the Seminoles in the first half before giving up ten points in the third quarter. If Troy's offense can somehow get off to decent start and find a way to control the ball to keep its defense on the sidelines in the second half, it'll have a chance to make this very interesting.
Why Nebraska might win: And then there's the fourth quarter. Troy simply can't hold up after getting pounded on for three quarters. This is a smallish defense that relies on athleticism and speed, so if the Husker offensive line can help get the running game going early and beat on the Trojans early, it should be able to dominate in the fourth quarter.
Who to watch: For the first time in years, Troy has not one, but two receiving weapons. Gary Banks went from being a decent possession receiver to a dangerous midrange threat averaging 10.7 yards per catch with four touchdowns. He's coming off a fantastic day against Georgia Tech where he outplays Calvin Johnson by catching eight passes for 104 yards and a score. Running mate Toris Rutledge has the tools and the talent to grow into more and more of a deep threat as the season goes on. These two might look like they're running in mud to the Nebraska corners after playing USC last week, but they're still dangerous.
What will happen: Eventually, Troy is going to wear down after all the tough road dates. After the way Nebraska played against USC, it'll be looking to be sharp and will want to make a statement.
CFN Prediction
: Nebraska 38 ... Troy 10
... Line: Nebraska -21
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Janice Dickenson Modeling Agency) ... 2.5 

Middle Tennessee (2-1) at Oklahoma (2-1) 7 pm EST Saturday, Sept. 23
Why to watch: After a gut-wrenching, highly-emotional 34-33 loss at Oregon, the Sooner fans are frothing at the mouth to see their team get back on the field, while the players should come out roaring. But can the Sooners let what's in the past stay in the past and focus on the task at hand? Fortunately, OU can bring its B game and get by a Middle Tennessee team looking to prove it can hang around with a good D-I squad. The Blue Raiders have a Sun Belt showdown with North Texas next week and don't want to be too beaten up, while OU needs to get all its anger out with two weeks off to prepare for Texas.
Why Middle Tennessee might win: Where's OU's head? Head coach Bob Stoops spent the first part of the week venting over the horrible officiating in the loss to Oregon, and the overall focus on the program hasn't exactly been on Middle Tennessee. The OU defense has been anything but steady over the first three games, while the offense might have more problems than it's expecting against an attacking defense that's third in the nation in tackles for loss and 11th in the nation overall allowing just 219 yards per game.
Why Oklahoma might win: Raise your hand if you want to play Oklahoma this week? It's one thing to stop FIU and Tennessee Tech, and it's another to deal with an Oklahoma offense that's starting to hit its stride. Thanks to the magnificent play of Adrian Peterson and the improved passing of Paul Thompson, the Sooners have been balanced and explosive. Middle Tennessee doesn't have nearly enough firepower to keep up if OU gets out to any sort of a lead.
Who to watch: A number two Sooner rushing option would be nice. If you think there's screaming and yelling around Norman this week, imagine what would happen if Peterson got dinged up two weeks before the Texas showdown by running 30+ times against Middle Tennessee? Stoops hasn't been the least bit shy about feeding his superstar the ball, but it's time to give the franchise a little bit of help. So far, Peterson has 90 of the team's 107 carries. QB Paul Thompson has 13. Someone else needs the ball, if nothing else, to get some game action in case something happens to Peterson down the road.
What will happen: Middle Tennessee has to withstand an early storm. If it does, this will be close late into the third quarter.
CFN Prediction
: Oklahoma 41 ... Middle Tennessee 13
... Line: Oklahoma -29
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Janice Dickenson Modeling Agency) ...

Big 12 Week Four Fearless Predictions, Part 2