Big 12 Fearless Predictions, Sept. 8
Posted Sep 6, 2007

Previews and Predictions for the Week 2 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

Big 12 Fearless Predictions Sept. 1Sept. 15Sept. 22 | Sept. 29 
Oct. 6Oct. 13 | Oct. 20Oct. 27 | Nov. 3Nov. 10 | Nov. 17Nov. 24Dec. 1

How are the picks so far? SU: 8-4 ... ATS: 3-7-1

Big 12 Fearless Predictions, Week Two, Part 2

Big 12 Game of the Week

Miami (1-0) at Oklahoma (1-0) 12:00 PM ABC
Why to Watch: This would have been an absolute screamer about three years ago, and this was a stop-the-world type of game in the mid-to-late 1980s, but Miami’s recent slide takes some of the luster off. Who cares? It’s MIAMI vs. OKLAHOMA. There are still two monster programs that can still play a little, and will want to use this as a springboard to a potentially huge season. It’s a great opportunity for the ‘Canes to show whether things are already different under new coach Randy Shannon, or whether there the long road back to the elite ranks will take a while longer. As for Oklahoma, the Sooners must prove their offense can continue to click, after a 79-10 romp over helpless North Texas last week. Can OU QB Sam Bradford and RB DeMarco Murray really be that good? This could be their national coming out party.
Why Miami Might Win: The Hurricane defense played like its typical national title-caliber self in the 31-3 season-opening win over Marshall, piling up six sacks and picking off four passes. Two of the steals set up short-field situations for the Miami offense, masking yet another mediocre day from the other side of the ball. The Hurricane ground attack should pose problems for the Sooners, who have six new starters among their front seven and weren’t exactly tested by North Texas. The dynamic duo of powerful Javarris James and sleek Graig Cooper gives Miami an opportunity to control the game and keep the explosive OU offense off the field.
Why Oklahoma Might Win: Sure, the Hurricanes can run the ball, but QB Kirby Freeman completed just 9-of-21 passes for 81 yards against Marshall and failed to inspire and sort of confidence in the downfield passing game. Even if suspended wideout Sam Shields is back, the Sooners should be able to push up close to the line and dare Miami to pass, provided they account for Lance Leggett, the ‘Canes’ only breakaway threat. That’s not a problem, considering OU has one of the nation’s five best secondaries, if it’s not the best overall. As for that formidable Miami front four, particularly DE Calais Campbell, who had an interception last week, they’ll be facing Oklahoma’s stout offensive line that, like the secondary, is in the discussion among the nation’s best.
Who to Watch: Even though Bradford comes into the game with gaudier stats, completing 21 of 23 passes for 363 yards and three touchdowns, don’t throw dirt on Freeman quite yet; he might be able to thrive in a big game like this. The Hurricanes had several dropped passes against Marshall, and Shields’ absence meant the Thundering Herd was able to focus on Leggett and not let him loose, particularly on the many short slants and screens thrown his way. With Shields back and the many youngsters who were baptized against Marshall a little more comfortable, Freeman could well be more successful. Don’t expect 300 yards, but look for more success than he had last week. For OU, all eyes will be on Murray, who ran for five touchdowns against UNT. Certain to be a marked man, it might be time to ramp up the Heisman talk if he comes up with another big game. He’s that good.
What Will Happen: The Hurricanes are on the right path under Shannon’s tougher ways, but winning in Norman against a more talented Oklahoma team is asking too much. OU is at another level right now that Miami will get back to soon enough.
CFN Prediction: Oklahoma 24 ... Miami 13... Line: Oklahoma -10
Must See Rating: (5 Mad Men - 1 Chelsea Lately) ... 4.5
Final Score: 

SEC Saturday, September 8

Nebraska (1-0) at Wake Forest (0-1) 12:00 PM ESPN
Why to Watch: It’s news enough that the Cornhuskers are coming to little Groves Stadium to take on the Deacons, but this one has gone from a Nebraska layup when the contract was signed a couple years ago to an intriguing intersectional matchup after Wake Forest stunned the world with an ACC title, and looked awfully good in a 38-28 loss to Boston College last week. Nebraska has been pointing toward this season for a while and hopes to return to preeminence now that coach Bill Callahan has had three years to put his system into place. Meanwhile, the Deacons will try to rebound from last week’s tough loss, and will look to avoid a three-game losing streak without quarterback Riley Skinner (separated shoulder).
Why Nebraska Might Win: The I backs weren’t dashing across the plains as in days of old, but any time you pile up 413 yards rushing, you’re doing something right. Give credit to tailback Marlon Lucky (233 yards), but more hosannas should ring down on the Nebraska offensive line, which is leaner and faster this season after years of not being up to Husker snuff. The front five paved the way for 625 yards of total offense in the rout of Nevada. And while new starter (and Arizona State transfer) Sam Keller was average in his debut (14-of-25, 193 yards), he’ll face a Wake defense that surrendered 408 yards and five scores to BC’s Matt Ryan. Meanwhile, the Nebraska front seven will face a Wake ground attack that produced a mere four yards last week. If the Huskers don’t make mega-mistakes, they’ll win.
Why Wake Forest Might Win: Could the Huskers be looking ahead to USC? Their heads might be back in Lincoln worrying about next weekend's epic clash with the nation's best team. This week, t Deacons will likely be without Skinner, but redshirt freshman Brett Hodges showed a good command of the offense under tough circumstances. If the short passing game crackling, the Cornhusker secondary may find itself in one-on-one matchups that it might not win; the Wake receivers are better than given credit for. Defensively, the Deacons must force Nebraska into passing by crowding the box and forcing Keller to make plays. Possibly a bit rusty still, Keller is more likely to make mistakes than the Husker running backs will.
Whom to Watch: Hodges has a bit of an advantage heading into this game since Nebraska won’t have a lot of film on him, as they would have had on Skinner. That said, coming into a relief situation is one thing; starting against a nationally-ranked club is quite another. Hodges needs to trust the system, be precise with his throws and get rid of the ball quickly. If he does that, Wake will have a chance. If not, it could get uglier than a Phyllis Diller marathon.
What Will Happen: Wake’s home field energy will keep it close for a while, but in the end, Nebraska will wear down the lighter, thinner Deacons.
CFN Prediction: Nebraska 31 ... Wake Forest 20 ... Line: Nebraska -7.5
Must See Rating: (5 Mad Men - 1 Chelsea Lately) ... 4
Final Score: 

Fresno State
(1-0) at Texas A&M (1-0) 3:30 PM
Why to Watch: O.K. Fresno State, you want to get back on the national map, right? It's time to actually beat someone. It's been six years since the David Carr run that brought wins over Colorado and overrated Oregon State and Wisconsin teams, and since then, the program has failed to unseat Boise State as the WAC's bright light and can claim to coming close to beating USC in 2005. After a disastrous 2006, and a lackluster 24-3 win over Sacramento State to start 2007, the Bulldogs need to do something splashy. Texas A&M was equally average in a go-through-the-motions 38-7 win over Montana State, and can't take a rest of it'll get tagged. There are still plenty of things to work on, like ...
Why Fresno State Might Win: ... pass defense. Of sure, Montana State had to throw after getting down, but it was still a ball game going into the fourth quarter. The Bobcats had little problems moving the ball, and had particular success through the air. A&M's secondary isn't going to be tested next week by UL Monroe, so this game will be the best early indicator of where the defense is at. If Tom Brandstater and the FSU passing game can merely be efficient, the Bulldogs will have shot.
Why Texas A&M Might Win: The Bulldogs were sloppy in week one with three fumbles. If A&M is +2 in turnover margin, this won't just be an Aggie win; it'll be a blowout. The Fresno State defensive front is fine, but it's nothing special, and it should have problems, like everyone does, with the combination of talents in the Aggie backfield. As long as QB Stephen McGee isn't making mistakes, and as long as Mike Goodson and Jorvorskie Lane do what they do, FSU won't have much of an answer.
Who to Watch: A&M isn't the only team with options for the running game. True freshman Ryan Mathews had a nice first game for the Bulldogs with 77 yards on 11 carries, while Lonyae Miller, Anthony Harding and Clifton Smith combined for 147 yards and two touchdowns. Fresno State will try to connect on several deep passes, but to beat the Aggies, it has to beat them at their own game and control the clock on the ground. FSU has to win the time of possession battle.
What Will Happen: Fresno State will prove to be tougher than the Aggies might like. This isn't going to be a shootout of any kind in a grind-it-out battle, but in the end, McGee will outplay Brandstater just enough for A&M to put it away late.
CFN Prediction: Texas A&M 31 ... Fresno State 20
.. Line: Texas A&M -17
Must See Rating: (5 Mad Men - 1 Chelsea Lately) ... 2.5
Final Score: 

Missouri (1-0) at Ole Miss (1-0)  6:00 PM
Why to Watch: Which Missouri team will show up? Will it be the one that was on its way to a blowout over Illinois, or the one that almost choked it away in the 40-34 win? This is one of the most talented teams in the Big 12 North, and it needs to get as many confidence-boosting wins before facing Nebraska in early October. A loss to the Rebels wouldn't be a total disaster, but for a team that's as flaky as they come, it could set the wheels in motion for a disappointing year. Ole Miss hung on to pull out a tough 23-21 win over Memphis. A home win over the Tigers would be the biggest in the Ed Orgeron era and would be a huge boost going into the SEC season with Vanderbilt, Florida and Georgia coming up over the following three weeks. Consider this a bowl game for the Rebels.
Why Missouri Might Win: The Ole Miss offense appears to be better than last year, but it's still not going to hang up 45 points on the board. This isn't an Illinois-like offense with a slew of young talent to come up with a big comeback; if Mizzou gets up early, it'll stay there. As Memphis tried to come back on the Rebels last week, QB Martin Hankins threw the ball at will. Tiger QB Chase Daniel should be able to do the same if ...
Why Ole Miss Might Win: ... his offensive line doesn't get him killed. The Tigers couldn't run the ball on the Illini thanks to a lousy day from the offensive line, while Daniel was sacked twice and under pressure all game long. Ole Miss might not have the most disciplined, stout defense, but it can get into the backfield and it'll be disruptive. Mizzou has problems when it becomes one dimensional. Take away the ground game, and things become interesting.
Who to Watch: The big question all off-season for Ole Miss was whether or not the passing game could be any better. Brent Schaeffer struggled way too much last year, and senior Seth Adams had the spotlight squarely on him going into this season. While he wasn't out of this world, he completed 19 of 30 passes for 201 yards and a touchdown against Memphis, doing enough to force teams to worry about more than just RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Against Missouri, he won't have to match Daniel yard for yard, but he'll have to be efficient and he can't make mistakes.
What Will Happen: Missouri will have to withstand an early surge of emotion as the Rebel defense will come out roaring. After about 20 minutes, the Tigers will hit on a big pass play to change the momentum, and then will get a crushing score that Ole Miss won't be able to answer.
CFN Prediction: Missouri 27 ... Ole Miss 17
... Line:  Missouri -5.5
Must See Rating: (5 Mad Men - 1 Chelsea Lately) ... 2.5
Final Score: 

Northern Iowa (1-0) at Iowa State (0-1) 7:00 PM
Why to Watch: Ever FCS team will forever point to Appalachian State's win over Michigan as reason to hope for an upset over an BCS league team. Northern Iowa vs. Iowa State isn't the same thing; UNI might actually be better. The Panthers are among the top ranked FCS teams in the country and coming off a 41-14 stomping of Mankato State. Iowa State was lousy in the home opener of the Gene Chizik era losing 23-14 to Kent State. Last year, the Cyclones beat the Panthers 28-27 for the oasis in a brutal losing streak that led to the end of Dan McCarney's reign.
Why Northern Iowa Might Win: Iowa State didn't do much of anything right against Kent State. The Cyclones didn't move the ball consistently, struggled against the Golden Flash running game, and failed to do much on the lines. Since KSU doesn't throw, the ISU secondary wasn't tested. It will be this week against Eric Sanders and a passing game that won't be afraid to take shots deep.
Why Iowa State Might Win: Because it's against an in-state school, Iowa State takes this game seriously anyway, and now it'll be extra pumped up after the way it played last week. The overall talent might not be in place compared to the rest of the Big 12, but there's enough speed and experience to be far better. The Cyclone line did a decent job of paving the way for J.J. Bass, who should pound away for 150 yards without a problem.
Who to Watch: Sanders might be the better of the starting quarterbacks. On the Walter Payton Award Watch List, the senior comes into the game with 6,485 career yards with 54 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. While not necessarily a runner, he's mobile and needs to be accounted for when things break down. For Iowa State, Bret Meyer has to be better. The senior has been around too long to be as awful as he was against Kent State, completing 14 of 23 passes for 148 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
What Will Happen: Iowa State will come out roaring, but it might not matter. The offense will be more explosive with UNI having to key on Bass. If the Cyclone passing game doesn't take off this week, it isn't going to.
CFN Prediction: Iowa State 27 ... Northern Iowa 23
... Line: No Line
Must See Rating: (5 Mad Men - 1 Chelsea Lately) ... 2
Final Score: 

SE Louisiana (0-1) at Kansas (1-0) 7:00 PM
Why to Watch: Oh this won't be pretty. SE Louisiana is on a five game losing streak dating back to last year, and while it wasn't bad against New Mexico State in the opening day 35-14 loss, it was saved by a slew of takeaways. Kansas was one of the nation's most impressive teams last week, thumping defending MAC champion Central Michigan 52-7. Everything worked. The passing game was efficient, the ground game tremendous, and the defense a rock. CMU was supposed to be the challenge early on. Now it's easy sailing to 4-0 before facing Kansas State.
Why SE Louisiana Might Win: There's still a question mark about the Kansas pass defense. Horrible in 2006, it gave up a few too many yards last week, even though most came after the outcome had been decided. The balanced SELA offense should have a few good drives if KU is patting itself on the back for last week.
Why Kansas Might Win: This is an awful Lion team. Ever since Hal Mumme left for New Mexico State, the program hit the skids losing 10 of its last 12 games. Kansas doesn't have to play at a high level to win by 30. This is still Kansas; it's not going to take anything for granted quite yet. Several players are still fighting to keep a starting job, and the maximum effort will be there.
Who to Watch: How was Kansas going to replace RB Jon Cornish, arguably the Big 12's best player last year? At least against Central Michigan, the problem appeared to be solved with speedy Jake Sharp running for 106 yards and a touchdown, averaging 7.1 yards per carry, and the pounding Brandon McAnderson averaging 6.9 yards a pop with 110 yards. The longer these two are effective, the less Todd Reesing, who cemented himself in the starting quarterback job over Kerry Meier, will have to press.
What Will Happen: Kansas will have this wrapped up by halftime. Don't be shocked if the Jayhawks go five-for-five on touchdown drives to start the game.
CFN Prediction: Kansas 55 ... SE Louisiana 10
... Line: No Line
Must See Rating: (5 Mad Men - 1 Chelsea Lately) ... 1
Final Score: 

Big 12 Fearless Predictions, Week Two, Part 2


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