Big 12 Fearless Predictions, Sept. 22
Posted Sep 20, 2007

It's national statement time for Jorvorskie Lane and Texas A&M as they head into Miami tonight for an interesting non-conference showdown. Check out all the picks, predictions and breakdowns for this and all the 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. 8 | Sept. 15Sept. 29 
Oct. 6Oct. 13 | Oct. 20Oct. 27 | Nov. 3Nov. 10 | Nov. 17Nov. 24Dec. 1

Big 12 Week Four Predictions, Part 2

How are the picks so far? SU: 22-6 ... ATS: 10-11

Big 12 Game of the Week

Texas Tech (3-0) at Oklahoma State (1-2)  3:30 PM
Why to Watch: It's still early, but this is basically what we know at this point about the Big 12 South. Baylor's probably the worst team, Oklahoma is probably the best, Texas and Texas A&M are good, but extremely flawed, and the loser of this game will likely end up fifth in the overall pecking order. Texas Tech has been dominant so far in wins over SMU, UTEP and Rice, averaging 569 yards and 51 points per game. All questions about the loss of a slew of receivers have been answered, and the attack is humming along better than ever. Meanwhile, Oklahoma State has been one of the years bigger disappointments. Struggling in a 35-14 loss to Georgia is one thing, but having the doors blown off by Troy on national TV is another. OSU lost 41-23 last week, but can quickly get into a groove this week and with Sam Houston State ahead.
Why Texas Tech Might Win: Oklahoma State wasn't even close to stopping Troy's spread offense, giving up 371 yards to Omar Haugabook in the blowout loss. Texas Tech doesn't run the same type of offense, but it should be able bomb away for 400 yards if changes aren't made. The Cowboys are saying all the right things about making the big changes needed to be more effective defensively, but the pass rush hasn't been there and the secondary hasn't made a key stop in a big situation. Helping the Red Raiders be so effective has been the play of an offensive line that's not allowing anyone to get by. In 178 pass attempts, Tech has given up just two sacks.
Why Oklahoma State Might Win: It's not like Texas Tech has faced an actual offense yet. SMU is just Justin Willis, UTEP is still rebuilding, and Rice has gone back to being Rice. Oklahoma State, for all its problems and inconsistencies, still has as much offensive talent as anyone in the Big 12. Now it all has to come together. If the quarterback situation can be settled, and if Dantrell Savage is back in the backfield, as he's expected to be this week, and if the defense can be merely average, the pieces are there to hang with the red hot Red Raiders. Tech's defense isn't special and can be run on if OSU commits to it.
Who to Watch: The ongoing OSU quarterback saga continues. Zac Robinson went the entire way against Troy with lousy results, completing 18 of 37 passes for 191 yards and a touchdown with an interception. He's not Reid. Reid has the arm, the mobility, and the talent to be a superstar, but it hasn't happened yet this season. Is Reid healthy? If so, he'll be back in, but how effective will he be? Injuries have killed the Cowboys so far, and they need everything working to pull off the win.
What Will Happen: The home team has won the last five games in the series. Make it six in a row. OSU has a ton of issues on both sides of the ball and isn't playing nearly as well as it should be, but there's also a sense of urgency after the Troy game. Now the lights are on with the opening of the Big 12 season, and while Tech will put up over 400 passing yards, this will be the game the Cowboy offense finally plays as expected with balance, speed, and explosion.
CFN Prediction: Oklahoma State 34 ... Texas Tech 31
... Line: Texas Tech -5.5
Must See Rating: (5 Curb Your Enthusiasm - 1 Kid Nation) ...

Big 12 Thursday, Sept. 20

Texas A&M (3-0) at Miami (2-1)  7:30 PM ESPN
Why to watch: Texas A&M and Miami have one thing in common as they prepare to meet for the first time since 1944.  Both want to use Thursday night’s nationally televised game as a high-profile launching pad toward regaining some of the luster they’ve lost in recent years.  For the Aggies, this is their most important non-conference game since getting beat by Virginia Tech four years ago.  Yeah, they’re unbeaten and ranked No. 16 in the latest Coaches’ Poll, but wins over Montana State and Louisiana-Monroe, and a close call with Fresno State, hardly has anyone thinking Big 12 title.  A win in the Orange Bowl, even when Miami is down, will boost A&M’s street cred while bolstering Dennis Franchione’s always tenuous job security.  The Hurricanes are still trying to locate an identity, winning the two games they were supposed to, but getting humiliated, 51-13, at Oklahoma two weeks ago.  Miami is just 3-8 in its last 11 games against ranked opponents, and it desperately needs a win over a name team to officially get the Randy Shannon era going.
Why Texas A&M might win: The last time Miami played a team from the Big 12, its heralded defense got exposed by the passing of Sam Bradford and the running of DeMarco Murray, a pair of star OU freshmen.  The Aggies don’t throw it nearly as well as OU, but boast one of the nation’s most dynamic and diverse running games, getting power from Jorvorskie Lane, speed from Mike Goodson, and a little of both from QB Stephen McGee.  If A&M can get this game into the 30s, the Hurricanes won’t have the offensive weapons to keep up.  Despite already playing Marshall and Florida International, Miami averages just 22 points a game, and is 99th in the country in total offense.
Why Miami might win: The Sooners were able to dent the ‘Cane D in large part because they had balance, something Texas A&M lacks.  McGee is an average passer with just two touchdown tosses this year, meaning Miami can stack the line with S Kenny Phillips and LBs Colin McCarthy and Tavares Gooden in order to slow down the Aggie ground game.  While the Hurricane offense certainly has issues, it could come to life against an A&M defense that has just three sacks and allowed 215 yards rushing to UL-Monroe a week ago.  Miami QB Kyle Wright will be playing with a sense of purpose after regaining his job, and the running duo of Javarris James and Graig Cooper is as talented as the school has had in five years.
Who to watch: Aggie TE Martellus Bennett switched from No. 13 to No. 85 last week in honor of former Miami and current Buffalo Bill TE Kevin Everett, who suffered a serious spinal cord injury two weeks ago.  Besides being a class act, Bennett is a 6-7 match up nightmare that leads A&M in receiving, and already has 34 knockdown blocks through three games. Many NFL scouts consider him the nation’s top tight end prospect, and this is his chance to come through with a national breakout game.
What will happen
: Against quality programs, such as Texas A&M, Miami lacks the horses on offenses to come out on top.  On a hot, sticky night in South Florida, the Aggie ground attack will wear out the Hurricane D in the second half, leading the team to a key out of conference win.

CFN Prediction
: Texas A&M 28 ... Miami 23
... Line: Miami -3
Must See Rating: (5 Curb Your Enthusiasm - 1 Kid Nation) ...

Big 12 Friday, Sept. 21

Oklahoma (3-0) at Tulsa (2-0)  8:00 PM ESPN2
Why to watch: Along with Hawaii and Air Force, Tulsa is one of just three remaining unbeaten non-BCS teams, so a visit from Oklahoma represents a unique and enormous opportunity to become the “it” team among smaller programs.  In two games, the Hurricane has quickly adapted to its new no-huddle, hurry-up offense, scoring points in bunches and proving to be a very entertaining draw for fans of wide-open attacks.  Many current Tulsa players, including QB Paul Smith, were on the 2005 team that nearly shocked Oklahoma in Norman, so intimidation shouldn’t be a factor this week.  Three lopsided wins and the overnight development of freshman QB Sam Bradford have the fourth-ranked Sooners on the doorstep of national championship contention and ahead of Texas as the favorite in the Big 12.  The way both teams are putting up points these days, the scoreboard at Skelly Stadium could look like a pinball machine Friday night.
Why Oklahoma might win: Sure, Tulsa can move the ball, but can they stop anyone?  More important, can they even slow down a Sooner offense that leads the nation in scoring, and laid 51 on a pretty good Miami defense two weeks ago? The Hurricane allowed almost 700 yards to Max Hall and BYU last weekend, a very troubling sign with Oklahoma in town.  With a significant advantage along the line, the Sooners will move the ball on the ground with Allen Patrick and DeMarco Murray, and give Bradford enough time to line up Malcolm Kelly and Juaquin Iglesias.  The under/over on Sooner punts is two.  Take the under.
Why Tulsa might win: Although Oklahoma is going to get its points, the Hurricane is capable of going stride-for-stride with an offense that’s scored 76 points over the last six quarters.  Smith has been crisp over that time, spreading the ball around to a number of different receivers and limiting his mistakes.  That BYU defense that Tulsa carved up for 595 yards and 55 points last Saturday is the same one that allowed just 34 points in its first two games against teams from the Pac-10.       
Who to watch: While Kelly was good last year, he’s been out of this world so far in 2007, helping flatten the learning curve for Bradford.  Despite sitting out the end of blowouts, the junior already has 14 catches for 301 yards and seven touchdowns, numbers he’s going to pad against a very questionable Hurricane secondary.
What will happen: Tulsa will make some plays in the passing game, but in order to beat Oklahoma these days, you’ve got to be prepared to get it done on both sides of the ball.  The Hurricane will have no answers for a Sooner offense that’s beating opponents with power, speed, and crisp execution.
CFN Prediction
: Oklahoma 51 … Tulsa 23 ... Line: Oklahoma -23.5
Must See Rating: (5 Curb Your Enthusiasm - 1 Kid Nation) ...


Big 12 Saturday, Sept. 22

Ball State (2-1) at Nebraska (2-1)  12:30 PM
Why to Watch: Nebraska, don't say you haven't been warned. You could lose to Ball State. After the Huskers got their doors blown over by USC in a 49-31 game that wasn't even that close, they have to pick their spirits up off the floor to face a fired up Cardinal team with enough offense to actually waltz into Lincoln and pull this off. With a balanced attack and a decent defense, BSU has gotten out to a 2-1 start after a thrilling overtime win over Navy. Nebraska will be trying to put the pieces together after it saw just how far it has to go to become a true player on a national scale. If this is a focused, fired up team, it it'll win in a blowout. This isn't a focused, fired up team.
Why Ball State Might Win: Beyond the obvious letdown from Nebraska, this isn't going to be an intimidated Ball State team. Remember, it almost pulled off the shocking upset last year at Michigan, and it knows it can come into Lincoln and play. The Husker defensive line was exposed by USC against the run, and it's failed to do much of anything to get to the quarterback in the first three games. If Nate Davis gets time, he could be as efficient as any passer the Huskers will face all year.
Why Nebraska Might Win: Running the ball on the BSU defensive front won't be a problem. The overall numbers are skewed because of the 521 rushing yards Navy put up last week, but Miami, and to a certain extent, Eastern Michigan, were able to move the ball on the ground. What's the easiest way to get over a hangover? Start pounding, and that's what the Huskers should be able to do from the start. If it comes down to field position, the Huskers could have a huge advantage.
Who to Watch: How often are the punters the stars? No, they won't be in this game, either, but they could be the two most effective players on the field. Ball State's Chris Miller is one of the best in the nation, and the type of weapon who could keep the Huskers pinned deep all game long. He averages 46.85 yards per kick, and although he often outkicks his coverage, he also bails the offense out of jams. Nebraska's Dan Titchener has been fantastic so far averaging 42.3 yards per kick. He's not Miller, but he'll be a huge factor.
What Will Happen: Ball State will give the Huskers all they can handle. In the end, Nebraska will go on two big drives to put the game away, but for about 50 minutes, Davis and the Cardinals will throw a huge scare into Husker Nation.
CFN Prediction: Nebraska 31 ... Ball State 23
... Line: Nebraska -21.5
Must See Rating: (5 Curb Your Enthusiasm - 1 Kid Nation) ...

Illinois State
(2-1) at Missouri (3-0)  2:00 PM
Why to Watch: Just get through this game ... Just get through this game. That's what Missouri will be saying as it tries to do everything possible not to look past the Redbirds to the Big 12 North showdown against Nebraska. Ask Iowa State and Kansas State what happens when ISU comes to town. The Wildcats had to stop a two-point conversion to beat ISU last year , and the Cyclones needed a big fourth quarter to win in 2005. This Tiger team is much better than that, and should be able to win with its unfocused first teamers, along with the backups. So far, Chase Daniel and the boys have blown past Illinois, Ole Miss and Western Michigan with a dominant offense, while the Redbirds are on a two-game winning streak after beating Eastern Illinois 24-21.
Why Illinois State Might Win: Missouri's defense is mediocre against the run, and ISU can move the ball on the ground. .Rafael Rice is a weapon who cranks out yards in big chunks and has a nose for the goal line. He's been banged up with a knee injury, but he's expected to be back as the focal point for an offense that averages 218 yards per game. The ISU special teams might be the best the Tigers will face all year.
Why Missouri Might Win: ISU doesn't play much defense. It takes a lot of chances to get into the backfield, at least it will to get to Daniel, and that will mean plenty of big Tiger touchdowns from long distances. The Mizzou offense has been unstoppable in the first half, and if it gets out to a typical big lead, ISU isn't equipped to make any sort of a comeback. It's not going to help the Redbirds that MU won't give the ball away. Forget about a slew of big turnovers turning the game around.  
Who to Watch: The Missouri tight end tandem of Chase Coffman and Martin Rucker is the best in the nation, and there's been a constant debate about which of the two is better. This year, it's Rucker, who has become Daniel's favorite target. He caught ten passes for 86 yards against Illinois and 11 for 115 against Western Michigan. This week, he'll be able to exploit the middle of the ISU defense all game long if need be.
What Will Happen: There's no need to worry about another Gateway Conference team beating someone from the Big 12 North (Northern Iowa beat Iowa State earlier). Mizzou will get up big early and coast from there. This will be over midway through the second quarter.
CFN Prediction:
Missouri 45 ... Illinois State 17 ... Line: No Line
Must See Rating: (5 Curb Your Enthusiasm - 1 Kid Nation) ...

Big 12 Week Four Predictions, Part 2


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