Big 12 Fearless Predictions, Oct. 27
Kansas DT James McClinton
Kansas DT James McClinton
Posted Oct 24, 2007

Previews and Predictions for the Week 9 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. 22 | Sept. 29 
Oct. 6Oct. 13 | Oct. 20Nov. 3Nov. 10 | Nov. 17Nov. 24Dec. 1

How are the picks so far? SU: 50-12 ... ATS: 27-25

Big 12 Week 8 Predictions, Part 2

Big 12 Game of the Week

Kansas (7-0) at Texas A&M (6-2) 7:00 PM ESPN2
Why to watch
: If you were asked about the most one-sided battles between current Big 12 teams, you'd probably guess Baylor against Oklahoma and/or Texas, or something like Nebraska against Kansas or Iowa State (at least back in the Big 8 days). And then there's Kansas vs. Texas A&M. The Jayhawks beat the Aggies 28-10 in 1974, and have been 0-7 since, including five straight losses since the Big 12 was formed. This year, if the unbeaten Jayhawks are the real deal, and if they really want to start being considered as a player in the national title hunt, like a South Florida a few weeks ago or a Boston College, then they have to win a game like this against a mid-level team on the road. For KU, this game is one of the few difficult teas of the year, while for A&M, who's coming off a 36-14 pasting of Nebraska, this would be the type of big win that's not only needed to stay in the Big 12 title chase, but could be a must with at Oklahoma, at Missouri and Texas to close things out. Yes, each team is in first place in their respective divisions, and the winner will truly be able to dream about staying there.
Why Kansas might win: When it comes to beating Texas A&M, it begins and ends with being able to stop the run. O.K., so most of KU's stats are overinflated thanks to the lousy schedule, but the defense front really is strong against the run. Colorado can run the ball, and it was held to 66 yards. Kansas State was stopped for just 53. On the year, KU has allowed a mere two rushing touchdowns. Meanwhile, the offense has been among the most efficient in the country, and should be able to pick apart the mediocre A&M secondary. The Aggies don't get to the quarterback well enough, and Todd Reesing should be able to do whatever he wants.
Why Texas A&M might win: Jorvorskie Lane. The big A&M thunderback is coming off a 130-yard, four touchdown performance against Nebraska, and while the KU defense might be stout against the run, the production has mostly come against smaller, quicker backs. No one's been able to hammer the ball on the Jayhawks, and this is the time to give it a try. A&M is 6-1 when the big guy hits the 100-yard mark, with the one loss coming to the 2005 national championship Texas team. The Aggies have never lost when he gets 20 or more carries.
Who to watch: For a team like Texas A&M, field position means everything. This isn't a high-octane attack that can wing it around, and it's not Arkansas, who's able to hit the home run with the ground game from anywhere on the field. That's why the KU punting game, one of the team's few sore spots, has to be effective all game long, and it the Colorado game was any indication, it might be. KU punter Kyle Tucker is coming off his best game of the year, averaging close to 44 yards per kick and bailing the offense out of several big jams against Colorado. He doesn't have to blast it too much, but he needs to be consistent, and he needs to pin the Aggies deep.
What will happen: Yes, Kansas is for real. It might not be the juggernaut the stats say it is, but it's a rock-solid team from top to bottom that's playing with extreme confidence. A&M will panic early on, make a few key mistakes, and will get burned late though the air.
CFN Prediction: Kansas 23 ...  Texas A&M 17... Line: Kansas -2
Must See Rating: (5
America's Most Smartest Model - 1 Marie Osmond on DTWS) ... 3.5

Big 12 Saturday, Oct. 27

Colorado (4-4) at Texas Tech (6-2)  12:00 PM ABC
Why to watch
: Deep in the heart of a ten game losing streak, the Colorado got the first win in the Dan Hawkins era with a shocking 30-6 win over Texas Tech. The Buffs then went on lose four of their final five games. Now they're in the hunt for a bowl big, and looking to turn their season around, after losing two straight to Kansas State and Kansas. Texas Tech is still in the thick of the Big 12 South title hunt with Texas and Oklahoma still to play, but first it has to get the offense going again after struggling for the first time all year in a 41-10 pasting at Missouri. Does Hawkins have Tech's number or was last year just an aberration? Beating Oklahoma a month ago was big for CU, but coming up with a road win like this, considering the recent losses, would be just as important.
Why Colorado might win: Allowing Tech to dink and dunk is one thing, but things get ugly when the offense starts to get yards in chunks on missed tackles. Colorado shouldn't have that problem. The right mix of defensive playmakers might be there to give the Tech offense a hard time. Jordon Dizon and the linebacking corps is sound and steady against the pass, and should keep Graham Harrell from hitting on too many plays across the middle, when he likes to get his receivers on the move. The secondary will give up yards here and there, but they're great at providing a pop after the catch.
Why Texas Tech might win: You screw up the Tech offense by getting to Harrell early and often, and while some teams, like Texas A&M, tried to rattle him by getting a shot or two in after he got rid of the ball, he has to be pressured as the play is happening to disrupt the timing. Missouri did that and the machine broke down. Colorado can't. The Buffs aren't strong at consistently getting into the backfield, and while they might come up with a sack or two, they're not going to get enough pressures. Tech has outscored its opponents 197 to 62 at home.
Who to watch: This has to be when Colorado CB Terrence Wheatley plays like an All-American. A tremendous tackler for being a speed corner, he has made 24 solo stops on the year while always drawing the opposing team's number one target. He made a name for himself this season by holding Oklahoma's Malcolm Kelly in check, but his duties will expand this week. Now only does he have to keep an eye on Michael Crabtree, but he has to take away one side of the field and be able to wrap up immediately on the short patterns. He can be a difference maker in a game like this.
What will happen: Colorado's defense won't let the game get out of hand, but the offense won't have the firepower to keep up once the Red Raiders go on a run. Tech is too good at home.
CFN Prediction: Texas Tech 38 ... Colorado 17 ... Line: Texas Tech -13.5
Must See Rating: (5
America's Most Smartest Model - 1 Marie Osmond on DTWS) ... 3

Iowa State
(1-7) at Missouri (6-1) 2:00 PM
Why to watch
: In one of the shockers of the Big 12 season, the Dan McCarney era ended at Iowa State on a high note, beating a strong Missouri team 21-16 thanks to a controversial holding call to negate a late Chase Daniel touchdown run. A Cyclone win this season would be even more of a stunner, even after Gene Chizik's bunch had Oklahoma reeling before a late interception in last week's 17-7 loss. The Tigers also lost to the Sooners, and also had them in trouble in a tough loss two weeks ago, but unlike past Gary Pinkel teams, it bounced back quickly and stuffed Texas Tech and its high-octane offense with a 41-10 win. Mizzou is one of the favorites to win the Big 12 title, or at least the North, but it still has plenty of work to do over the final month. First, it can't blow the home layup.
Why Iowa State might win: Lost in the five-game losing streak and the ugly season has been the strong play of the defense. The stats might not bear it out, but the Cyclones have done wonders to keep things relatively close at times considering there's been no support from the offense. The linebackers, particularly Alvin Bowen and Jon Banks, have been solid all season long, and should keep Daniel from taking off on too many big runs, and should be able to stick with the fabulous Tiger tight ends.
Why Missouri might win: Iowa State doesn't score. Only once all year as the ISU offense scored more than 17 points, and that was in a 36-35 loss to Toledo. Missouri's offense has yet to score fewer than 31 points, and has been a consistent machine all season long. Even with top tailback Tony Temple hurt, this is a balanced attack, at least as far as production when needed, even though it relies mostly on the passing game. Iowa State doesn't have enough of a pass rush to throw Daniel off his game.
Who to watch: Temple was supposed to play against Texas Tech, but was a late scratch on his injured ankle. Even if he can't go this week, or is limited, the Tiger ground game should be fine thanks to a successful running back by committee approach. Seven different players carried the ball against Texas Tech, including TE Martin Rucker and do-it-all receiver Jeremy Maclin, but it was Jimmy Jackson, Marcus Woods, Earl Goldsmith and Derrick Washington who combined to make the attack go. Jackson was tough around the goal line with three touchdown runs, while Washington showed the best flash. Expect to see several runners get work again this week.
What will happen: In what would normally be a letdown game, Missouri will actually try after having to hear all week about how it lost last year. This will be over midway through the second quarter.
CFN Prediction: Missouri 42 ... Iowa State 13 ... Line: Missouri -28
Must See Rating: (5
America's Most Smartest Model - 1 Marie Osmond on DTWS) ... 1.5

(3-5) at Kansas State (4-3) 3:35 PM 
Why to watch
: Kansas State has had a decent season that's been this close to being great, and now it needs to go on a run to stay in the Big 12 title chase and make its claim for one of the league's better bowls. In the final five games, considering Nebraska has decided to end its season at the halfway mark, only a home date against Missouri is likely to be a major problem, but coming off a tough 41-39 loss to Oklahoma State, and with three of the final four games on the road, the Wildcats have to take advantage of a home game against Baylor to fatten up the stats. The Bears are on a four-game losing streak, and while they haven't even been close in any of their four Big 12 games, they pushed Texas had before giving up a 91-yard interception return for a touchdown in a 31-10 loss. The Bears won last year in Waco 17-3, but KSU is 5-1 all-time.
Why Baylor might win: While KSU has gotten nice production out of its running game when needed, the team has sunk or swam on QB Josh Freeman, who's coming up with a nice sophomore season. However, he's still prone to make big mistakes with three games this year with two interceptions or more, and now he's going to be under as much pressure as he's been all year long. The BU defense might give up plenty of yards, but it hits quarterbacks and is great at getting into the backfield on a regular basis. Freeman has thrown picks in three games this year, and two of them were losses against Auburn and Kansas, who can each rush the passer. However ...
Why Kansas State might win: ... this isn't last year's Josh Freeman. KSU might have lost last week, but Freeman was brilliant, throwing for 404 yards and three touchdowns without a pick. He's making far better decisions and isn't forcing his throws nearly as much. KSU lost to OSU because the run defense went into the tank for a week. Baylor gained eight yards on Texas. Eight. KSU got burned last week by OSU's mobile quarterback Zac Robinson. That won't be a problem this week because ...
Who to watch: Baylor's QBs don't run. Still in search of productivity at quarterback, Baylor is going to sink or swim with Michael Machen. The big, veteran, 27-year-old bomber has the arm and the potential to put up big yards, but he's a walking interception machine who has to keep from giving Kansas State too many easy chances. He threw for 231 yards against Texas, but he also threw three picks with two taken for touchdowns. It's his job to lose at this point, but considering the Bears are close to being out of the bowl hunt, his time to shine is now or it'll be back to the youth movement.
What will happen: Four interceptions will help KSU to pull away in a walk in the park. The Wildcat running game will get the job done on offense.
CFN Prediction: Kansas State 44 ... Baylor 10 ...  ... Line: Kansas State -2
Must See Rating: (5
America's Most Smartest Model - 1 Marie Osmond on DTWS) ... 1.5

Nebraska (4-4) at Texas (6-2) 3:30 PM ABC
Why to watch
: It was only about two months ago when this was a circle game on the college football calendar. A possible Big 12 title preview as the two titanic big name program squared off with BCS implications at stake. Things haven't quite gone according to plan with Nebraska going into the tank over the last few weeks. It's not just that the Huskers have lost, it's that they haven't even been close in losses to Missouri, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M by a total of 122 to 34. Texas might still be in the Big 12 title hunt, but it needs Oklahoma to suddenly get ice cold, while heating up itself. The 31-10 final score in last week's win over Baylor is a mirage with the defense opening it up in a stunningly close battle until late. Since the 1999 Big 12 title, Texas has won four in a row in the series, and it'll probably take a breaking of the streak for Nebraska's Bill Callahan to have any hope of being around next year.
Why Nebraska might win: Texas is nothing more than a very, very average team right now that's susceptible to getting nailed if someone comes out sharp. The defense has bee fantastic against the mediocre offenses, but if Sam Keller and the Nebraska attack can somehow find some pop that's been missing for a few weeks, the Texas offense might start to panic a bit. The UT offense has hardly been a smoothly running machine, so if the Huskers can just keep pace for a while, the confidence factor might start to kick in. Nebraska is supposed to lose big; all the pressure is on Texas.
Why Texas might win: If the Texas running game is looking to work out the kinks, this will be the game to do it. The Husker defensive front has been crushed over the last month by anyone who's tried to pound the ball. Texas A&M rumbled for 359 yards and four touchdowns. Oklahoma State cranked out 317 and five. USC ran for 313 and five. As Nebraska knows all too well, a great rushing attack can take the spirit out of a team, and that's exactly what's happening in reverse. Texas hasn't been great at running the ball, but it's been good enough. However ...
Who to watch: ... the Longhorn offense has spent way too much time relying on Colt McCoy to run the ball. While he's an effective scrambler and can take off from time to time, the last thing he needs, considering his injury history, is to take any unnecessary hits. Jamaal Charles hasn't been able to build on his hot start, and now Mack Brown and the coaching staff are looking to get Chris Ogbonnaya and Vondrell McGee more involved. Charles is the home run hitter, but he's getting stopped way too often for little or no gain, and the coaches are looking for more of a spark.
What will happen: Does Nebraska have any tricks to pull off? No. The defense is having way too many problems, and the Texas D should be a brick wall against the middling Husker attack.
CFN Prediction: Texas 38 ... Nebraska 16 ... Line: Texas -21
Must See Rating: (5
America's Most Smartest Model - 1 Marie Osmond on DTWS) ... 2.5


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