Big 12 Fearless Predictions, Nov. 17
Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell
Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell
Posted Nov 16, 2007

Previews and Predictions for the Week 12 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. 20Oct. 27 | Nov. 3Nov. 10 | Nov. 24Dec. 1

How are the picks so far? SU: 62-17 ... ATS: 38-30-1

Big 12 Game of the Week

Oklahoma (9-1) at Texas Tech (7-4)  8:00 PM ABC
Why to watch: You want to get the blood boiling? Ask Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach about the officiating in last week's 59-43 loss to Texas (he was fined 10K for his comments). While you're at it, get Oklahoma head man Bob Stoops started on the refs in the controversial 23-21 loss to the Red Raiders in 2005. For the most part, Texas Tech hasn't gotten in Oklahoma's way over the years with the Sooners winning six of the last seven times, but this year, things could get extremely interesting if the Red Raiders pull off the win. While it would knock OU out of the national title hunt, it would also give hope to Texas in the South race. Tech has put up its usual bazillion points a game along with its yards by the truckload (leading the nation in both total yards and passing yards), but it has yet to come up with a signature win. The best victory has been over Texas A&M. The second best was over Iowa State. Whoopee. Oklahoma has won five straight since the late (let's call it what it was) choke to Colorado and can clinch the South with a win. The offense is humming, the defense has gotten back on track over the last few weeks, and this is starting to look like the national title team everyone thought it was back in early September. It's all about style points in the national title chase, and the Sooner need a bunch of them.
Why Oklahoma might win: To paraphrase a classic line from GoodFellas, screw you, pay me. Texas Tech has won seven games against a who's who of mediocre to bad teams, and outside of the win over the Aggies, 0-4 against the teams with a pulse. In the four losses, Tech has allowed an average of 45 points per game mainly due to a porous run defense. Texas cranked out 283 yards and four scores last week. Missouri had an almost perfect balance with 212 rushing yards and 210 through the air. Oklahoma State tore off 366 yards and four touchdowns and threw for 244 and three scores. The Tech defense simply doesn't have enough in the bag to keep up with an Oklahoma attack that's unstoppable when it gets on a roll. Making matters worse are the lack of takeaways forcing just 17 turnovers on the year. To win this, Tech has to force several Sooner mistakes.
Why Texas Tech might win: Oklahoma might be third in the Big 12 in pass defense, but it gives up 227 yards per game through the air and has shown some signs that it can get beaten deep if someone wants to give it a shot. Baylor's offense is a Texas Tech wannabe and was able to get a few big plays in last week's 52-21 loss. Missouri's Chase Daniel was able to throw for 361 on the Sooners. Yes, the Tech defense will give up a ton of yards and will allow a few home runs, but Graham Harrell will get his yards and his points. There's also the road trip factor. Oklahoma has only had two real away games so far (not counting the "road" trip to Tulsa and the neutral site game against Texas) and struggled in each needing a late pick to hold off Iowa State and losing to Colorado. For a team like OU that builds off early success and momentum, being in a hostile environment might be a really big deal.
Who to watch: As the old line goes, the only person who was ever able to stop Michael Jordan was Dean Smith. Apparently, the only person able to stop Oklahoma redshirt freshman DeMarco Murray is Bob Stoops. Murray has been electrifying as both a runner and a kickoff returner averaging 33 yards per return, with a touchdown last week, and averaging 6.2 yards per carry with 13 touchdowns. Now he has to get the ball in his hands more averaging just 12 touches per game. The focus of the showdown will be on the nation's No. 1 quarterback in passing efficiency, OU's Sam Bradford, and the nation's leader in total offense, Harrell (who's No. 3 in the country in efficiency rating), but it might be Murray who steals the show ... if he's given the ball.
What will happen: Oklahoma is way overdue for a letdown while Texas Tech is way overdue to actually beat someone good. It'll be a shootout of mega-proportions with Harrell outdueling Bradford for the shocking upset.
CFN Prediction: Texas Tech 42 ... Oklahoma 38 ... Line: Oklahoma -10
Must See Rating: (5
On HBO, "Michigan vs. Ohio State: The Rivalry"  - 1 Writer strike induced reruns) ... 4

Big 12 Saturday, November 17th

Iowa State (3-8) at Kansas (10-0)  3:30 PM ABC
Why to watch
: Normally one of the most ignored games on the Big 12 schedule, now the glare of the national spotlight is on as Kansas tries to get through this week before the showdown with Missouri in Kansas City. The Jayhawks might be ranked third in the latest BCS poll, but a skeptical nation is still waiting for something more than just a win over Oklahoma State. Beating Iowa State wouldn't exactly get the world on the KU bandwagon, but a close call of any kind in the final home game of the year would help Oregon and others immeasurably. The Cyclones aren't just going to be a pushover with two straight wins and all the pressure off. Gene Chizik's club is playing just well enough to be yet another spoiler in this wild season.
Why Iowa State might win: Iowa State has figured out how to start playing some offense. Painfully bad for most of the first eight games of the season, the infusion of young players has provided a desperately needed spark. While hardly Texas Tech when it comes to cranking out yards, the Cyclones are taking advantage of every opportunity now and has figured out how to finally start getting into the end zone. The Kansas defense isn't nearly as good as the statistics might suggest. As Oklahoma State and Nebraska showed, the secondary can be bombed on. However ...
Why Kansas might win: ... it's not like the Cyclones are going to throw 300 passing yards on the board. Outside of a few big plays to Todd Blythe in last week's win over Colorado, the Iowa State passing game has way too inconsistent to roll for a full sixty minutes in a game like this. Fine, so Kansas might not be full of a who's who of pro prospects like LSU and Oklahoma, but no one is playing more efficiently on offense. To beat Kansas, Iowa State has to not only be perfect, it has to force several mistakes and that's not going to happen. The Cyclones don't force turnovers, while KU leads the nation in turnover margin. The Jayhawks lead the country in kickoff returns averaging 30.19 yards per try, while ISU is 115th averaging 17.78 yards per return, and is dead last in punt returns averaging 3.25 yards per try.
Who to watch: It's the final game in the long and interesting careers of the Iowa State pitch-catch combination of Bret Meyer to Todd Blythe. The roommates have been mainstays of the program for the last four years with Blythe catching 174 passes averaging 17.67 yards per grab with 31 touchdowns, while Meyer has produced 10,310 yards of total offense with 50 touchdown passes and 12 scoring runs. The two hooked up for two touchdowns last week, and will likely be bombing away this week to keep up with the KU attack.
What will happen: Iowa State will put up a much, much bigger fight than Kansas might like. The Jayhawks have too good at answering scores with scores of their own and will be able to handle a little bit of adversity to get the win, but it'll be a bit of a battle.
CFN Prediction: Kansas 40 ... Iowa State 23 ... Line: Kansas -25
Must See Rating: (5
On HBO, "Michigan vs. Ohio State: The Rivalry"  - 1 Writer strike induced reruns) ... 2.5

Missouri (9-1) at Kansas State (5-5) 12:30 PM

Why to watch
: Trap ... TRAAAAAP. Missouri is rolling along at 9-1 on a dominant four-game winning streak and with a shot at being in the national title discussion if it wins this week, beats Kansas, and wins the Big 12 title game over (most likely) Oklahoma. Of course, this week shouldn't be a problem, right? After all, the Wildcats have lost two straight to Iowa State and Nebraska, the two worst teams in the North, by a combined score of 104 to 51. After a promising start, KSU has hit a wall over the last four weeks and now needs to win its final two games to realistically be in the mix for a bowl bid. The road trip to Fresno State next week won't be a picnic, but if the Cats can get a win over the Tigers, they won't need a plane to fly to face the Bulldogs.
Why Missouri might win: The Kansas State secondary has given up 17 touchdown passes in the last six games and is coming off a 519-yard bombing by Nebraska. Meanwhile, Missouri's passing game has hit its groove with 781 yards and eight touchdowns in the last two games to go along with a solid running game. This is a finely tuned Tiger offensive machine that should be able to overcome any adversity by finding something that works. If KSU takes away the run, Daniel will throw deep. Take away the long ball and Daniel will work underneath to his tight ends. Texas A&M actually put up more of a fight last week than than the 40-26 final score might indicate, and that might be just enough of a tight test to get Mizzou through any issues this week.
Why Kansas State might win: It's going to take something special and out of the ordinary for Kansas State to win, and that might come from the punt return game. Led by Deon Murphy, KSU leads the nation in punt returns averaging 22.06 yards per try, while the Missouri punting game has been abysmal. Murphy, at the very least, should give the Wildcats excellent field position and could turn the momentum of the game with a score. The pressure is completely and totally on the Tigers. Kansas State will come out fired up on Senior Day and should play loose. Last year, a far superior Missouri team got shocked by a miserable Iowa State squad in its final home game of the year.
Who to watch: Kansas State's Josh Freeman and Jordy Nelson. Lost in last two defeats has been the solid play from Freeman, who has bombed away for 200 yards or more in every game but one, the win over Texas. The Wildcats were able to upset the Longhorns thanks to Nelson, who caught 12 passes for 116 yards and returned a punt for a score. Nelson is a shoo-in for All-America honors with 99 catches for 1,347 yards and nine touchdowns, and he should be in for a huge game against a suspect Tiger secondary that gave up 247 yards to the ground-oriented Texas A&M.  These two need to go ballistic to pull off the upset.
What will happen: Freeman will bomb away for 400 yards and Nelson will have a jaw-dropping day, but it won't be enough. Daniel and the Tiger offense will get on a second half roll that KSU won't be able to stop.
CFN Prediction: Missouri 45 ... Kansas State 31 ... Line: Missouri -8
Must See Rating: (5
On HBO, "Michigan vs. Ohio State: The Rivalry"  - 1 Writer strike induced reruns) ... 3

Oklahoma State (5-5) at Baylor (3-8)   7:00 PM
Why to watch: With a huge week of Big 12 games, this one will get pushed aside even though it could end up being the most entertaining of the lot. Both teams desperately need a win, with Oklahoma State trying to get bowl eligible with a sixth win before facing Oklahoma. The Cowboys have lost two straight in high-profile fashion, getting their doors blown off by Texas before losing on national television to Kansas. As rough as those were, a loss to Baylor would be worse considering OSU is 10-1 in the series since the formation of the Big 12. For the Beats, an 0-7 conference record and a seven-game losing streak has all but doomed the Guy Morriss era. In what should be his final game as the BU head coach, his team should come out with guns blazing in a shootout.
Why Oklahoma State might win: Even when the Baylor attack is working, it keeps shooting itself in the foot with turnovers. The offense has only gone one game with fewer than two giveaways, while the defense hasn't done nearly enough to force any big plays of its own. The passing game gets some decent yards here and there, but not enough of them to overcome a defense that hasn't been close to slowing down anyone's passing game. How ugly have things been for the Bears? They haven't been closer than 20 points in any Big 12 game getting outscored by an average of 44 to 14.
Why Baylor might win: Does OSU have anything left in the tank? After emotional losses to Texas and Kansas, and with all mental focus likely on Oklahoma next week, Baylor could come up with just enough of a good game to pull off the upset. It's not like the Cowboys have been great on the road this year with a blowout loss to Georgia, a stunning blasting at Troy, and a loss to Texas A&M before obliterating Nebraska in Lincoln. The Cowboy pass defense is the worst in the Big 12 made possible by a lack of a pass rush. Baylor, for all its problems, has been terrific all year in pass protection. When given time, QB Blake Szymanski has been effective.
Who to watch: The time is now for Oklahoma State freshman WR Dez Bryant. A superior talent who got lost a bit in the shuffle throughout the year, he stepped up last week when Adarius Bowman went down and caught eight passes for 155 yards and a touchdown. With Bowman out for the rest of the regular season with a knee injury, it'll be up to Bryant to play an even bigger role, while Brandon Pettigrew, a solid number two target throughout the year, needs to overcome a rough one-catch day against the Jayhawks. These two will be the stars of the 2008 OSU passing game, but to get to a bowl game, they need to blow up now.
What will happen: In a big-time shootout, the two teams will combine for well over 1,000 yards of total offense. Baylor will throw at will, but it'll be the OSU running game and balance that'll win out in the fourth quarter.
CFN Prediction: Oklahoma State 48 ... Baylor 34 ... Line: Oklahoma State -15
Must See Rating: (5
On HBO, "Michigan vs. Ohio State: The Rivalry"  - 1 Writer strike induced reruns) ... 2


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