Big 12 Fearless Predictions, Sept. 8, Part 2
Posted Sep 6, 2007

Previews and Predictions for the Week 2 Big 12 Games, Part 2

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 1

Big 12 Saturday, September 8

San Jose State (0-1) at Kansas State (0-1) 7:00 PM
Why to Watch: Kansas State might have lost last week to Auburn, and it might have lost by blowing it late (helped by forgetting to block Tiger DE Quentin Groves), but it also gained a measure of respect. The young team went into one of college football's nastiest environments and almost pulled out a win. A more experienced team wins that game, and the loss will likely be seen someday as a step back to take a giant leap forward. San Jose State came into the year hoping to build on a hot 2006, and then went out and got blasted 45-3 by Arizona State. The Spartans didn't do much of anything right, looking like the Spartans of old, and they must quickly come up with a good performance or it might take a while to get the mojo back.
Why San Jose State Might Win: While it wasn't evident in the loss to the Sun Devils, San Jose State can play a little defense. The Kansas State offense is going to be hit-or-miss all year long. Get QB Josh Freeman when he's off, and you have a chance to play a Wildcat team without an offense. The Spartans have to find a way to get into the backfield and put continuous pressure on No. 1, who says he's fine, but suffered an ankle injury against Auburn. Not giving up anything deep is a must. Freeman threw for 268 yards against the Tigers, but he did it on 57 passes.
Why Kansas State Might Win: If the defense plays like it did last week, and if the San Jose State offensive line plays like it did last week, this will be a brutally ugly blowout. The Spartans failed to give QB Adam Tafralis any time to work, and did absolutely nothing for the running game. Kansas State's defensive front did a terrific job of shutting down the Tiger running game and didn't have problems against the pass until crunch time. San Jose State isn't Auburn.
Who to Watch: While Auburn's defense is gong to shut down most running games, netting 27 rushing yards is still unacceptable. The Wildcats all but gave up on handing the ball off, putting the entire game in Freeman's hands. While it almost worked, to have any hope of winning much in the Big 12, the ground game has to help the cause. Leon Patton gained just two yards on three carries, while James Johnson led the team with 14 yards on seven carries. If they don't produce this week, it'll be time for KSU to worry.
What Will Happen: San Jose State's defense will play night-and-day better than it did last week, and it won't matter, The running game will be MIA for the second week in a row, and KSU will come up with at least three picks to make a close first half game a runaway in the second half.
CFN Prediction: Kansas State 27 ... San Jose State 10
... Line: Kansas State -16.5
Must See Rating: (5 Mad Men - 1 Chelsea Lately) ... 1
Final Score: 

Rice (0-1) at Baylor (0-1) 7:00 PM
Why to watch: In a matchup of former Southwest Conference rivals, the first team to ten points might be declared the winner.  In last week’s openers, while Baylor was being blanked by TCU, Rice was taking it on the chin from I-AA Nicholls State.  Although neither program is likely to be playing past November, the Bears have an opportunity to get on a mini-roll with games against Texas State and Buffalo coming up in the next two weeks.  The Owls looked like a shell of the program that miraculously bowled in 2006, even failing to get a touchdown reception for WR Jarett Dillard for the first time in 15 games.  If nothing else, Saturday’s winner gets a valuable talking point when the two Texas schools inevitably cross paths along the recruiting trail later in the year.
Why Rice might win
: You can’t win if you don’t score, and Baylor’s disjointed offense is in a serious state of confusion.  QB Blake Szymanski is clinging to his job after getting picked three times in Fort Worth, the running game is AWOL, and an already depleted offensive line just lost its best blocker, LT Jason Smith.  Even the kickers were erratic in Week One, raising legitimate questions about how the Bears are going to get on the board this season.              
Why Baylor might win: Lost in the Bears’ forgettable first game was the play of a scrappy defense that held the ranked Horned Frogs to just 27 points, 14 through the first three quarters.  The linebackers, led by Joe Pawelek, are underrated, and senior CB Josh Bell is savvy enough to keep Dillard out of the end zone for a second straight game.  After performing like a bumbling mess last Saturday, Rice QB Chase Clement will face a far tougher defense than the one he saw from Nicholls State.   
Who to watch: Unable to count on its offense to crank out big plays or long drives, Baylor needs the defense to create turnovers and short fields.  At 6-6 and 270 pounds, DE Jason Lamb is the type of imposing figure up front that can pressure Clement into poor decisions and game-changing mistakes.                       
What will happen: In one of the most unappealing matchups of Week Two, the bad team from the Big 12 will squeak out a close win over the bad team from Conference USA.
CFN Prediction: Baylor 28 ... Rice 14 ... Line: Baylor -6
Must See Rating: (5 Mad Men - 1 Chelsea Lately) ... 2
Final Score: 

(1-0) at Texas (1-0) 7:00 PM
Why to Watch: While the Miami-Oklahoma game will be the marquee matchup of the Big 12 slate, this one might be more important to the national title chase. This is TCU's BCS game. This is TCU's shot at being more than Boise State. This is TCU's biggest game in decades. This is TCU's chance at the big time, with a win likely to spark a debate all season long about the possibility of deserving a spot in the BCS Championship. The Mountain West is decent, and there are road dates at Wyoming and BYU looming, but this is for all the marbles in what could be the program's biggest win since shocking Oklahoma 17-10 in the 2005 season opener. For Texas, this is a chance to be Texas again. It's been a rough last four games for the Longhorns with losses to Kansas State and Texas A&M, followed up by a lackluster bowl win over a bad Iowa team, followed up by a 21-13 win over ... Arkansas State?! Longhorn fans are dying for their boys to turn it on again, and this game will show if this really is a good team, or if it just looks the part in the orange jerseys.
Why TCU Might Win: The Texas offensive line hasn't been up to snuff, at least it wasn't against Arkansas State, and now it'll face one of the nation's most dangerous defensive lines. The Horned Frog defensive front seven is the real deal, led by the type of pass rushers who should put more pressure on QB Colt McCoy than he's seen since becoming the starter. Consistency is going to be a problem for a Longhorn attack that couldn't run the ball last week and might not have time to let the deep pass plays develop.
Why Texas Might Win: It's not like TCU is going to hang 50 on the board. All things go through the TCU defense, and if it's not dominant, the offense won't be able to pick up the slack. If Texas can get up by double-digits, it's over. While the Longhorns got ran on by the Indians, this is a nasty run defense that's much better than it showed. UT will put everyone and the jerseys of Tommy Nobis and Derrick Johnson up front to stop the run because ...
Who to Watch: ... TCU QB Andy Dalton probably isn't quite ready for primetime. While the freshman was fine against Baylor, completing 18 of 30 passes for 205 yards and a touchdown, he has to do more than just manage the game and limit mistakes. He's going to have to be a difference maker, and if this isn't his coming out party, TCU won't be able to pull off the upset.
What Will Happen: TCU just doesn't have enough horses to make it happen. Star DE Tommy Blake is coming off an undisclosed illness and star RB Aaron Brown is injured. Texas has had to hear about this game all off-season and will give it all the attention and focus it deserves.
CFN Prediction: Texas 17 ... TCU 10
... Line: Texas -10.5
Must See Rating: (5 Mad Men - 1 Chelsea Lately) ... 4.5
Final Score: 

(1-0) at Texas Tech (1-0) 7:00 PM
Why to Watch: UTEP had them. In one of the best games of the early part of last year, UTEP had several chances to pull off a win over Texas Tech, but ended up succumbing 38-35 in overtime. The Miners' opening day 10-6 win over New Mexico wasn't remotely close to being as thrilling, but was more to their liking, with 36-yard Terrell Jackson getting the winning touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. Texas Tech had a far easier time on Monday with a 49-9 laugher over SMU, with 553 yards of total offense and 473 through the air. The Red Raider offense, with several new starting receivers, could use all the warm-up games it can get before the Big 12 season, while UTEP would like to make a statement with its first win over a now-BCS program since beating Arizona State in 1974.
Why UTEP Might Win: The only chance the Miners have to keep this close is to control the clock, pound away with the running game, and hope to catch several breaks from a Red Raider team coming off an extremely short week. With just four days to rest after facing SMU, the legs might not be back yet for Texas Tech, and the Miners have to take advantage by running well behind a veteran offensive line and keeping the defensive front moving. The UTEP secondary did a nice job of keeping a good New Mexico receiving corps in check last week.
Why Texas Tech Might Win: UTEP's offense doesn't have nearly enough firepower to keep up if this gets into any sort of a shootout. The Miners are struggling at quarterback, got 81 yards passing against New Mexico, and only came up with one big offensive play to pull out the win. Worse yet, the defense didn't generate any pressure into the backfield. If Tech QB Graham Harrell gets ten days to throw like he had against SMU, this won't be pretty.
Who to Watch: Trevor Vittatoe has to be better. The young UTEP quarterback didn't get any help from a receiving corps that couldn't hang on to the ball, but he didn't have a good game, completing just six of 21 passes for 59 yards. Lorne Sam will see a little bit of work, but this is VIttatoe's team to run. For Texas Tech, freshman Michael Crabtree appears to be the team's newest receiving star. He broke open the SMU game with three straight touchdowns with scores from one, 42, and two yards out on the way to a 12-catch, 106-yard day. Danny Amendola chipped in with ten catches for 149 yards and a scores.
What Will Happen: UTEP's offense will open it up a bit, but it won't matter. Texas Tech will be sluggish for about a half before opening it up once the game starts to get tight.
CFN Prediction: Texas Tech 34 ... UTEP 16
... Line: Texas Tech -16
Must See Rating: (5 Mad Men - 1 Chelsea Lately) ... 2.5
Final Score: 

Florida Atlantic
(1-0) at Oklahoma State (0-1) 7:05 PM
Why to Watch: In part three of the trilogy, Oklahoma State looks to go for the sweep after beating FAU by a combined score of 71-11 over the last two years. However, this is a much, much better Owl team with a veteran defense and a bit more pop on offense. Coming off a 27-14 win over Middle Tennessee, FAU made a huge statement in the Sun Belt race, but it has to deal with the Cowboys and Minnesota before going to North Texas. Oklahoma State has a two-game stretch against Sun Belt teams, facing Troy next week, after a surprisingly poor 35-14 loss to Georgia. This is an explosive OSU team that needs to come up with big performances over the next two weeks before dealing with Texas Tech.
Why Florida Atlantic Might Win: In a perfect world for OSU, it has good offensive balance with a running game that provides more big plays than the passing attack. FAU has a good defensive backfield with a linebacking corps that should hold up well against the Cowboy speedsters. Middle Tennessee only netted 18 yards last week, and while OSU should beat that in the first few plays of the game, it won't likely explode like it'll want to.
Why Oklahoma State Might Win: While FAU ran the ball surprisingly well against Middle Tennessee, it simply doesn't have the overall firepower to keep up if OSU gets up early. This is an aggressive Owl defense that'll have to take plenty of chances and is almost certain to get beaten deep at least twice on big plays. Special teams will be an issue all season long for the Owls, and it could be part of a downfall this week. The punting game is awful and there's no range from PK
Warley Leroy. FAU will have to go for it anytime it's within reasonable range, since Leroy can't hit from beyond 35 yards.
Who to Watch: While Florida Atlantic junior RB Charles Pierre doesn't have the wheels of the Oklahoma State top backs, he's a small, shifty speedster who took over the job late last year and started off this season with a bang. His 95 yards, combining with B.J. Manley's 64 and fullback Williams Rose's 53, has given FAU a bit of an offensive identity, and has taken the pressure off QB Rusty Smith. The more the backfield can keep the chains moving and keep the Cowboy offense off the field, the better.
What Will Happen: FAU's defense will make it a harder night than OSU might like. It'll take a while, but eventually, the Cowboy attack will come up with a few big plays to finally get comfortable, but it won't be an easy ride.
CFN Prediction: Oklahoma State 45 ... Florida Atlantic 14
... Line: Oklahoma State -23
Must See Rating: (5 Mad Men - 1 Chelsea Lately) ... 2
Final Score: 

Colorado (1-0) at Arizona State (1-0) 10:15 PM
Why to watch: Appalachian State was not the only “ASU” making noise in college football on the opening weekend.  Arizona State, with Dennis Erickson making his debut in Tempe, completely dismantled a decent San Jose State team 48-3.  The Sun Devils outgained the Spartans 520-115, displaying a physical demeanor on both sides of the ball that was lacking throughout the Dirk Koetter era.  With similar results against better competition this week, you can start seriously debating whether Arizona State can be the next best thing to USC in the Pac-10 this season.  After going 2-10 in Dan Hawkins’ first season at the helm, Colorado got exactly what it needed to start the year, a win over intrastate rival Colorado State.  The Buffs came from behind late and won in overtime in the type of game that a young team can feed off as the schedule gets tougher.  The 31 points Colorado scored in the opener was well above last year’s average, largely due to the efficient passing of rookie QB Cody Hawkins, the head coach’s son.
Why Colorado might win
: The Buffs boast an underrated defense that’s tough against the run and experienced from front to back.  They were at it again last Saturday, registering nine tackles for loss and three sacks, and holding Ram runners to under three yards a carry.  With DT George Hypolite getting a push up the middle and LB Jordon Dizon tackling everything in sight, Arizona State will find moving the ball a whole lot tougher this week than a week ago.
Why Arizona State might win
: Senior Ryan Torain is a bona fide workhorse back who'll pound away at the Colorado defense 25-30 times, controlling the clock for the Sun Devils.  And just when Colorado over commits to the run, a more confident and comfortable Rudy Carpenter will play-action his way to long gainers.  Defensively, Arizona State is on the verge of doing a 180 from last season, which is bad news for a Buffalo offense that’s still a work-in-progress.  With DE Dexter Davis providing pressure on the outside and LB Robert James attacking from the weakside, Hawkins won’t have much time to set his feet or locate open receivers.
Who to watch
: At 6-4 and 208 pounds with great bounce, Michael Jones is flashing signs that he’s about to become the next dynamite receiver to play for Arizona State.  He had four receptions for 63 yards and a touchdown in the opener, and is going to command the attention of Terrence Wheatley, Colorado’s best cover corner. The more the defense will have to worry about Torian, the more single coverage Jones will see.
What will happen
: Cody Hawkins has not lost a football game since the sixth grade.  Arizona State will end that individual winning streak, getting 125 yards and two scores from Torain, and a second straight solid effort from its improving defense. 
CFN Prediction: Arizona State 37 ... Colorado 17... Line: ASU -14
Must See Rating: (5 Mad Men - 1 Chelsea Lately) ... 3
Final Score: 

Big 12 Fearless Predictions, Week Two, Part 1


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