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Big 12 Fearless Predictions, Oct. 13, Part 2

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 9, 2007


Previews and Predictions for the Week 7 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. 8 | Sept. 15Sept. 22 | Sept. 29 
Oct. 6Oct. 20Oct. 27 | Nov. 3Nov. 10 | Nov. 17Nov. 24Dec. 1

Big 12 Week Seven Predictions, Part 1

How are the picks so far? SU: 40-10 ... ATS: 20-20

Big 12 Saturday, Oct. 13

Oklahoma State (3-3) at Nebraska (4-2)  12:30 PM
Why to Watch: There are coaches on the hot seat, coaches in lame duck status, and there's Nebraska's head man Bill Callahan, who just needs a big win really, really bad. It's one thing to get blown out at home by USC (really, it's O.K.), it's another to need a missed last second field goal to get by Ball State, and it's a whole other issue to get destroyed 41-6 by Missouri in what was likely the key game of the Huskers' Big 12 season. Last year, Nebraska was on its way to a good season, starting off 5-1 before losing a tight battle against Texas, and then came the trip to Stillwater. The Cowboys won 41-29, and while it didn't keep Nebraska from winning the North, this year, a win would likely do that, and get the grumbling Big Red faithful into a lather. OSU has had an uneven season so far, and is still trying to figure out who and what it is. With three home games ahead, a win in Lincoln could kick off a nice run, just when Mike Gundy's team desperately needs it most.
Why Oklahoma State Might Win:
So far, the Husker defense has been consistently awful against anyone who can run, and last week got its doors blown off by a Missouri team that might provide a glimpse of what's to come. OSU doesn't throw the ball like the Tigers, but it likes to use its quarterback a little bit like MU uses Chase Daniel, and the running backs are far superior. The Husker defensive line has been shoved out of the way far too easily against the better teams, and this week, the Cowboys should be able to run at will. Expect 250 yards on the ground.
Why Nebraska Might Win: If ever the Husker passing game was going to step back and let it rip, it would be this week. Forgetting the 646 yards allowed to the Texas Tech passing game to skew the stats, the 116th ranked pass defense has had major problems against everyone. When Texas A&M throws for 218 yards, there are problems. With nothing from the running game since ripping up Nevada for 413 yards and six touchdowns, the offense needs to start flowing through Sam Keller and the passing game. If the Huskers decide to start bombing away, OSU might not be able to stop it.
Who to Watch: And the Oklahoma State quarterback this week will be ... ? Zac Robinson suffered a concussion in last week's loss to A&M, and while he's expected to play this week, Bobby Reid will have to be at the ready, and it might open up a big can of worms once again. Reid completed six of nine passes for 72 yards in relief, and while the job is still Robinson's, Reid might be an interesting choice considering he threw for 229 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for 61 yards, in last year's win over the Huskers.
What Will Happen: Which Oklahoma State will show up? Will it be the one that ran wild on Texas Tech, or will it be the one that couldn't get any offense going against Troy and collapsed against Texas A&M? Which Nebraska will show up? The Huskers haven't been sharp over the past several weeks, and it's about to get pounded on by the Cowboy ground game in another rough loss.
CFN Prediction: Oklahoma State 31 ... Nebraska 28 ... Line: Nebraska -4 
Must See Rating: (5 Hideki Matsui's "collection" - 1 The Heartbreak Kid) ... 3

Texas A&M (5-1) at Texas Tech (5-1)  3:30 PM ABC
Why to Watch: It's the ultimate contrast in styles, with Texas Tech, and the nation's leading passing game, looking for its first real win of the season against A&M and the nation's seventh best rushing attack. The Aggies are 2-0 in Big 12 play, but those came against the two weakest teams on the schedule, Baylor and Oklahoma State, and it could be argued that this is the easiest date left with road trips to Nebraska, Oklahoma and Missouri ahead, along with Kansas and Texas. However, A&M hasn't won in Lubbock since 1993, and will try for a little revenge after losing 31-27 to the Red Raiders on a last minute pass. Texas Tech's best win so far is against, well, UTEP?! The offense has been tremendous, with the pitch-catch combo of Graham Harrell to Michael Crabtree setting records, and now it has to face a good team, even if it doesn't play a whole bunch of defense.
Why Texas A&M Might Win:
Texas Tech played two teams that could run a little bit, and UTEP ran for 214 yards and two touchdowns, and Oklahoma State gashed the D for 366 yards and four scores. While this is a quick-strike Red Raider attack that's able to score in a minute, making the time of possession not that big a deal, A&M should be able to control the tempo by pounding the ball for well over 250 yards. While this hasn't always worked for the Aggies, the offensive line should be able to push around the Tech defensive front enough to be effective. 
Why Texas Tech Might Win: Texas A&M might have a good defensive brand name, the secondary isn't doing much to stop anyone's passing game. Miami can't throw against anyone, and it came up with 275 yards and two touchdowns with Kyle Wright completing 21 of 26 passes. Oklahoma State got 259 yards and two scores, and Fresno State, who hasn't thrown on anyone, cranked out 260 yards and three touchdowns. The Aggies have no pass rush whatsoever, meaning Harrell should have an hour to find the open man. If you don't touch Harrell, he'll complete 80% of his throws and come up with 500 yards.
Who to Watch: Crabtree is coming up with an all-timer of a start, catching three touchdown passes in five of the first six games, and two in the sixth, and has double-digit catches in five of the six games, and eight in a limited time against Northwestern State. Of course, A&M knows this and will try to cover him with everyone but Reveille. That might mean senior Danny Amendola will become a key player, and he's had enough good games to suggest he might be able to pick up the slack. With four games with ten catches or more, he's a perfect number two receiver who can move the chains and set up the offense so Crabtree can come up with the score. 
What Will Happen: A&M beat Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma State beat Tech, so the Aggies should win, right? Not quite. A&M will pound the ball on the Red Raiders, but it won't matter. The lack of a pass rush will kill the secondary, as Harrell and Crabtree keep on cranking.
CFN Prediction: Texas Tech 45 ... Texas A&M 31 ... Line: Texas Tech -8.5
Must See Rating: (5 Hideki Matsui's "collection" - 1 The Heartbreak Kid) ... 3.5

Colorado (4-2) at Kansas State (3-2)  9:15 PM ESPN2
Why to Watch: Considering how strong the Big 12 North, outside of Iowa State, appears to be this year, there's no margin for error, and there's especially no extra chances for Kansas State to give away any home games. Last week, the Wildcats lost a tough battle with archrival Kansas, and with just two home days left after this week, they must win to have any prayer of sticking around the title chase. For Colorado, the 2-0 Big 12 start has upped the stakes in a big way. There wasn't any letdown after the program-changing win over Oklahoma, beating Baylor 43-23, and with Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska all coming to Boulder, the Buffs can start dreaming big if they can come out of Manhattan with the win. A win would make it a three-way race between CU, KU and Missouri for the North.
Why Colorado Might Win:
Kansas State needs the big play to win. Whether it comes from the special teams, and short pass turned into a long gain, or on a turnover, the scores have to come outside of the conventional way. This isn't a consistent Wildcat offense, with an inefficient passing game, no real rushing attack, and no real ability to crank out long drives. If Colorado can limit the mistakes and not turn the ball over, hardly a given so far this year, and if it can win the special teams battle, then the Midwest version of Virginia Tech will struggle.
Why Kansas State Might Win: The last three weeks are an aberration; this Colorado offense isn't all that great. Miami University and Baylor don't play defense like Kansas State does, with an aggressive front that should keep Cody Hawkins pressing all game long. Colorado has done a great job in pass protection so far, but the Wildcat scheme is funky enough to manufacture sacks and pressure from different angles. Offensively, QB Josh Freeman should have plenty of time to work behind an offensive line that, outside of a few series against Auburn, is standing on its head in pass protection. Colorado hits like a ton of bricks, but it doesn't generate too much pressure.
Who to Watch: This might be a passing of the torch from the 2006 best defensive player in the Big 12, Kansas State's Ian Campbell, to this year's best player, Colorado LB Jordon Dizon. The undersized Dizon appears hell-bent to be in on every tackle possible, leading the nation in stops, and leading in solo tackles by a wide margin. With the pass rush struggling so far, he's being used more to get to the quarterback, but his role this week will be to stop the run. Meanwhile, Campbell is still trying to find his way in a new role as a hybrid of linebacker and defensive end. He's not making nearly as many tackles as last year, but he's come up with a few big plays over the last two weeks, with an interception for a score against Texas and a sack against Kansas.
What Will Happen: Expect a good defensive battle with turnovers being the difference. Kansas State will force them; Colorado won't.
CFN Prediction: Kansas State 24 ... Colorado 20 ... Line: Kansas State -5.5 
Must See Rating: (5 Hideki Matsui's "collection" - 1 The Heartbreak Kid) ... 3.5


Big 12 Week Seven Predictions, Part 1