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Big 12 Fearless Predictions, Oct. 20, Part 2
Posted Oct 18, 2007

Previews and Predictions for the Week 8 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. 13 | Oct. 27 | Nov. 3Nov. 10 | Nov. 17Nov. 24Dec. 1

Big 12 Week 8 Predictions, Part 1

How are the picks so far? SU: 45-11 ... ATS: 24-22

Big 12 Saturday, Oct. 20

Kansas State (4-2) at Oklahoma State (4-3)
Why to watch
: There but for the grace of a few plays goes Kansas State. The Wildcats could easily be 6-0 right now, roughly two plays away from being where South Florida is. With a win over Texas and close calls against Auburn and Kansas, this is one of the Big 12's wildcard teams, and at 2-1 in conference play, it's still in the hunt. However, it can't afford any big slips, and it can't afford to lose to an Oklahoma State team that basically got Nebraska athletic director Steve Pederson canned after a 45-14 win in Lincoln. The Cowboys have had a flaky year on and off the field, but at 2-1 in the Big 12, are right in the thick of things with home dates with Texas and Kansas to follow. If OSU is going to make a move, it needs to stay hot for another three weeks before the layup against Baylor and the Bedlam showdown against Oklahoma.
Why Kansas State might win: The Wildcat defense is all but built to stop a team like Oklahoma State. With an almost perfect balance, the Cowboys can move the ball in a variety of ways, but in a perfect world it wants to win by running the ball. OSU got 317 rushing yards and five touchdowns against Nebraska and won in a walk. It got 366 yards and four touchdowns against Texas Tech and overcame the Red Raider onslaught. It gained 200 against Texas A&M and lost. It gained 70 against Georgia and lost. Kansas State's 3-4 is designed to deal with spread offenses, and is great at keeping speedy running backs from getting in space and doing much if they do get in the open field. OSU might get rushing yards, but it's not likely to come up with many backbreakers. However ...
Why Oklahoma State might win: ... its not like the Wildcat defense can't be pounded on.  Colorado's Hugh Charles ran wild last week with a great 171-yard day. Texas and Kansas each had its moments on the ground. Kansas State feeds off of turnovers and big plays from the special teams, so if OSU can win the turnover battle and not give up a big kick or punt return, the balanced attack should be able to do the rest.
Who to watch: Two of the nation's most talented unknown backs should put on an interesting show. After missing two games early on, OSU senior Dantrell Savage has gone nuts with four straight 100-yard games with a 212-yard day against Nebraska last week. One of the fastest backs in a conference full of fast backs, he's a blur in the open field. Foe Kansas State, 200-pound James Johnson has quickly become a do-it-all playmakers as a kickoff returner, taking one back for a score against Texas, a receiver, with 21 grabs on the year, and 159 rushing yards and two touchdowns last week against Colorado on just 20 carries.
What will happen: Kansas State has been terrific on the road so far, even with the season-opening loss at Auburn. The running game will have few problems, the defense will give up yards, but not enough of them, and Jordy Nelson will hit one big deep play to push the Wildcats ahead in the second half. 
CFN Prediction: Kansas State 38 ... Oklahoma State 24  ... Line: Oklahoma State -3
Must See Rating: (5
Keeping Up with the Kardashians - 1 Ellen's dog plea) ...

Texas A&M (5-2) at Nebraska (4-3)
Why to watch
: It's the 2007 Lame Duck Bowl, even though the winner of this game is still able to crank out a big season, and for A&M, the Big 12 title is still there for the taking. Thanks to a major off-the-field issue with an insider newsletter distributed to alumni, Dennis Franchione is in hot water with the NCAA and his administration, but that's nothing compared to what the fan reaction if his Aggies don't take advantage of the current Husker slide. Two weeks ago, Nebraska was getting ready for a trip to Missouri with a chance to take the lead in the Big 12 North race. One 41-6 thumping from the Tigers, followed up by a 45-14 home loss to Oklahoma State, and now athletic director Steve Pederson is gone, Tom Osborne is in, and head coach Bill Callahan is on double secret probation. With road trips to Texas and Kansas ahead, things could get a whole bunch of ugly for the Big Red if it can't beat the Aggies. A&M follows this up with Kansas, at Oklahoma, at Missouri and Texas. Yeah, it's a must-win for both teams.
Why Texas A&M might win: Nebraska has basically decided to take a few weeks off from tackling. Missouri's Chase Daniel bombed away for 411 yards and three touchdowns, helped by some nice yards coming after the catch, while Oklahoma State rumbled for a mere 317 yards and five touchdowns last week. The Huskers are dead last in the Big 12 in run defense and 106th in the nation, allowing 208 yards per game. It just so happens that Texas A&M is seventh in the nation running the ball, averaging 246 yards per outing.
Why Nebraska might win: Nebraska QB Sam Keller should have all day to throw. A&M didn't get near Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell for extended stretches and got picked clean. Keller has had problems pressing over the last few weeks, but he's also not getting a chance to bomb away, throwing it only 18 times in the loss to Oklahoma State. The Aggie secondary is struggling mightily, so if the Huskers are ever going to let it rip, this would be the time.
Who to watch: Is Texas A&M RB Jorvorskie Lane really that good? A load around the goal line, he has 39 career touchdowns and 11 this year, and while he's been a great part of a 1-2 punch with Mike Goodson, he hasn't produced too much against the the better teams. Against Miami, he only got two carries for two yards, against Texas Tech he ran 13 times for 48 yards and a touchdown before the second half started getting out of hand, and last year he was stuffed for 13 yards on six carries against Nebraska. In his career, he has carried the ball 20 times or more in six games. Those were six of his seven 100-yard days, and A&M won all six. Basically, he needs to be fed the rock.
What will happen: And the hits just keep on coming. Nebraska won't be able to stop the A&M running game that'll hang on to the ball for close to 40 minutes. The Husker offense will click at times, but won't ever establish a groove.
CFN Prediction: Texas A&M 31 ... Nebraska 27  ... Line: Nebraska -2
Must See Rating: (5
Keeping Up with the Kardashians - 1 Ellen's dog plea) ... 3

(5-2) at Baylor (3-4)
Why to watch
: Texas has own the series winning 13 of the last 14, and it's going to take a major miracle for Baylor to come close to breaking the gloom. The Bears haven't been close ever since a two-game winning streak over Texas State and Buffalo, getting blasted by Texas A&M, Colorado and Kansas. The passing game is getting yards, sort of, but not enough meaningful ones to stay in games, while the defense has struggled way too much. Meanwhile, Texas got back on track after a two-game losing streak with a 56-3 win over Iowa State. While it would take a minor miracle to win the Big 12 title, this is an improving team that should be more dangerous over the second half of the year.
Why Texas might win: It's almost impossible to be as inefficient as the Baylor passing game has been. Despite wining it around 341 times, an average of 49 times per game, the Bears are averaging just 5.85 yards per attempt, and 11.2 yards per completion with 15 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. To put this into perspective, the Texas passing game has been average, some would say a bit disappointing, but it averages 7.6 yards per attempt. The Longhorn secondary has been effective all year long, and it shouldn't get burned too badly, if at all this week.
Why Baylor might win: Baylor might be struggling overall, but it's generating a nice pass rush so far. Third in the Big 12 in sacks, the Bears should get several big hits on Texas QB Colt McCoy, even if they don't always get him down. McCoy has been tough as nails all year, but he's had concussion problems, along with a variety of other dings and dents. Don't be shocked if he gets battered around early, and don't be shocked if he doesn't finish the game. BU will sell out to sack him, for good and bad.
Who to watch: The Baylor quarterback situation is up in the air after starter Blake Szymanski suffered a concussion against Kansas. If he can't go, then things get interesting. John David Weed is expected to be the future, but he hasn't seen any time yet, while Michael Machen, a former JUCO transfer and Kent State Golden Flash, has only gotten to throw one pass, and that was a pick off a fake punt. Weed is the likely No. 2 option.
What will happen: Texas will go through the motions, run without a problem, and will open it up in the second half after a sluggish start.
CFN Prediction: Texas 52 ... Baylor 20  ... Line: Texas -24.5
Must See Rating: (5
Keeping Up with the Kardashians - 1 Ellen's dog plea) ... 1.5

Big 12 Week 8 Predictions, Part 1