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Big 12 Fearless Predictions, Nov. 1
Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell
Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 29, 2008


Graham Harrell and Texas Tech take center stage against Texas this week in yet another national showcase game for the Big 12. Check out all the Previews and Predictions for the Week 10 Big 12 Games including Nebraska vs. Oklahoma and Kansas State vs. Kansas.

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 Aug. 30 | Sept. 6 | Sept. 13 | Sept. 20
- Sept. 27 |
Oct. 4 | Oct. 11 | Oct. 18 | Oct. 25

- Big 12 Predictions, Nov. 1, Part 2 (Neb. vs. OU)

How are the picks so far? SU: 59-11 ... ATS: 32-29

Big 12 Game of the Week

Texas (8-0) at Texas Tech (8-0), 8:00 EST ABC
Why to watch: Yes, Texas Tech is supposed to be here. This isn’t an out-of-left-field stunner like Oklahoma State was over the first half of the season; Tech has the team to be ready to be in the hunt for really, really big things. This is the point head coach Mike Leach has been building to get to ever since he took over, and now the program has a great combination of talent, experience, and schedule to be in control of its national title destiny as late as the first week of November. The offense is starting to hum at just the right time with 106 points over the last two weeks and coming off a 63-21 blasting of Kansas at Kansas. The defense is fine, but nothing special; however, it has come turned into a brick wall in the second halves lately. As good as the team has been, the college football world is still a bit skeptical, evidenced by the No. 7 ranking in the BCS. That will all quickly change with an upset this week, but it’s not like the work will be done with Oklahoma State and a trip to Oklahoma coming up next.

Texas Tech is on a ten game winning streak, while Texas has won nine in a row on the way to the unquestioned No. 1 ranking thanks to a hot Colt McCoy, good special teams, a killer pass rush, and wins over a murderer’s row great teams beating Oklahoma, Missouri, and Oklahoma State over the last three weeks. This week offers a different kind of test as the Longhorns have to face only their second true road game of the year. Yeah, there was a date at UTEP in early September, along with the trip to Colorado, but that was a pro-Longhorn crowd. This is a battle-tested team that has been able to come back in a high-octane shootout (Oklahoma), came out roaring against a top team (Missouri), and held up late when things didn’t go all that well (Oklahoma State). This might not be the toughest of the four games in the current streak, at least on paper, but a win would only solidify the number one spot further in yet another game that’ll own the national spotlight.
Why Texas might win: Texas Tech is second in the nation in pass protection, allowing a mere three sacks so far, but it hasn’t faced anyone with a pass rush anywhere near as scary as UT’s. Kansas, Nebraska, and Kansas State have all been able to get into the backfield, but Texas has been at another level thanks to Brian Orakpo, the Big 12’s sack leader, and an aggressive bunch that has gotten to everyone. Texas has the type of offense that can keep up with the Red Raiders in a back-and-forth shootout, and it has the running game to control the clock and the game, too.
Why Texas Tech might win: The Texas secondary has held up well against great passing teams, but it’s not like it has held any of the great quarterbacks in check. Sam Bradford chucked for 387 yards and five scores, Chase Daniel threw for 318 yards and two touchdowns, and Zac Robinson threw for an efficient 199 yards and a touchdown, but his yardage total was down because the running game was so effective. Graham Harrell is playing at the same Heisman-like level that McCoy is. He’s in total command of the offense, and he has a great history against the Longhorns throwing for 519 yards and three touchdowns in the 2006 loss, and he chucked for 466 yards and five scores in last year’s 59-43 shootout. Texas Tech might not be able to stop the Longhorn offense, but Harrell will get his yards and his touchdown throws.
Who to watch: The Heisman debate can all but end right here, right now. If Harrell goes ballistic and Texas Tech wins, he’s the leader in the clubhouse before dealing with Bradford and Oklahoma. If McCoy has yet another big game and Texas wins, it’ll take something extraordinary to keep him from winning the award. While Harrell has been great against Texas over the last two years, McCoy has been better completing 21-of-30 passes for 268 yards and four touchdowns with an interception and two rushing scores last year, and he threw for 256 yards and fourth touchdowns with 68 rushing yards two years ago. He got the wins; Harrell didn’t. McCoy has only thrown four interceptions this year, but three came in the two road games (two against Colorado and one against UTEP).
What will happen: In a defensive slugfest, points and yards will be hard to come by … yeah, right. Get ready for over 800 passing yards, over 70 points, and one of the most fun games of the year. Each team will have its moments, but the Texas pass rush will make just enough of a difference to keep Harrell down late. McCoy will be able to strike the Heisman pose after one of his two rushing scores in a comeback after hot Red Raider start.
CFN Prediction: Texas 48 … Texas Tech 38 ... Line: Texas -3.5
Must See Rating: (5 RocknRolla – 1 High School Musical 3: Senior Year) … 5
 
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 Saturday, November 1

Kansas State (4-4) at Kansas (5-3), 12:30 EST
Why to watch: Kansas has won three of the last four in the rivalry, and now it needs to make it 4-of-5 to pull out of a tough two-game losing streak allowing 108 points to Oklahoma and Texas Tech. Kansas State is also on a two-game losing streak, but it lost to Colorado along with Oklahoma. With Missouri up next, the Wildcats have to win this week or things could start to get dicey as far as getting to a bowl game. To pull it off, the offense has to be more consistent and the defense has to stop someone. For Kansas, the offense has been fine, but the defense has to stop giving up big plays. This game should have plenty of yards, plenty of haymakers, and plenty of points.
Why Kansas State might win: Josh Freeman has to get the machine revved up. Kansas State is getting a little bit of production from the running game, but when the offense is working, Freeman is on. KSU might have lost to Oklahoma, but Freeman bombed away for 478 yards and three touchdowns. He’s the signature star who has the ability to keep up the pace in any kind of a shootout, but …
Why Kansas might win: … when Freeman is throwing often, he’s often throwing interceptions. He has only thrown five picks this year, but two came against Louisville, his second most productive day of the year, and three came against Oklahoma, his best passing day. The Kansas State defense is the worst in the Big 12, giving up equal parts rushing yards and passing yards. KU is relying mostly on the arm of Todd Reesing, but it should be able to run when it wants to. Jake Sharp is due for a 100-yard day.
Who to watch: What has happened to Jocques Crawford? Considered to be one of the nation’s top JUCO recruits the KU running back can’t get meaningful playing time. He saw a few carries for 44 yards and a touchdown last week in the blowout, but Sharp has mostly been the running game with 380 yards and five touchdowns over the last four games. Will Crawford see more than just a little bit of garbage time and a few kickoff returns? Not yet, but he’ll take whatever the coaching staff will give him.
What will happen: This should be fun. Each team will have their big moments, but Kansas will welcome back its defense just long enough to stall the Wildcat offense for a few key drives in the second half.
CFN Prediction: Kansas 34 … Kansas State 24 ... Line: Kansas -11
Must See Rating: (5 RocknRolla – 1 High School Musical 3: Senior Year) … 3
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Colorado (4-4) at Texas A&M (3-5), 2:00 EST
Why to watch: Texas A&M might not be all that great, it isn’t playing a lick of defense and the special teams are lousy, at best, but it sure has turned out to be a whole bunch of fun. Head coach Mike Sherman quickly figured out that to have any prayer of competing in the Big 12 right now, you need to get the passing game going and going often. Colorado hasn’t gotten the memo. What was supposed to be the Big 12’s newest most dangerous offensive juggernaut by now, a few years after Dan Hawkins took over, has been a disaster. Not only isn’t the offense producing, it’s not even close. 302 yards and 18.6 points per game aren’t going to get it done in this year’s Big 12. It doesn’t help when you can’t score, like the Buff offense wasn’t able to do in last week’s 58-0 embarrassment at Missouri. A bowl game is still there for the taking, despite losing four of the last five games, but a win this week could be a must.
Why Colorado might win: It Colorado was ever going to get its running game going, this would be the week. With the passing game struggling and the quarterback situation an ongoing issue, the Buffs need to get Rodney Stewart, Darrell Scott, and in the rotation, QB Tyler Hanson, on track early on. A&M has the Big 12’s worst run defense allowing 203 yards per game. The Aggies have allowed fewer than 200 rushing yards three times. Texas Tech was busy throwing for 450 yards, Miami was effective even with just 159 yards on the ground, and Iowa State’s running attack isn’t working.
Why Texas A&M might win: The passing game. It has gotten rolling over the past few games, and while the Buffs have a decent secondary, they don’t have enough of a pass rush to pressure Jerrod Johnson into making a slew of mistakes. The Colorado offense can’t put points on the board, scoring 14 points in each of the first three Big 12 games before last week’s shut out. A&M’s offense, as inconsistent as it might be, has only been held under 21 once.
Who to watch: Colorado is in a bit of a sticky situation. Cody Hawkins wasn’t just a superstar recruit and a coup for the Buff program; he’s the coach’s son. While there hasn’t been any hint of favoritism, at this point, freshman Tyler Hanson is playing better. Not only is he getting the running game going a bit with 96 yards on the ground over the last two weeks, but he’s been an effective passer completing 12-of-16 passes last week. The two quarterbacks are still going to rotate, but it’ll be harder and harder to keep Hanson from getting more playing time down the stretch.
What will happen: Colorado’s offense will finally get rolling, the Aggie defense really is that bad, but it’s not going to matter. Johnson and the Aggie attack will answer every challenge and will pull away with a third quarter run.
CFN Prediction: Texas A&M 31 … Colorado 21 ... Line: Texas A&M -3
Must See Rating: (5 RocknRolla – 1 High School Musical 3: Senior Year) … 2.5
 
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- Big 12 Predictions, Nov. 1, Part 2 (Neb. vs. OU)