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Big 12 Fearless Predictions, Oct. 25
Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant
Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 23, 2008


Texas, Texas, Texas, it's all about Texas, but Oklahoma State, led by the Big 12's newest star, WR Dez Bryant, has been just as dominant. Now they get to show what they can do in the week's biggest showdown. Check out the Previews and Predictions for the Week 9 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 Aug. 30 | Sept. 6 | Sept. 13 | Sept. 20
- Sept. 27 |
Oct. 4 | Oct. 11 | Oct. 18

- Big 12 Predictions, Oct.25, Part 2 (OU vs. KSU)

How are the picks so far? SU: 54-10 ... ATS: 28-27

Big 12 Game of the Week

Oklahoma State (7-0) at Texas (7-0), 3:30 EST ABC
Why to watch: If Oklahoma State was called, say, Oklahoma, or Nebraska, on name recognition alone, would be talked about as a national title contender and would be a shoo-in for a top five ranking. The offense has been unstoppable, the defense, despite the lack of a pass rush, has been adequate, and the wins have been flowing going 7-0 with only one team, Missouri, coming closer than 28 points. That win in Columbia over the Tigers could arguably the third most impressive victory this season behind Alabama’s win at Georgia and the Texas win over Oklahoma, but beating the Longhorns in Austin would be bigger. Obviously. The No. 6 BCS-ranked Cowboys have to not only bust through the nation’s No. 1, red-hot team, but they also have to buck an ugly history. Last year, Jammal Charles and the Longhorns roared back in the fourth quarter to win 38-35. There was the doors-blown-off-by-Vince Young second half in 2005, and there’s been heartbreak after heartbreak and blowout after blowout. Texas has won nine in a row and has won 14 of the last 15.

Texas, of course, is everyone’s top team after beating Oklahoma in a shootout and confirming it wasn’t a fluke with a clinical 56-31 carving of Missouri. If this is going to be a national title season, it’s not going to be cheap with a trip to Texas Tech ahead and with a date at Kansas still to deal with. But with all due respect to those two, and to Baylor and Texas A&M, the other two teams on the slate, and even looking ahead to a possible Big 12 title game, this should be the toughest remaining game before whatever BCS game the Longhorns end up in. Colt McCoy and the offense are playing at the highest of high levels, the Will Muschamp coached defense has been suffocating, and the special teams, for the most part, have been stellar. As good as everything has been going, it could all unravel in a heartbeat. One loss would open the door for Oklahoma, as a three-way tie in the South, and the representative in the Big 12 title game, would come down to the highest ranked team.

Why Oklahoma State might win: If it’s possible, Oklahoma State has been even more unflappable than Texas. It’s not like the Cowboys have been tested outside of the Missouri game, and that’s a testament to how well the team is playing. There aren’t a slew of turnovers, the offensive line has been tremendous, and every time there has been a score allowed, the offense always answers … but better. This offense can do it all with the ability to win on the ground or through the air, with the home run or with the short, crisp passing game. Don’t let the Oklahoma State name fool you; this is a 100% real deal national title contender with the exception of  ...
Why Texas might win: … the pass rush. Most college quarterbacks couldn’t complete 160-of-197 passes against air, much less the defenses Colt McCoy has had to face this season and over the last few weeks. Texas will give up a few sacks here and there, but that’s partly because McCoy scrambles and tries to make plays on the ground. Unlike Chase Daniel, who struggled when forced out of the pocket against Oklahoma State, McCoy won’t screw up when he’s on the move. Oklahoma State’s defensive front got pressure on Daniel, but it doesn’t come up with sacks. It won’t this week, either.
Who to watch: Finally, the NFL scouts will get what they’ve been waiting for. With all due respect to Wisconsin’s Travis Beckum, Oklahoma State’s Brandon Pettigrew is finally back in the mix after suffering an injured ankle in the Missouri Stat game. He’s a big, physical target who isn’t afraid to block someone. His addition to the full-time lineup, after catching a pass for 22 yards last week, add yet another weapon to the Cowboy arsenal. His success will draw attention away from Dez Bryant, arguably the Big 12’s best wide receiver who’s coming off an 11-catch, 212-yard, two touchdown day.
What will happen: You never mess with a streak. Texas has a mystical, magical spell on Oklahoma State, and a major confidence advantage. Get down 35-14 at halftime? No biggie, the Longhorns can come back. They know this because they did it last year. Texas won’t need a major rally this season, but it’ll be nip and tuck the whole way until the Longhorns pull away late.
CFN Prediction: Texas 45 … Oklahoma State 37 … Line:  Texas -11
Must See Rating: (5 SNL with Palin – 1 Jose Canseco: Last Shot) … 5
 
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 Saturday, October 25

Texas Tech (7-0) at Kansas (5-2), 12:00 EST ESPN
Why to watch: Of the three remaining Big 12 unbeatens, Texas Tech has been the shakiest, but after this weekend, with Oklahoma State facing Texas, it could be one of the two remaining teams without a blemish and it could be no worse than one of four remaining BCS unbeatens. That’ll be easier said than done against a Kansas team looking for a signature win to turn its season around and show that it belongs in the discussion of Big 12 title contenders again after losing to Oklahoma last week. Unlike last year, the Jayhawks have to play the big boys from the South, and that includes Texas along with the Sooners and Red Raiders. In one of the toughest finishing kicks anyone has to face, KU also has to go to Nebraska and finishes up against Missouri. The offense is productive, at least through the air, while the defense has been decent, if not consistent. Meanwhile, Texas Tech has rolled along, winning nine straight going back to last year, but it hasn’t played anyone of note yet. After struggling to get past a mediocre Nebraska team in overtime, the Red Raiders got stuck in a firefight against Texas A&M. Now it’ll be time to see just how real the team is with Texas, Oklahoma State, and at Oklahoma to follow.
Why Texas Tech might win: Kansas has the offense to get rolling in a firefight, but Texas Tech’s attack is better. The Jayhawk offensive line doesn’t do much to protect QB Todd Reesing, and considering there isn’t a consistent running game to rely on, even with Jake Sharp running well over the last few weeks, it’s all about Reesing and what he can do. The Red Raider pass rush has been excellent and there should be a steady stream of hits on Reesing. On the other side of the ball, the Texas Tech offensive line has been fantastic, leading the nation in pass protection. Texas Tech has given up just one sack all year long in 343 pass attempts.
Why Kansas might win: The Texas Tech secondary hasn’t been able to slow down anyone who can throw the ball. To be fair, everyone has to bomb away to keep up, but Texas A&M and Nebraska were able to throw without a problem throughout. 286 passing yards to Texas A&M. 357 passing yards to Nebraska. 341 to Eastern Washington. The Kansas passing game is efficient, effective and explosive averaging 335 yards per game. Reesing has been pushed aside with all the great quarterback play throughout the Big 12 this year, but he has been every bit as good as the rest of the start currently ranking seventh in the nation in total offense and 15th in passing efficiency.   
Who to watch: In 2006, Kerry Meier was the hotshot Kansas quarterback. He threw 10 interceptions, but he had some good moments throwing for 1,193 yards and 13 scores while rushing for five touchdowns. He ended up splitting time in 2006 and lost the job to Reesing, so to get him on the field, he turned into a wide receiver, catching 26 passes for 274 yards and two touchdowns. This year, he has been Reesing’s main man with 57 catches for 632 yards and three touchdowns in seven games, highlighted by an 11-catch, 120-yard day against South Florida.
What will happen: Enjoy the shootout. These two teams will combine for close to 800 passing yards in an up-and-down offensive festival of big plays. Texas Tech has been living on the edge over the last two weeks, and there will be just enough second half stops by the KU defense to pull off the win and make a big statement in the Big 12 race.
CFN Prediction: Kansas 45 … Texas Tech 42… Line:  Kansas -1.5
Must See Rating: (5 SNL with Palin – 1 Jose Canseco: Last Shot) … 4
 
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Baylor (3-4) at Nebraska (4-3), 12:30 EST
Why to watch: Baylor had looked like an improved team and a better program under the guidance of Art Briles, and then came a cold bucket of reality with a 34-6 loss to Oklahoma State last week to calm down the wild notions of a possible bowl game. Along with the Texas A&M game, this week’s trip to Nebraska, as crazy as this might sound, is the team’s easiest date left on the board with Missouri and road games at Texas and Texas Tech to deal with. Thanks to QB Robert Griffin, the running game is among the Big 12’s best, while the special teams and defense have been solid, at least compared to past BU teams. For Nebraska, last week’s 35-7 thumping of Iowa State calmed things down after a three-game losing streak, and while beating Baylor wouldn’t make up for the 52-17 loss to Missouri, it’s a desperately needed step to a bowl game with a trip to Oklahoma coming up next week. The passing game has been great, the defense has improved under new head man Bo Pelini, and the team is making a good transition from the Bill Callahan era. Nebraska has won the last eight games in the series with the last loss coming in 1956 when the Huskers were part of the Big 7.
Why Baylor might win: Robert Griffin. Nebraska’s defense wasn’t close to slowing down Virginia Tech’s mobile quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who ran for 87 yards in the 35-30 Hokie win. Iowa State didn’t try to get its athletic quarterback, Austen Arnaud, on the move. Baylor won’t make the same mistake as he should be able to rip off yards in chunks if he can get to the second level. The Nebraska run defense, technically, has been fine, but that’s mostly because everyone has spent their time throwing it.
Why Nebraska might win: Does Baylor have the firepower to keep up in any sort of a shootout? Running Griffin is fine, and he’s certainly efficient, but the passing game isn’t explosive. The Baylor secondary has been hit-or-miss, but it has had to deal with the extremes. It couldn’t handle Oklahoma or Oklahoma State’s elite passing games, but it was fine against the rest of the schedule full of running teams. If Nebraska comes out winging the ball, it should be fine.
Who to watch: Nebraska QB Joe Ganz won’t come within 20 miles of all-star honors in this year’s Big 12, but he’s been a solid leader and decent playmaker. He has stepped up his game in the last few weeks throwing for 349 yards against Texas Tech and 328 against Iowa State while keeping the mistakes at a minimum. Baylor likely can’t win without a slew of takeaways, so as long as Ganz is stingy with the ball, the Huskers should roll.
What will happen: Griffin will get his yards on the ground, Ganz will get his yards through the air, and the Huskers will prevail with a good fourth quarter.
CFN Prediction: Nebraska 38 … Baylor 24 … Line:  Nebraska -10
Must See Rating: (5 SNL with Palin – 1 Jose Canseco: Last Shot) … 2.5
 
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- Big 12 Predictions, Oct.25, Part 2 (OU vs. KSU)