2009 Big 12 Fearless Picks - Week 2, Part 2

Posted Sep 9, 2009

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

2009 Big 12 Fearless Predictions

Week 2 ... Sept. 12 Games, Part 2

North Colorado | Iowa St | Kansas | Kansas State | Missouri | Nebraska
South Baylor | Oklahoma | Oklahoma State | Texas | Texas A&M | Texas Tech

Big 12 Fearless Predictions
- Week 1

- Week 2, Part 1

Idaho State (0-1) at Oklahoma (1-0), 7:00 EST, Saturday, September 12

Why to watch: Oklahoma is on a rough two-game losing streak, but the losses haven't just been on the field. With Sam Bradford out with a shoulder injury suffered against BYU in last week's stunning 14-13 defeat, and with the loss of All-America tight end Jermaine Gresham to a knee injury, the Sooners are reeling and could desperately use something positive to go its way. Hellooooo Idaho State. Arguably the worst team in the Big Sky, ISU proved to be nothing more than a punching bag for Arizona State last week in a 50-3 loss and should have even more issues against a Sooner offense looking to break out. Three weeks away from the Miami showdown, OU has to figure out how to go on without its two superstars, even though there's hope for Bradford to get back in time for the battle against the Hurricanes. This is the scrimmage the team needs.
Why Idaho State might win: This is a veteran Bengal team that should be decent throwing the ball once it starts facing teams its own size. The Sooners showed next to nothing offensively once Bradford got knocked out, and while Idaho State isn't BYU, there's the potential for a few misfires on early drives while the new starters figure out what they're doing. Basically, ISU's best chance to make this remotely interesting is if Oklahoma struggles.
Why Oklahoma might win: Arizona State held the Bengals to 37 yards of total offense. Arizona State doesn't have the defense Oklahoma has. It's not like head coach Bob Stoops is going to take it easy after the way the season started, and he's going to want to get his team into a lather to try to wake it up. The first half has the potential to be a bloodletting.
Who to watch: Can Landry Jones actually play? OU's redshirt freshman quarterback had a deer-in-the-headlights look when he was thrown into the spotlight after the Bradford injury, completing just 6-of-12 passes for 51 yards. It's not like he doesn't have talent, he was one of the nation's top recruits two years ago, but the pro-style passer has to grow up in a big hurry and he has to prove he can move the offense. He struggled throughout the offseason and needed the year of tutoring and grooming. Now he'll get a game before facing Tulsa next week.
What will happen: Oklahoma will call its shot, and it won't call off the dogs until midway through the second half. It will be a stunner if ISU gains more than 50 yards of total offense.
CFN Prediction: Oklahoma 65 … Idaho State 0 ... Line: No Line
Must See Rating: (Curb Your Enthusiasm Season Premiere 5 … The Fresh Beat Band 1) … 1

Bowling Green (1-0) at Missouri (1-0), 7:00 EST, Saturday, September 12

Why to watch: The season couldn't have started better for two teams in transition. Bowling Green spotted noted giant-killer, Troy, 14 points before scoring 31 unanswered points and blowing the game wide open. The passing game worked, the defense was good enough to get by, and the first game of the Dave Clawson era was a rousing success. This was how the team was supposed to play game in and game out over the last few years, but consistency has been an issue. The Falcons were able to upset Pitt last year, so they're no strangers to knowing what it feels like to come up with a win in a BCS team's house. However, pulling off a victory against a Missouri team that lit up a supposedly strong Illinois squad in a 37-9 pasting would take the program to another level. The Tigers were supposed to need a few games to figure out the personnel and to get everyone's feet wet, but they were in midseason form and didn't skip a beat despite the loss of QB Chase Daniel, WR Jeremy Maclin, and TE Chase Coffman. This should be a fun shootout, and it needs to be another big step in what should be a strong first month of the season in preparation for the North showdown against Nebraska on October 8th. Bowling Green gets to go to Marshall next week before hosting Boise State.
Why Bowling Green might win: The Falcon passing game should be able to push the ball deep. Illinois never got into a groove with its supposedly high-end passing attack after losing star receiver Arrelious Benn early to an ankle injury, but the Falcons should be able to produce and expose a shaky Tiger secondary. Tyler Sheehan threw for 339 yards against a strong Troy defense last week, and he'll keep the pressure on for a full sixty minutes. He has 30 games and 6,405 yards and 45 touchdowns worth of experience, and he'll be ready to handle himself in a shootout in a hostile environment.
Why Missouri might win: Has the defense turned a corner? A weak link throughout last season, the Tigers shut down Illinois allowing a mere 325 yards for the game and just three points until the outcome had long been decided. Bowing Green couldn't run the ball on Troy, and it's not likely going to able to do much against Sean Weatherspoon and a Mizzou D that won't allow much up the middle. The game is all on Sheehan and the Falcon passing game, and if Missouri's defensive front can pin its ears back and get into the backfield on a regular basis, the BGSU attack will shut down.
Who to watch: There was some talk around the Missouri program that sophomore QB Blaine Gabbert was going to not only be better than Daniel, a 2007 Heisman finalist, but he was going to be far, far better. However, no one thought it could potentially happen right away. While he still has a long way to go to be the winner and the leader that Daniel was, he showed how unflappable he could be completing 25-of-33 passes for 319 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 39 yards and a score, in his first start. He's big, has a next-level arm, and he can move. Now the pressure will be on for him to produce every game like he did against Illinois, and he just might be good enough to do it.
What will happen: There might be 750 yards of passing and over 70 points scored with Missouri getting most of them. Bowling Green will have to play catch-up all game long, and while the game will stay interesting late, the Tigers will stay comfortably ahead the entire way.
CFN Prediction: Missouri 37 … Bowling Green 21 ... Line: Missouri -18
Must See Rating: (Curb Your Enthusiasm Season Premiere 5 … The Fresh Beat Band 1) … 3

Kansas State (1-0) at Louisiana-Lafayette (0-0), 7:00 EST, Saturday, September 12

Why to watch: Normally this would be seen as yet another Kansas State cream-puff game, but there's a twist: It's on the road. Bill Snyder's team still has a lot to prove after struggling to beat UMass 21-17 on opening day, and while the game against the Ragin' Cajuns might be on the road, a loss would be disastrous with a trip to UCLA coming up next. For Rickey Bustle and Louisiana-Lafayette, a win is a must with LSU and Nebraska coming up next, and the team might just be good enough to pull it off it gets the offense going like it did in last week's 42-19 win over Southern. Kansas State isn't supposed to do anything in Big 12 play, but a loss would be a major black eye for the conference, while a win for Louisiana would do wonders for the Sun Belt.
Why Kansas State might win: The Ragin' Cajuns aren't going to generate much of a pass rush, if any. There hasn't been any consistent pressure into the backfield in years, and the opener against Southern didn't change much with no sacks and just three tackles for loss. Kansas State's offense needs as much time as possible to work, and the line should provide the protection while also paving the way for a decent day on the ground. Defensively, as close as last week's game against the Minutemen was, KSU only allowed 212 yards of total offense with a special teams breakdown leading to one of the UMass touchdowns.
Why Louisiana-Lafayette might win: There's little to no consistency to the Kansas State offense. It did a good job of mixing things up against UMass, but outside of two touchdowns from Attrail Snipes, there wasn't enough production to assume the Wildcats can walk into Lafayette and get the offense rolling. On the other side of the ball, the ULL passing game got its tune-up last week and should be efficient enough to keep the chains moving if the Wildcats aren't bringing a strong pass rush. However, the Ragin' Cajun O line might be the best in the Sun Belt and is experienced enough to be able to control the game from time to time.
Who to watch: There were several quarterback options in play for Louisiana after the graduation of Michael Desormeaux, and it turned out to be sophomore Chris Masson getting the call in the opener. He doesn't look the part and he doesn't have the best skills, but he completed 18-of-24 passes for 283 yards with two touchdowns in the opener, to go along 36 rushing yards and a score. He'll have to be even better this week, as will senior Undre Salis, a former JUCO transfer who's finally getting his shot. He made the most of the opportunity last week with 114 yards and a touchdown to go along with a 56-yard scoring play.
What will happen: Kansas State will have to rally, and it'll come from the defense. The offense will sputter and cough and the defensive line will get shoved around too much, but there will be two key takeaways and a big special teams play that will turn the game around just in time for Snyder's team to avoid the upset.
CFN Prediction: Kansas State 27 … Louisiana-Lafayette 14 ... Line: Kansas State -8
Must See Rating: (Curb Your Enthusiasm Season Premiere 5 … The Fresh Beat Band 1) … 2

Rice (0-1) at Texas Tech (1-0),7:00 EST, Saturday, September 12

Why to watch: Neither Texas Tech nor Rice did a particularly stellar job of picking up where they left off in 2008. At least the Red Raiders got out of the weekend with a win. While it was hardly refrigerator material, they endured a lackluster overall performance to outscore North Dakota, 38-13. Tech has one more dress rehearsal as a heavy favorite before making a big trip to Austin. The Owls and head coach David Bailiff, on the other hand, have some serious problems ahead. A year after going 10-3 and losing some irreplaceable parts on offense, Rice learned how far it is from prosperity in a 44-24 collapse at the hands of UAB.
Why Rice might win: Even without Chase Clement, Jarett Dillard, and James Casey, the Owls can still press opposing defenses and score points. Nick Fanuzzi and John Thomas Shepherd, who'll both play in Lubbock, combined for 235 yards passing, and showed good feet outside the pocket. Toren Dixon leads an athletic and experienced group of receivers capable of making plays against this Red Raider defense. Tech is thin and vulnerable through the air, especially if the new ends can't collapse the pocket.
Why Texas Tech might win: Taylor Potts was inconsistent in his debut as Graham Harrell's successor, but he should be better prepared in his second time in the saddle. Facing Rice will help. The Owls were utterly abused by Joe Webb and UAB a week ago, allowing the quarterback to account for 415 total yards and four touchdowns on his own. Potts will get help from RB Baron Batch and a set of receivers that's counting on Detron Lewis becoming a poor-man's Michael Crabtree. Lewis had eight catches for 146 yards and a score, flashing the size and speed of a budding stats monster.
Who to watch: Lewis is just fine, but he'll need help, especially in this spread-the-wealth offense. One emerging option is 6-2, 198-pound redshirt freshman flanker Alex Torres, who caught five passes for 51 yards in his debut, earning praise from the coaching staff. As he gets more comfortable in the system, those numbers are likely to increase as the season chugs along.
What will happen: After getting torched by UAB, this shapes up as a mismatch for the visitors. Even if Texas Tech continues to stumble occasionally with the ball, the Owls simply don't have enough quality defensive backs, besides S Andrew Sendejo, to slow down a Leach-led attack. And unlike the last couple of years, they no longer have any sure-things on offense to entertain thoughts of a close game in the second half.
CFN Prediction: Texas Tech 48 … Rice 14 ... Line: Texas Tech -27
Must See Rating: (Curb Your Enthusiasm Season Premiere 5 … The Fresh Beat Band 1) … 2

Kansas (1-0) at UTEP (0-1),7:30 EST, CBS College Sports, Saturday, September 12

Why to watch: There were few surprises as Kansas kicked off a new season, an uneventful 49-3 rout of Northern Colorado. A visit from an FCS opponent allowed Mark Mangino to give ample snaps to reserves and get a first good look at the new 4-2-5 defensive alignment. This first road trip of the year will be a good experience for the underclassmen, especially before Big 12 play begins in October. These are tough times in El Paso for a UTEP program that hasn't been able to recapture the early success it had under Mike Price a few years ago. The opener, a home loss to a transitioning Buffalo squad, was an early indication that the bridge to the good times remains a long one. With upcoming games against Texas and Houston, the Miners are staring down the barrel of a brutal start.
Why Kansas might win: Even by Conference USA standards, UTEP has a poor defense. Kansas will drive that point home ... over and over again. It all begins with QB Todd Reesing, a skilled distributor and an effective scrambler when he leaves the pocket. He's surrounded by all kinds of skill position talent, like RB Jake Sharp and receivers Kerry Meier and Johnathan Wilson. Oh, and the best of the bunch, Biletnikoff Award candidate Dezmon Briscoe, will be returning from a suspension. The Miner D won't have a prayer.
Why UTEP might win: While the Miners won't win many games with defense, the offense, specifically QB Trevor Vittatoe, will keep them competitive throughout the season. UTEP is catching the Kansas defense missing all of last year's linebackers and in an early stage of transition, good news for the junior and his two preferred targets, Jeff Moturi and Kris Adams. It's an up-tempo attack that has the speed and the playmakers to remain in the hunt even if the team falls behind by a couple of scores.
Who to watch: Kansas does not need any more playmakers on offense. Too bad. Although Sharp will continue to be the primary ballcarrier, true freshman Toben Opurum is making it difficult to keep him on the sidelines. In his college debut, he turned eight carries into 79 yards and two touchdowns, showing enough burst in a 6-2, 235-pounder to really create a grassroots buzz around Lawrence.
What will happen: The only way Kansas muffs this game is if takes UTEP lightly. Mangino won't allow that to happen. While the Miners have some pop on offense, it's not nearly enough to match the firepower and depth of the Jayhawks, who'll pad the offensive numbers and tinker with a defense that'll eventually hold the key to their 2009 fortunes.
CFN Prediction: Kansas 42 … UTEP 20 ... Line: Kansas -11
Must See Rating: (Curb Your Enthusiasm Season Premiere 5 … The Fresh Beat Band 1) … 2

- Week 2, Part 1