2009 Big 12 Fearless Picks - Week 4, Part 2

Posted Sep 23, 2009

Previews and Predictions for the Week 4 Big 12 Games, Part 2

2009 Big 12 Fearless Predictions

Week 4 ... Sept. 26 Games, Part 2

North Colorado | Iowa St | Kansas | Kansas State | Missouri | Nebraska
South Baylor | Oklahoma | Oklahoma State | Texas | Texas A&M | Texas Tech  
- 2009 CFN Big 12 Expert Picks & Roundup 

Big 12 Fearless Predictions
- Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3

- Week 4, Part 1 

Grambling (2-1) at Oklahoma State (2-1), 7:00 EST, Saturday, September 26

Why to watch: It's time Oklahoma State starts to play up to its talent level. Somehow, the Cowboys have the one offense in America that didn't go ballistic on the Georgia defense, and last week they came up with a lifeless win over a miserable Rice team that will struggle to get a win. With a trip to Texas A&M and to face its high-octane offense next week, OSU had better get everyone on the same page in a big hurry. Grambling should take it on the chin with a decent team, but not a good enough one to provide much of a fight if the Cowboys are trying. The Tigers don't have the offense to keep up any sort of a pace, so if this isn't an OSU blowout, it'll really be time for Cowboy fans to worry.
Why Grambling might win: If you can't hang more than 400 yards of total offense on Rice, you're not trying. OSU did what it had to do to go through the motions against the Owls, but there wasn't much pop and the team has generally been lifeless. Grambling has one of the best teams in the SWAC with a secondary good enough to pick off a few passes.
Why Oklahoma State might win: Grambling won't lay a hand on OSU QB Zac Robinson. For all of the Cowboys' problems, the O line has been solid and it's been great in pass protection. The Tigers don't have an elite pass rush and won't be able to throw the Cowboys off their game if they actually try. After the way the first three weeks have gone, this will be a more focused effort than normal.
Who to watch: Robinson has to be better. By reasonable standards, the senior has been good throwing for 602 yards and five touchdowns, while running for 75 yards and a score, in the first three games. But Oklahoma State wants to win a Big 12 championship, and it had a few dreams of playing for the whole ball of wax before Houston had other ideas. With star RB Kendall Hunter still hurt, Robinson has to carry more of the workload and he has start making the offense rock again. This is the game to jump-start the season.
What will happen: This will be over by the end of the first quarter. Oklahoma State will come up with three big plays, it will be 28-0 in a blink of an eye, and the backups will get plenty of quality work in.
CFN Prediction: Oklahoma State 52 … Grambling 17 ... Line: No Line
Must See Rating: (I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell 5 … Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself 1) … 1
-Free Expert Football Predictions

UAB (1-2) at Texas A&M (2-0),7:00 EST, Saturday, September 26

Why to watch: If the youthful Aggies are 2-0, why are there so many long faces in College Station? Yeah, Texas A&M has won both games, but last week's visit from Utah State also revealed some nasty warts, particularly on defense. Oh, and leading rusher Christine Michael has a calf strain and leading receiver Jeff Fuller is out for more than a month. In other words, every win does not have equal value. Since impressively taking the opener over Rice, UAB has reverted back to old habits, losing to SMU and Troy in back-to-back weekends. If head coach Neil Callaway can't do something to reverse the trend soon, he's staring at another disappointing season below the .500 mark.
Why UAB might win: Texas A&M had all kinds of problems with multi-dimensional Utah State QB Diondre Borel, who threw for 334 yards and ran for two scores. In total, the Aggies yielded well over 500 yards on the day and are making too many penalties and mental mistakes. In Joe Webb, the Blazers have a similar player to Borel, a dual-threat, who's No. 8 in the country in rushing. He'll also test the A&M, with the help of WR Frantrell Forrest and Jeffery Anderson, who've caught all five of his touchdown passes.
Why Texas A&M might win: Even if UAB can put points up, its defense won't be able to slow down an Aggie attack that's produced 79 points in the first two games. The Blazers don't generate much pressure, which will allow QB Jerrod Johnson the time needed build on his sizzling start. The junior has thrown six touchdown passes without a pick, adding 135 yards and a score on the ground. Michael should be ready to go by kickoff, joining Cyrus Gray in a tailback tandem that will pound the UAB front seven.
Who to watch: Fuller's leg injury means true freshman Uzoma Nwachukwu will have to assume a more prominent role in the passing game. After last week's eruption, it does not appear as if it'll be a problem. Not only did all three of his receptions wind up in the end zone, but he also had a 39-yard carry for a fourth score. By the time Fuller gets back, Texas A&M could have a dynamite corps of receivers that also includes talented sophomore Ryan Tannehill.
What will happen: Texas A&M better stay focused because UAB is playing with house money and Webb has the potential to change the tenor of a game. It's a good thing Johnson and the Aggie offense are producing. They'll continue to do so this weekend, schooling a Blazer D that hasn't been able to stop the pass or get to the quarterback.
CFN Prediction: Texas A&M 37 … UAB 21 ... Line: Texas A&M -15
Must See Rating: (I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell 5 … Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself 1) … 2
-Free Expert Football Predictions

Louisiana-Lafayette (2-1) at Nebraska (2-1), 7:00 EST, Saturday, September 26

Why to watch: Nebraska is a heartbeat away from being 3-0 and one of the "it" teams of the young season, but Virginia Tech's Tyrod Taylor, who couldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat, connected on two miraculous pass plays for a thrilling 16-15 Hokie win. Now the Huskers go back to their Sun Belt schedule, having dropped Florida Atlantic and Arkansas State over the first two weeks by a combined score of 87 to 12, before the Big 12 North game of the year (at least for now) at Missouri next week. Louisiana-Lafayette is no pushover. The Ragin' Cajuns struggled last week against LSU in a 31-3 loss, but they beat Kansas State and they should be among the favorites for the Sun Belt title. It's all conference games the rest of the way for each team, so now will be the time to try different things to prepare for the season that truly matters.
Why Louisiana-Lafayette might win: Nebraska starting QB Zac Lee is banged up. While the Husker defense should be able to take care of this game by itself, the final score could be closer than Nebraska might like if its starting quarterback is struggling. He has a thumb injury, but he's expected to be fine and will get the start. However, with bigger fish to fry starting next week, the Huskers might end up playing freshman Cody Green, who took most of the reps with the ones. ULL needs Green to be under center to keep this close.
Why Nebraska might win: The Ragin' Cajuns don't score. They hung 42 up on Southern to start the season, but they sputtered and coughed against Kansas State and LSU. At the moment, the Nebraska defense is playing better than the Wildcat or Tiger Ds, and it should be able to keep the ULL running game under wraps without a problem. On the other side of the ball, there's no threat of a pass rush from a Ragin' Cajun D that has generated one sack and ten tackles for loss in three games.
Who to watch: ULL's offense might not be doing much of anything, but the offensive line has more than held its own against the big boys. The veteran front five hasn't allowed a sack yet this year and did a great job against LSU's pass rush. However, there's going to be a problem in the middle where All-Sun Belt star Chris Fisher, one of the nation's best centers and, arguably, the Sun Belt's best blocker, is hurting with a shoulder injury. Making things worse is the backup situation with freshman Evan Ruiz also injured. When going against Ndamukong Suh and the strong Husker tackles, not having a rock in the middle isn't a plus.
What will happen: Nebraska will win without breathing hard. The running game will be able to do what it wants to and Lee will be efficient enough to get up early, and the D will do the rest.
CFN Prediction: Nebraska 38 … Louisiana-Lafayette 10 ... Line: Nebraska -27
Must See Rating: (I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell 5 … Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself 1) … 2
-Free Expert Football Predictions

Army (2-1) at Iowa State (2-1), 7:00 EST, Saturday, September 26

Why to watch: It's not a stretch to call this a bowl elimination game. The winner will still have a lot of work to do and some upsets to get through to get an extra game, but this is one that each team has to have. Army has been solid under new head coach Rich Ellerson, and if nothing else, it has shown it can play in the MAC with wins over Eastern Michigan and Ball State. With a winnable game against Tulane coming up next week, the Knights can go on a nice run to start the first half of the season, while being able to look forward to a potentially decent second half with game against Temple and VMI still to play. Iowa State needs this game more with the Big 12 slate kicking in against Kansas State next week. The Cyclones won the two games they were supposed to win, beating North Dakota State and Kent State with ease, but they didn't show up against Iowa. Each team can run the ball, so don't blink. The game might be over in less than three hours.
Why Army might win: The Iowa State run defense isn't good enough at the second level to prevent the big play. The line has been fine, but the linebackers should have a nightmare of a time figuring out the angles and the assignments to stop the Army ground attack. On defense, the Knights can get into the backfield with an ultra-aggressive style that keeps the heat on the quarterback. Iowa State's Austen Arnaud can move, but he needs time to make the mediocre passing game work.
Why Iowa State might win: The Cyclone defensive front can get into the backfield, too. The Army offensive line has been fine, but it hasn't been anything special and it can be pushed around a little bit for stretches. The aggressive Iowa State front four should make several plays behind the line and it should stop the Army option several times before it can get started. Army is dead-last in the nation in passing, and it doesn't even offer the threat of a big play through the air.
Who to watch: An interesting offseason oddity has turned into a major part of the Army offense. 6-10, 285-pound Ali Villanueva is a former offensive tackle who was moved to wide receiver this offseason. While he's used mostly as a good blocker for the running game, he's also tied for the team lead in receptions. While he has only caught six passes, they came in the last two weeks for 114 yards and two scores. He's not going to fly past anyone, but he's a matchup nightmare who plays like a really, really big tight end.
What will happen: It should be an interesting, entertaining game. The Army offense will control the clock and will control the tempo of the game, and Iowa State won't be able to find a rhythm. The Cyclones don't have enough of a passing game to be a threat, and they won't be able to come back late.
CFN Prediction: Army 23 … Iowa State 20 ... Line: Iowa State -9.5
Must See Rating: (I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell 5 … Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself 1) … 2.5
-Free Expert Football Predictions

Northwestern State (0-3) at Baylor (1-1), 7:00 EST, Saturday, September 26

Why to watch: Baylor's resurgent season took a step back last week in a rough home loss to Connecticut, but there's still hope for a bowl bid and the program's best year in well over a decade. With Kent State up next week, the Bears should be 3-1 to start the year and they need to use the next two weeks to be fully prepared for the trip to Oklahoma to start the Big 12 season. Northwestern State shouldn't provide more than a speed bump with a defense that's not stopping anyone and an offense that's been erratic and hasn't been able to consistently put points up on the board. This is the second FBS game of the year for the Demons, having lost to Houston 55-7 to start the season.
Why Northwestern State might win: The Demons can run the ball a little bit. If they have to get into comeback mode and need to start throwing, this might not be pretty. This is a veteran team with 21 seniors playing key roles, so there shouldn't be a slew of youthful mistakes. The defense can hit, even though it allows too many big plays through the air.
Why Baylor might win: The only way Baylor doesn't win is if it loses the turnover battle by a huge margin, and that's not going to happen. Even though the Demons are old and full of veterans, they're still trying to figure out how to run the new Purple Strike offense and will turn it over a few times, giving it away 11 times in the first three games. On the defensive front, Baylor should get to the Demon quarterbacks without a problem. The Bears have generated nine sacks so far, and should get around five this week.
Who to watch: Northwestern State can't throw, and neither can Kent State next week, and that might give the Bears time to figure out what it's doing in the secondary. Starting corner Antaries Bryan broke his foot against UConn, and now it'll take two players, Mikail Baker and Clifton Odom, to replace him. They'll get two games to audition before dealing with Oklahoma. Also out, most likely, will be starting strong safety Jeremy Williams after getting hit with an ankle injury last week. There will be a scramble to replace him if backup Byron Landor struggles.
What will happen: Baylor will have a nice and easy blowout, but it might take a quarter before this gets ugly. Northwestern State can't throw to exploit the BU secondary and won't get its running game going to stay alive.
CFN Prediction: Baylor 44 … Northwestern State 9 ... Line: No Line
Must See Rating: (I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell 5 … Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself 1) … 1
-Free Expert Football Predictions

- Week 4, Part 1