2009 Big 12 Fearless Predictions - Week 4
Kansas WR Kerry Meier
Kansas WR Kerry Meier
Posted Sep 23, 2009

Check out the Previews and Predictions for the Week 4 Big 12 Games

2009 Big 12 Fearless Predictions

Week 4 ... Sept. 26 Games

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

Texas Tech (2-1) at Houston (2-0),9:15 EST, ESPN2, Saturday, September 26

Why to watch: Yummy. A Texas Tech trip to Houston is going to put two of the most high-powered passing attacks in the country in the same building. Cougar offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen is a Mike Leach disciple, which means you can pretty much guess where this one is headed. Houston is looking for more than just fat numbers and passing marks. After upsetting Oklahoma State in Stillwater two weeks ago, it wants to make a case for a BCS bowl bid in two months. Back-to-back wins over prominent Big 12 opponents will certainly get that sort of chatter started. The Red Raiders will be looking to rebound from an emotional loss to Texas in front of a national TV audience. They played better than many expected before falling short, now needing to avoid a letdown and slipping back to the .500 mark.
Why Texas Tech might win: A suspect Houston defense was able to put its finger in the dyke two weeks ago, but don't expect a repeat. The Cougars have no proven pass rushers, which will allow Taylor Potts the time he needs to survey the field and locate open receivers. After three games, the Red Raiders are adjusting to life after Michael Crabtree, sporting six players with at least 11 catches. Lyle Leong, a high school teammate of Potts, is leading the way with 19 grabs for 252 yards and five touchdowns. The Tech defense played well in Austin, holding the Longhorns to 10 first-half points and keeping Colt McCoy from building on his Heisman resume. It's a deep unit than the one across the field.
Why Houston might win: It's all about the offense in Space City. Case Keenum has become sublime at running this system, already throwing for 725 yards and seven touchdowns, while making plays with his feet. He gets the ball off in a hurry and distributes it to his speedy receivers with few mistakes. In RB Bryce Beall, he has an ideal complement out of the backfield, showing great vision as a runner and hands as a receiver. Don't underestimate the importance of being home. There won't be an empty seat at Robertson Stadium for a game being billed as one of the biggest in school history.
Who to watch: Oklahoma State had problems corralling Houston receivers Tyron Carrier and Patrick Edwards earlier in the year. Texas Tech is liable to suffer from the same problem. Neither is very big, but both are lightning quick and skilled at finding the soft areas of a defense. It would be a surprise if the Red Raiders keep either out of the end zone on Saturday night.
What will happen: After going on the road to beat Oklahoma State, Houston will not buckle at the prospect of hosting Texas Tech in front of an electrified crowd. It's beyond that point. The Cougars and the Red Raiders will go toe-to-toe for 60 minutes in a game manufactured for lovers of wide-open, quick-strike offenses. Keenum will get the ball last, but the Red Raider defense will hold … finally.
CFN Prediction: Texas Tech 42 … Houston 38 ... Line: Houston -1
Must See Rating: (I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell 5 … Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself 1) … 4.5
-Free Expert Football Predictions

Missouri (3-0) at Nevada (0-2), 9:00 EST, Friday, September 25, ESPN

Why to watch: Among the nation's biggest early disappointments is Nevada, a veteran-loaded team that got skunked by Notre Dame to open the season in an ugly 35-0 loss, and then got rumbled over by Colorado State in a 35-20 clunker after getting two weeks to prepare. But it's early, and the momentum can quickly change around with a nationally televised game against a Missouri team coming off a 52-12 blasting of Furman. The Tigers beat Nevada 69-17 last season in Columbia, but this is a vastly different team with wholesale changes in the passing game. But the results have been the same with Blaine Gabbert growing into the starting quarterback role while the defense has stepped up its play after a disastrous 2008. With the Big 12 opener against Nebraska up next week, the Tigers have to be fully tuned up and have to show they can stuff a good running attack.
Why Missouri might win: Nevada had the worst pass defense in the country last year, and it hasn't been much better this year allowing 522 yards and seven touchdowns in the first two games. Making matters worse is a defense that's not forcing turnovers, failing to come up with a takeaway over the first two games while the offense has given away four fumbles and four interceptions leading the way to the nation's worst turnover margin. Missouri should be able to fire away for 300 yards and several big home runs, and Nevada likely won't be able to keep up.
Why Nevada might win: The running game is eventually going to work. It's too good not to. Bowling Green had a little bit of success against Mizzou on the ground, and while the Tiger defensive front has been solid at getting into the backfield with linebacking corps that can keep Colin Kaepernick in place, the Pack should be able to control the clock a little bit if the Pistol offense is finally sharp. Along with the running game, the pass rush hasn't played up to its potential yet this year. There's too much talent to not start to blow up at some point, and being home might make all the difference.
Who to watch: What has happened to Kapernick? The junior was supposed to grow into a national presence this season after running for 1,130 yards and 17 touchdowns and throwing for 22 touchdowns last season. He threw seven interceptions as a sophomore, but he has given away four in the first two games so far and has been held to 63 yards rushing without a score so far. The defense played well enough to beat Colorado State last week, but the offense didn't come through. This week, Kaepernick has to be fantastic and he has to be the best player on the field if the Wolf Pack is going to have a chance.
What will happen: Nevada will play better and will start running the ball like Nevada again, but it won't be enough to keep up with the monster game from Gabbert. He'll throw for well over 300 yards and four scores.
CFN Prediction: Missouri 31 … Nevada 20 ... Line: Missouri -7
Must See Rating: (I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell 5 … Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself 1) … 3
-Free Expert Football Predictions 

Southern Miss (3-0) at Kansas (3-0),12:00 EST, Saturday, September 26

Why to watch: Okay, so Kirk and Brent won't be in Lawrence this week, but good luck finding another match up of unbeatens in this time slot. Kansas has one more game with a Conference USA team before jumping into the Big 12 portion of the schedule. The No. 19 Jayhawks have trailed for a little more than two minutes all season, so something shy of a blowout this would probably pay dividends in October and November. Southern Miss head coach Larry Fedora is no stranger to Big 12 country, having coached at Oklahoma State under Mike Gundy. He has his Golden Eagles at 3-0 for the first time in five years, thanks to a rousing come-from-behind win over Virginia after twice falling behind by 17 points. Would an upset over a ranked opponent get this program on the BCS buster short list?
Why Southern Miss might win: If you want to beat Kansas these days, you better come equipped with a potent offense. Fedora has one of those in Hattiesburg. The Eagles can beat you with Austin Davis' arm or the running of Damion Fletcher, one of the nation's most underrated backs. Plus, star WR DeAndre Brown is getting close to being all the way back from last year's broken leg and Tory Harrison is a big-play complement out of the backfield, averaging more than 15 yards on his 11 carries. The Kansas defense hasn't faced an attack this good all year, and still has to resolve issues with its linebackers and pass defense.
Why Kansas might win: Virginia scored 14 points in each of its first two games with William & Mary and TCU. Against Southern Miss, however, the Cavs suddenly found a spark, scoring 34 points and producing almost 400 yards of total offense. That's troubling news for this week. The Jayhawks will make Virginia look like a high school team with its 42-point-a-game machine. Todd Reesing is off to a nifty start, producing eight touchdowns in less than three games, and should have ample time to hit top receivers Dezmon Briscoe, Kerry Meier, and Johnathan Wilson. For balance, Kansas will turn to versatile freshman RB Toben Opurum if Jake Sharp is unable to go.
Who to watch: Although you don't get better by losing James Holt, Mike Rivera, and Joe Mortensen at linebacker, Kansas has stayed afloat at the position with the help of long-time backup Arist Wright and junior Drew Dudley. Even Huldon Tharp has begun to pitch in just months after graduating from high school. Blue-collar Dudley has been a factor in all three wins, making 18 tackles, five tackles for loss, and three sacks.
What will happen: If, as expected, this turns into a track meet, Kansas will be difficult to knock off. It's not as if Southern Miss can't put points on the board in a Big 12 venue, but last week's defensive performance raised some ominous red flags. The Jayhawks will continue fine-tuning the offense, amassing 450 balanced yards and always remaining a step ahead of the Eagle attack.
CFN Prediction: Kansas 41 … Southern Miss 24 ... Line: Kansas -13.5
Must See Rating: (I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell 5 … Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself 1) … 3
-Free Expert Football Predictions

Tennessee Tech (1-1) at Kansas State (1-2), 2:10 EST, Saturday, September 26

Why to watch: Kansas State is back to being Kansas State again in the non-conference schedule. Tennessee Tech is likely going to finish on the bottom of the Ohio Valley Conference standings and should provide nothing more than a light scrimmage for a Wildcat team in need of something positive. This is the lone home oasis in a rough stretch coming off of two road trip losses to UL Lafayette and UCLA and with Iowa State and Texas Tech coming up next away from Manhattan. The offense has been punchless, the defense has been mediocre, and the special teams have been spotty. That's what Tennessee Tech is for.
Why Tennessee Tech might win: There should be time for the Golden Eagle backfield to work. Kansas State is coming up with no pass rush whatsoever, while Tennessee Tech hasn't had a problem running the ball or in pass protection. The offense was able to run wild on Pikeville (yes, that's a real school … but barely) and the defense has been solid so far. TTU has an aggressive defensive front that should make a few plays in the backfield.
Why Kansas State might win: TTU played a not-that-bad Eastern Kentucky team last week against did nothing offensively. The passing attack completed 12-of-30 passes, while the ground game was stuffed for only 80 yards. Kansas State hasn't played anyone with an offense, but the defense has done a good job against the mediocre teams it faced. If the Wildcats can stop UCLA, they can stop the Golden Eagles.
Who to watch: The KSU coaching staff has to know once and for all if Carson Coffman is the quarterback to go with over the rest of this year, and if he should be the one who leads the way next year, too. The junior has put up decent numbers, and ran well at times, but he has thrown four interceptions with his two touchdowns coming against UMass. If he doesn't shine this week, the team might have to figure out a Plan B, and it might have to rely on breakout RB Daniel Thomas more than originally thought.
What will happen: Kansas State won't put up a 1997-like number against a vastly inferior opponent, but it should be able to score at will.
CFN Prediction: Kansas State 48 … Tennessee Tech 6 ... 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

UTEP (1-2) at Texas (3-0),3:30 EST, Fox Sports Net, Saturday, September 26

Why to watch: Having survived Texas Tech and becoming the first team to win a league game, Texas has one more tune-up before a defining four-week stretch of Big 12 games. Although the ‘Horns were hardly perfect on Saturday night, the 34-24 win was enough to maintain the No. 2 spot in the country just behind Florida. Slow starts have been a problem over the previous two weekends, something Mack Brown is hoping to solve this Saturday. UTEP got on the board a week ago, enduring a long weather delay, muzzling a bad New Mexico State team, and temporarily stopping the bleeding from a rough start. For Mike Price, it's not about pulling the shocker in Austin this week. He needs his Miners to build on Saturday's victory to have a chance of competing in Conference USA West Division.
Why UTEP might win: It's not something you hear very often around El Paso, but the maligned Miner defense has played above expectations in September. It held Kansas to its lowest output of the season and the secondary is benefiting from a preponderance of seniors, namely Da'Mon Cromartie-Smith and Braxton Amy. Despite all of its talent, the Texas offense hasn't quite reached mid-season form, needing to find the fuse at halftime of both the Wyoming and Texas Tech games.
Why Texas might win: Oddly enough, it's been the UTEP offense that's been giving it problems this month. Before traveling to Las Cruces, the Miners had scored just 24 points on Buffalo and Kansas and are 103rd nationally in total offense. That's not going to cut it against a host that boasts Colt McCoy behind center, Jordan Shipley and Dan Buckner flanked out, and a terrific offensive line. While the defense allowed 420 yards passing to Taylor Potts last week, it's also No. 9 in the country against the run and has eight sacks in the last two games. Trevor Vittatoe will be tired of running from DE Sergio Kindle, DT Lamarr Houston, and LB Roddrick Muckelroy by the fourth quarter.
Who to watch: Buried on the depth chart as recently as the summer, redshirt freshman RB Tre' Newton has made a meteoric rise, taking over at the starter after Vondrell McGee and Fozzy Whittaker got hurt. The son of former Dallas Cowboy Nate Newton, he had a key role in Saturday's win, rushing 20 times for 88 yards and a score.
What will happen: Hardly a finished product, a visit from UTEP will give Texas an opportunity to work out some of the wrinkles, especially on offense. McCoy will do his usual thing, throwing a couple of touchdown passes and putting the ‘Horns in a position to empty the sidelines by the end of the third quarter.
CFN Prediction: Texas 51 … UTEP 13 ... Line: Texas -36
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

- Week 4, Part 2 (ULL at Nebraska, and More)