2009 Big 12 Fearless Picks - Week 10
Nebraska QB Steve Taylor & OU QB Jamelle Holieway
Nebraska QB Steve Taylor & OU QB Jamelle Holieway
Posted Nov 5, 2009

It's the latest Game of the Century as Steve Taylor's Nebraska rumbles with Jamelle Holieway and Oklahoma for the Big 8 title. No? Jack Mildren vs. Jerry Tagge? No? Fine, Oklahoma vs. Nebraska is just another game, but it still sounds great. Check out the Previews and Predictions for the Week 10 Big 12 Games

2009 Big 12 Fearless Predictions

Week 10 ... Nov. 7

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 | Week 5 | Week 6
- Week 7 | Week 8Week 9

- Week 10, Part 2 (Ok State at Iowa State, & More) 

Game of the Week

Oklahoma (5-3) at Nebraska (5-3), 8:00 EST, Saturday, November 7, ABC

Why to watch: It just sounds good … Oklahoma vs. Nebraska. For anyone born in the mid-1980s and later, the matchup is nothing more than a decent interdivisional game. For old farts, this is as magical as any possible college football rivalry. There's no national buzz anymore, when roughly 20 years ago this was the most important date on the college football calendar. Nothing at the moment, Oklahoma vs. Texas, Ohio State vs. Michigan, Florida vs. Tennessee/Georgia/Alabama, has anything on what the Sooners and Huskers had going for decades around Thanksgiving every year. This was always the game for the Big 8 title, it was always huge for the national title chase, and the winner always went to the Orange Bowl, meaning the fans of the winning side would always throw oranges on the field in one of the sport's best yearly traditions. The two mega-programs were split up when the Big 12 was formed, partly because of geography and partly because many assumed the two would play each other in the Big 12 championship game year after year. Now, it's just another game on the schedule, and while fans of each program still hold on to its ire for the one another, it's not the same.

However, while this might not be the super-power matchup of 1987, it's still big for the Big 12 title discussion. Nebraska has played like a steaming pile of garbage over the last several weeks, but it's still in the North title hunt with three division games to close things out. Oklahoma needs a miracle to even dream of tying for the South championship, much less win it, but it can position itself for a great bowl, and if everything breaks right, an at-large BCS game by being impressive against a rough schedule. Nebraska might be the easiest game left on the Sooner slate. The Huskers had the North for the taking after a win at Missouri, and then the offense quit playing in ugly losses to Texas Tech and Iowa State at home. A 20-10 win over Baylor last week didn't answer any questions. For all the problems and all the issues, the season can take a big left turn toward the positive with a win before going to Kansas next week.

Why Oklahoma might win: Nebraska doesn't have enough offensive punch to keep up the pace if the Sooners get rolling. Nothing has worked for a Husker attack that can't score against FBS teams with most of its stats coming in Sun Belt battles in September. The passing attack doesn't have any pop, the running game has struggled ever since Roy Helu got banged up, and the turnovers have been flowing at an alarming rate. After giving the ball away eight times against Iowa State, the Huskers lost the ball twice against Baylor. Over the last four games, Nebraska has turned the ball over 14 times. Oklahoma will give the ball away now and then, but it has been relatively stingy with the ball.
Why Nebraska might win: The Oklahoma running game has been shockingly average. Underappreciated throughout last season, thanks to Sam Bradford and high-octane passing attack, but the NFL caliber tandem of Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray have been underwhelming and the offensive line hasn't established itself. With Landry Jones under center, everyone is sending the house at the OU running game and the passing game is being forced to carry the O. Jones is getting the job done, but Bo Pelini coached defenses usually pick their teeth against one dimensional teams. OU has yet to run for 200 yards this season against an FBS team, was held to 85 yards against Kansas, and has had a world of problems being consistent. Part of the problem has been …
Who to watch: … the inconsistency on the O line. It hasn't been a bad front line, but it's nowhere near the killer of last year when it was the best in America. The last thing the line needed was a big injury, and it got one with starting guard Brian Simmons out with a knee injury. The Sooners will try to rely on sophomore Stephen Good to fill in, but freshman Tyler Evans will see more work too. For Nebraska, getting Roy Helu back and healthy means everything. He's playing through a shoulder injury, and while he's being extremely tough and is still producing, he's not getting healthier. If he's not putting up decent numbers, Nebraska can't win.
What will happen: Oklahoma hasn't been thrilling, but it has methodically been able to roll through the schedule with easy wins after the Texas loss. Expect more of the same. Jones will be fine, the defense will keep the Husker offense under wraps, and OU will come up with a solid win on its way to earning the right to call itself the Big 12's second best team.
CFN Prediction: Oklahoma 27 … Nebraska 20 ... Line: Oklahoma -5.5
Must See Rating: (By The People 5 … The Men Who Stare At Goats 1) … 3.5
-Free Expert Football Predictions

UCF (5-3) at Texas (8-0),12:00 EST, Saturday, November 7

Why to watch: Texas is the new Florida. Or Alabama. After nimbly navigating the toughest stretch of the schedule, Oklahoma, at Missouri, and at Oklahoma State, the Longhorns have become a trendy choice as the nation's premier team of 2009. How can you argue? The two recent road trips, potential landmines to some, wound up being referendums on the program's upside potential. Now, only a major upset in the final four games will Texas from Pasadena. UCF is also playing well, but naturally on a completely different scale. On Sunday night, the Knights rallied for two touchdowns in the final eight minutes, including one with 23 seconds left, to slip past Marshall, 21-20. At 5-3, they're poised to cop one of Conference USA's automatic bowl berths.
Why UCF might win: After the recent gauntlet that Texas just endured, could you blame it for not being geeked about a November visit from the Knights? The ‘Horns might sleepwalk through the first 30 minutes before even realizing they're in a game. UCF has a feisty and fast defense that's only yielded more than 20 points once in the last six games—to Miami. Led by an outstanding front seven that includes ends Bruce Miller and Jarvis Geathers, DT Torrell Troup, and linebackers Cory Hogue and Lawrence Young, the Knights lead the league in run defense, scoring defense, and total defense.
Why Texas might win: As bad as the problems have been on offense for UCF, it hasn't seen anything yet. Will Muschamp has done a phenomenal job with this Longhorn defense, overcoming the loss of key players in the front seven to lead the nation in run defense and allow just 13 points a game. If the Knights can't run with Brynn Harvey, it has no chance to move the chains with their dink-and-dunk passing game. Texas swarms to the ball with linebackers Roddrick Muckelroy, Emmanuel Acho, and Sergio Kindle, and has been as good as anyone in the country at producing non-offensive touchdowns.
Who to watch: Tennessee's Eric Berry and USC's Taylor Mays may make more headlines, but no safety in America has been a more consistent playmaker than Texas' Earl Thomas. Just a sophomore, he plays with the mindset and the athleticism of a cornerback, jumping routes and blanketing opposing receivers. He already has a Big 12-best six interceptions, two of which he's taken back for touchdowns.
What will happen: No matter how long Texas remains in cruise control, UCF lacks the offensive firepower to keep this game interesting for very long. Even if the ‘Horns sputter on offense for a few series, the Knights will not be able to take advantage. Eventually, QB Colt McCoy will find WR Jordan Shipley alone in the end zone, breaking the game wide open and bringing UT one leg closer to the Rose Bowl.
CFN Prediction: Texas 45 … UCF 10 ... Line: Texas -36
Must See Rating: (By The People 5 … The Men Who Stare At Goats 1) … 2
-Free Expert Football Predictions

Kansas (5-3) at Kansas State (5-4), 12:30 EST, Saturday, November 7

Why to watch: Not to sound like a promotional ad for the Big 12 North, but every week matters right now. All six teams in the division are in the race for the right to get slaughtered by Texas, but just getting to the Big 12 title game would be a monster accomplishment for either Kansas State or Kansas. KSU, in Bill Snyder's first year back at the helm, hasn't been consistent and it's not good enough to beat the top teams, losing to Oklahoma last week and getting blown out by Texas Tech a few weeks ago, but it's beating the teams on its own level with wins over Iowa State, Texas A&M, and Colorado to be on the top of the North. It's KSU's division for the taking with Missouri and Nebraska coming up next. Win three games; go to the Big 12 title game. It's that simple for Kansas State, and it's almost that simple for Kansas, too, but there's one big problem in the plan: Texas. The Jayhawks could certainly beat Kansas State this week and get Missouri and Nebraska at home, but a November 21 trip to Texas might be the ceiling on how high the team can go. But for now, after losing three straight, just getting by the in-state rival would be worth getting excited about.
Why Kansas might win: The Kansas State secondary is suspect. The pass defense hasn't been miserable, outside of a two game stretch giving up 554 yards and eight scores to Texas Tech and 314 yards and two scores to Texas A&M, but it hasn't been a rock and it give up yards and touchdown passes to anyone who can throw. Kansas can throw, and it's way overdue to break out after struggling for the past few weeks. Todd Reesing has a groin injury, but he's still the Big 12's best bomber and should be a lock for 300 yards. KSU's corners can't handle the size or talent of Dezmon Briscoe or Kerry Meier, while the Wildcat offense doesn't have the firepower to keep up in a shootout.
Why Kansas State might win: Texas Tech's Baron Batch ran for 123 yards and four touchdowns on the KU run defense. Texas Tech doesn't run on anyone. The KU defensive front isn't bad at getting into the backfield, coming up with five sacks against the Red Raiders, and it ranked 14th in the nation against the run, but KSU should be able to establish the ground game early and should be able to grind out the clock and keep Reesing off the field. Kansas State has been fantastic at taking the ball away, and it'll get its opportunities with all the passes Reesing will try. He's not afraid to take a few chances, and while the Wildcat defensive backs will lose several battles, they should be able to come up with a few interceptions.
Who to watch: Kansas State wide receiver and kick returner Brandon Banks is only 5-7, but he's playing big week in and week out as the team's top playmaker. Known more for being a top returner, scoring four times on kickoffs and serving as a solid punt returner, he's blowing up as the main target for the offense coming off a 42-catch, 524-yard season, but he only has one touchdown catch. While he's a deep threat, he's all but uncoverable on short to midrange routes because of his tremendous quickness. The Kansas secondary doesn't have an answer for him.
What will happen: Kansas State is finding ways to make things happen and is playing well enough to come up with the win if it wins the turnover battle by a large margin, but Kansas has too much in the passing game to come up short. This should be a fun shootout.
CFN Prediction: Kansas 38 … Kansas State 31 ... Line: Kansas -2.5
Must See Rating: (By The People 5 … The Men Who Stare At Goats 1) … 3.5
-Free Expert Football Predictions  

- Week 10, Part 2 (Ok State at Iowa State, & More)