By Shehan Jeyarajah
TCU (3-6, 1-5) at Iowa State (1-7, 0-5)
Texas Christian has struggled mightily after coming into the season ranked in the top 20. The Horned Frogs are on a three-game losing streak, and have lost four of their last five and six of their last eight. TCU is coming off a tough overtime loss against West Virginia in Fort Worth, where their offense managed only 60 yards of rushing. Senior quarterback Casey Pachall has entered back into the offense, but the Horned Frogs still have one of the worst offenses in football. The defense has been solid, but a defense can only do so much when an offense averages only 23.4 points per game.
TCU has a chance to turn its season around against Iowa State. The Cyclones are bottom 10 in the nation in total defense, as well as bottom 15 in the nation in total offense. The Cyclones are coming off an embarrassing 41-7 loss to Kansas State last week, and there does not appear to be a great deal of hope for the rest of their season.
In their last matchup on Oct. 6, 2012, Iowa State pulled out a 37-23 upset against then No. 15 TCU behind three touchdowns from quarterback Jared Barnett. There is no way either team will put up anywhere near 37 points in one of the ugliest games in the Big 12 this season.
Kansas State (4-4, 2-3) at No. 25 Texas Tech (7-2, 4-2)
Kansas State is one of the better .500 teams in the country. The Wildcats are coming off a 41-7 dismantling of bottom-feeder Iowa State last Saturday. The Wildcats played Big 12 heavyweights Texas, No. 21 Oklahoma State and No. 15 Baylor to within 10 points in consecutive weeks before.
The Wildcats have settled into a two-quarterback rotation behind junior Jake Waters and sophomore Daniel Sams. The two quarterbacks bring different wrinkles to the game that neither one can bring on their own.
After beginning its season 7-0, Tech is reeling and on a two-game losing streak after losses to No. 15 Oklahoma and No. 18 Oklahoma State. The Red Raiders have struggled all season with an unbalanced offense.
The combination of freshman quarterbacks Davis Webb and Baker Mayfield is second in the Big 12 with 414.2 yards per game through the air, but Tech has posted the 103 ranked rushing offense. Tech averages only 124.2 yards rushing per game. Tech is only 61 in total defense.
In its matchup last season on Oct. 27, No. 3 Kansas State beat No. 14 Texas Tech 55-24 behind a big game from quarterback Collin Klein. Virtually no significant players are back from either of the teams, so we will see a fresh matchup this year. Despite KSU being underrated, Texas Tech should be able to get back in the thick of the conference race with a win.
Kansas (2-6, 0-5) at No. 14 Oklahoma State (7-1, 4-1)
Kansas is really bad. It is currently 0-5 in the Big 12, and its closest game was a no-contest against TCU in Fort Worth. Overall, it only put up 17.1 points per game and allow a ridiculous 32.0 per game.
The Jayhawks are looking to rebound from a dismantling in Austin against the University of Texas 35-13.
Oklahoma State on the other hand is one of the more underrated teams in the Big 12 this season. After a bad loss to West Virginia to open Big 12 play, the Cowboys are currently on a four-game winning streak.
They made a statement last week by going to No. 15 Texas Tech and pulling out a dominant victory in Lubbock.
The Cowboys rank top 30 in scoring offense and scoring defense, and manage to do so by being consistent in both the passing and running game.
In their last matchup, Oklahoma State took care of Kansas 20-14 in Lawrence.
Oklahoma State is significantly better this season, and Kansas might genuinely be worse.
At least basketball season is starting, Jayhawks fans.
Texas (6-2, 5-0) at West Virginia (4-5, 2-4)
After losing two games in non-conference play, Texas fell off the map. However after starting 5-0 in the Big 12, people are starting to pay attention again. Texas just had a convincing win against Kansas in Austin last weekend 35-13.
Sophomore running back Johnathan Gray has received a bigger role in the offense with quarterback David Ash down with an injury. He has catapulted the Horns to the 29 best rushing attack in college football with 203.0 yards per game.
West Virginia is coming off of a surprise victory against TCU in Fort Worth in overtime 30-27.
The Mountaineers have been very inconsistent this season, allowing 30.0 points per game and scoring only 23.7 points per game. Running back Charles Sims has been the best player on the offensive side of the ball. He has 754 total yards, including four games of 90 yards or more.
In its last matchup, No. 8 West Virginia came to Austin and beat No. 11 Texas 48-45 behind four touchdowns from quarterback Geno Smith.
The Longhorns have struggled against the run this season, but they likely will be able to stop the run against West Virginia’s porous offensive line.
Texas should be able to make a statement in Texas’ first game in Morgantown.