Big 12 Preview

By Daniel Hill

Sports Writer

Texas at Kansas: The Longhorns are still ranked in No. 23 in the latest BCS standings and face arguably the worst team in the Big 12, the Kansas Jayhawks. The rushing attack and physicality of Texas should overpower the Jayhawks. Texas is favored by 21 points and the rushing attack led by Joe Bergeron should power to Texas to a comfortable victory. It is Kansas’ homecoming so they should play with added spirit. Prediction: Texas 31, Kansas 21

Texas Tech at Kansas State: In a showdown between two ranked teams, No. 14 Texas Tech travels to Manhattan to take on No. 3 Kansas State. The undefeated 7-0 Wildcats are led by Heisman frontrunner Collin Klein. Klein rushed for four touchdowns and threw for another three to lead Kansas State over West Virginia in a 55-14 rout. Texas Tech’s defense and offense both rank in the top 11 nationally. The Red Raiders are a complete competitive squad this year and could present Kansas State with a tough challenge. Seth Doege and the Raiders offense is capable of matching Collin Klein’s Wildcats. This has all the makings of a possible upset, but “Optimus Klein” should make the difference. Prediction: Kansas State 34, Texas Tech 31

TCU at Oklahoma State: With TCU at 5-2 and Oklahoma State at 4-2 this matchup has massive implications in the chase for the Big 12 title. Oklahoma State played arguably their most impressive game of the season against then No. 24 ranked Iowa State in a 31-10 victory. TCU came out on the short end of the stick in a 56-53 triple-overtime loss to Texas Tech. Both offenses should score plenty of points in this matchup. The difference lies in TCU’s defensive strength. The Horned Frogs possess the nation’s seventeenth ranked defense while the Cowboys have the forty-fifth ranked defense. Also, the Cowboys quarterback situation is in flux as J.W. Walsh has health problems. Prediction: TCU 42, Oklahoma State 35

Notre Dame at Oklahoma: The No. 5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish put its perfect 7-0 record on the line in Norman against the No. 8 Oklahoma Sooners in a primetime matchup of two historical powerhouse football programs. After the Sooners’ tough loss to now No. 3 Kansas State, Oklahoma has been on a roll with convincing wins over Texas Tech, Texas and Kansas. The Fighting Irish do not have a true offensive identity and at times have struggled to put points on the board. The Notre Dame defense is dominant, ranking second in the nation. But the Sooners have the fifth ranked offense and have scored more than 40 points in four of their six games this season. The Sooners also boast the nation’s twelfth best defense. Notre Dame has proven to be clutch in the final moments of the game and is more battle-tested than Oklahoma. Prediction: Notre Dame 23, Oklahoma 20

Baylor at Iowa State: The two teams are built in two entirely different fashions. Baylor possesses an explosive, record-setting offense and a struggling defense while the Cyclones have a stingy defense and struggle to generate any sort of offense. This is a favorable matchup for Baylor. If Baylor can jump out to a quick lead, it would be incredibly difficult for Iowa State to play catch-up. If Iowa State can slow down the football game and force turnovers, then the Cyclones would have solid chance at earning the victory. Both Baylor and Iowa State are competitive teams and both teams are desperate to earn more Big 12 Conference wins. The Baylor defense simply has to get off of the field on third down and they must force turnovers. With Iowa State’s inconsistent offense, Baylor should be able to gain the lead early and maintain the momentum for the win. It is the Cyclones homecoming weekend though and the Cyclones have a raucous home-field atmosphere. The team that wins this game will be the team that can establish an early lead. Prediction: Baylor 42, Iowa State 27