Big 12 Preview: Week 10

By Daniel Hill
Sports Writer

Oklahoma at Iowa State

The No. 14 Oklahoma Sooners (5-2, 3-1) are looking to bounce back after their home loss to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The Iowa State Cyclones (5-3, 2-3) are hoping to sustain momentum after defeating Baylor 35-21. Cyclones senior quarterback Steele Jantz threw for five touchdowns last week against Baylor, but the Oklahoma defense will present more of a challenge for Iowa State. Oklahoma played Notre Dame tough last week before Notre Dame broke the game open in the fourth quarter. Oklahoma is clearly the second- best team in the Big 12 after Kansas State and they’ll be ready to play a complete game in Ames. Iowa State is dealing with a tough injury blow as the pillar of their defense, senior linebacker Jake Knott, is lost for the season after shoulder surgery. Iowa State has proven to be a resilient and competitive program under Paul Rhoads. The Sooners’ stingy defense and spread-attack offense should take care of business against Iowa State. Prediction: Oklahoma 35, Iowa State 24

TCU at West Virginia

The No. 23 West Virginia Mountaineers are reeling after a two-game losing streak consisting of blowouts to Texas Tech and Kansas State. The Mountaineers have the 118th – ranked defense in the nation, so quarterback Geno Smith must find a way to produce points. Mountaineers wide receiver Tavon Austin will have to step up with fellow wide receiver Stedman Bailey battling injury woes. The Mountaineers are not a complete football team, but they have enough explosive offense to always give them a chance to win. TCU has lost three out of its last four games with a lone win over Baylor and losses to Iowa State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. All of TCU’s remaining opponents are ranked teams and this is a make-or-break game for them. If they lose to the Mountaineers, it could be all downhill from here for the Horned Frogs. TCU is desperate and its defense will be the trump card over WVU. Prediction: TCU 42, West Virginia 38

Kansas at Baylor

In the battle for the Big 12 cellar, the Kansas Jayhawks (1-7, 0-5) travel to Waco to take on the Bears (3-4, 0-4). Both teams are still seeking their first conference win. It’s homecoming for the Bears, so Floyd Casey Stadium should be packed with Baylor green and gold. The Bears are minus-11 in turnovers and have been plagued with turnover woes in conference play. Kansas has the 121st ranked offense and the 85th ranked defense. At times, the Jayhawks offense is anemic. They struggle to move the ball. It will be interesting to see how Baylor’s 122nd-ranked defense will fare against Kansas’ poor offense. While Kansas’ offense is ineffective, the one thing that it does well is run the football. Jayhawks junior running back James Sims has already rushed for 622 yards this season on just 129 carries. Kansas has six players that average over five yards per carry rushing. The only way Kansas has a chance at winning this game is if it can find success on the ground and slow down the game. Baylor’s No. 1 passing attack led by the nation’s leader in passing yards, senior Nick Florence, should find plenty of open receivers against the Jayhawks’ porous defense. The winner in this game will be the team that dictates the style of play. If it’s a slow game with turnovers, then Kansas has a chance at winning. If Baylor can establish the offense and grab the early lead, then it could be a display of offensive fireworks and an easy Baylor victory. Florence will lead Baylor to victory as a senior for his final homecoming game. Prediction: Baylor 34, Kansas 21

Texas at Texas Tech

Lubbock is sure to have a raucous crowd to support the No. 18 Texas Tech Raiders as they host the No. 23 Texas Longhorns. Both teams have identical records and are 6-2 overall and 3-2 in the Big 12, although Texas Tech’s wins have been far more impressive than Texas’ wins. Tech has defeated two ranked teams in West Virginia and TCU while Texas has not defeated a ranked team yet this season. There’s a quarterback quandary in Austin as David Ash has struggled to put points up on the scoreboard while at the helm of the Longhorns offense. Last week against Kansas, Ash and the Longhorns struggled and they were in jeopardy of being upset by the struggling Kansas Jayhawks until Case McCoy was put in at quarterback in the fourth quarter. On the final drive of the game, McCoy led the Longhorns to victory by throwing the winning touchdown with 12 seconds left in the game. The Longhorns barely defeated Kansas and they have holes on the defensive side of the ball. There should be a bonanza of points in this game as both teams boast top twelve offenses. The main difference between Texas and Texas Tech is the Red Raiders’ superior defense. Tech has the 57th best defense in the nation and the home field will certainly be a factor in aiding the Raiders. The Longhorns defensive coordinator Manny Diaz has been under fire as a result of his 100th ranked defense. The wild atmosphere in Lubbock combined with Texas Tech’s sturdy defense should lead to a Red Raiders victory. Prediction: Texas Tech 56, Texas 42

Oklahoma State at Kansas State

Kansas State is hoping to stay unbeaten and still remain in the national championship picture. It’s safe to say that the Wildcats are the class of the Big 12 this season and the most balanced team in the conference. Kansas State boasts a top-five offense with a 13th ranked defense. The Wildcats excel in every facet of the game and are led by the current Heisman Trophy frontrunner, quarterback Collin Klein. Kansas State has already jumped over the major hurdles in its schedule, including blowout wins over West Virginia and Texas Tech. The Wildcats have a relatively easy four-game stretch coming up that they have to endure to stay perfect. But the Wildcats have to be careful of avoiding that let-down game. Oklahoma State is on a three-game winning streak including wins over Kansas, Iowa State and TCU. If this game were being played in Stillwater, then maybe the Cowboys would have a chance at pulling off the upset. But with Kansas State playing at home in Manhattan, they shouldn’t sleep walk against OSU, and Klein will lead the way. Klein’s statistics this year have been stellar. He gets it done through the air: 12 touchdown throws and 1,630 yards passing. He also has 634 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns on the ground. Kansas State’s balanced teams should overwhelm Oklahoma State. The Wildcats have to be cautious, however, as the Cowboys have an explosive offense and there’s a chance this could be a dreaded letdown game. Prediction: Kansas State 49, Oklahoma State 45