Big 12 Football Weekend Preview

Big 12 Wheel of Fortune FTWBy Shehan Jeyarajah
Sports Writer

No. 21 Oklahoma State vs. TCU

Despite the perception of Oklahoma State as an offensive oriented team, the defense has stepped up and has been integral to the Cowboys’ success. OSU is currently 38th in the country and fifth in the Big 12 in total defense, holding teams to 361.2 yards per game.

The passing offense has been solid, averaging 300.4 yards per game, but the rushing offense has been virtually nonexistent. Sophomore quarterback J.W Walsh has been the leading rusher for the Cowboys this season, and they rank 87th in the country in rushing yards.

TCU has a lot to prove after nearly letting Kansas steal a game from them in Fort Worth. The game was tied 10-10 at half and only a 75-yard touchdown pass could separate the Horned Frogs from the lowly Jayhawks. TCU ranks 109th in the nation in total offense, and second to last in the Big 12. The Horned Frogs defense has generally been great, ranking 16 in the country and second in the Big 12, but it hasn’t been enough to make up for the lack of offense.

TCU will improve greatly when senior quarterback Casey Pachall returns from injury, but that will not be this week. An Oklahoma State team desperate for a convincing win should be able to get it at home in Stillwater.

West Virginia vs. No. 16 Texas Tech

West Virginia was torched at the hands of the Baylor Bears for 73 points and a Big 12 record 860 yards at Floyd Casey Stadium.

The WVU offense has been decidedly average, but quarterback Clint Trickett should be relatively healthy after battling injury woes for the last few weeks. Senior running back Charles Sims has turned some heads in his quest to the NFL.

Outside of the Baylor game, WVU is holding teams to 347.0 yards per game and 19.6 points per game which both express that West Virginia has a sound defense.

Texas Tech has the second highest rated passing offense in the Big 12 behind Baylor, and fourth overall in the nation.

The Red Raiders have struggled to establish a running game consistently this season, but three different running backs went off for 80 yards or more and a touchdown against Iowa State.

It remains to be seen if any of the can repeat that feat, but the talent is there.

The defense has been surprisingly good against a weak schedule, ranking 21st in total defense.

The Red Raiders are one of hottest teams in football right now.

Morgantown is one of the most difficult places to play in the Big 12.

Kliff Kingsbury has not yet been challenged as a head coach.

Tech should be good enough to win, but the Mountaineers may make things more interesting than anticipated in the unpredictable Big 12.

Kansas (2-3) vs. No. 18 Oklahoma

Kansas has been woeful this season, especially against the Big 12. So far the Jayhawks are 0-2, with a blowout against Texas Tech and a convincing loss against TCU.

Kansas also has a bad loss against Rice as a blemish on its schedule. The offense has been incredibly bad, averaging only 305.0 yards per game. That ranks 115th out of 123 teams in the FBS.

The Jayhawks rank outside the top 100 in every major offensive metric despite having a supposed offensive guru in Charlie Weis at the helm.

The defense has been decent outside of allowing a big performance from Texas Tech, but you can’t ask a defense to win you games if you only average 18.2 points per contest in the Big 12.

Oklahoma is coming off of an embarrassing loss at the hands of an unranked Texas team in the Red River Rivalry. Junior quarterback Blake Bell showed the sort of offensive ineptitude that allowed freshman Travis Knight to earn the starting job over him during the offseason, throwing for 133 yards, two interceptions and a total QBR of 4.2 out of 100. The Sooners’ rushing attack was virtually nonexistent. No player finished with over 34 yards rushing. The Sooners are not this bad in either the passing or rushing game, and will look to prove that once again this week. Win or lose, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops is undefeated in games coming out of the Red River Rivalry during his time at OU. Against a terrible Kansas team, the Sooners should run away with the game.