Big 12 Football Weekend Preview

Big 12 Wheel of Fortune FTWBy Shehan Jeyarajah
Sports Writer

Kansas (2-5, 0-4) at Texas (5-2, 4-0)

Kansas comes into this game fresh off a crushing loss to the Baylor Bears last Saturday. The Bears destroyed Kansas in every aspect of the game, winning 59-14 in Lawrence, Kan. The Jayhawks rank 101 in total defense with 450.7 yards of total offense allowed. Kansas is also 99 in rushing defense, allowing 203 yards rushing per game. The offense has been even worse. There is a big question mark at the quarterback position, as Jake Heaps has compiled less than 1,000 total yards through seven games. Kansas ranks 117 in the country with 290.6 yards of total offense per game. The Jayhawks are also 116 with only 17.7 points per game.

Texas comes into this game on a five-game Big 12 winning streak, including a win over No. 12 Oklahoma. The Longhorns have launched themselves back to prominence behind a strong rushing game. Sophomore running back Johnathan Gray has exploded in conference play for 111.8 yards of rushing per game. The defense has still been mediocre, ranking 74 in the country for 405.1 yards per game allowed of total offense. Case McCoy has been forced to start in place of the injured David Ash for the past three games.

Texas has a lot of issues, but Kansas has no ability to take advantage of them this year.

Iowa State (1-6, 0-4) at Kansas State (3-4, 1-3)

Iowa State only has one win, but plays significantly better than its record. The Cyclones have lost games by more than eight points only twice, but have allowed 58 or more points in their last two games against Baylor and Oklahoma State. The Cyclones rank 119 in points against after a tough three-game stretch against top 20 ranked opponents.

Kansas State has only one Big 12 win, but play every game close. Each of the Wildcats four losses have been by 10 or fewer points. Kansas State is known for playing a fundamentally sound brand of football, and that has stayed true this season. Kansas State has long been one of the toughest places to play in college football, and that has stayed true this season.

Both of these teams are better than their records, but Iowa State is not in the same class as Kansas State right now. Especially with the game being played in Manhattan, Kansas State should have little trouble against Iowa State.

West Virginia (3-5, 1-4) at TCU (3-5, 1-4)

West Virginia is coming off a tough loss in Manhattan to Kansas State, 35-12. At different points this season, West Virginia has played three different quarterbacks. Clint Trickett has been the leader of the bunch with 951 total yards, but he has not been good enough to be relied on.

TCU has continued its strong defensive play this season. The Horned Frogs are 36 in points allowed with only 22.8 points per game, and 22 in the country in total defense, allowing 349.8 yards per game. Quarterback Trevone Boykin has been awful this season for the Horned Frogs, leading an offense that ranks 94 in points scored with only 23.0 a game. TCU ranks 99 in passing yards with only 192.4 and 102 in rushing yards with only 127.4 per game. Their offense is second worst in the Big 12 this season, only behind Kansas.

TCU has a deadly defense, but its offense has not been able to produce enough for it to win. West Virginia has shown up for some games and struggled in others. This game will be a close one Saturday in Fort Worth.

No. 18 OSU (6-1, 3-1) at No. 15 Texas Tech (7-1, 4-1)

After looking like world beaters in their first three games, Oklahoma State’s Big 12 title hopes took a big hit in a loss against West Virginia in Morgantown. The Cowboys are coming off of a 58-27 dismantling of the Iowa State Cyclones in Ames, Iowa. The Oklahoma State rushing game has not been effective this season, ranking 66 in the nation. Quarterbacks Clint Chelf and J.W Walsh have both underdelivered. Chelf managed only 78 yards passing his last performance.

Texas Tech is coming off their first loss of the season, a tough 38-30 loss in Norman against No. 15 Oklahoma. The Red Raiders have had one of the best passing attacks in the nation, ranking third in the country in passing yards with 412.9 yards per game. The defense has been surprisingly effective for Kliff Kingsbury in his first year at coach. They have held opponents to only 21.1 points per game, including fewer than 20 in four of their eight games.

Both of these teams have been severely underrated by the national media, and both have potent offenses and defenses. Depending on which players show up, either team could come away with a victory.