Baylor at Oklahoma: The
Bears held punchless Kansas to 14 points, which
lifted Baylor’s scoring defense to No. 117 nationally. After Oklahoma gets
through with the Bears, they may be dead last.
Landry Jones is a limited quarterback, but he’s surrounded by dangerous and productive skill players,
and that will be enough to torch the Bears. Baylor has many offensive weapons
too, but not enough to hang with the Sooners. A few Nick Florence interceptions
will help turn this one into a borderline blowout.
The Vision: Oklahoma
53 Baylor 34
Iowa State at Texas: The
Longhorns are the squirreliest—and
luckiest—team in the Big 12. At their best, they’re very good. At their
worst, they’re pretty bad. And you can never be certain which team will show
up. But even when the bad Horns show up, their talent, along with some “help,”
usually sees them through to a win.
Iowa State is the opposite of Texas. Whereas the Longhorns
underachieve, the Cyclones usually punch over their weight. The defense is good
enough to keep them in most every game, and if ISU’s quarterback gets hot in
the fourth quarter, Iowa State can win.
This could be a good game, but ultimately I don’t see the
Cyclones being within striking distance going into the final stanza.
The Vision: Texas 30
Iowa State 17
Kansas at Texas Tech:
With the Red Raider offense fading into a shadow of what it once was, this
game could be a bit closer than some would expect. Even against the Jayhawks,
Tech cannot afford to misfire too much in the red zone and settle for field
goals. In the Big 12, don’t you know, a field goal is a victory for the
defense. And Kansas’ defense is semi-respectable.
But it is Tech’s defense that will be the difference in this
one. Kansas simply has no weapons. Their highest point total in Big 12 play was
17 against Texas. And the Red Raider defense, healthy or not, is capable of
squeezing an offense that does not present multiple threats.
The Vision: Texas
Tech 38 Kansas 13
West Virginia at
Oklahoma State: Here are two teams with identical 5-3 records, but going in
diametrically opposite directions. The Mountaineers, when they’re not getting
blown out, find ways to lose close games. Oklahoma State, on the other hand, is
just a very sound football team. The Cowboys have tremendous offensive balance,
regardless of who is under center, and their defense is more than competent.
They say teams take on the characteristics of their head
coach. In the case of OSU and WVU it’s true: the Cowboys are steady Eddies
while the Mountaineers are fractious, mercurial and unstable. Thus the
fundamentals and intangibles are in Oklahoma State’s favor.
The Vision: Oklahoma
State 49 West Virginia 24
Kansas State at TCU: Not
so very long ago people were suggesting that a team with two losses could win
the Big 12. Now it appears a lead-pipe cinch that Kansas State will run the Big
12 table and take the title in a walkover. Certainly the Wildcats have not been
seriously challenged the last three weeks as they rolled over West Virginia,
Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. KSU’s offense, in particular, was pretty much
unstoppable during that stretch.
Gary Patterson’s Horned Frogs are a gritty team, and they doubtless
feel good about themselves following the road win over West Virginia. But the
once vaunted TCU stop unit is only No. 47 in scoring defense. They are,
however, No. 8 in rush defense and No. 13 in yards per carry allowed. Problem
is, KSU is no longer one-dimensional on offense. Collin Klein is now a deadly
passer. (He is No. 1 in pass efficiency rating.) The Horned Frogs simply will
not be able to match the Wildcats score for score.
The Vision: Kansas
State 48 TCU 27