Big 12 College Football Previews and Predictions for Week 5
Big 12 Football Week 5 Previews and Predictions
Week 5 of the 2013 season is the last respite for five of the Big 12 Conference's 10 teams. Texas, Texas Tech, Baylor, Kansas and Kansas State all have bye weeks this week-- a week of rest to heal and get ready for the brutal conference slog ahead in October. A non-conference tilt between the No. 16 Oklahoma Sooners and the No. 22 Notre Dame Fighting Irish highlights the Week 5 schedule, with an intriguing matchup between the high-flying Oklahoma State Cowboys and the confounding West Virginia Mountaineers not too far behind.
For Texas, in particular, it's a much needed bye week to heal as the Longhorns have as many as 10 key contributors between the two sides of the ball with some type of injury concern, including starting quarterback David Ash who is still fighting concussion symptoms from a hit he suffered against Ole Miss.
Texas returns to action on Thursday, October 3rd against an Iowa State Cyclones team who will be looking to pick up their first win of the 2013 season on Saturday when they take on the Tulsa Golden Hurricane on the road. It's another tough test for Paul Rhoades' squad, as their offense looks to get on track after tough losses to in-state rivals Northern Iowa and Iowa over the first two weeks.
Check out our predictions for how the four games which feature conference teams will shake out in the slides that follow!!
Iowa State Hawkeyes (0-2) v.s. Tulsa Golden Hurricane (1-2)
Vegas Line:Tulsa is a 3.5 point favorite.
Television:FOX SPORTS 1 at 7:30 Eastern
In a word, the Iowa State Cyclones have been average so far in 2013. Their offensive and defensive units have been equally marginal and neither has performed well enough for them to take home a victory. The Cyclones' rushing attack (ranked 99th nationally) has only racked up a total of 227 yards on the ground through two games, not allowing the offense to gain any type of clock control and keeping a talented, but under-productive defense on the field. Paul Rhoades' squad will need a spark -- from somewhere -- to take home a road win against a Tulsa Hurricanes squad that can never be taken lightly.
Blown out by both Bowling Green and Oklahoma, and with a tight win over Colorado State, the Hurricane are reeling somewhat. They've only managed 19 points per game so far, and must perform better offensively to keep their own struggling defense off the field.
This one's a battle between two mediocre teams that'll come down to whoever establishes pace early.
Our Prediction: Tulsa wins a close one, as much having to do with home field advantage as anything else.
TCU Horned Frogs (1-2) v.s. SMU Mustangs (1-2)
Vegas Line:TCU is an 18-point favorite.
Television:FOX SPORTS 1 at 12 Eastern
Gary Patterson's TCU Horned Frogs have had a much rougher start to the 2013 season than anticipated. A team once ranked in the Pre-Season Top 15, the Horned Frogs stumbled out of the gates with a Week 1 loss to LSU, recovered to knock off SE Louisiana in Week 2, and were handled easily by the upstart Texas Tech Red Raiders, 20-10 in Week 3. With concerns on offense after another injury to starting quarterback Casey Pachall and the inconsistent play of redshirt sophomore Trevone Boykin, the Frogs need someone to rise to the occasion and be productive on the offensive side of the ball.
While the SMU Mustangs have enjoyed the 10th best passing offense in the country so far this season (348.7 yards per game), the defense has struggled mightily, giving up 37.7 points per game, albeit against two high-octane offenses at Texas A&M and Texas Tech.
This cross-town rivalry game for the Golden Hat is always entertaining and should again be a battle of wills, with the Horned Frogs entering with a chip on their shoulder, and therefore, a slight edge.
Our Prediction: The TCU offense gets back on track, exploits a weak SMU defense and gets back to .500 at home.
No.11 Oklahoma State Cowboys (3-0) v.s. West Virginia Mountaineers (2-2)
Vegas Line:Oklahoma State is a 20 point favorite.
Television:ESPN 12 Eastern
The No. 11 Oklahoma State Cowboys enter this Saturday's early tilt against the West Virginia Mountaineers looking like the class of the Big 12 Conference so far this season. As expected, the Cowboys' offense has been explosive, scoring an average of 45.3 points per game (11th nationally) and the defense has been stout, giving up only 13.7 points per game (17th nationally). Two of the early opponents for Mike Gundy's squad were Lamar and UTSA -- not exactly powerhouses -- and given this, West Virginia will be a much more substantial test for the Pokes, but one they shouldn't have much trouble handling.
If Dana Holgorsen's squad has anything in their favor on Saturday, it's the home field advantage. Otherwise, a sputtering offense (a rarity for his teams) that has struggled to find consistent quarterbacking play doesn't provide much hope. Paul Millard must rise to the occasion to give the Mountaineers solid D (ranked 33rd nationally) something to work with and keep things interesting.
Our Prediction: West Virginia stays in it early, but Oklahoma State's depth and overall talent level take over in the 2nd half, leading them to a 4-0 start and early BCS consideration.
No. 16 Oklahoma Sooners (3-0) v.s. No. 22 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (3-1)
Vegas Line:Oklahoma is a 3 point favorite.
Television:NBC at 3:30 Eastern
Along with Oklahoma State, Baylor and Texas Tech, Bob Stoops' 3-0 Oklahoma Sooners look like the teams to beat in the Big 12 this fall. The Sooners have dominated on the ground, rushing for an average of 271.7 yards per game (16th nationally), led by versatile quarterback Blake Bell and impressive senior Brennan Clay who appears to have finally reached his potential. Led by the country's 5th best defense, the Sooners will definitely have revenge on the mind after a heart-breaking 30-13 loss to Notre Dame in 2012.
The 3-1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish ground out close conference wins over Purdue and Michigan State, easily dispatched Temple to start the season, and lost to traditional rival Michigan in Week 2. Brian Kelly's team is pass-first with senior QB Tommy Rees slinging it all over to the effect of 1,111 yards and eight touchdowns versus two picks early on. Notre Dame's running game is marginal at best, so you can bet they will be willing to live or die by the pass -- a risky proposition against an offense as talented as Oklahoma's.
Our Prediction: The Sooners get their revenge in a close one at home.