Big 12 Football Previews and Predictions for Week 9
Big 12 Previews and Predictions for Week 9
Week 9 of the Big 12 Conference football season brings some of the most intriguing matchups of the 2013 season so far. With the Texas Tech Red Raiders and Baylor Bears both in the initial Top 10 of the BCS Standings, there are plenty of eyes on the Big 12 and national implications attached to every game from here on out. The Red Raiders matchup against the Oklahoma Sooners in their biggest game of the season to date. Baylor, on the other hand, takes a trip to Lawrence to take on a listless Kansas squad, certain to emerge with another blowout victory.
The Texas Longhorns will be looking to carry over the momentum earned from a hard-fought victory in the Red River Shootout and continue to solidfy Mack Brown's future on the Forty Acres as they make the short trip to Fort Worth to take on the TCU Horned Frogs on Saturday evening. Texas is right in the mix of the Big 12 Championship race and a victory against TCU solidifies their position prior to a tough November.
Two of the conferences struggling teams, the Kansas State Wildcats and West Virginia Mountaineers square off in Manhattan in a battle to continue to claw towards .500, while the Oklahoma State Cowboys travel to the always difficult Ames for an early kickoff against the reeling Iowa State Cylcones.
When Sunday rolls around, the Big 12 Conference picture will be much more clear, and the BCS picture could even be affected in the right scenarios. Click through the next few slides to see how we see this week's games shaking out!
No. 8 BAYLOR BEARS (6-0, 3-0) vs KANSAS JAYHAWKS (2-4, 0-3)
Vegas Line: Baylor is a 34.5 point favorite.
Television: 7:00 PM EASTERN - ESPNU
The nation's most explosive offense takes a trip to Lawrence, Kansas on Saturday evening as the No. 8 Baylor Bears pay a visit to the listless Kansas Jayhawks. The Baylor offense averages an insane 64.7 points per game and 714.3 yards of total offense per contest, having broken the 70-point barrier three times already this season. Conversely, Kansas fields the nation's 114th ranked offense, averaging only 18.3 points per game, and give up an average of 27.0 points per contest.
There's nothing whatsoever that suggests Kansas has any chance in this game, and it would take a perfect storm of the Jayhawks playing pristine and error-free football along with catching Baylor on an off day for Charlie Weis' squad to have any chance of competing. This one's a flat out mismatch.
Our Prediction: Baylor creates separation early and wins in a huge blowout.
WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS (3-4, 1-2) vs KANSAS STATE WILDCATS (2-4, 0-3)
Vegas Line: Kansas State is a 10 point favorite.
Television: 3:45 EASTERN - FOX SPORTS 1
The 2-4 Kansas State Wildcats welcome the 3-4 West Virginia Mountaineers to Manhattan on Saturday afternoon in one of the more bland matchups of Saturday's Big 12 slate. West Virginia has struggled to find any offensive consistency under new QB Clint Trickett, giving up a total of 110 points to Texas Tech and Baylor in consecutive losses after a surprising early October win over Oklahoma State at home. Dana Holgorsen hasn't instilled much confidence in this team, and the absence of guys like Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey is glaringly obvious.
Kansas State averages only 400 yards of total offense per contest and has had a revolving door at quarterback between junior college transfer Jake Waters and dual threat sophomore Daniel Sams. The Wildcats offense is a fary cry from the 2012 version and just can't gain enough traction to help out an adequate, but average defense. This game's a total toss-up with no defining separation point.
Our Prediction: We'll go with Kansas State here, but purely due to home field advantage.
No. 11 OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS (5-1, 2-1) vs IOWA STATE CYCLONES (1-5, 0-3)
Vegas Line: Oklahoma State is a 13 point favorite.
Television: 12:00 EASTERN - FOX SPORTS NET
The No. 11 Oklahoma State Cowboys look to post their sixth win of the 2013 season and their third of the Big 12 Conference season as they travel to Ames, Iowa to take on the struggling 1-5 Iowa State Cyclones. Mike Gundy's team is somewhat of an anomaly given the history of Cowboys football, they lead with the defense and are seeking to find continuity on offense. The Cowboys are 14th overall nationally in points against (18.3) and have been brutal for opposing offenses to crack. It's a matter of time until an explosive offense on paper reaches its potential, especially on the ground, and Saturday could well be that day.
For Paul Rhoades' 1-5 squad to have a chance against the Cowboys, the Cyclones will need a few turnovers early and some lucky breaks to keep things on an even keel enough to allow new freshman quarterback Grant Rohach to get his feet wet and be productive as he replaces early-season starter Sam Richardson who has struggled over the past few weeks. Iowa State is an average football team who could just as easily be 3-3 as 1-5 had they caught a few breaks, and that's just what they will need to keep things interesting.
Our Prediction:Iowa State puts up a fight early behind the great home crowd, but talent will ultimately win out for Oklahoma State in their 6th win.
TEXAS LONGHORNS (4-2, 3-0) vs TCU HORNED FROGS (3-4, 1-2)
Vegas Line: TCU is a 2 point favorite.
Television: 7:30 PM EASTERN - FOX SPORTS 1
The 4-2 Texas Longhorns look to build off the momentum from an impressive 36-20 win over the Oklahoma Sooners in the traditional Red River Shootout as they travel to Fort Worth to take on Gary Patterson's 3-4 TCU Horned Frogs. Texas has formally turned the keys over to senior QB Case McCoy, and barring injury, he will be the starter throughout the remainder of the 2013 season. Can McCoy build upon his success against Oklahoma, and can an improved Texas defense continue to play at the level expected of them prior to 2013?
On the flipside, the TCU Horned Frogs are searching for a spark -- any spark -- to help them get back on track towards playing the type of football that has become the new standard under Patterson. After turning to true freshman QB Tyler Matthews after Trevone Boykin's struggles, the TCU offense is up in the air and will need a big day from sophomore running back B.J. Catalon to have any chance of grinding down the pace, keeping the Texas offense off the field, and giving themselves a chance to move back to .500 overall and in conference play.
Our Prediction: Texas continues to roll, playing inspired defense against a new quarterback unfamiliar with the bright lights. It's a Texas win on the road, but not by too much.
No. 10 TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (7-0, 4-0) vs No. 15 OKLAHOMA SOONERS (6-1, 3-1)
Vegas Line: Oklahoma is a 7 point favorite.
Television: 3:30 PM EASTERN - FOX
The best game of the Big 12 slate this Saturday, and arguably one of the best games in the country, features the No. 10 Texas Tech Red Raiders and the No. 15 Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday afternoon in Norman. The verdict is still out on whether Kliff Kingsbury's squad is the read deal or instead a paper tiger who will be more vulnerable against teams of Oklahoma's caliber than they have been against anyone on their early season schedule.
The Sooners will have plenty of fire in their belly, not only to bounce back from the tough RRS loss to Texas, but also to prove they are the team of the two that should be in the BCS mix when it's all said and done. Doing so is easier said than done, however, as Blake Bell has been middling in his audition as Landry Jones' replacement and the Texas Tech defense is often forgotten in the limelight of their explosive offense. In short, this one's as intriguing as they come and very difficult to call.
Our Prediction: The home field advantage and a huge chip on the shoulder are enough fuel to help Oklahoma pull out a hard-fought victory which changes the landscape of the Big 12.