Big 12 Football Previews and Predictions for Week 11
Week 11 Big 12 Football Previews and Predictions
Week 11 of the Big 12 football schedule has some big implications in terms of how the conference race will shake out a month from now, with one marquee game leading the pack nationally. The Oklahoma Sooners and Baylor Bears face-off on Thursday evening in Waco in a game that's a proving ground for the dynamic and explosive Bears and a test for an Oklahoma team who has struggled at times defensively. Are the Bears for real or a paper tiger? Can the Sooners get back in the mix in the Big 12 race? Both questions will be answered by Friday.
The remainder of the schedule is a combination of teams on the bottom end of the conference standings and those still in the mix for a conference championship. The Texas Longhorns take their first ever trip to Morgantown to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers in a game that could easily turn into a trap for Mack Brown's team. TCU and Iowa State both look to get back on track after a rough start to 2013, as the Cyclones welcome the Horned Frogs to Ames for a noontime kickoff.
Kansas visits Stillwater to take on Oklahoma State in another likely snoozefest, while the Kansas State Wildcats take a trip to Lubbock to take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders to round out the schedule. Week 11 is the beginning of the home stretch in the Big 12 race. Check out the next few pages to see how we see these games shaking out!
NO. 21 OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS (7-1, 4-1) vs KANSAS JAYHAWKS (2-6, 0-5)
VEGAS LINE: Oklahoma State is a 31 point favorite.
TELEVISION: 4:00 PM EASTERN ON FOX SPORTS ONE
The No. 21 Oklahoma State Cowboys make the short trip to Lawrence to take on the floundering 2-6 Kansas Jayhawks who are 0-5 in Big 12 Conference play in the afternoon slate of games on Saturday. The Cowboys have won four straight since an odd early-season loss to West Virginia on the road, and are lighting up the scoreboard at a pace of 40.5 points per game in 2013. Senior Clint Chelf has emerged as the Pokes' starting QB and in spite of rough games against TCU and Iowa State, put in a strong dual-threat performance in Week 10 against Texas Tech. Chelf and his receivers should have no trouble at all picking apart a poor Kansas secondary, and the Cowboys' run game should fare equally as well against the 97th ranked Kansas defense.
There's not much positive to say about a Kansas team that only manages 292.5 yards of total offense per contest and gives up 32 points per game. They're the worst team in the Big 12 at this point, and there certainly won't be any sunshine at the end of the tunnel for them on Saturday afternoon.
OUR PREDICTION: Oklahoma State covers with ease and is playing the 2nd stringers by the 2nd half.
TCU HORNED FROGS (3-6, 1-5) vs IOWA STATE CYCLONES (1-7, 0-5)
VEGAS LINE: TCU is a 7.5 point favorite.
TELEVISION: 12:00 NOON EASTERN ON FOX SPORTS 1
The 3-6 TCU Horned Frogs limp into Ames, Iowa on Saturday to take on the 1-7 Iowa State Cyclones in the least sexy of the Big 12 matchups taking place in Week 11. Even with the return of starting quarterback Casey Pachall, the Horned Frogs' offense has been stagnant to say the least, scoring only 44 points over the past three games. The Frogs are 95th in the country in average points scored (23.4) and are looking for a spark from somewhere, anywhere, to get back in the win column.
Iowa State hasn't won since Week 3 in a non-conference tilt against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane and is fresh off a 41-7 beating at the hands of the Kansas State Wildcats. The Cyclones are in a similar predicament on the offensive side of the ball with the nation's 97th ranked offense (23.1 points per game). This one has plenty of potential to be a low-scoring affair with whoever can grab the momentum early being the most likely to come out on top.
PREDICTION: We'll go against the line on this one, and give Iowa State the benefit of the doubt with home field on their side and a chip on their shoulder.
TEXAS LONGHORNS (6-2, 5-0) vs WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS (4-5, 2-4)
VEGAS LINE: Texas is a 7 point favorite.
TELEVISION: 7:00 PM EASTERN ON FOX
The 6-2 Texas Longhorns take their first trip ever to Morgantown to take on the 4-5 West Virginia Mountaineers on Saturday evening in a contest that has trap game written all over it. It's the longest road trip of the season for Mack Brown's team who is still battling some lingering injuries, but has played some solid football as of late, especially in the trenches, in wins over TCU and Kansas. Winning in Morgantown is never an easy task, especially for a team that's never encountered the liquored-up Mountaineers faithful. Texas will need to grab momentum early here, and keep it, to escape (literally) with a victory.
West Virginia has every opportunity imaginable in this one to steal a victory, get back to .500 and inch one step closer to bowl eligibility. A hard-fought 30-27 win over TCU in Week 10 could have given Dana Holgorsen's squad just the confidence boost they need after three consecutive losses to teams that were simply more talented. Clint Trickett will have to play a full 60 minutes of solid football to make the Texas defense sweat, but in a friendly environment, this isn't out of the realm of possibility.
OUR PREDICTION: This one's a toss up. Whoever grabs momentum early has a defined and sustainable advantage. Coin flip.
No. 25 TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (7-2, 4-2) vs KANSAS STATE WILDCATS (4-4, 2-3)
VEGAS LINE: Texas Tech is a 2.5 point favorite.
TELEVISION: 12:00 NOON EASTERN ON ABC
Bill Snyder's Kansas State Wildcats make the trip to Lubbock to take on the No. 25 Texas Tech Red Raiders in one of the early games scheduled on Saturday. The Wildcats easily dispatched Iowa State 41-7 in Week 10 and are playing much better football as of late behind the dynamic rushing duo of Daniel Sams and Jon Hubert. Since taking over for Jake Waters at QB, Sams has been one of the more surprising players in the Big 12 and has the chance to prove a point against a solid Red Raiders defense on Saturday.
The Red Raiders have suffered back-to-back losses to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State and will be looking to get back on track, especially on the offensive side of the ball. The Wildcats' 32-ranked defensive unit promises to be tested early and often by Tech signal caller Davis Webb who already has 15 touchdowns on the season. A win against K-State would be huge for Kliff Kingsbury's team as they move towards a big November 16th matchup with Baylor at home.
PREDICTION: Tech's offense will be too much for the K-State secondary and they won't be able to score often enough to keep up. Tech gets back on track and notches their 8th win of the season.
NO. 6 BAYLOR BEARS (7-0, 4-0) vs NO. 10 OKLAHOMA SOONERS (7-1, 4-1)
VEGAS LINE: Baylor is a 14.5 point favorite.
TELEVISION: 7:30 PM EASTERN ON FOX SPORTS
One of the nation's two marquee games this week matches up the No. 6 Baylor Bears and the No. 10 Oklahoma Sooners in a battle with all kinds of implications. The Bears are looking to prove they aren't a paper tiger who can win on the biggest stage in front of a primetime national audience, while the Sooners are looking to keep positive forward momentum and keep building toward a possible last-ditch Big 12 Conference championship run.
This one's 100% about the battle between the top-ranked Baylor defense and an Oklahoma defensive front and secondary unit which have been vulnerable at times this season. Baylor QB Bryce Petty is starting to be mentioned as a dark horse candidate for the Heisman Trophy, and with another big performance on Saturday night, will be impossible to keep out of the conversation.
Oklahoma will need a big game out of the defense, but also out of Blake Bell, who hasn't quite lived up to what was expected of him this season. The potential is there, now's the time for him to shine and lead his team to their biggest victory of 2013, but it'll be far from easy.
OUR PREDICTION: Baylor takes full advantage of the opportunity to make a statement and does, edging closer toward being a part of the nation's elite this season.