Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from all of us at Our Daily Bears! This weekend is the last full week of games in the Big 12 for the season, starting with tonight's Texas Tech-Texas game in Austin. The conference championship will likely be decided with the 2 games next weekend but this weekend is key for teams jockeying for bowl positions. Before you engorge in turkey and stuffing and pie, here is your Big 12 preview.
TEXAS TECH (7-4, 4-4) @ TEXAS (7-3, 6-1)
Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium (Austin, TX)
Tonight, 6:30 PM CT, FS1
Line: Texas (-4.5)
Texas hosts Texas Tech tonight in what could be Mack Brown's final home game as Texas head coach. Both teams come into this game licking their wounds as Texas is coming off a thwacking at the hands of Oklahoma State while Tech has lost 4 straight following a 7-0 start. On paper, this is a matchup that clearly favors Texas. The Longhorns want to run the ball right down their opponent's throat and the Red Raiders are awful at defending that very thing. Tech is allowing nearly 300 rushing yards/game over the course of their current 4 game losing streak. If Texas can have similar success with Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron, it could be a very long night for Coach Bro's defense. However, Texas has had Case McCoy put the ball in the air 117 times in the last 3 games, with 3 TD passes to go along with 6 interceptions. It would play into Tech's hands if Texas decided to throw 40 times again in this game. On the other side of the ball, Baker Mayfield will make his 7th start at QB for Texas Tech. As usual, he will look for Jace Amaro as often as possible. Amaro is a matchup nightmare in the passing game and will likely be playing with a chip on his shoulder this week after inexplicably being left off the Mackey Award (Best TE) finalist list. It would serve the Red Raiders well to get a big lead early as they did against Baylor 2 weeks ago. It will be tougher for Texas to establish a solid ground attack if they are having to play from behind. I think the Red Raiders come out hot but Mayfield's knack for turning the ball over comes back to bite Tech. Texas wins a close one late.
Prediction: Texas 38 Texas Tech 35
For more on Texas Tech, check out Viva The Matadors, SB Nation's blog for the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
For more on Texas, check out each of the SB Nation blogs for the Texas Longhorns: Barking Carnival and Burnt Orange Nation.
KANSAS STATE (6-5, 4-4) @ KANSAS (3-8, 1-7)
Memorial Stadium (Lawrence, KS)
Saturday, 11:00 AM CT, FS1
Line: Kansas State (-16.5)
The 5th longest active rivalry in major college football is renewed in Lawrence on Saturday as Kansas State takes on Kansas. Kansas leads the Sunflower Showdown alltime 64-41-5 but Kansas State has had the upper hand in recent years. In fact, Bill Snyder has only lost to Kansas once since 1993. Since 1969, the winner of this game has been awarded with the Governor's Cup. All signs point to K-State retaining the Cup in 2013 as the Wildcats try to complete a strong second half of the season. K-State struggled defensively last week in their 41-31 loss to Oklahoma but facing the Kansas offense often provides a cure to defensive problems. The Jayhawks were only able to amass 279 total yards against a subpar Iowa State defense in last week's 34-0 loss. Unless RB James Sims can come up with a big performance in his final home game, KU's offense has little hope of establishing a consistent attack. When the Wildcats have the ball, I'd expect to see quite a bit more of Daniel Sams than K-State showed last week. Sams only ran for 7 yards on 3 carries as Jake Waters took a majority of the snaps once the Wildcats realized they could consistently throw over the top of Oklahoma's defense. When Waters is in the game, he'll be targeting Tyler Lockett on a regular basis. Lockett had a career day last week against OU with 12 catches for 278 yards and 3 TDs. Knowing this is a rivalry game, I'd expect the Jayhawks to come out ready to play but K-State will just have too much for KU. The SnyderCats win big on the road.
Prediction: Kansas State 42 Kansas 16
IOWA STATE (2-8, 1-7) @ WEST VIRGINIA (4-7, 2-6)
Milan Puskar Stadium (Morgantown, WV)
Saturday, 3:00 PM CT, FS1
Line: West Virginia (-7.5)
The final game on the schedule pits 2 teams who will not be moving onto bowl games in Iowa State and West Virginia. The Cyclones come in after finally getting their first conference win of the season, knocking off Kansas 34-0 on a frozen field in Ames last weekend. Iowa State has often looked better than their record would indicate this year and will be looking to establish some momentum heading into 2014 with a win over their new "rivals" West Virginia (Seriously. The Big 12 wants you to think these 2 teams are rivals). Amy Pagitt wonderboy Clint Trickett even proclaimed this week that "Iowa State is the greatest 2-9 team in the history of football." So I guess congrats Cyclones! West Virginia have had 2 weeks to recover from being the first team that is currently in the Big 12 to lose to Kansas in over 4 years. A lack of consistent execution across the board has been a real killer for Dana Holgorsen's team this year but WVU has been a completely different team in Morgantown this year. Go ask Oklahoma State just how easy it is to win at Mountaineer Field. The real key to this game will simply be which team decides to show up in a game that has no bearing on the Big 12 postseason picture. I think the Mountaineers will ride the home crowd to a season-ending win.
Prediction: West Virginia 30 Iowa State 21
For more on Iowa State, check out Wide Right & Natty Lite, SB Nation's blog for the Iowa State Cyclones.
For more on West Virginia, check out The Smoking Musket, SB Nation's blog for the West Virginia Mountaineers.