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Big 12 Football Week 12 Preview

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Baylor and Oklahoma spotlight an exciting slate of Big 12 games!

Baylor v Oklahoma Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images

Kansas @ #22 Oklahoma State

Saturday, November 16th 11:00 AM CT, FS1

Kansas (3-6, 1-5) is in do or die mode for making a bowl game this season. Lose, and the Jayhawks are once again left out. Win, and Kansas has to get two more Ws in a row. And that’s a daunting task with the competition that remains, starting with #22 Oklahoma State (6-3, 3-3). As far as Baylor is concerned, they want Oklahoma State to win this game to keep another top 25 win on their resume. And it shouldn’t be too hard for the Cowboys to do just that with Chuba Hubbard running the ball against a weak Kansas defense. Expect OSU to slightly cover the 17.5 point line.

38-20 Oklahoma State

TCU @ Texas Tech

Saturday, November 16th 11:00 AM CT, ESPN2

TCU (4-5, 2-4) is coming off of an overtime loss to the Baylor Bears, something Texas Tech (4-5, 2-4) knows a thing or two about. Both of these teams desperately need this win to keep their postseason hopes from being out on life support. TCU has to win two of their remaining three games, including @ Texas Tech, @ Oklahoma, and West Virginia. With that lineup of games, this Tech game seems incredibly important as one of the two more likely victories the Horned Frogs could grab. On the flip side, Texas Tech also needs two wins amongst their three remaining games, which include TCU, Kansas State, and @ Texas. So similar situation, this game is probably one of the most winnable left for the Red Raiders. As it stands, TCU is a 3 point favorite in Lubbock. And it’s easy to understand why, given how well TCU played—especially defensively—against Baylor last weekend. However, Tech looked impressive last week as well with a dominating road win over West Virginia. Still, quarterback Max Duggan has started hitting a bit of a stride for TCU (even with some sloppy, freshman plays and drops from his receivers intermixed). TCU gets enough done on offense for their defense to win the day against Tech.

17-13 TCU

#19 Texas @ Iowa State

Saturday, November 16th 2:30 PM CT, FS1

#19 Texas (6-3, 4-2) catapulted back into the rankings after an impressive win against Kansas State last week. They also kept their Big 12 Championship Game hopes alive. They now have to travel to Iowa State (5-4, 3-3) who is still fighting for bowl eligibility after dropping a heartbreaker in Norman. As far as Baylor’s conference championship game hopes go, the Bears would certainly like an Iowa State victory in this one. A win by Iowa State means Baylor just has to win one of its remaining three games to lock up a trip to the conference championship (those last three games include Oklahoma, Texas, and @Kansas). However, as far as the playoff is concerned, Baylor may want Texas to be ranked highly when they face off next weekend to help boost their resume. Still, many believe that Baylor has to win out regardless, so opponent rankings might be of less significance. For better or worse, this game won’t be decided by what Baylor wants to happen so all that discussion has little impact on this game’s outcome. Rather, Iowa State has shown a lot potential in flashes this season and they seem due for a big flash. Quarterback Brock Purdy and running back Breece Hall have made a dynamic offensive duo, and the Cyclones boast a strong defense. Texas’s Sam Ehlinger looked better against KState than the week prior’s loss to TCU, but he still threw only one touchdown and an interception. The spread for this game is quite surprising on first look, with unranked Iowa State listed as seven point favorites over Texas at the writing of this article. A critical component of this game and spread could also be the weather, which is supposed to be pretty frigid in Ames. I like Iowa State to win, covering by exactly a touchdown.

35-28 Iowa State

West Virginia @ #24 Kansas State

Saturday, November 16th 2:30 PM CT, ESPN

West Virginia (3-6, 1-5) is in a similar situation to Kansas, where they must win their remaining three games to make a bowl game. #24 Kansas State (6-3, 3-3) is trying to boost its position in the Big 12 for a better bowl bid. Given the trouncing West Virginia received from Tech last weekend, it seems very unlikely that they can win all of their games @ Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and @ TCU. In fact, I have doubts they’ll win even a single one of those remaining games. Similar to some of the matchups above, Baylor’s interest in this game lies with keeping a ranked win on the resume. So Baylor fans ought to be rooting for the Wildcats, who should be able to take care of business without much issue, covering the 14 point spread.

27-13 Kansas State

#10 Oklahoma @ #13 Baylor

Saturday, November 16th 6:30 PM CT, ABC

THE BIG ONE. #13 Baylor (9-0, 6-0) hosts #10 Oklahoma (8-1, 5-1) in a primetime matchup that many view as a de facto playoff elimination game. There are boat loads of hype surrounding this game, and I’m not just talking about sailgating. McLane Stadium is completely sold out:

The student section will be jam packed with 1000 overflow tickets distributed:

Oh yeah, and a little thing called College Gameday will be in town:

Will all of this added hype work to motivate the Bears or distract them? Time will tell, but one thing is for sure: this matchup will be a battle of strength on strength and weakness on weakness. The Baylor defense has been the very best in the Big 12 this season, bailing the Baylor offense out in game after game recently. They now have to do their best to hold tight once again against one of the nation’s premiere offenses, led by Sooners quarterback Jalen Hurts. On the flip side, Oklahoma’s defense has absolutely been a liability, especially in the secondary. However, Baylor’s offense has been extremely stagnant the last two games. Part of that has been some troubling offensive line play, which has been penalty prone and given quarterback Charlie Brewer very little pocket protection. Luckily, starting tackle Connor Galvin is finally expected to be back at full strength this weekend after injury has held him out for over a month. If Brewer can be given even a second or two more in the pocket and a few less sacks, that could make a massive difference against a bad OU secondary, giving Brewer the ability to push the ball down field. It was quite apparent in the TCU game that he was unable to do that, with only a few passes even being attempted beyond the sticks.

Another key matchup will be on the other side of the ball, as Baylor defensive back Jameson Houston will most likely be tasked with shutting down star OU receiver CeeDee Lamb. Houston has been incredibly effective at stopping opposing star receivers, holding TCU’s Jalen Reagor and Oklahoma State’s Tylan Wallace well below their season averages. If CeeDee Lamb has even a below average game, the rest of Baylor’s defense will be able to step up and force the Sooners into costly turnovers, which OU has been particularly prone to the last couple games. Between the Kansas State and the Iowa State games, Oklahoma has lost the turnover margin 4-0. If Baylor’s defense starts to frustrate Hurts and Baylor itself stops giving up weird, fluke turnovers, the Bears will have Oklahoma right where they want them on the turnover margin. Picking Baylor hasn’t cost me yet, so I’m not about to start picking against them now. Baylor’s defense makes a statement by holding OU to under 30 and that gives Baylor’s offense just enough leverage to get it done.

28-24 Baylor