Another Saturday in October, another big week of games in the Big 12. The headline game this weekend is pretty clearly the game at McLane Stadium but there are a couple other interesting games in the conference as well. With everyone in action this week except for Kansas State, let's get to the picks.
West Virginia @ Texas Tech
Jones AT&T Stadium (Lubbock, TX)
11:00 AM CT, FS1
Line: West Virginia (-6)
Our first game of the day has the makings of a good ol' West Texas shootout as West Virginia travels to Lubbock to face a Texas Tech team that is in desperate need of a win to keep reasonable hope of a bowl game alive. Both teams rank near the top of FBS in passing yards per game and this game should do nothing but inflate those numbers for Clint Trickett and Davis Webb. For Texas Tech to have a successful showing, they have got to win the turnover battle and limit their penalty yards, especially on defense. Both of these have been a major weakness for the Red Raiders and the fans in Lubbock are just waiting for Kliff Kingsbury's squad to show that they can turn the corner. If Webb can manage to get in a rhythm early and avoid the costly interceptions, Tech has every reason to believe that they can win this game at home. WVU hits the Big 12 road for the first time this season and Trickett will look to get the ball to his big play guys Kevin White and Mario Alford. The Mountaineers could have a strong day through the air with those dynamite WRs against a suspect Texas Tech secondary. This game has the potential to get really weird with it being an 11:00 AM kick in Lubbock with two teams that aren't exactly known for defensive prowess. In the end, I trust WVU's defense to get one more stop than Tech's defense and the Mountaineers walk away with a high scoring win. At least Tech students get waffles though.
Prediction: West Virginia 48 Texas Tech 41
Texas v. #11 Oklahoma
Cotton Bowl (Dallas, TX)
11:00 PM CT, ABC
Line: Oklahoma (-16.5)
The annual AT&T Red River
Shootout Rivalry Showdown goes down in Dallas as Texas and Oklahoma provide a nice undercard to the main event happening in Waco at 2:30. The Sooners are looking to regroup following a somewhat surprising 37-33 loss to TCU in Fort Worth last Saturday. On the other side, I looked on the Internet and Texas is actually still going by the name Texas and they still got beat by 3 touchdowns by Baylor. BUT I DIGRESS. The key to this game will be the ability of Texas' defense to slow down a powerful Oklahoma running game. The Longhorns have struggled against good running teams, especially in the 2nd half when they can be worn down. If Charlie Strong's D can force Trevor Knight into obvious passing situations, Texas will have some success with 1-on-1 matchups in the secondary. I'd look for OU to lean on freshman RB Samaje Perine early and often in this game. When Texas has the ball, QB Tyrone Swoopes simply has to throw the ball more effectively than he has to this point. The UT offensive line showed signs of improvement last week which allowed the Horns to run for 190 yards against Baylor but they'll have to make some plays in the passing game to keep the Oklahoma defense honest. Texas inexplicably ran away with this game a year ago behind a solid performance from Case McCoy and a touchdown from both their defense and special teams. It will take a similar performance this year to repeat the result but I don't see that happening with the Sooners in a bounceback spot. OU reclaims the lovely Golden Hat, modeled below by our boy Case.
Prediction: Oklahoma 30 Texas 6
Toledo @ Iowa State
Jack Trice Stadium (Ames, IA)
2:30 PM CT
Line: Iowa State (-3)
Iowa State steps out of conference for a little #MACtion as the Toledo Rockets head to Ames. For some reason, the Cyclones love to play non-conference games against teams that are capable of beating them but not names that a casual observer would note as being an "impressive win". Example: the Week 1 mauling they received from North Dakota State. Toledo rolls in with a perfect 3-0 record in the MAC but have been mauled by the two stronger opponents they faced in non-conference (Mizzou and Cincinnati). The Rockets bring in a well balanced offense and are more than capable of moving the ball up and down the field against an improved but still porous Iowa State defense. The problem for Toledo will be the matchup on the other side of the ball. ISU has seen most of its offensive success this season through the air and they will be going up against the 125th ranked pass defense in the country. This sets up to be a big day for Sam Richardson and his cast of wide receivers led by Allen Lazard and Jarvis West. This is a critical game for the Cyclones if they want to get to 6 wins and I think they click enough offensively to get a win in their McDonald's-approved uniforms.
Prediction: Iowa State 35 Toledo 24
#16 Oklahoma State @ Kansas
Memorial Stadium (Lawrence, KS)
3:00 PM CT, FS1
Line: Oklahoma State (-21)
Oklahoma State continues its climb up the Top 25 in Lawrence to tangle with the Jayhawks. The Cowboys are coming off a pair of home games in which they were sluggish out of the gates but pulled away in the 2nd half against both Texas Tech and Iowa State. This is a problem that shouldn't cause them any trouble against Kansas but the meat of their schedule is right around the corner. It is also going to be interesting to watch QB Daxx Garman in the Jackpot offense (seriously every pass play is a deep ball) as he has struggled with interceptions of late. As long as OSU gets the ball in the hands of Tyreek Hill as much as possible, they'll be just fine. As for Kansas, they showed some spunk in the 2nd half of a 33-14 loss in Morgantown last Saturday under new interim HC Clint Bowen. The problem for the Jayhawks continues to be an anemic offensive attack that probably won't see any signs of relief this week against a strong Oklahoma State defensive front. The Cowboys are prone to breakdowns in the secondary but LOL who are we kidding, this is Kansas we're talking about here. This has all the makings of an OSU blowout but I think KU hangs around long enough to get a late touchdown to backdoor cover as the Cowboys look ahead to a big game next weekend at TCU.
Prediction: Oklahoma State 34 Kansas 14