It all comes down to this. We've arrived at the final week of the regular season in the Big 12. One last weekend of games to ultimately decide our One* True Champion. Here's a look at the undercard prior to the main event at McLane Stadium on Saturday night:
Iowa State @ #3 TCU
Amon G. Carter Stadium (Fort Worth, TX)
11:00 AM CT, ABC
Line: TCU (-34)
Let's cut to the chase here: If TCU shows up ready to play and ready to make a statement, this game will be an absolute bloodbath. The one silver lining is that Paul Rhoads' teams have a history of pulling off massive upsets. When Rhoads was the defensive coordinator at Pittsburgh in 2007, his Panthers upset #2 West Virginia 13-9 to keep the Mountaineers out of that year's BCS Championship Game. Since taking over at Iowa State in 2009, he's had a few to add to the list, most notably a monster upset of #2 Oklahoma State in November 2011. But the Cyclone magic has not appeared in the last 2 seasons and there doesn't appear to be much hope in this one. Iowa State has struggled in the run game on both sides of the ball all season and TCU should dominate the line of scrimmage across the board. On top of all that, Trevone Boykin and the TCU offense will be looking for style points with the knowledge that Baylor, Florida State and Ohio State are all playing teams ranked in the top 15 this weekend. Gary Patterson won't let off the gas until the clock reads 0:00. As much as I'd love to see an upset happen, this game is going to get uuuuuuugly.
Prediction: TCU 83 Iowa State -4
Oklahoma State @ #20 Oklahoma
Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium (Norman, OK)
2:30 PM CT, FS1
Line: Oklahoma (-21)
The other game on the Big 12 schedule this week is the annual Bedlam game between our conference mates in that state to the north. Oklahoma is looking to finish the regular season on a strong note while OSU must win to secure a 9th consecutive bowl appearance. The quarterback situation has been a newsworthy subject for both teams of late. Oklahoma will again start Cody Thomas in place of the injured Trevor Knight. But in all honesty, Thomas' job will really just be handing off to Samaje Perine as often as possible. This will be Oklahoma's first game since Perine's NCAA-record 427 yard performance against Kansas. As for the Cowboys, Mike Gundy has still not "named" his starter at QB for Saturday although I would be shocked if we don't see Mason Rudolph again. Rudolph showed some real promise in OSU's loss to Baylor 2 weeks ago, igniting an offense that had struggled mightily behind the QB play of Daxx Garman. Real talk: If Gundy starts Garman over Rudolph, he should be universally lampooned for burning Rudolph's redshirt just for basically one game. I expect that the Cowboys will come ready to play and will keep it close throughout given that this is an intense rivalry game. In the end though, Oklahoma will wear down OSU up front with the constant ground attack and the Sooners prevail.
Prediction: Oklahoma 28 Oklahoma State 21