West Virginia @ #5 TCU
Amon G. Carter Stadium (Fort Worth, TX)
6:30 PM CT (Thu.), FS1
Line: TCU (-13)
TCU is blacking out their stadium on a Thursday night for a primetime national TV game. WHO WOULD HAVE EVER THOUGHT OF THAT? (Full disclosure: Baylor definitely wasn't the first to do it either) The Frogs look to push the longest winning streak in the conference to 15 games while the Mountaineers are still looking for their first Big 12 win as they finish up a particularly brutal portion of their schedule having already played at Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and at Baylor. The West Virginia defense looked to be among one of the strongest units in the country at the outset of the season but injuries to key pieces in the secondary, including All-American Karl Joseph, have hampered their effectiveness as they have allowed over 46 ppg in their three conference losses. Enter Trevone Boykin and Josh Doctson in the picture and this has the makings of another rough evening for the WVU defense. Another thing that makes this a daunting task for West Virginia is that TCU has been absolutely ridiculous at home of late. The Frogs are on a 10 game winning streak at Amon Carter and bludgeon opponents to the tune of 51-16 on average over that span. In order to have a chance in this game, the Mountaineers are going to have to establish a more consistent running game with Wendell Smallwood and Rushel Shell and they'll need to get the good version of Skyler Howard instead of the Skyler Howard that gets the occasional bout of Johnny Manziel Arm Punt Syndrome. The Mountaineers are going to have to score in bunches to keep up with TCU in Fort Worth. And while I think they'll have some success, the consistency is just not there for me to seriously think that they can pull off the upset.
Prediction: TCU 49 West Virginia 33
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#12 Oklahoma State @ Texas Tech
Jones AT&T Stadium (Lubbock, TX)
2:30 PM CT, ESPN
Line: Oklahoma State (-2.5)
First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers remain with the Oklahoma State family after the horrific tragedy that took place on campus in Stillwater last Saturday. If you'd like to donate to the Lucas family that lost their 2 year old son Nash in the accident, OSU has established a GoFundMe that has raised over $53,000 this week to provide assistance to the family in this time of unimaginable grief. On the football field, OSU somehow played well last week despite the tragedy in dispatching of Kansas 58-10 to improve to 7-0 on the season. The Cowboys have been strong defensively all season long led by Emmanuel Ogbah and Jimmy Bean up front. Offensively, it's been a bit of a different story as erratic QB play and a fairly pedestrian running game have combined to give OSU a very inconsistent attack. Mason Rudolph had a nice game through the air and they seem to have figured out a nice red zone package with J.W. Walsh subbing in to run the zone read. Still, the Cowboys average just 3.7 yards/carry on the season but they make get a boost going up against a Texas Tech defense that gave up over 400 yards on the ground at Oklahoma last week. Combine that with turnover problems from the offense, and you understand how Tech got walloped by 36 in Norman. However, the Red Raiders have been much more explosive in Lubbock this season than in other stadiums, scoring over 52 points in each of their four home games to this point. Pat Mahomes has been particularly strong at home throwing 15 TD passes to just 1 interception at Jones AT&T Stadium. I think this could be another back and forth type of game (every Tech game is, it seems) but I just get the sense that OSU's luck in close games is due to run out. Give me the Red Raiders to give the Cowboys their first L.
Prediction: Texas Tech 42 Oklahoma State 41
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#14 Oklahoma @ Kansas
Memorial Stadium (Lawrence, KS)
2:30 PM CT, FS1
Line: Oklahoma (-40)
I would ask you parents out there to talk to your kids about the dangers of Kansas but then I remembered that we don't talk about Kansas on this here Big 12 Preview. Here's the greatest dog Halloween costume idea though.
Prediction: Oklahoma 62 Kansas 11
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Texas @ Iowa State
Jack Trice Stadium (Ames, IA)
6:00 PM CT, FS1
Line: Texas (-6)
Actual quote from Texas DE Paul Boyette in Monday's press conference: "Iowa State's not a very good team." BRUH. YOU ARE 3-4. The Longhorns have won their last two games and have looked much improved in that span, especially defensively, but still. What he said might be accurate but if you're Texas in 2015, you can't go around saying crap like that. Iowa State now has their own issues to deal with as Paul Rhoads decided to fire OC Mark Mangino following the Cyclones' loss to Baylor last Saturday in the ultimate "It's not my fault! Blame him!" move. ISU was without leading WR Allen Lazard in that game but he is expected to play on Saturday with new QB Joel Lanning at the controls. Lanning subbed in for Sam Richardson last week and gave the offense a spark as he and RBs Mike Warren and Josh Thomas were pretty effective in the read option. Expect for the Cyclones to stick to that game plan against UT to minimize the number of times Lanning is asked to throw downfield. Honestly, this could be the quickest game in the Big 12 this season because both teams will keep the ball on the ground. Texas has decided that the forward pass is worthless so they've basically abandoned it completely. In the last two games, the Longhorns have run the ball 111 times compared to just 28 pass attempts. Jerrod Heard, Tyrone Swoopes, D'Onta Foreman, and Johnathan Gray are basically the only UT players that touch the ball on offense. I think the team that comes out of the gate strong and gets the early lead in this game will be at a particular advantage because it will force the opponent to throw more than they wish to do. As good as the Paul Boyette schadenfreude would be if the Cyclones could actually win this game, I just think that Texas is going to be able to sneak out of Ames with a win on a late defensive stop. Iowa State could very well make this interesting though. After all, it's a Halloween night in Ames. What could go wrong, Texas?
Prediction: Texas 24 Iowa State 20