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Big 12 Preview: Things Are Happening

All 10 teams in action this week, beginning with OU/Iowa St on Thursday night

this guy is a thing apparently
this guy is a thing apparently
Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

#12 Oklahoma @ Iowa State
Jack Trice Stadium (Ames, IA)
11/3, 6:30 PM CT, ESPN
Line: Oklahoma (-20.5)

Thursday night football Big 12 style! Without all the super dumb color rush uniforms. Oklahoma travels to Iowa State tonight for a battle with the 1-7 Cyclones, but beware a weeknight conference game in Ames (see Oklahoma State 2011). The big storyline in this game is moreso who isn't going to be playing rather than who is. Oklahoma RB Joe Mixon was suspended by Bob Stoops for this game due to an incident with a parking attendant on campus this week (because everyone loves parking on campus!). Coupled with the lingering injury to Samaje Perine, the Sooners will be going with third stringers and walk-ons in the backfield in this one. If ISU has any shot at making a game of this, their defensive front will need to hold its own against a shorthanded Sooner ground game. Of course, that's assuming they have any success slowing down Dede Westbrook who has amassed a mere 881 yards and 11 touchdown grabs in five Big 12 games. Oklahoma has weapons offensively and I expect that they'll be able to score at will, even without their two horses in the backfield. The key for Iowa State in this game will be their offense, which at times has shown signs of quality play. The Cyclone offense seems to go as Joel Lanning goes, and he should have some opportunities against an OU secondary that has regularly been prone to getting burned downfield. Allen Lazard is a big play weapon in the passing game for ISU so expect to see him get some targets on some deep balls early as ISU looks to get early momentum. This feels like a weird game for OU so I wouldn't be shocked if this was closer than expected in the 1st half, but the talent disparity is still too great for me to seriously consider the Cyclones working some Ames magic.

Prediction: Oklahoma 47 Iowa State 24

Texas @ Texas Tech
Jones AT&T Stadium (Lubbock, TX)
11:00 AM CT, FS1
Line: Texas (-3.5)

Texas Tech gave up just 24 points? In a double overtime game on the road? And you thought the Cubs winning the World Series was the weirdest thing you'd seen all week. The Red Raiders look to build off of their somewhat surprising win in Fort Worth as they host a Texas team that didn't play last week. Just trust me on that one. Although Tech had success containing TCU's ground game last week, they'll be facing a bit of a different animal in D'Onta Foreman who put up huge numbe-NO I SAID TEXAS DIDN'T PLAY LAST WEEK. Tech had a miserable time trying to slow down Oklahoma's running game a couple weeks ago and despite their improvements last week, I just need to see more than one week for me to believe this thing is actually a competent defensive unit. Texas has big play capability with Foreman and also with a young stable of speedy wide receivers. So basically this is all going to come down to Pat Mahomes again! That lucky guy. Mahomes has been pretty banged up over the last few weeks and left the field last weekend in some discomfort but is expected to play on Saturday. The Longhorn defense has been prone to giving up big plays in bunches through the air this season and obviously Tech is going to look to exploit UT in that regard as a team that throws the ball more than any other in FBS. One area that Texas excels though is with their pass rush. If they can get to Mahomes, they can wreak havoc on Tech's high flying offense. Texas LB Breckyn Hager ignited some controversy earlier this week by saying that their goal was to "injure the quarterback". Me thinks Mahomes will be ready to play and Tech wins a crazy ass high scoring game in Lubbock.

Prediction: Texas Tech 53 Texas 50

#22 Oklahoma State @ Kansas State
Bill Snyder Family Stadium (Manhattan, KS)
2:30 PM CT, ABC
Line: Kansas State (-3)

Oklahoma State pulled a bit of a stunner last week to get back into the top 25 for the first time since Week 2. Not in the fact that they beat West Virginia at home, but the fact that they put away the Mountaineers so decisively. The Cowboys have quietly worked their way to 6-2 and would be much more in the national conversation had they not been absolutely robbed by the officials in their "loss" to Central Michigan. But ever since a loss to Baylor in late September, OSU has found its sea legs in its running game to go along with the lethal combination of Mason Rudolph and James Washington. They'll have a tough task to keep things rolling this week as they go into the Little Apple and face off with a K-State squad that also appears to be picking up some midseason momentum. The Wildcats held on for a 31-26 win last weekend in Ames behind a #gritty performance from QB Jesse Ertz who threw for 151 yards and ran for 106. K-State will try to control the clock as they typically do against an opponent that runs an up tempo spread (which is basically all of their conference schedule), and they should be able to have some success on the ground against a Cowboy defense that has been okay in defending the run but is certainly no iron curtain. But I keep coming back to the fact that this is going to be Rudolph and Washington going up against a KSU secondary that gives up 8.2 yards/pass. I just think that OSU will make enough big plays to offset potential issues up front and they'll be able to sneak out with a win.

Prediction: Oklahoma State 27 Kansas State 24

Kansas @ #14 West Virginia
Milan Puskar Stadium (Morgantown, WV)
6:00 PM CT, ESPN2
Line: West Virginia (-34.5)

That looks like a really big line, they said. West Virginia probably can't cover that many points, they said. Homie this is road Kansas. ALWAYS bet against road Kansas.

Prediction: West Virginia 45 Kansas 7