What to watch in the Big 12: Week 7

October, 14, 2010
10/14/10
10:15
AM ET
Columnist Ivan Maisel will be taking in the Huskers and Horns in Lincoln on Saturday. I'll be in College Station on Saturday to see Missouri and Texas A&M. Here's what I'll be watching for during this weekend's games across the Big 12.

1. The crowd in Nebraska. Athletic director Tom Osborne sent out an e-mail this week requesting that Nebraska fans uphold their reputation as the greatest fans in college football, being loud but also respectful to the Texans ready to invade Lincoln. They'll no doubt be loud, and I don't expect any serious incidents, but the environment in Lincoln should be something to see.

[+] EnlargeTaylor Martinez
Peter G. Aiken/Getty ImagesThe Texas defense will have to find a way to slow down Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez.
2. T-Defense vs. T-Magic. Texas is one of a handful of teams across the country with the personnel to completely limit Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez's effectiveness, most notably his speed. Do they keep him from getting loose, or will we see him streaking into the end zone alone beyond the defense once again?

3. D-Train back on the tracks. Daniel Thomas hasn't topped 100 yards in his last two games, including a 63-yard, 22-carry performance against Nebraska last week. Thursday night's game could be a chance for him to change that and get back on track for a second consecutive Big 12 rushing title.

4. Oklahoma in the fourth quarter. The Sooners have had big leads against Utah State, Air Force, Cincinnati and Texas, but let all four creep back into the game in the fourth quarter. The Sooners look likely to open up another big lead, but will they continue their play into the fourth quarter, a period that's seen them get outscored 51-17 in their first five games?

5. Texas A&M turnovers. The Aggies are turning the ball over at a troubling pace, with six more turnovers (18) than any team in the Big 12. Continuing that trend is the surest way to lose to Missouri on Saturday.

6. Hips don't lie. Blaine Gabbert will probably be in pain on Saturday, playing through a hip pointer. He played with an injured ankle last season, but will this injury have any noticeable effect on his play?

7. Who gets the stops? There's going to be a lot of scoring in Oklahoma State's game against Texas Tech. The winner will most likely be the team who makes the most -- and the most timely -- stops. Including turnovers, that's what will decide this one.

8. Buffaloes stampede. Colorado has gotten the running game going in its last two wins, topping 200 yards on the ground against Hawaii and Georgia. Baylor is giving up just under four yards a carry and over 150 yards a game. Both quarterbacks struggled against Missouri last week, but if Rodney Stewart gets going, Colorado will have a great chance to get the win.

9. What's he got for us next? Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin had 380 yards passing against Kansas, and followed it up with 384 against Texas Tech in a loss. Colorado ranks ninth in the Big 12 in pass defense. Is RG3 bringing something else big to Boulder?

10. Get the ball to your backs. Oklahoma State and Texas A&M have two of the best backs in the league in Kendall Hunter and Christine Michael, but both have tendencies to get one-dimensional for long stretches. Both are matched up against quality Big 12 opponents, and handing the ball to Hunter and Michael has to happen for both to get wins.

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