Big 12 picks: Not as easy as last week, for obvious reasons
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
The Big 12's record of 12-0 was impressive last week, but the first sweep in conference history should be taken with a huge grain of salt. Some of the opponents that the Big 12 teams beat barely had a pulse.
It will be a different story this week with more competitive games. I'm even picking a couple of Big 12 teams to lose. Here are my picks:
USF 23, Kansas 20 -- I still don't think the Jayhawks have enough of a ground attack to win what should be a tight defensive battle. Kansas QB Todd Reesing has been phenomenal this season, but his offense has got to be more balanced to expect a victory in this statement game for both programs. And don't be surprised if USF DE George Selvie is a disruptive force in this game against Kansas' young offensive tackles.
Iowa 27, Iowa State 14 -- Gene Chizik continued ISU's recent domination in the series with a 15-13 victory in Ames last season. But look for the Hawkeyes to return the favor with a convincing victory this season, mainly because of the tough inside running of Shonn Greene and Jewel Hampton against the Cyclones' undersized front.
Baylor 27, Washington State 17 -- This should be a good indicator of the relative strengths of the Big 12 and Pac-10 conferences when their respective cellar-dwellers meeting. Baylor QB Robert Griffin will be the difference in this one. Look for him to make a couple of big plays against a Washington State team that has been outscored 105-16 in its first two games, ranks last nationally passing efficiency and scoring defense and is next-to-last in total offense.
Missouri 41, Nevada 17 -- Chase Daniel will be explosive early and watching in a ball cap from the sidelines by the second half. The Tigers need to show some defensive improvement after struggling performances in their first two games and the return of S William Moore and LB Van Alexander certainly will help. They might have some trouble with underrated Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick, who repeatedly befuddled Texas Tech last week, but should easily prevail.
Nebraska 37, New Mexico State 17 -- The Aggies might have had a better chance to compete in this one before having their first game postponed because of weather concerns. New Mexico State QB Chase Holbrook will make some plays against Nebraska's developing defense, but not nearly enough. Nebraska has beaten the Aggies by a combined margin of 125-0 in two previous games in the series. Hal Mumme's offense will score this time, giving them a pyrrhic victory of sorts.
Oklahoma State 48, Missouri State 6 -- History was made last week when OSU's talented trio of Dez Bryant, Kendall Hunter and Zac Robinson became the first trio in Big 12 history to go for 200 yards rushing and receiving and 300 yards passing in the same game. Their numbers won't be as impressive against Terry Allen's team -- only because they likely won't be playing during the second half. OSU cruises in this one.
Texas Tech 61, SMU 20 -- Don't be surprised if this one lasts for more than four hours with all of the passes that will be thrown at Jones AT&T Stadium. Tech QB Graham Harrell will be intent on making up for a pedestrian performance last week in Nevada. And something tells me that Mike Leach is going to want to make a statement to June Jones about who has the most prolific passing offense in the Lone Star State. SMU has lost 10 straight games on the road and 12 in a row to Tech since last beating them in 1986.
Oklahoma 41, Washington 17 -- The Sooners' sizzling offense has hung half-a-hundred against each of their opponents this season. It won't be as easy this time around, but still a comfortable statement victory on the road -- something that OU didn't do very often last season. It will be interesting to watch multi-talented Washington QB Jake Locker against the speedy Sooner defense, keyed by emerging freshman LB Travis Lewis.
Last week: 12-0 (100 percent). Season: 23-1 (95.8 percent).