Big 12 picks: Look for Sooners, Tigers to win showdowns
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Oklahoma 31, Texas 24 -- I'm expecting one of the best Red River Rivalry matchups in a long time. Both 5-0 teams could win Saturday with the right breaks. Texas needs to dominate in the trenches, particularly with their defensive front against Oklahoma's star-studded offensive line. If they can get to Sam Bradford consistently, they'll keep a young, untested secondary from being hung out to dry. The Sooners also have been susceptible to big plays on special teams, another area where the Longhorns appear to have an edge. Colt McCoy is playing like one of the best players in the country, but Oklahoma simply has too many weapons for the Longhorns. Look for the Sooners to win this one late, maybe on another dramatic Bradford-led fourth-quarter drive, perhaps? Anybody for a Corny Dog on the midway later?
Texas Tech 52, Nebraska 20 -- The Cornhuskers are finally playing a road game and this one isn't coming at a good time. Coming off their worst home loss in more than 50 seasons, they have to face a sizzling offense that hung 70 points on them during the last trip to Lubbock four seasons ago. It won't be that one-sided this season, but things could get out of hand early. Nebraska must play more disciplined and try to pressure Graham Harrell for any hope of winning. Tech's huge offensive line will make that difficult to happen.
Kansas 42, Colorado 27 -- Todd Reesing and Co. were lucky to escape Ames last week with a victory, but I bet they learned their lesson. The running game showed some resiliency after Jake Sharp was inserted into the lineup. And the defense showed some fire after going into a blitzing frenzy in the second half. The Jayhawks should have a favorable matchup against a makeshift Colorado line that will be called to protect struggling Buffaloes quarterback Cody Hawkins. Look for the Jayhawks to claim their 13th straight home victory, pushing them into a big game at Oklahoma next week.
Missouri 51, Oklahoma State 38 -- Two interesting offensive philosophies will clash here. Oklahoma State prefers controlling the ball while Missouri's quick-strike, no-huddle attack ranks next-to-last nationally in time of possession. Oklahoma State has to find some kind of pass rush to keep Chase Daniel honest. The Cowboys have notched only five sacks this season, so it could be a difficult proposition. The difference in this one will be defense, as Missouri safety William Moore will be rounding into shape and ready to provide a couple of key plays. And Oklahoma State's defense doesn't have enough playmakers to keep up with Missouri's array of offensive weapons.
Texas A&M 27, Kansas State 24 -- What a difference 10 years has made. In 1998, this game was for the Big 12 championship and produced one of the greatest games in conference history. Now, it won't even be televised. The Aggies should have enough offense to pull a mild home upset, taking advantage of a rushing game that showed flashes last week. Kansas State's run defense still is struggling and the Aggies won't be a good team for them to play. Mike Goodson and Jorvorskie Lane will mean the difference, although Josh Freeman and Brandon Banks will have their moments against a sputtering A&M secondary.
Baylor 31, Iowa State 28 -- Despite the expected last-place finishes for both teams, the matchup between Baylor's Robert Griffin and Iowa State's Austen Arnaud should be an entertaining battle of play-making quarterbacks. The Cyclones have been making a habit of forcing turnovers, even as they struggle to match up with most opponents. It could be even worse if starting free safety James Smith isn't ready to play. Look for Baylor's running game, keyed by Griffin and Jay Finley, to batter an Iowa State defense that ranks 93rd nationally against the run.
My predictions last week -- 6-0 (100 percent)
My predictions for the season -- 50-4 (92.6 percent)
BIG 12 SCOREBOARD
2:00 PM ET Washington State Colorado State 3:30 PM ET 20 Fresno State 25 USC 5:30 PM ET Buffalo San Diego State 9:00 PM ET Tulane Louisiana-Lafayette
6:00 PM ET Pittsburgh Bowling Green 9:30 PM ET Utah State 23 Northern Illinois
2:30 PM ET Marshall Maryland 6:00 PM ET Syracuse Minnesota 9:30 PM ET Brigham Young Washington
12:00 PM ET Rutgers Notre Dame 3:20 PM ET Cincinnati North Carolina 6:45 PM ET Miami (FL) 18 Louisville 10:15 PM ET Michigan Kansas State
11:45 AM ET Middle Tennessee Navy 3:15 PM ET Ole Miss Georgia Tech 6:45 PM ET 10 Oregon Texas 10:15 PM ET 14 Arizona State Texas Tech
12:30 PM ET Arizona Boston College 2:00 PM ET Virginia Tech 17 UCLA 4:00 PM ET Rice Mississippi State 8:00 PM ET 24 Duke 21 Texas A&M
12:00 PM ET Nebraska 22 Georgia 12:00 PM ET UNLV North Texas 1:00 PM ET Iowa 16 LSU 1:00 PM ET 19 Wisconsin 9 South Carolina 5:00 PM ET 5 Stanford 4 Michigan State 8:30 PM ET 15 UCF 6 Baylor
7:30 PM ET 13 Oklahoma State 8 Missouri 8:30 PM ET 12 Clemson 7 Ohio State