Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Big 12 Upset Alert: Week 10
By David Ubben
Each week, we pick the Big 12 game most likely to go the opposite way experts believe.
Like last week, there weren't a lot of great picks, but I narrowed it down to one.
My pick: Kansas at Baylor
Baylor hosts KU this week as an impressive 17-point favorite, but the recipe for an upset is everywhere in this game. First off, look simply at last year's game.
Baylor was better. Kansas was worse.
The Bears needed a big-time fourth-quarter comeback led by the best player in college football to escape the Jayhawks, who didn't win a Big 12 game last year, in overtime.
This year, I can confidently state that the best player in college football will not be available to rescue the Bears from an embarrassing loss if it gets behind late.
Kansas is clearly improving, and only one game all season has been out of hand at halftime. Coach Charlie Weis brings this up with rather troubling regularity in his meetings with the media, but the fact is, it does signify significant progress from a year ago.
Last year, Texas was the team needed late-game heroics to keep the Jayhawks 17-game Big 12 losing streak from ending. This week, it may very well end.
The biggest reason: James Sims. The Jayhawks running back returned from a three-game suspension and has been playing as good as any running back in the Big 12, including Oklahoma State's Joseph Randle. Among Big 12 teams, only Texas has been worse than Baylor at defending the run this year.
Sims racked up his fourth consecutive 100-yard game against the Longhorns, and a career-high 176 yards on 28 carries. Part of that success has been inputting dual-threat quarterback Michael Cummings to the offense. He's not going to offer much more than Dayne Crist did with his arm, but the threat of him running forces defenses to account for the rush and can clear things up a bit for Sims to do damage.
Kansas' improving defense will face a tough test against Baylor's defense, but No. 2 receiver Tevin Reese is banged up, too, and he's questionable for this week's game. Even if he plays, he might not be 100 percent, allowing the Jayhawks to focus a little more energy on the nation's leading receiver, Terrance Williams.
Kansas has inched closer and closer to ending that infamous streak. This could be the weekend it finally happens. If it does, Sims will be the reason why.