Thursday, November 12, 2009
Big 12 predictions, Week 11
By ESPN.com staff
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
The upset bug cropped up around the Big 12 last week with four underdogs claiming victories.
I was able to pick one of them with Kansas State beating Kansas -- a game I predicted on a lot of talk shows during the summer. And that was long before anybody thought the second version of Bill Snyder’s "Manhattan Miracle" could come to fruition this season.
I wasn’t as fortunate with victories by Colorado, Nebraska and Baylor. I was close to picking both Nebraska and Colorado but just wasn't comfortable enough to go out on the ledge with either of them.
Maybe I'll learn as the season continues.
Here are my picks.
Texas 45, Baylor 7: The Longhorns are cruising to the Big 12 title game and their trip north along Interstate 35 should be little more than a speed bump to get there. Mack Brown is 11-0 against the Bears and his teams have scored 62, 49, 56, 62 and 31 points in his five previous games at Floyd Casey Stadium. Look for Colt McCoy to have another big game against Baylor’s secondary, which was blistered for 468 yards by Blaine Gabbert last week. Texas has much better talent than Missouri and will make for a long day for Baylor defensive coordinator Brian Norwood.
Kansas State 24, Missouri 17: Bill Snyder has claimed 13 victories in a row against Missouri and needs another one on Saturday to keep his Big 12 North hopes alive. The Wildcats will try to wrap up a perfect home record as they look to control the game with a bruising running attack keyed by Daniel Thomas. Missouri has been more susceptible to the pass this season, but look for KSU to try to mash the Tigers inside. Special teams could be a difference in the game and KSU has the best weapon on the field in Brandon Banks. That should be enough to subdue the fading Tigers.
Iowa State 24, Colorado 21: The Cyclones are playing for a bowl berth and Colorado is trying to keep its flickering bowl hopes and North title aspirations alive. ISU’s key will be to get its running game going and let Austen Arnaud have some success throwing play-action passes. The home team has claimed the victory in this series in each of the past five seasons. I’m looking for that streak to hit six.
Nebraska 21, Kansas 16: Back in the summer, this was one of the most highly anticipated games of the conference for this season. Kansas’ recent four-game losing streak has diminished that excitement, but the Cornhuskers still need to win to keep their title hopes alive. Nebraska struggled offensively against Oklahoma, but likely won’t be tested as much in this game. Todd Reesing’s recent turnover binge has been the primary culprit in the Jayhawks’ recent skid, and they’ll be facing perhaps their toughest defensive challenge of that gauntlet when the Cornhuskers visit.
Oklahoma 34, Texas A&M 17: The battered psyche of Bob Stoops’ program will get a pick-me-up when the Aggies visit. Von Miller and A&M's pass rush will pressure Landry Jones and his patchwork offensive line, but look for the Sooners to run the ball consistently and to hit quick passes to exploit the weak A&M secondary. The Sooners’ defense should be able to dominate in the trenches and provide enough pressure to keep Jerrod Johnson out of rhythm.
Oklahoma State 41, Texas Tech 38: These two teams have staged some memorable games over the past few years, capped by the battle of the dueling sound bites in the memorable last matchup between Mike Gundy and Mike Leach in 2007. Look for more offensive fireworks in this game. Oklahoma State should have an edge at quarterback with Zac Robinson against whoever Leach picks. The key will be for OSU’s massive offensive line to keep pressure from Tech’s underrated front seven manageable. The Red Raiders are coming off a bye and have won four of their last five games, but the challenge of winning at Boone Pickens Stadium will be a little too much for them on Saturday night.
Last week: 3-3 (50 percent)
Season total: 59-21 (73.8 percent)