Big 12: Liam Coen

Who's hot and who's not in the Big 12

September, 19, 2008
9/19/08
11:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Here's a look at a few numbers and statistical trends that struck me while poring over media sheets in preparing for this weekend's games.

Sizzling: Big 12 quarterbacks. Nine of the NCAA's top 25 quarterbacks come from Big 12 teams heading into this week's action.

The number: 497. That's the number of yards needed by Graham Harrell to pass Kliff Kingsbury and become Texas Tech's all-time leading passer. Harrell has 11,933 yards, Kingsbury produced 12,429 yards in his career.

Three of the top four career leaders in FBS career touchdown passes will have a connection with the Big 12 on Saturday.

Here's a look at the players and who they will play on Saturday

TeamSchoolTD passesSaturday opponent
Graham HarrellTexas Tech97Massachusetts
Chase DanielMissouri72Buffalo
Rudy Carpenter Arizona State71Georgia
Chase ClementRice63at Texas
-- Compiled by Brad Edwards, ESPN research

Note: Massaschusetts QB Liam Coen has thrown 75 TD passes to lead all FCS quarterbacks heading into Saturday's game against Texas Tech.

Hot and Not

Hot: Baylor, whose 28-point victory over Washington State was its largest over a BCS opponent since beating Iowa State in 1996.

Not: Iowa State, which moved the ball inside the Iowa 30-yard line six times but produced only a field goal offensively.

Hot: Missouri's defense, which has run back an interception for a touchdown in four straight games.

Not: Kansas' defense, which allowed 31 unanswered points in South Florida's 37-34 victory last week.

Hot: Oklahoma State's defense, which limited Missouri State to 1-for-17 third-down conversions.

Not: Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant, who followed up his nine-reception, 236-yard, three-TD effort against Houston by dropping the only pass thrown to him against Missouri State.

Hot: Texas Tech's offense, which has scored at least 30 points in 19 of its last 21 games, including seven games in a row.

Not: Massachusetts, which has lost nine straight games against FBS teams since beating Ball State in the 1984 opener. The Minutemen's coach for that game was current UTEP athletic director and former Missouri coach Bob Stull.

Hot: Kansas, which has won 16 straight home games against nonconference opponents heading into Saturday's game against Sam Houston State.

Not: Sam Houston State, which has been outscored 165-27 in the last three games against Big 12 teams.

Hot: Missouri QB Chase Daniel, who has directed 13 straight scoring drives.

Not: Nebraska's secondary, which struggled with three pass interference calls last week.

Hot: Missouri's receiving corps, which posted three 100-yard receiving games against Nevada. Jeremy Maclin (172 yards), Chase Coffman (127) and Tommy Saunders (100) all reached the standard against the Wolf Pack.

Not: Iowa State, which has lost 11 straight games on the road heading into Saturday's game at UNLV.

Frigid: Texas' pass rush, which had produced fewer than two sacks in eight of its last 13 games.

Big 12 picks: Look for more struggles vs. Big East

September, 18, 2008
9/18/08
10:16
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

The Big 12 will be on display the next two nights as underdogs against two powerful Big East foes. After losing two games in six days to the Big East, the conference is looking for a quick turnaround.

Here are my picks:

West Virginia 33, Colorado 28: The Mountaineers have too much offensive firepower in this one, even with Colorado fans planning a "Blackout" and West Virginia offensive linemen worrying about Boulder's altitude in game preparation this week. The Buffaloes are still a little young to prevail, but will pick up some important lessons that could help them later in Big 12 play.

Connecticut 42, Baylor 17: The quick development of Baylor freshman QB Robert Griffin has given this game a little bit more sizzle than it might have had a couple of weeks ago. Baylor will be looking for its first road victory at a BCS opponent since 1996. But look for the Huskies to dominate inside because of the tough running of Donald Brown, cruising to their ninth-straight victory and second straight 4-0 start.

Missouri 57, Buffalo 20: The Bulls will be looking for their first 3-1 start since 1996. It won't happen here, however, because Missouri's potent offense is cruising, even if Gary Pinkel is claiming he can't find the off switch. The Tigers lead the nation with an average of 57.7 points per game and 10 yards per snap. It might just be a moral victory for Buffalo to keep Missouri from scoring every time they get the ball, considering that QB Chase Daniel has led Missouri on 13 straight scoring possessions over the last two games.

Miami 17, Texas A&M 7: Both teams have unsettled quarterback situations. Robert Marve and Jacory Harris have been alternating snaps for the Hurricanes. And the Aggies' starter is in flux as Stephen McGee is coming off a sprained shoulder after Jerrod Johnson's impressive relief work against New Mexico. Both teams have been offensively challenged, so look for points to be hard to come by. Even though A&M president and Miami native Elsa Murano has made beating "The U" a priority, the Aggies don't have enough firepower to do it.

Texas 48, Rice 17: The Longhorns will be looking for their 10th straight victory and 37th in the last 38 games against Rice since 1966. Look for the Longhorns to try and emphasize their running attack and their physical advantage in the trenches. Rice QB Chase Clement and WR James Casey, who is tied for first nationally in per-game receptions, could give the young Texas secondary some problems. But not that many.

Texas Tech 61, Massachusetts 10: Tech coach Mike Leach called out his quarterbacks and receivers this week -- and by inference QB Graham Harrell and WR Michael Crabtree -- for lack of production after beating SMU last week. Look for an inspired offense from the Red Raiders with a lot of points and yardage against the FCS Minutemen. Massachusetts QB Liam Coen has thrown 75 career touchdown passes, but will be challenged by a Tech defense that picked off five passes last week.

Kansas 45, Sam Houston State 10: After a disappointing defeat last week at South Florida, the Jayhawks are hoping to rebound and rebuild confidence in their running game at the same time. Sam Houston State hasn't played since beating East Central, 58-14, on Aug. 28. The Jayhawks will be looking for defensive improvement after failing to produce a turnover and allowing 31 straight points at one juncture last week. And they'll be challenged by Sam Houston State QB Rhett Bomar, who formerly played at Oklahoma and beat the Jayhawks while playing there.

UNLV 24, Iowa State 22: The Rebels enter this game brimming with confidence after their stunning overtime victory at Arizona State last week. It's helped them post a winning record for the first time since 2003 after failing to win more than two games in any of the last four seasons. The Cyclones are trying to bounce back after failing to score a touchdown in a loss at archrival Iowa. Iowa State remains the Big 12's most opportunistic team, but will need some big plays to win in the desert and snap Gene Chizik's 12-game road losing streak.

My pick last night: 0-1 (0 percent)

My picks for the season: 31-2 (93.9 percent)

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