Big 12 predictions, Week 9

October, 29, 2009
10/29/09
9:00
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

We're awaiting the game of the season in the Big 12 South as Texas visits Oklahoma State on Saturday.

First place in the South Division will be up for grabs, among other things, as Mack Brown will attempt to stretch his winning streak against the Cowboys.

And me, I'm just trying to figure out what Texas A&M will do this week.

For some reason, I just can’t figure out Mike Sherman’s team. I’ve been wrong on them the last four weeks. If it's any consolation, a lot of others are with me.

Let’s see how things break out this week. I’m confident I’ll get them right this time around.

Here are my predictions for this week:

Nebraska 24, Baylor 14: Nebraska’s sporadic offense should have enough production to beat the Bears as the Cornhuskers will turn things around on the road after two disappointing home losses. Whoever plays at quarterback for Nebraska has to do a better job after the Cornhuskers committed eight turnovers last week in their loss to Iowa State. But the Cornhuskers’ defense should have a big edge against Baylor’s struggling offense, which will be piloted by freshman quarterback Nick Florence.

Missouri 31, Colorado 21: The slumping Tigers will turn things around, snapping a three-game losing streak after starting the season 4-0. Colorado’s sputtering passing attack won’t be able to take advantage of the Tigers’ biggest defensive weakness in the secondary. Colorado’s offense struggled against Kansas State after the Buffaloes' first possession and will likely falter again against the Tigers, who have recent history on their side. Missouri has beaten the Buffaloes by a combined margin of 113-10 in the past two seasons.

Texas A&M 31, Iowa State 28: The Cyclones need only one more victory to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2005. Both teams are coming off impressive upset victories last week and should be charged for the game. The Cyclones have limited opponents to 17 points in the last two games. But the suddenly resurgent Aggies’ running game and a passing attack keyed by the return of Jeff Fuller should enable A&M to win a tight game.

Texas Tech 42, Kansas 36: The Red Raiders likely will be starting their third quarterback of the season as freshman Seth Doege should get the nod. They will be facing a Kansas defense that wore down last week against Oklahoma, allowing three touchdown drives of at least 70 yards. Kansas’ secondary has struggled and will face a test on Saturday, no matter who plays for the Red Raiders. Mike Leach has challenged his defense after it was embarrassed last week by allowing 559 total yards and 321 rushing yards against Texas A&M. Suitably inspired, the Red Raiders will escape with the win.

Oklahoma 38, Kansas State 20: The surprising Wildcats will try to maintain their hammerlock on first place in the North Division by springing an upset. That will be more difficult to do at Owen Field, where the Sooners should be ready. The Wildcats will try to dictate the tempo with their running game, which is easier said than done against the Sooners. The Oklahoma offense has looked sharper with continued work for Landry Jones and it should continue this week against KSU.

Texas 35, Oklahoma State 27: Mack Brown has won all 11 games against Oklahoma State during his coaching tenure at Texas. This figures to be the Longhorns’ toughest remaining obstacle before the Big 12 title game. The Texas defense has really come on the last several weeks, but will be challenged by a retooled OSU offense playing without Dez Bryant and likely without Kendall Hunter. OSU traditionally has the conference’s best special teams, but Texas’ kicking game with breakaway return threats D.J. Monroe and Jordan Shipley will test the Cowboys. In the end, that might end up being the difference in this game.

Last week: 4-2, 66.7 percent

Season: 50-18, 73.5 percent

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