Big 12 picks: Look for Texas to claim a tight one in Lubbock
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Texas 45, Texas Tech 42 -- The Longhorns are finishing up a grueling four-game stretch of facing Top 25 opponents after earlier victories over Oklahoma, Missouri and Oklahoma State. It could be understandable if they had a little bit less in their tank this week, particularly after the nicks their secondary has taken. That's not a good sign against Texas Tech's high-powered offensive attack, which has always seemed to have success against Texas despite the Longhorns' five-game winning streak in the series. In the end, defense has always been the problem for the Red Raiders against Texas. And while Tech will take a much better, more-balanced team on the field this week than in recent games with the Longhorns, it still won't be enough. Texas just has too many weapons. And I look for the game to be settled on special teams. Texas has a consistent kicker in Hunter Lawrence and Tech is struggling with sputtering Donnie Carona. That will provide just enough of an advantage that enables the Longhorns to escape with a tight victory. But it won't be easy.
Oklahoma 45, Nebraska 31 -- The Big Eight's most storied former rivalry will be replayed Saturday in its new form in Norman. The Sooners simply have too many offensive weapons for the Cornhuskers. They should be able to consistently run the ball against a banged-up Nebraska linebacking corps that will be missing Phillip Dillard. And Sam Bradford should be up for another big passing game as well. The Cornhuskers will try to continue their recent offensive recipe of controlling the clock and trying to keep their outmanned defense off the field. It will work for a while, but look for the Sooners to pull away late.
Texas A&M 27, Colorado 24 -- The new-look Aggies will continue their recent winning streak, riding the strong passing skills of Jerrod Johnson to victory. I like the matchup of the Aggies' young receiving corps against Colorado's secondary, which still might be a little shell-shocked from their struggles last week against Missouri. The Aggies' defense remains their biggest question, but I don't think that Colorado has enough weapons to claim its first road victory of the season against them.
Kansas 35, Kansas State 31 -- Look for the beleaguered Jayhawks defense to rise up with a stronger performance after being torched for 108 points in the last two weeks. Kansas State is a little bit too turnover-prone and Ron Prince is still looking for his team's first victory against its in-state rival. Kansas running back Jake Sharp needs a big game in order to allow the Jayhawks to take advantage of the undermanned Kansas State rush defense. And I think he'll do it, providing an edge silencing some of the more lippy Wildcats who were popping off earlier in the week about winning the game.
Oklahoma State 49, Iowa State 20 -- The Cowboys can't afford to look back at last week's disappointing loss to Texas if they want to keep their slim Big 12 South title hopes alive. And they shouldn't against an Iowa State team that has been struggling defensively, particularly against the pass. That sounds like a recipe for big games by Dez Bryant and Brandon Pettigrew as the Cowboys take to the air more than usual to claim the victory, extending Iowa State's 33-game road losing streak to ranked opponents. ISU's last victory against a ranked team on the road came on Oct. 20, 1990, at Oklahoma. It won't come on Saturday.
Missouri 45, Baylor 21 -- The Tigers rebounded nicely with an impressive shutout victory over Colorado and still control their own destiny in the North Division. Chase Daniel and Jeremy Maclin should have a big days against an improving but still outmanned Baylor defense. Robert Griffin will have some moments but not nearly enough to allow his team to snap a six-game losing streak against the Tigers.
My picks last week: 4-2 (66.7 percent)
My picks for the season: 62-10 (86.1 percent)