<
>

Look for the Red Raiders to claim another shootout

11/6/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Texas Tech 45, Oklahoma State 42 -- How about another South Plains shootout in Lubbock? It will be interesting to see how the Red Raiders respond to their dramatic victory over Texas last week -- particularly against an Oklahoma State team that still has its BCS bowl and Big 12 South titles clearly in front of it. The Cowboys will present the most balanced offensive attack that the Red Raiders will face, but I'm looking for continued improvement from the Tech defense. Keep particular note of how Texas Tech safeties Daniel Charbonnet and Darcel McBath confound top Oklahoma State receiver Dez Bryant with their coverage schemes from the back end. Special teams favor the Cowboys thanks to two key weapons in Bryant and punter Matt Fodge. But in the end, Graham Harrell and the Red Raiders' passing offense will prove to be too stout for the Cowboys. Oklahoma State ranks last in sacks in the Big 12 and will be challenged to stop Tech's array of offensive weapons.

Oklahoma 44, Texas A&M 24 -- The Sooners should have no trouble scoring against a weak Texas A&M defense. But it wouldn't surprise me if Jerrod Johnson and his group of young playmakers have enough moxie to make the game close well into the second half. Expect Sam Bradford and the Sooners' offense to muster enough production to pull away at the end, keeping the Sooners South Division title hopes alive as they seek to stretch their winning streak over the Aggies to six games.

Texas 52, Baylor 20 -- Woe for the Bears, who have the unfortunate luck to get the Longhorns after the loss at Texas Tech last week. Even though the Longhorns likely won't be healthy, it won't matter in this game. Their pass rush will get a better push and should harass Baylor freshman quarterback Robert Griffin all over the field. Texas came within one second of beating four straight top-12 teams. Look for them to take out their aggression on their up-the-road neighbors from Waco in this one. The Bears have lost 16 straight games to ranked foes by an average of 29.4 points. I expect the Longhorns to come close to that average on Saturday.

Kansas 34, Nebraska 31 -- The Jayhawks haven't won in Lincoln since 1968 and have lost 19 straight games at Memorial Stadium. This one will be close, but the running of Jake Sharp and the heady play of quarterback Todd Reesing should enable them to win a shootout. Expect one of those typical Big 12 offensive outbursts that likely will have Nebraska coach Bo Pelini yelling and screaming along the sidelines, desperately pleading for a defensive stop that likely won't come very often.

Missouri 56, Kansas State 14 -- Both teams will be coming into this game with much emotion. The Tigers' seniors will be playing their last home game. Kansas State players will be participating in their first game since head coach Ron Prince was ousted earlier this week. Look for Chase Daniel and company to jump on the Wildcats early, ripping into a Kansas State that has been blistered for 110 points in its last two games. It could get even worse on Saturday as the Tigers should roll easily.

Colorado 28, Iowa State 17 -- The Buffaloes will be playing without leading rusher Rodney "Speedy" Stewart but it shouldn't matter. Playing against the sputtering Cyclones' defense should be a tonic for the struggling Colorado offense. Who knows? Maybe Colorado's moribund passing game will be productive against a listless ISU pass defense that ranks 111th in pass defense and 116th in pass efficiency defense in the country this week.

My picks for last week: 5-1 (83.3 percent)

My picks for the season: 67-11 (85.9 percent)