Tuesday, November 11

Big 12 Week 12 Preview

We're ten games into the season and things are starting to settle into place in the conference and national championship hunt.

Texas Tech is the conference's lone remaining unbeaten. After a classic game against Texas coming down to a dropped interception followed by a throw to the end zone on the next play, TTU followed up their victory by completely annihilating Oklahoma State, looking almost unstoppable on offense. The Red Raiders now have two weeks to prepare for a trip to Oklahoma which could likely determine whether Mike Leach's team can play for a national championship.

Oklahoma is the team with the next-best odds of controlling their own destiny; however, they face a difficult road to get there. OU obviously must upset TTU in two weeks, and then most hang on to defeat Oklahoma State and (likely North champion) Missouri to finish 12-1.

OU and TTU both have this week off to prepare for what should be an epic display of offensive firepower in two weeks.

Texas @ Kansas
2008 has been a surprising season for both of these teams. Texas lost the conference's leading rusher of 2007 and three of their top five receivers including a very productive tight end. They had holes on defense but a new defensive coordinator from the SEC, Will Muschamp. Colt McCoy had suffered from a sophomore slump and looked like a questionable quarterback. At 9-1, the Horns boast one of the nation's top QBs and top WR duos. Special teams have stepped up and the defense has seen a huge improvement from 2007. Kansas, on the other hand, is struggling at 6-4 after finishing 12-1 a year ago. Two defensive losses have proven too much to handle as a defense that gave up 16 ppg to be ranked #5 a season ago is now giving up 28.2. The tougher schedule has something to do with it, but the fact is that this Kansas team would not have won more than 9 or 10 games with last season's schedule. What looked like a great game at the beginning of the season will probably turn into a comfortable Texas victory.

Nebraska @ Kansas State
Nebraska has been very on and off this season, but at 6-4 they are already bowl eligible and the good news is that they are past the hurdles of Virginia Tech, Missouri, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma - all losses, but at least three of those understandable. Other than Kansas, Nebraska has also racked up a bunch of unimpressive wins, so there's really not a lot to say at this point. Kansas State has dropped some games they really needed to win - such as Louisville, Colorado, and perhaps even Kansas. This game is a must-win for the Wildcats to have a shot at bowl eligibility, and frankly I don't think they will get it done. Nebraska is nothing special, but they have consistently outplayed the teams that they have a talent edge over. Expect more of the same this weekend.

Texas A&M @ Baylor
With the Bears sitting at 3-6, going on 3-7, Robert "Cream" Griffin III surely must have glanced across the sidelines and wished that he could be throwing to Jordan Shipley and Quan Crosby. Well, Cream, you can! And I will continue to write about this every chance I get, not least of all every time I write about Baylor. The Big 12 South anti-title is on the line here, folks, and A&M has to feel good about their chances of finally winning it.

Missouri @ Iowa State
Chase Daniel got back to his early season form, and with Kansas slumping his Tigers have a chance to go 10-2 and reach the Big 12 Championship game. Amazingly, their BCS hopes are still alive - odds of going to the championship game are slim, but beating Texas Tech or Oklahoma in the conference championship would give them the conference's automatic berth. Iowa State, on the other hand, is 0-6 in conference with losses to both A&M and Baylor. This will be a blowout.

Oklahoma State @ Colorado
Much of Denver is excited to see Zac Robinson return to where he played high school ball. They shouldn't be. OSU was humiliated on both sides of the ball against Texas Tech, unable to stop the juggernaut offense and surprisingly quiet against a defense that is both a little underrated but also mediocre nonetheless. The Cowboys will be playing like they have something to prove, because frankly they do. At this point, even we're not sure whether the team who beat Missouri and played a good game against Texas is the real OSU, versus the team who was run out of Lubbock a few days ago. Colorado is struggling to reach bowl eligibility, had a QB controversy, and are giving up 50 ypg more than they gain. None of this is a good sign. I don't expect this to be a very good game.