Monday, November 24

Week 14 Big 12 Preview

It all comes down to this. One week, two teams battling for that top spot in the Big 12 South.

Can we just assume Texas Tech beats Baylor? Okay, assuming that.

Obviously, if Texas A&M upsets Texas once again, the Big 12 South goes to Oklahoma, provided they beat Oklahoma State.

What's more interesting is what happens if Oklahoma State upsets Oklahoma while Texas Tech and Texas win. Texas Tech would be the Big 12 South champions, but even winning the Big 12 title might not be enough to boost them over Texas and into the BCS Championship. Texas Tech got KILLED by Oklahoma, and the voters are going to remember that. The computers are looking at games against Eastern Washington, Nevada, SMU, and Massachussetts which are tanking the Red Raiders' average. (except Colley's, who throws out games against FCS teams. Yay Colley's Bias-Free Rankings! and by "Bias" we mean "Logic") I'm not making arguments here; that's for another post. This is to state objectively that at this point TTU is not going to pass either Texas or OU in the BCS rankings without those teams losing.

Texas A&M @ Texas
The Longhorns can virtually guarantee themselves either a BCS bid or a spot in the Big 12 Championship game by winning here. At 4-7, the school famous for the 12th man is sitting at the 11th spot in the conference, below even Baylor and Kansas State. There is really no reason Texas should lose this game. But A&M has upset the Longhorns each of the last two years. Crazier things have happened. That said, look for Texas to really be out to make a final statement they they should be awarded the Big 12 South title, and bring a little something extra to this one.

Colorado @ Nebraska
After a poor 3-3 start to the season, Nebraska has turned it on to win 4 of their last 5 games and clinch bowl eligibility. The only real surprise in here was a close win over Kansas, who has been on the decline after an outstanding 2007. Colorado's season has gone quite the opposite way. After a blistering 3-0 start including an upset of West Virginia, the Buffs have gone 2-6 in their last eight games. The wins have been close wins over bad teams (Kansas State, Iowa State), while many losses have either been bad (A&M) or blowouts (Missouri). This is a rivalry game, so to some extent we can look past these numbers. Last season, Colorado won an exciting 65-51 game which featured (obviously) a ton of offense and trick plays. Additionally, CU is playing for bowl eligibility. But I think it comes down to the fact that Nebraska is just playing better football right now. After embarassing losses to Virginia Tech (not the score; losing to an ACC team) and Missouri, the Huskers rebounded to nearly beat Texas Tech on the road. That game was a turning point for NU, and they have since beaten everyone except a red-hot Oklahoma team. Looking good for Nebraska here.

Kansas @ Missouri
Last season, this was a more one-sided game than the 8-point margin indicates. Since losing to Texas, Missouri has been on fire while Kansas is losing to teams (USF, Nebraska) that they would have easily beaten in 2007. What looked like a great game in September is looking like a blowout in November, sorry Jayhawks.

Baylor @ Texas Tech
After a blistering 10-0 start, Texas Tech's complete dismantling at the hands of Oklahoma may have left them having to hope Texas or OU falters for them to avoid a trip to the Holiday Bowl. On the other hand, an upset here would put the Longhorns' fate in their own hands! Gogogogogo Cream!

Oklahoma @ Oklahoma State
If everything goes according to chalk, Oklahoma will be in a position of needing a win to set up a 3-way tie for the Big 12 South title which would come down to the voters and computers to break. I'd estimate Oklahoma has a 55-60% chance of winning that vote over Texas (TTU has no shot of winning the 3way tie). So it's fitting that this will be the last conference game of the season. It's also fitting that this is Oklahoma's first road test of the season -- their other road games being winless Washington, Baylor, Kansas State, and Texas A&M. Oklahoma has the talent advantage here, but Oklahoma State is the host and they are playing to salvage their season - a loss pretty clearly puts them at #4 in the toughest division in college football, which is not where the Cowboys envisioned themselves after beating Missouri. Be sure to tune in here, as it'll likely determine the Big 12 South champion and possibly a national championship game participant.