Last week: 2-2-1
Texas @ #11 Kansas State
Few teams can say they have the number of the Texas Longhorns. But, Kansas State can. They are the only current Big 12 team with a winning record against the ‘Horns at 8-6. And the Longhorns go on the road to Manhattan where they haven’t won a game since 2002. But, if Texas were a stock, it would be rapidly rising by the day. QB Tyrone Swoopes is coming off his two best games (OU, Iowa State), and is getting better by the week. Swoopes, following a 48 point output against Iowa State, should be able to exploit a K-State defense that allowed over 500 total yards to Oklahoma’s questionable offense last week.
The Texas strength is in their pass defense, ranked 5th in the nation, at 163.9 yards per game. K-State QB Jake Waters is one of the most efficient in the Conference completing over 65% of his passes. But, the Wildcats are a balanced team, that can run as well as they pass. The Wildcats are one of the most disciplined teams in the country (3rd fewest penalties in FBS), and 9th nationally with only 6 turnovers. Impressive, and I respect the hell out of any Bill Snyder coached team… but at some point the roster that includes 26 JUCO’s should show their true colors. Right? They snuck out of Norman with a gift win. The Wildcats are getting a lot of love coast-to-coast for a game they lose 99 times out of 100. I’ll roll with the up-and-coming Longhorns covering double digits on the road.
The Pick: Texas +10
#22 West Virginia @ Oklahoma State
Both teams are technically still in the Big 12 race. But the Cowboys began the tough part of their schedule by getting shelacked by TCU 42-9. Another brutal test as the Cowboys face the top passing attack in the Conference, led by QB Clint Trickett, who ranks third nationally with 361 passing yards per game. Now, he gets to feast on the worst pass defense in the Big 12. WR Kevin White is a sleep Heisman contender averaging 145 YPG, and he’ll keep OSU CB Kevin Peterson busy all night. WVU RB Russel Shell is questionable with an ankle injury, but I’m not convinced it’s going to make a difference.
Oklahoma State’s offense continues to have more questions than answers as QB Daxx Garman has been unable to accurately throw anything but the deep ball. Also, Garman has been sacked more than any QB in the Big 12. The Cowboys offensive line will have a hard time slowing down a D-Line led by breakout star Shaq Riddick (3 sacks, 4 tacles vs Baylor). But, if the line can hold up for Des Roland, WVU has allowed nearly 170 YPG on the ground this season. Controlling the clock and keeping the Mountaineer offense off the field is their only chance to win. Ultimately, it’s the Mountaineers with all the momentum, and suddenly thinking a Conference title might not be so far fetched.
The Pick: WVU +1
#10 TCU vs. Texas Tech
TCU is rejuvenated after seeing Baylor lose last week, and blasting Oklahoma State, and now has their eyes set upon a Big 12 title run. Trevone Boykin should have all day in the pocket against a Tech defense that has a tough time generating any pressure. Meantime, TCU co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie coached Tech from 2009-13, and that adds some juice to this rivalry. RB B.J. Catalon has a running touchdown in every game this season, and there’s no reason expect more against the worst run D in the Big 12.
On the other side, the Red Raiders offense has seemed a step off all season long. Bad news with TCU allowing a League best 20.7 points per game. On top of that, QB Davis Webb might be without top targets Jakeem Grant (off campus incident), and Bradley Marquez (rib contusion). I’m not buying into a TCU trap game. I believe Gary Patterson will make sure they remember last year’s loss to Tech, and continue to have his team play with a chip on their should as they look to become a one-loss team to slip into the College Football Playoff by year end.
The Pick: K-State