Wall's World...Week 6 Picks

It's not often a team has a must-win game just six outings into the season. Most division and conference races go down to the wire, with a team getting a win in the last week or with two games to play that clinches things for them.

Not this week. Iowa State loses this game against Nebraska and they are out of the Big 12 North race – it's simple as that.

 

Iowa State already has one conference loss on the season and falling to the Huskers would quickly put them in a 0-2 hole. With games against Oklahoma and Texas Tech forthcoming, this team is looking at three losses minimum, maybe four to start their league schedule. That is, unless they can beat Nebraska.

 

The Huskers aren't likely to lose more then twice in Big 12 play. Nebraska plays Texas in a couple weeks, but that's the only menacing presence on their schedule. Missouri or Texas A&M could give the Huskers problems, but the likelihood of Big Red going 5-3 in conference play is very slim. That's why Iowa State needs this game. If they truly want to play for the Big 12 title in Kansas City, this is a must win.

 

Nebraska has been clicking on all cylinders offensively this season, averaging over 200 yards a game both passing and rushing. Iowa State's defense has struggled – giving up points and yards in bushels all season long – and they didn't get any help this week.

 

Linebacker Adam Carper's knee injury is a huge blow for the Cyclones. While Alvin Bowen and Tyrone McKenzie are getting the attention with their nice numbers and powerful tackles, Carper has been the most steady, consistent performer on the defense. He's not flashy, but he does more then get the job done. Carper has graded out better then Bowen and McKenzie after all five of Iowa State's games, and that includes the Toledo game where Bowen had 20 tackles. Carper is the rock of the defense and will be missed much more then anyone realizes.

 

If the Cyclones want to win this game they have to control the football. The less time Nebraska's offense is on the field, the better. If the Huskers are given chances, they will take advantage of them. Iowa State needs to minimize the time Nebraska has the ball, and that means a HUGE game from Stevie Hicks and the offensive line. The ISU defense also has to come up big, making stops, especially on third down. UNI was over 50 percent on third down last week, something that can't happen if the Clones are going to win.

 

THE PICK – Iowa State

 

And now we move about the rest of the league.

 

I was a perfect 6-0 last week (surviving scares from Iowa State, Nebraska and Texas Tech). I was literally seconds away from hurling myself off the roof of the Jack Trice Stadium press box on multiple occasions last Saturday. So if you're listening Big 12, please go easy on me this week. For the season I'm 46-7. Take that Chris Burman.

 

Texas at Oklahoma

 

This is the game of the week and honestly, the game of the Big 12 season. This game is bigger then the Big 12 championship game. In fact, it is the Big 12 championship game.

Whoever wins this wins the conference, easy as that. The loser of this game gets second and the North plays for the chance to get filleted by the winner on national TV. So there's a lot on this one.

 

Both these teams have one loss, and the loser is out of the national title hunt, as well as the BCS game race. If Texas wins, they have a legitimate argument – provided there is only one team with no losses at the end of the regular season, which could happen – that they should play for the national title. Their defense is stingy and they have an offense that is getting better with time.

 

Adrian Peterson is a great running back, but he can't win a game on his own, especially against Texas. The Sooners don't have a reliable passing game yet, and the Longhorns will key on Peterson in an attempt to shut him down. Now there is a good chance he will still have a huge game, but it just won't be enough to win.

 

Welcome to the BCS Texas. You've just won the Big 12.

 

THE PICK – Texas

 

Missouri at Texas Tech

 

Missouri is ranked for some reason, even though they haven't played anyone even remotely worth mentioning (Murray State, Mississippi, New Mexico, Ohio and Colorado). Those teams are a combined 6-19 on the season. That's not going to look good in the strength of schedule rankings.

 

While Missouri has been pretty stingy with their pass offense (143 ypg) they haven't played a legitimate team yet. This is their ‘welcome to real football' moment and they come up way short.

 

THE PICK – Texas Tech

 

Texas A&M at Kansas

 

This game might be as uninteresting as it looks. Both these teams are bad, although somehow A&M will make a bowl this season. They will reach about 7-2 before tanking and losing their final three to Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas. Not a fun way to finish the season. The Jayhawks somehow took Nebraska to overtime, but that's about as high as their season is going to get. They are a bad team and things can only get worse as head coach Mark Mangino has already used the team's budget on his personal buffet.

 

THE PICK – Texas A&M

 

Oklahoma State at Kansas State

 

If there is one game not to watch, it's this one. These could be the two worst teams in the Big 12. Wake me when this is over.

 

THE PICK – Kansas State

 

Baylor at Colorado

 

This game really intrigues me. For some reason, I like Baylor (I know, it's that little brother syndrome). They're my team. Plus they used to have a lot of talent in their student newspaper's sports section. Kudos to the three people who know what I'm talking about there.

 

Baylor is trying, they're trying really hard and Guy Morriss will turn them around in time. They almost made a bowl last season and had a chance to make one this year if they played perfectly. Alas, that was not to be. But they're still good enough to pound an awful Colorado team.

 

THE PICK – Baylor

 


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