Weekend Preview

RaiderPower.com takes a look at the marquee matchups in the Big 12 and around the nation.

Big 12 Preview

Oklahoma (3-1) (4-3) at Nebraska (2-2) (5-2)
It's always interesting when these two perennial powerhouses get together to resume their Big 8 rivalry. This year though, powerhouse would not be the word to describe these two teams. Better adjectives would be inconsistent and mediocre. Oklahoma's usually potent offense has been stagnant this season, especially since running-back Adrian Peterson's high ankle sprain. Rhett Bomar has been erratic and turnover prone, which is creating tough situations for the Sooner defense. Traditionally the Sooner defense can handle those situations, but this year, not so much. Bob Stoop's crew couldn't keep TCU out of the endzone, were blown out by UCLA and Texas, and couldn't come up with a fourth quarter stop to secure a win over mighty Baylor. Playing at home Nebraska offense will provide a big test for the Sooner secondary. Bill Callahan's offense has been on again off again all season, and will be looking to redeem themselves after last weeks embarrassing loss at Missouri. In that game Nebraska rushed for a total of negative two yards, a total you'd never expect from the Huskers. The determining factor in this game will simply be whichever team shows up to play. In Lincoln I think the Nebraska will show up, rattle Rhett Bomar, and out-score Oklahoma.

#16 Texas Tech (3-1) (6-1) at Baylor (1-3) (4-3)
If there's a lesson to be learned in the Big 12 this season it's; don't overlook Baylor. The Bears notched their first ever Big 12 road win at Iowa State, and are unfortunate to be (1-3) in conference, suffering two narrow over-time road losses. This week the Bears are back at Floyd Casey Stadium to take on #16 Texas Tech. The Bears only other conference home game thus far was an unimpressive 24-13 loss to Nebraska, a game in which the Bears squandered several opportunities by turning the ball over. Texas Tech's dream of an undefeated season was shattered emphatically last weekend by the Longhorns, but it's key that the Red Raiders put the game behind quickly. Poor special teams play cost the Red Raiders hundreds of yards worth of field position last week, and changes to each special teams unit have already been made. Look for more defensive starters covering kicks, punts, and blocking on returns this weekend in Waco. Also absent from last weeks game was any form of pass rush from the Red Raider defense. The front four will need to pick up the pressure, and keep Baylor quarterback Shawn Bell in long yardage situations. After being held to 17 points in Austin, the "Air Raid" will be looking to get back on track with a usual Baylor game performance. By that I mean anywhere from 42 to 63 points, Baylor's defense is solid, but they still can't match-up with the speed and size of the Tech offense. Look for the usual suspects to have huge games as Tech obliterates the 12 point spread.

Missouri (3-1) (5-2) at Kansas (0-4) (3-4)
Missouri racked up 533 total yards last week in a run-away win over Nebraska. Has the Kansas offense racked up 533 total yards all season? Mark Mangino's offense is awful, hopeless, and helpless all at the same time. By now the Jayhawks just need to hope their defense doesn't give up on the offense. Every game seems to be the same story for Kansas, defense keeps them close, offense gives the game away. Missouri's season tells a different story. The offense has been productive all season, but the defense cost them a non-conference loss to New Mexico, and almost blew a 31 point lead at Oklahoma State. Since their only Big 12 loss, at home to Texas, the Tigers have played like a top contender for the north division. In this installation of the Border War Kansas will need to play over their head to avoid a home loss to their most hated rival.

#24 Colorado (3-1) (5-2) at Kansas State (1-3) (4-3)
After dropping two straight to Big 12 South teams, the good news for K-State is that this week their opponent comes from the Big 12 North. The bad news is, it's the only good team in the Big 12 North, Colorado. The Buffs have a balanced attack and a proven senior leader at quarterback, Joel Klatt. Colorado's only losses; at Texas and at Miami are certainly nothing to be ashamed of. C.U. has three blowout wins versus Texas A&M, Kansas, and at Oklahoma State. Kansas State is playing at home, but are completely overmatched for the 3rd week in a row. Starting a freshman at quarterback certainly doesn't help the cause. Colorado will continue to roll towards the Big 12 North title.

Iowa State (1-3) (4-3) at Texas A&M (3-1) (5-2)
Texas A&M hung on to a road win at K-State last week, and can become bowl eligible this week with a win at Kyle Field vs. Iowa State. Quite frankly, they need to. If they don't the Aggies are quite possibly looking at a 5-6 season. After the cyclones the Aggies can look forward to dates; at Texas Tech, at Oklahoma, and at home for Texas. The Cyclones were finally able to get their first Big 12 win against you're new Big 12 South cellar dwellers, Oklahoma State. If A&M can avoid turning the ball over multiple times, they will control the game and get their important sixth win.

#1 Texas (7-0) (4-0) at Oklahoma State (0-4) (3-4)
It's the "who cares" game of the week. How you might ask is the #1 team in the nation the "who cares" game of the week? Simple, Oklahoma State is that bad. This is a Heisman Stat building party for Vincent Young. I see Texas breaking the seventy point barrier in this game. Oklahoma State will most likely lose the rest of their games.


Around the Nation

#4 Georgia vs. #16 Florida
Joe Tereshinski, life long Georgia fan, gets his first start at quarterback for the Bulldogs this Saturday in the Worlds Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. Tereshinski is thrust into the spotlight after starter D.J. Shockley sprained his MCL last week against Arkansas. The injury obviously affected the Bulldogs morale, but they were able to hang on for the 23-20 win. Florida had last weekend off to lick their wounds after being blown out by Alabama. The highly touted offense installed by coach Urban Meyer, is obviously experiencing growing pains, quarterback Chris Leak has been inconsistent at best against SEC competition. This week the Georgia defense will be licking their chops. In a conference full of defensive football teams, Georgia has consistently been the best. That's surprising considering the three NFL first rounders the Bulldogs graduated last year, including their emotional leader defensive end David Pollack. The Bulldog defense stops the run and creates turnovers, with D.J. Shockley out, it's crucial that they keep it up. I think they will and Georgia will win another low scoring SEC battle.

#13 Boston College at #3 Virginia Tech
The weekend preview actually starts on Thursday this week as Boston College travels to Blacksburg to face Virginia Tech. Both of these teams boast top ten defenses, but only one boasts a Vick at quarterback. Can you see which way I'm leaning in this game? Virginia Tech is playing their second consecutive Thursday night game, last week they struggled early at Maryland, but the defense stepped up and allowed the Hokies to pull away late. A Sluggish start is unlikely this week, as the Thursday night atmosphere in Blacksburg is one of the most electric in the nation. Marcus Vick has struggled with interceptions in pressure situations, but his mere presence gives Virginia Tech a greater offensive threat than B.C. The Eagle defense maybe missing All American defensive end Mathius Keywinuka, who is still ailing from a cheap shot to the Knee he received against Virginia. Even so, B.C.'s defense is solid enough to keep them in the game, but I'm afraid the offense will let them down. Virginia Tech's defense and special teams are top notch, as always, and they will make the game changing plays to keep the Hokies undefeated.

#21 Northwestern (3-1) (5-2) vs. #25 Michigan (3-2) (5-3)
Michigan is coming off two straight last play victories, at home against Penn State, then on the road against Iowa in over-time. Northwestern is also flying high after dismantling Michigan State in East Lansing 49-14. Quarterback Brett Basanez had the Wildcat offense rolling as he went 24-30 for 331 yards and two touchdowns through the air. The Wildcat defense, on the other hand, has only been rolling out the red carpet for their opponents. The purple people eaters rank statistically dead last in the NCAA for total defense. Michigan has struggled on offense since losing running back Michael Hart to a hamstring injury against Notre Dame. Hart has seen some playing time, but just now seems to be returning to his normal form. If Hart is 100% he will have a big day running over the porous Wildcat defense. Defensively the Wolverines have been weak against the pass this season, which leads me to believe this could be a rare Big Ten shootout. Whichever team has the ball last may win this one, and lately that has been working in Michigan's favor.


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