Weekend Preview

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

Big 12 Preview

Texas A&M (3-3) (5-4) at Oklahoma (4-1) (5-3)
Texas A&M continues their downward spiral towards a 5-6 record this weekend at Oklahoma. The Aggies were just embarrassed by in-state rival Texas Tech 56-17 last weekend, while Oklahoma rested up at home. Oklahoma's offense, dormant early in the season, put on their best display of the year last time out at Nebraska. Adrian Peterson is starting to look like his old self, and after a bye week, he should be ready to rumble all over a helpless Aggie defense. An Oklahoma win will set up a big game in Lubbock next Saturday. Tech will be looking to avenge several recent losses to Oklahoma, while the Sooners will be looking to win out and possibly receive a Cotton Bowl invitation. Back to this game, A&M has absolutely zero confidence, their coach doesn't seem to know what he's doing, and their best offensive threat is an overweight running-back. Oklahoma will roll at home, and A&M defensive coordinator Carl Torbush's head will roll at seasons end.

#13 Texas Tech (5-1) (8-1) at Oklahoma State (0-5) (3-5)
Poor Oklahoma State, the highlight of their conference season will be the half-time lead they held over Texas. The Cowboys are set to become the 2nd school to call themselves Big 12 South cellar dwellers in the conference's ten year history. Texas Tech on the other hand, is enjoying their best season in three decades. Considering this weeks opponent, it could be easy for the Red Raiders to look ahead to their upcoming game with Oklahoma. Tech can't afford to do this if they want a shot at the BCS. The whole team will need to put on a dominating performance to impress pollsters and bowl representatives. A win over Oklahoma State this year is rather pedestrian, but every little BCS percentage point helps. The bottom line in this game is that Oklahoma State can't stop anyone in the Big 12. This week they face the conferences highest scoring offense, things could get out of hand. Look for Henderson, Hicks, and Hodges to all have huge days in a rout of the Cowboys.

Baylor (1-5) (4-5) at Missouri (3-3) (5-4)
Baylor has been shutout two weeks in a row at home, not a good sign heading into this weeks game at Missouri. The Tigers have the potential to score points anytime Brad Smith is playing well, but the Bear defense has shown the ability to keep them close. Shawn Bell or Terrance Parks will have to step up and throw at least two touchdown passes for the Baylor to have a shot. If the offense can somehow pull it together, the Bears still have a shot at bowl eligibility. The green and gold finish their season at home against Oklahoma State, a game they should be favored in. Missouri is limping down the stretch, after receiving a 42-12 beat-down at Colorado last weekend. The Tiger defense has not been good, and the offense can only be described as inconsistent. Fact remains that quarterback Brad Smith can outrun anyone on Baylor's defense, and if he plays well I think Missouri will win at home. My heart in this game though, is with Baylor. You have to root for the Bears to pull the upset and have a shot at the postseason. Baylor easily could already be bowl eligible, but suffered two heartbreaking overtime road losses at Texas A&M and at Oklahoma.

Kansas State (1-5) (4-5) at Nebraska (2-4) (5-4)
Definitely the "who cares?" game of the week in the Big 12. Well maybe Nebraska fans care a little bit; they do still have a shot at a bowl game. My guess is that Husker fans aren't too pleased with 2nd year coach Bill Callahan following a 40-15 loss to the mighty Kansas Jayhawks. The Blackshirts and the Husker offense were both MIA last weekend and have been inconsistent all season. Kansas State is having their worst Big 12 season in awhile, but hey, they did beat Kansas. Since then the Wildcats have been blown out several times, the most recent a 45-17 defeat at Iowa State. Taking a freshman quarterback on the road to Lincoln, I don't like their chances at all. Alan Evridge will be rattled, and Nebraska will become bowl eligible.

Colorado (5-1) (7-2) at Iowa State (3-3) (6-3)
I left Iowa State for dead after a home loss to Baylor earlier this year, but the Cyclones have been impressive the last two weeks and are one of two bowl eligible teams from the Big 12 North. The other is their opponent this week Colorado, who has been impressive all season. Under what has to be enormous pressure, Gary Barnett has led the Buffaloes to quite a season. Two road losses, at #2 Texas, and at #4 Miami are certainly nothing to be ashamed of. Iowa State's offense led by quarterback Brett Meyer and wide receiver Todd Blythe is red hot entering this contest, which leads me to believe this will be a close, exciting game. The crowd in Boulder should be pumped, as Colorado can clinch a trip to Houston for the Big 12 title game with a win. Of course, that likely just means another blowout loss to Texas, but considering the programs recent troubles, it would be worth it. Iowa State has shown the ability to win road games, but you never know which Iowa State will show up. You do however, know which Colorado will show up. Solid defense, consistent offense, and solid special teams, have been the trademark of Colorado wins this year, and they'll get another one Saturday.

#2 Texas (6-0) (9-0) vs. Kansas (2-4) (5-4)
Texas is cruising in every sense of the word. Is there any doubt that Texas will go un-defeated and win the Big 12 title? I believe if they focus, they could shut out their final two opponents. Kansas is improving on offense, last weekend they put 40 on the board against Nebraska, their highest total in Big 12 competition this year. Kansas' defense has been one of the best in the Big 12 all year, and they'll need to step it up another level if KU is to keep this close. Even if they do, it's highly unlikely that Kansas will be able to reproduce last weeks offensive performance in Austin. The Texas defense is stupid-fast and should make Kansas revert to their early season ways. Vince Young and a combination of; Jamaal Charles, Billy Pittman, or Romance Taylor will put up enough points to roll past Kansas. Texas should start getting ready for USC, cause the Big 12 title and an undefeated regular season are a lock.

Around the Nation

Around the nation is more like around the SEC this week, these two big time match-ups are the only games with real conference title/BCS implications this weekend.

#4 Alabama (6-0) (9-0) at #5 LSU (4-1) (7-1)
The SEC east title is on the line in Baton Rouge as undefeated Alabama meets up with LSU. After years of NCAA sanctions, Alabama's 9-0 record is remarkable, but can Mike Shula's team keep it up? All signs point to no. The season has taken its toll on the Tide roster, which is depleted from injuries. Several wide receivers and lineman will be missing this weekend in the bayou. A once explosive Crimson Tide offense has dropped off considerably and failed to score a touchdown last week at Mississippi State. The Tigers, under first year coach Les Miles, survived a turbulent start to the season due to the tragedies in Louisiana. Now they're right where they want to be, at home with a chance to assume control in the SEC west. Quarterback JaMarcus Russell is only getting better with each passing week, and running back Joseph Addai has been solid all season long. I suspect this game will be a defensive battle, and could be decided by the running backs. Whoever has the biggest game; Alabama's Kenneth Darby, or the aforementioned Addai, will lead their team to victory.

#9 Georgia (5-1) (7-1) vs. #15 Auburn (5-1) (7-2)
Georgia can't afford to slip up this week when Auburn comes to town. If they do they will fall into a tie for the SEC East with Florida, and the Gators own the tie breaker. Quarterback D.J. Shockley is healthy and ready to go this week, which has to have Georgia head man Mark Richt breathing a little easier. His senior leader was sidelined with a knee injury for the Bulldogs only loss this season. After a season opening loss to Georgia Tech, Auburn has quietly bounced back to have another solid season. First year quarterback Brandon Cox has experienced some growing pains, but at 5-1 in the SEC it's hard to complain. The match-up to watch in this game is Cox and his wide receivers against the Bulldog secondary. Georgia's strong defense is likely to put Auburn in a lot of third and long situations, if Cox can manage to convert those key situations Auburn will have a chance. If not, Georgia will have good field position and will attempt to run the ball down Auburn's throat. I've have to pick the Bulldogs in this one, D.J. Shockley will keep his undefeated record as a starter.

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