IT's Colorado game picks

IT's Michael Pearle and Clendon Ross give you their picks, and the reasoning behind those picks, in this Saturday's Big 12 Championship Game between Texas and Colorado.

IT’s Picks:

Pearle -- It’s interesting to me that after Texas blew out Colorado earlier in the season and as the Big 12 title game approaches, CU coach Gary Barnett has seemed unwilling to give Texas much credit for being an explosive team that kicked the dog out of his squad on a clear day in Austin. If you recall, after the Horns pounded the Buffs 41-7, Colorado’s take was mostly about how CU gave Texas the game, made too many mistakes, etc. etc. etc. As for facing Texas in Dallas this Saturday, Barnett said, "We'll be primed for the rematch. We know we didn't play very well the first time and we'd like to think that wasn't who we really are." Yeah, right. You had an off day, that’s not who we really are, blah blah blah. No kudos to Texas, no tip of the hat to the fact that the Horns are loaded and dominated the previous game because of a huge edge in team speed, depth, and talent across the board. Well, let me say it, then. Texas wins this one because of all three of the factors I just mentioned, plus the fact that Texas Stadium should be a University of Texas Stadium Saturday, loaded from one end of the field to the other with Burnt Orange clad Horn fans screaming their lungs out. Sure, I am impressed with Colorado’s domination of Nebraska and their season as a whole -- Barnett may be national coach of the year -- but I like the way the Horns match up with CU on the fast track at Texas Stadium. I can’t wait to see guys like Nathan Vasher and Derrick Johnson accelerate on the fake stuff, or Cedric Benson making cuts on a dime. Motivated by the possibility of playing for it all in Pasadena, I see Texas taking this one by a couple of scores. Texas 31, Colorado 20.

Ross -- Which Colorado team will we see at Texas Stadium, the one that the Horns handled with relative ease 41-7 in Austin back on Oct. 20, or the one that bullied the Blackshirts of Nebraska 62-36 last Friday in Boulder? If it's the one from the NU game, it could be a long Saturday night at Texas Stadium for the Horns. The one area that an opposing team can possibly exploit the Texas defense is straight up the middle, and the Buffs showed against the Huskers that they're capable of gaining yards between the tackles. Nebraska and Texas run a very similar defense, which certainly seems to bode well for Colorado. If the Horns load up to stop the run, TE Daniel Graham could roam free, like he did in the first half of the game in Austin. And if Carl Reese decides to go to the nickel to slow Graham, the Buffs could run, run, run as they did against Nebraska. Having said all that, the Blackshirts are not the Longhorns despite the similarity in scheme. Texas is faster and more physical than the guys from Lincoln, so even if the same CU team from last Friday shows up in Texas Stadium, the results will not be the same as at Folsom Field last week. The Horns aren't going to stop the Colorado offense. Matter of fact, they'll probably give up a pretty good chunk of total yardage to the guys in the black jerseys. What the Texas D will not do is allow 30- and 40-yard scoring jaunts by the CU backs and it won't give up anything deep in the passing game. Colorado will find the end zone, but it won't find it enough to cover the amount of points the somewhat porous Buff defense will surrender to the Texas offense. It'll be a slugfest, but Barnett's boys will end up on the canvas at the end of this one and Brown's bunch will be canvassing for a Rose Bowl berth. Texas 31, Colorado 20.

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