Big 12 Preview: Week Nine

There are two clearly defined divisions in the Big 12 so far, with one race available for the five teams in each group.

CLEAR SEPARATION

The line between the top five and bottom five of the league was clearly defined last week, as four of the members of the upper divison defeated four of those in the bottom half of the standings. The teams in the top half of the Big 12 standings are a combined 28-4 on the season.

There are now two races to follow in the Big 12 -- the chase for the league championship, and the fight for bowl eligibility among the bottom tier.

In the lower five, TCU and West Virginia are three wins away from eligibility, but K-State also has the schedule to make it to a bowl game.


TOUGH ROAD

It has been tough to win on the road this season in Big 12 play as the visiting team is 5-12. Ranked teams are 3-3 on the road vs. unranked home teams.


NOT SO BAD

While preseason prognostications pegged the Big 12 as "down" this year, results on the fie;d have shown otherwise. Four league teams (Baylor, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State) are in the top 19 of the BCS standings and the Top 13 of this week's coaches poll.


PICKS

  • Oklahoma State played four of its first six games at home, and a road test against an Iowa State team that has played most opponents well is a tougher challenge than it looks. We're giving the Cyclones one more chance to pull a surprise, even given their newly-opened quarterback battle, as the Cowboys have a few issues of their own at the same position.

  • Texas Tech is on a roll, and appears to be playing the underdog card for all it is worth. It gets its toughest challenge to date at Oklahoma, but no matter who is taking snaps for the Red Raiders, its been a case of guns up. That continues in Norman.

  • West Virginia's offense played at least somewhat better a week ago, but its defense collapsed. K-State hasn't been an offensive juggernaut, but if it scores in the upper 20s, that will probably be enough. The Wildcats are the pick in a game that is critical to the bowl hopes of both teams.

  • Baylor travels to Kansas in the mismatch of the week. The only question is is the Bears can match the prodigious point totals they have posted at home.

  • After a week off to savor the Red River Rivalry win, Texas visits TCU. The Longhorns probably have a little too much offense for the Horned Frogs to overcome.


    BAYLOR
    6-0 / 3-0
    at Kansas
    Sat 10/26
    7:00 PM E / 6:00 PM C
    ESPNU
    Baylor's 10-game winning streak is tied for the second-longest active streak in the nation. The streak also ties the program record.

    Baylor has scored in less than a minute on 21 of its 49 touchdown drives this season.


    IOWA STATE
    1-5 / 0-3
    vs. Oklahoma St
    Sat 10/26
    12:00 PM E / 11:00 PM C
    Fox Sports Net
    LB Jeremiah George has recorded double-digit tackles in five consecutive games.

    RB Aaron Wimberly's 78-yard kickoff return against Baylor was a career-best.


    KANSAS
    2-4 / 0-3
    vs. Baylor
    Sat 10/26
    7:00 PM E / 6:00 PM C
    ESPNU
    The Jayhawks' defense hasn't allowed an opponent to score on the opening drive through six games in 2013.

    KU held Oklahoma scoreless until the 7:05 mark of the second quarter, the longest the Jayhawks have held an opposing team scoreless this season.


    KANSAS STATE
    2-4 / 0-3
    vs. West Virginia
    Sat 10/26
    3:45 PM E / 2:45 PM C
    FOXSports1
    The Wildcats are coming off their second open week in a four-week span.

    In its last game, K-State held the potent Baylor offense to 446 yards of total offense, 334 yards below their season average at the time.


    OKLAHOMA
    6-1 / 3-1
    vs. Texas Tech
    Sat 10/26
    3:30 PM E / 2:30 PM C
    FOX
    The Sooners have won 21 straight games following a loss.

    The OU defense allowed only 16 passing yards at Kansas, the lowest total allowed by the Sooners since Arkansas threw for 13 yards in the 2002 Cotton Bowl.


    OKLAHOMA STATE
    5-1 / 2-1
    at Iowa St
    Sat 10/26
    12:00 PM E / 11:00 PM C
    Fox Sports Net
    Josh Stewart's 95-yard punt return for a touchdown was the longest punt return in school history. The previous long was 90 yards, set by Jim Wiggins vs. Detroit in 1956 and Jim Spavital vs. Drake in 1946.

    Oklahoma State has nine takeaways in its last two games; six of those are interceptions.


    TEXAS
    4-2 / 3-0
    at TCU
    Sat 10/26
    7:30 PM E / 6:30 AM C
    FOXSports1
    UT is averaging 456.7 yards of total offense which ranks No. 40 in the nation. The Horns are averaging 202.7 yards on the ground (No. 37) and 254.0 in the air (No. 51).

    Johnathan Gray leads the team (562) and ranks 31st nationally in rushing (93.7 per game). He is averaging 113.4 rushing yards over the last five games.


    TCU
    3-4 / 1-3
    vs. Texas
    Sat 10/26
    7:30 PM E / 6:30 AM C
    FOXSports1
    LaDarius Brown had a season-high six receptions for 48 yards vs. OSU. He had a career-best seven catches in last year's game at Oklahoma State.

    TCU forced four turnovers and lost for just the second time in its last 37 games when totaling at least three takeaways.


    TEXAS TECH
    7-0 / 4-0
    at Oklahoma
    Sat 10/26
    3:30 PM E / 2:30 PM C
    FOX
    Davis Webb became the first freshman quarterback in school history to pass for over 400 yards in his first two starts. He had 415 yards against Iowa State and 462 against West Virginia.

    Texas Tech is 7-0 for just the fourth time in school history; it happened previously in 2008, 1976 and 1938.


    WEST VIRGINIA
    3-4 / 1-3
    at Kansas St
    Sat 10/26
    3:45 PM E / 2:45 PM C
    FOXSports1
    Nick O'Toole had a 55-yard punt vs. Texas Tech and has 16 punts of 50 or more yards this season.

    Jared Barber has finished with nine or more total tackles in the last three games.


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