Big 12 Football Preview - Week Ten: Battles for Position in the Top and Bottom Divisions

With two clear divisions in the Big 12, battles being this week to determine frontrunners for the league title at the top, and bowl eligibility further down. The same scenario will play out throughout November.

THE NOTES

The two-tier sorting out process begins this week in the Big 12, as Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU and Baylor begin a month of match-up that will determine the league champion. Each team will face at least one team outside that group that will have a chance to muck things up, but there aren't any obvious candidates from the second tier that would even be given a puncher's chance to pull a big upset. Still Texas did manage to land a haymaker on the Sooners earlier this year, but there just isn't enough offensive firepower outside of Texas Tech to see that happening again, and the Red Raiders have already played the top quartet.

The battle for fifth through ninth places, while unnoticed nationally, could also prove very interesting. Iowa State, mired near the bottom of the league the past few years, has a two-game lead in the win column over K-State and West Virginia, but has the toughest remaining schedule.

* * * * *

Texas Tech is one win away from bowl eligibility, and figures to earn that win in one of its remaining three games. Kansas is the only school eliminated from bowl consideration, but both Iowa State and Texas are two losses away from getting counted out.

* * * * *

Oklahoma isn't getting mentioned in the same offensive circles as the three undefeated Big 12 schools, but the Sooners are right with all of them. Baylor (428 points overall) and Texas Tech (426) have a comfortable lead, but OU (365) is in the pack along with TCU (391) and Oklahoma State (352). In league games only, OU is third with 241, trailing Tech's 263 and TCU's 242.

* * * * *

Iowa State was named the AutoNation National Team of the Week after its first-ever win over Texas. No disrespect to the Cyclones, but this is just the latest in a long list of instances where more credit is given to a team because it's a “national brand”. Texas is the worst offensive team in the league, and will struggle to make a bowl game this year. Kudos to the Cyclones for the victory, but it was hardly the best one in the land last week.

* * * * *

Four different Oklahoma State players completed a pass in the Cowboys' 70-53 win over Texas Tech. Ten different OSU players caught passes, and eight different Cowboys scored a touchdown.

* * * * *

Texas Tech has scored 167 points in its four losses this year, an average of almost 42 per game. It has scored 259 points in its five wins, for an average of almost 52 per outing. That demonstrates the value of each possession, even for high-scoring squads.

THE PICKS

Baylor (7-0 / 4-0) and Kansas State (3-4 / 0-4) meet in a battle of backup quarterbacks. Were this a normally stout Wildcat team, they would get strong upset consideration playing at home. Without much offensive punch and less fundamental strength than usual for a Bill Snyder team, they won't be able to keep pace with the Bears, even if the visitors don't have all of their offensive zip.

* * * * *

Texas Tech (5-4 / 2-4) travels to West Virginia (3-4 / 0-4) with both schools looking to make gains in the league standings after running the gauntlet of the top teams in the conference, all of whom are in the Top 15. Tech can become bowl-eligible with a win, while the Mountaineers are just looking to erase the zero in their Big 12 win column. Each team had a strength (Tech's offense, WVU's defense) that figured to make this an interesting match-up, but the Mountaineers' health situation, plus a suddenly sputtering attack, gives the nod to the Red Raiders.

* * * * *

It's another check the light bulbs on the scoreboard match-up in Stillwater as Oklahoma State 8-0 / 5-0) hosts TCU (8-0 / 5-0). The stats and numbers are very close, and both teams have shown the ability to rally and score late to secure wins. The home field advantage makes the difference here, as the Cowboys give the Frogs their first loss of the season.

* * * * *

Iowa State (3-5 / 2-3) moved into fifth place in the league with its shutout of Texas, but will find the going much tougher on the road at Oklahoma (7-1 / 4-1). ISU has a solid defense and its best running game in several years, and could make some noise, but the talent gap is still to much for them to overcome. The Sooners keep their league title hopes alive with a night win.

* * * * *

Kansas (0-8 / 0-5) visits Texas (3-5 / 2-3) in a game where the first team to score wins. OK, that's a little harsh, but both have laid down some stultifying offensive performances this year. Texas has played much better at home this year, though, so it gets the nod in a game it must win if it want's to keep its bowl hopes alive in any realistic view.


BlueGoldNews Top Stories