Big 12 2016 Football Previews - Week Five

Now, this is more like it. All ten league teams are in action this week, and all against conference foes. It's the first of the full round robin schedule that starts the month of October off right in the Big 12 Conference

THE NOTES

Which Big 12 team played the best non-conference schedule? By the end of the season, the rankings may have changed, but for now Oklahoma holds that distinction, having squared off against Houston and Ohio State. Texas is probably second, as the Longhorns faced Notre Dame and California, while West Virginia gets the bronze medal for games against Missouri and BYU.

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It has been 17 seasons since Oklahoma lost back-to-back regular season games. The Sooners face that possibility this week when they travel to TCU, where the Horned Frogs are 15-1 in their last 16 outings.

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The league didn't do a great job in their out of conference games, but it did at least play a representative schedule. Thirty percent of the out of conference foes were members of another Power Five conference – a figure surpassed by only one other league.

THE PICKS

Kansas travels to Texas Tech for a Thursday night prime time match-up following an open date for both squads. The Jayhawks have shown some improved defensive numbers, but that won't be enough to get a win. The Red Raiders still figure to score a bunch, and KU doesn't have the offense to stay on the same lap with the Lubbock scoring machine.

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Oklahoma State welcomes Texas in a battle full of questions. Were the Cowboys overrated coming in to the season? Is the Longhorns' win over Notre Dame now devalued? And most importantly, just how good are these two teams? This is the toughest pick of the week, and it comes down to pretty much a coin flip. Although on the road, the 'Horns are the selection, based on a more rounded offense that might be a bit better positioned to take advantage of its opposition.

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Iowa State came to life last week, but the quality of opposition was certainly in question. Baylor got the win over Oklahoma State, and while the evaluation of the Pokes is still in question, there's no doubt OSU was an order of magnitude better than San Jose State. ISU might knock off an upper division foe at some point this year, but it won't be this week. The Bears get out of Ames with the victory.

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West Virginia hosts Kansas State is something of a mental battle for the Mountaineers. WVU could have won the last two meetings, but remained winless in Big 12 play against the Wildcats due to fundamental mistakes and some questionable tactical decisions. If the Mountaineers hope to rise above the mid-pack of the Big 12, this is a game it has to win. By the narrowest of margins, West Virginia is the selection.

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What, no night games? That's an upset for the Big 12, but the latest starting game this week is a 4:00 p.m. Central kick in Ft. Worth, where TCU hosts Oklahoma. It's easy to be down on the Sooners after their two early season losses, but that's not the view from here. The Horned Frogs haven't shown much of their usual defensive prowess, and OU looks to have better balance between offense and defense. The Sooners get the road win – and that makes three road selections out of five in this week's contests.


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