Big 12 2016 Football Previews - Week Ten

And now the race is really on. Forget the CFP for a bit, and be entertained by what could be one of the most competitive Big 12 football championship battles in years. Someone, though, will have to deal a defeat to Oklahoma to make the race tighter.

THE NOTES

It received little notice – perhaps because it was the correct decision. Last week the Big 12 announced that the top two teams in the league will meet in the Big 12 Championship Game when it reappears following the 2017 season. Alternatives for a two-division setup or some other less direct means of filling the game's slots were evaluated, but the league chose to continue its round-robin regular season, followed by a rematch between the top two finishers.

While that may generate some criticism from those whose mission it is to tear down everything in sight, it's certainly not without precedent. Rematches – even ones that feature two teams who played within the preceding few weeks – have occurred in leagues with divisional splits. While that could occur in the Big 12, it's not a big deal. And it's certainly better than a team sneaking into the championship game while winning a division and avoiding other top teams in the league due to scheduling. Are you listening, ACC and Virginia Tech?

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In that race, every current one-loss team in the league will get a shot at the Sooners, as Baylor, West Virginia and Oklahoma State line up to meet them in the final three weeks of the season. They are plenty of potential pitfalls before then, but those last three games could make for one of the best closing races in college football.

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Baylor, Kansas State, West Virginia and Texas are undefeated at home this year. The first trio of that group will be defending their unblemished 4-0 home marks this week.

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Texas running back D'Onta Foreman has rushed for 100 or more yards in all seven games this season.

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Every Big 12 team other than Oklahoma State that appears in the CFP rankings is slotted lower than its position in either the Coaches' or AP Poll.

THE PICKS

Oklahoma and Iowa State jump start league play with a Thursday night prime time meeting in Ames. The Cyclones have enjoyed good success in these contests recently, having racked up a 10-3 record in their last 13 Thursday night starts. As we often note, though, past history does not predict future performance, and this excellent won-loss ratio will take a hit with OU's visit. The Sooners look to be hitting their stride, and have too many offensive weapons for ISU to match.

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Texas may be the most difficult team to get a handle on, as the Longhorns have alternately looked great and mediocre this season. Texas Tech will be hard pressed to slow UT's running game, but will the Horns be smart enough to run it 55 times and keep Tech's offense sidelined? This one's a toss-up, and has big bowl futures tied to it, as both teams are 4-4. Texas is the pick, but that's not a selection made with strong confidence.

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TCU heads to Baylor in a meeting that will break the current series deadlock, which stands at 52-52-7. The Bears figure to be upset after some miscues cost them dearly last week against Texas. TCU doesn't look to have the scoring chops to pull off a win, even if an improving defense holds Baylor below its scoring average. The home fans in Waco get to celebrate a win.

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 Oklahoma State is on a roll, riding a four-game winning streak into Manhattan to take on Kansas State. Nothing in particular grabs the eye about the Wildcats, but they are one team that doesn't figure to hand OSU the turnovers it feasts on. K-State gets the upset nod in the afternoon showdown.

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West Virginia gets to take out its frustrations on Kansas, which will have all of the Mountaineers' attention after their first loss of the season last week. The Jayhawks are showing some signs of progress, but WVU will enjoy its first night game of the season with a win at home.


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