Big 12 2016 Football Previews - Week Twelve

The Big 12 Championship race kicks into high gear this weekend with a primetime showdown between two of the top three contenders for the title. All ten conference teams are in action as the race for bowl positioning heats up.

THE NOTES

Oklahoma and Oklahoma State do not need help to win the Big 12 Championship. Wins over West Virginia and Oklahoma State will lock up the crown for the Sooners, while victories over TCU and Oklahoma would do the same for the Cowboys.

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Travel note of the millennium: Saturday’s game at Iowa State will mark just the sixth time in school history where Texas Tech plays a game north of the state of Oklahoma during the month of November. Perhaps a late road trip to West Virginia next year is in the cards.

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Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes has either run with or passed the ball 634 times this year. That's 71% of the total number of Texas Tech plays this season. And people think Texas running back D'Onta Foreman might get worn down.

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Kansas continues its quest to finish the year with negative yardage in punt returns. With just two games to play, the Jayhawks have returned five punts for a total of -5 yards.

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There have been a total of six punts and kickoffs returned for touchdowns in the Big 12 this year. Kansas State and Oklahoma have combined for four of them. Kansas and TCU have the other two.

THE PICKS

Baylor hosts Kansas State in the ultimate clash of styles. Without QB Seth Russell, and with a program that continues to endure weekly claims of malfeasance and tone-deaf behavior, it’s tough to see the Bears winning against a team that sets the standard for disciplined play. The Wildcats, coming off an open date, earn bowl eligibility with their sixth win of the season.

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Oklahoma State, which has played just three road games so far, squares off against TCU in Fort Worth in its bid to stay near the top of the conference. The Pokes escaped disaster last week when Texas Tech shanked a game-tying extra point in the final minutes. It won't do so a second week in a row, as a resurgent Horned Frog offense and an improving defense further muddle the league standings by dealing OSU its second league loss of the season.

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Texas heads to Kansas after letting a game get away against WVU that it feels it should have won. The Longhorns are perhaps relying too much on standout running back D'Onta Foreman, but it should be able to more evenly distribute the load against the Jayhawks. KU can hide all the players in the end zone it wants, but it won't be enough to make a difference if UT uses all of its run game weapons and pounds away.

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Texas Tech is still in the hunt for a bowl, but must win its final two games in order to achieve that goal. Step one is a road trip to Iowa State, which continues to play hard. The Cyclones were rewarded with their first league win of the season last week against Kansas, but they won't be able to score enough to hang with the Red Raiders.

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West Virginia hosts Oklahoma in a CFP elimination game (even though most media outlets ruled the entire league out back in September). WVU's defense, the best in the conference, will have to weave its touchdown-prevention magic against a Sooner offense that scores in bunches. The Mountaineers used to dominate in home night games, but haven't fared as well in recent kicks after dark. This one follows the same pattern, as OU will have too many offensive weapons to shut down completely.


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