Big 12 2016 Football Previews - Week Thirteen

Four games are on tap in the Big 12 this Thanksgiving weekend, while the two remaining contenders for the league title get the week off prior to their meeting on December 3.

THE NOTES

Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will square off for the league title next week, but there's still plenty to be interested in with this week's four Big 12 games. West Virginia hopes to solidify its hold on third place in the standings, while Texas and TCU meet with bowl eligibility on the line. K-State and Baylor also hope to improve their bowl resumes. (But should the Bears even consider accepting an invitation?)

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Kansas State and West Virginia have a close battle going for the stingiest defense in the league. The Wildcats have allowed 237 points through ten games, while the Mountaineers have yielded 241. On the offensive side, Oklahoma (498 points scored) took the lead over Texas Tech (470) last week.

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Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes II needs just 243 yards of total offense to become only the second player in NCAA FBS history to record 5,000 yards of total offense twice in a career. After being pulled from last week's debacle against Iowa State, he will certainly be looking for a bit of redemption in the Raiders' 2016 finale.

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TCU football student-athlete Caylin Moore was one of 32 students chosen to receive a Rhodes Scholarship, with the opportunity to study at Oxford University next fall.

THE PICKS

Texas and TCU are playing for bowl eligibility. It's the Longhorns' final chance to get a sixth win, while the Horned Frogs will have one more shot next week if it stumbles in Austin. Texas has the biggest X-factor on its side of the ledger – Charlie Strong's job status – but just which side of the ledger will that fall on? Will the 'Horns play the part of a moribund team likely to get a new coach, or will they stand up and fight for a mentor that many appear to believe strongly in? While the moneyed boosters and fan base appear set on kicking Strong out the door, that doesn't appear to be the mentality of the team – and that counts for a good bit on the field. Thus, Texas is the pick to get that sixth win.

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Tag this one the Disinterest Bowl. Baylor meets Texas Tech for a Friday afternoon match-up at AT&T Stadium in Arlington that neither side appears to have much motivation for or interest in. The Bears have lost four straight and are headed for a coaching housecleaning, while the Red Raiders laid a massive egg against Iowa State to remove themselves from bowl consideration. The winner will be the team that cares more about it, and that's difficult to distinguish. It's senior day at Tech, and their final contest of 2016, but Baylor has a bit more talent. That makes BU the most unconfident pick in the history of this column.

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Kansas and Kansas State square off in the Sunflower Showdown. While the Jayhawks are elated to have last week's win over Texas on their resume, they're playing a different squad this week. The bowl eligible Wildcats are playing well, and even though this is a rivalry game they'll control the action on their home turf. K-State gets its seventh win and solidifies its hold on fourth place in the conference.

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West Virginia goes from the spotlight to the back stage with a trip to Iowa State. It will be a huge test for the resilience of the Mountaineers, as all of the momentum will be on the side of the Cyclones, who are coming off a morale-boosting rout of Texas Tech. ISU can't go to a bowl game, but it would love to build some off-season momentum with a third consecutive win at the end of their season. WVU has found a way to win in its previous two trips to Ames, and is a very narrow selection to preserve that unblemished mark.


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