This week, we'll again take a look at the other games happening around the Big 12.
#8 Oklahoma @ Texas A&M
This game is all sorts of interesting, if you're following the Big 12 South race. It really all focuses on one fact, Oklahoma is on the road again. Three weeks ago the Sooners annihilated Iowa State in their home stadium, easily looking like a national championship contender and worthy of the #1 ranking they received. The next week under the lights in Columbia, it all fell apart for Bob Stoops. Inexplicably the Sooners looked inept against a dominant Missouri team. The same Missouri team that blew up the Aggies at home the week before. The drama in this game easily focuses on the Aggies ability to defend their home stadium, which they've struggled with all year, combined with Oklahoma's troubles on the road that did not begin in Columbia, but stretch as far back as last year.
Ryan Tannehill will again replace Preseason Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year Jerrod Johnson as the Aggies quarterback. Last week he looked sharp against the slumping Red Raiders, but the Sooners are on an entirely different level than Texas Tech, particularly on defense. Made worse is the fact that Christine Michael is out for the remainder of the season. Whatever offense the Aggies can put together will most likely be an ad hoc affair, at best. At worst, it could be a disaster.
Landry Jones has, at times, looked like a Heisman-caliber quarterback. At other times, he looks like a High School QB. Watching him against Missouri, I just couldn't seem to understand how he was the same quarterback that achieved near perfection against Iowa State. The Sooners waxed Colorado last week as a tune up after their loss to Mizzou, but while the Aggies represent stiffer competition, I still expect the Sooners to roll through College Station and pick up another win. It just may not be as dominating of a victory as it might otherwise have been.
More games after the Jump
#21 Baylor @ #17 Oklahoma State
It's mind boggling to think that the only matchup between two ranked teams in the Big 12 this week is Baylor at OSU. The winner of this game will control it's own destiny in the quest for the Big 12 South crown. Both teams have yet to face Oklahoma, but this game is crucial for both teams, and they know it. To make it even more interesting, these two teams are the most prolific offenses in the Big 12. OSU leads, averaging 527.25 yards per game, good for 2nd Nationally, they trail only Oregon. Baylor doesn't slouch with the ball either, going for 490.44 yards per game, good for 8th Nationally and 2nd in the Big 12. So who wins? My guess is the first team to 50.
Brandon Weeden leads the Pokes and at 27 years old, he's easily the oldest QB in the nation. For all that, he's levelheaded and gets the job done. OSU also gets back Justin Blackmon after his one game suspension for breaking team rules. With him back, the sky is the limit for OSU's passing yards. The Pokes struggled to put away Kansas State last week, but it's not Weeden's fault, without Blackmon as a primary target, OSU's other receivers had to step up. They did, but no one separated themselves from the pack. As a group they performed adequately, but that won't cut it this week.
Baylor handed Texas it's third home loss and 4th overall loss last week in Austin, rising above any residual fear they may have harbored for the Longhorns. Robert Griffin III by no means was perfect last week, throwing 2 TD's and an interception, but he's a legitimate dual threat QB who has carried the Bears this far, largely on his own back. The danger for Baylor is a lack of depth, can they go a full 4 quarters on full blast? I'm guessing the answer is no, and the Pokes finally bring the folks in Waco back to reality.
#12 Missouri @ Texas Tech
This is probably Missouri's most dangerous remaining game, with the possible exception of their trip to Ames in a little over two weeks. Tommy Tuberville has not faired well in his first year with the Red Raiders, and the fans in Lubbock, used to video game stats, have been calling for Steven Sheffield to take the field.
Sheffield, known as "Sticks", played on and off for the Red Raiders last year, trading spots with Taylor Potts when he was injured. He wasn't able to change the outcome of the game last week against the Aggies, and my feeling is that he probably can't get it done against Mizzou either. Baron Batch has flown under the radar this year, but he's shown some flashes of real skill, if the Red Raiders can utilize him effectively.
Blaine Gabbert had a bad game last week against Nebraska, no question. Nothing seemed to go right for him. I expect that won't happen again this week. Tech's defense is allowing an astonishing 317 yards per game in passing, which is 2nd to last in the Nation. Mizzou should be able to right the ship this week, but their national title hopes are gone.
Texas @ Kansas State
You have to wonder if Mack Brown isn't happy to be getting out of Austin. The Longhorns have been Abysmal at home this year, but have looked better on the road. K-State has the best record in the North against the Longhorns over the course of the Big 12, but I don't expect it to matter. Daniel Thomas will be introduced to Sam Acho, and I don't expect that will be pleasant for the KSU Running Back. The real question is can the Texas Offense manage to score touchdowns. Last week they scored a number of field goals, but couldn't seem to find the end zone. Field goals won't cut it any week, but particularly not on the road.
The good news for the Longhorns is that the KSU Defense isn't anything to write home about. You have to wonder though, how far will the Longhorns fall before they hit rock bottom? Maybe this week they can rebound in Manhattan.
Colorado @ Kansas
As Mark Schlabach of ESPN would say, this is the pillow fight of the week in the Big 12. The loser will be relegated to the Big 12 Cellar for the remainder of the year. The winner isn't much better off however. Kansas showed some signs of life in the first half against Iowa State, but Colorado got thrashed to within an inch of its life on the visit to sunny Norman. Both teams have trouble executing, both teams make a lot of mistakes. I think Kansas can pull of the win here because of two things. First, the game is in Lawrence and that should help the struggling Jayhawks. Second, I think Turner Gill is a better motivator and head coach than Dan Hawkins, who is probably already packing boxes in his office. One wonders if anyone else will be watching this game.