Picks, Predictions and Prognosis for Every Week 6 Big 12 Football Game
Week 6 starts this Thursday, as does the heart of Big 12 conference play. Finally, we'll start to get a better glimpse of where teams stand.
Things kick off on Thursday with a rare weekday appearance (that's not on Thanksgiving) for Texas. The Longhorns travel to Iowa State for what could be a tricky game. Texas' next game is against Oklahoma, but after a slow start, the 'Horns probably aren't looking past anyone.
Texas Tech and Kansas are both coming off bye weeks heading into Saturday's game, while Kansas State and Oklahoma State are both coming off losses and looking to get back on the right side of the win column.
And who comes out on top? Baylor's offense or West Virginia's defense?
Let's get to the picks.
(All rankings used reflect the latest Associated Press poll.)
Texas at Iowa State
Thursday, Sept. 3 at 7:30 p.m. ET
It's time to play a game of what we know and what we don't abut Texas' road game against Iowa State on Thursday.
What we know: Texas' defense, which had been much maligned, looked significantly better in Week 4 against Kansas State. The 'Horns tackled better and played inspired.
What we don't know: whether Texas quarterback David Ash will play against the Cyclones. Orangebloods.com is reporting that Ash will not play because of his head injury, and that senior Case McCoy will start.
What we know: Iowa State is coming off its best performance in this early 2013 season in a 38-21 win over Tulsa. Running back Aaron Wimberly is emerging as a solid playmaker for this offense.
What we don't know: if Thursday night will be another episode of the "Twilight Zone." Ames isn't Lubbock weird, but some strange things have been known to happen in Jack Trice Stadium. Break down matchups all you want, sometimes there are things for which you just can't account.
With Ash potentially out, Longhorns running back Johnathan Gray picks up where he left off against K-State and rushes for another 100-plus yards.
Score prediction: Texas 24, Iowa State 16
No. 20 Texas Tech at Kansas
Saturday, Oct. 5 at noon ET
When Texas Tech travels to Kansas for Saturday's game, it'll match two coaches who know each other well.
Texas Tech's Kliff Kingsbury and Kansas' Charlie Weis have some history with each other. Weis was the offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots when they drafted Kingsbury out of Texas Tech in 2003.
"Sometimes when you go against different people you get coach-speak but I really like Kliff (Kingsbury) and I hope he has a lot of success, just not this week," Weis said Tuesday (via Rock Chalk Talk).
Both defenses rank in the top 20 nationally in points allowed, but if Texas Tech can start putting up points again like it did the first couple of weeks this season, Weis may not get his wish. The Jayhawks have the worst scoring offense in the Big 12, so like all their other games, they'll need to keep this one low-scoring and close if they're going to have a chance.
If Tech jumps out to a big lead, Kansas doesn't have the horses to keep up. The question will be whether quarterback Baker Mayfield can get out of the slump he's been in (one touchdown, four interceptions) over the past two games.
Score prediction: Texas Tech 28, Kansas 10
Kansas State at No. 21 Oklahoma State
Saturday, Oct. 5 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Both teams in this game are coming off tough losses—Kansas State to Texas in Week 4, and Oklahoma State in a stunner to West Virginia.
So who comes out ready to atone?
K-State was outplayed by the 'Horns. The Wildcats are still struggling to get a ground game going and haven't shown they're the physical team we've come to know from the past couple of years.
Oklahoma State looked more like a good team having a bad day against WVU. The Pokes got shut down government style by WVU's defense, but turnovers, missed field goals and disconnects between quarterback and receiver played roles too.
If the Cowboys can come back Saturday and execute like they did through the first three games of the season, they'll show they're the better team.
Also, someone for Oklahoma State has to slow K-State wide receiver Tyler Lockett, who had 237 yards against Texas and has three games of at least 100 yards receiving.
Score prediction: Oklahoma State 35, Kansas State 21.
TCU at No. 11 Oklahoma
Saturday, Oct. 5 at 7:00 p.m. ET
Oklahoma is rolling after securing a good win on the road at Notre Dame in Week 5. TCU blew out rival SMU 48-17, but only after trailing 10-7 at the half. It's hard to predict what the Horned Frogs are going to do for an entire game.
They'll need to put together 60 minutes of their best football for the first time this season if they're going to go on the road and beat the Sooners.
The status for Horned Frogs defensive end Devonte Fields is still unclear, but cornerback Jason Verrett (shoulder injury) should be good to go. The TCU secondary is going to need to force some turnovers from Sooners quarterback Blake Bell, who hasn't thrown a pick in two starts.
TCU has the talent at the defensive back position to keep up with OU's wide receivers, but much of what the Sooners do offensively in the pass game include short, quick passes that allow skill players to do their thing in space. And tackling in the open field has been a bit of an issue for the Horned Frogs defense.
On the other side of the ball, Oklahoma needs to be able to get pressure on TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin. He's been erratic so far this season and could be forced into some mistakes if he can't get into any sort of comfort zone.
Score prediction: Oklahoma 31, TCU 17
West Virginia at No. 17 Baylor
Saturday, Oct. 5 at 8:00 p.m. ET
Well, this should be interesting. College football's best scoring offense goes against easily one of the most improved defensive units from a year ago. Which one prevails?
Baylor is putting up 70 points a game against generally weak competition and West Virginia did a tremendous job against Oklahoma State, which also has a potent offense, in Week 5.
Specifically, the Mountaineers have done a good job against the run and the Bears run it as well as anyone with Lache Seastrunk and Co. The difference in this game, though, is that WVU hasn't faced an offense as balanced as the one Baylor has.
WVU may keep Baylor from scoring 70 points, but the 'Eers offense still hasn't shown it can score no matter who is in at quarterback. This team can't afford to make mistakes, either. The Bears have been as good as any defense in college football at converting turnovers immediately into points. Competition aside, there aren't many weaknesses in Baylor's game right now.
To have a chance, WVU needs to catch all the breaks like it did against Oklahoma State.
Score prediction: Baylor 38, West Virginia 17
Ben Kercheval is the lead writer for Big 12 football. All quotes and information obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise. You can follow Ben on Twitter @BenKercheval.