Picks, Predictions and Prognosis for Every Week 7 Big 12 Football Game
So, any big games this weekend?
Not really, just a Red River Rivalry that will be one of the most important games of coach Mack Brown's career at Texas.
The Longhorns are two-touchdown underdogs, according to VegasInsider.com. That number could climb as Texas deals with key injuries, including the ongoing concussion symptoms of starting quarterback David Ash.
A win for Brown against OU would silence critics calling for his retirement. A loss, especially another blowout, will only make those cries deafening.
Meanwhile, after coming off a 73-42 win over West Virginia, Baylor looks to keep scoring a bazillion points a game against Kansas State.
TCU and Kansas are both desperate for wins, and Iowa State will try to pull its yearly upset over a Top 25 team by defeating Texas Tech.
So who comes out on top in Week 7? Let's get to the picks.
(All rankings reflect the latest Associated Press poll.)
Kansas at TCU
Saturday, Oct. 12 at noon ET
Kansas and TCU are winless in Big 12 play. The Frogs have come close twice, losing to Texas Tech and Oklahoma by a combined 13 points.
The Jayhawks? Eh, not so much.
As Jesse Newell of KUSports.com wrote this week, defense wasn't solely to blame for Kansas' 54-16 loss to Texas Tech in Week 6. In fact, KU's defense has been the one side of the ball keeping this team in games.
However, the offense has been bad, and leading receiver Tony Pierson is day-to-day with a head injury. If Pierson can't play against TCU, good luck finding playmakers who can pick up the slack.
The Frogs have had their own struggles on offense, but 106 of their 140 points on the season have come in the second half. Head coach Gary Patterson must give some halftime speech because things tend to come together once the third quarter starts.
Conversely, Kansas got off to a good start against Texas Tech before everything fell apart. If the Jayhawks can keep this game within a possession in the fourth quarter, they'll have a chance to win. Otherwise, this team doesn't have the offensive firepower to score a ton of points against one of the best defenses in the Big 12.
Prediction: TCU 27, Kansas 14
Iowa State at No. 20 Texas Tech
Saturday, Oct. 12 at noon ET
Iowa State was sooooo close to beating Texas last Thursday, but a fumble that wasn't gave the Longhorns an opportunity to go up 31-30. And that's how the game ended.
But there was a lot to like about how the Cyclones played. With the exception of an insane Hail Mary and the final offensive drive for Texas, ISU's defense looked good. With the emergence of Aaron Wimberly in the run game and quarterback Sam Richardson healthy, the offense is playing more consistently.
The knee injury to Texas Tech starting quarterback Baker Mayfield won't be season-ending, according to coach Kliff Kingsbury on Monday's Big 12 conference call. However, he's not ready to name a starter yet.
The key for Iowa State is making sure the ball doesn't get in the hands of tight end Jace Amaro or wide receiver Eric Ward. Amaro is huge target who has reeled in at least eight catches over the past four games.
Strange things happen in Lubbock. This time, it'll go against the Red Raiders, and Paul Rhoads will beat another Top 25 team.
Prediction: Iowa State 28, Texas Tech 24
No. 12 Oklahoma vs. Texas (Dallas)
Saturday, Oct. 12 at noon ET at the Cotton Bowl
After losing the past three Red River Rivalries, Texas badly needs a win against Oklahoma.
Not having starting quarterback David Ash is a problem, but it can be mitigated somewhat if Texas develops a solid running game. For whatever reason, the 'Horns refused to do that against Iowa State.
The absence of Oklahoma linebacker Corey Nelson could be an interesting development to watch. The senior has a partially torn pectoral muscle and is likely done for the season. He's been a great leader for the Sooners and a valuable run-stopper. One would think Texas will at least try to run right at Nelson's replacement, freshman Dominique Alexander.
Longhorns wide receiver Daje Johnson is back from an ankle injury, so if he can get involved, he'll bring big-play ability to the offense.
It's no surprise that Oklahoma is a big favorite. The Sooners are undefeated and have played particularly well on defense this season. But sometimes when everything looks like a guarantee, the opposite tends to happen.
Oklahoma wins a fourth straight Red River Rivalry, but if Texas can run the ball, it's a closer game than many might think.
Prediction: Oklahoma 34, Texas 21
No. 15 Baylor at Kansas State
Saturday, Oct. 12 at 3:30 p.m. ET
For the first time this season, Baylor will play on the road. For the third time this season, Kansas State will try to win a Big 12 conference game.
Last year, it was K-State with national title hopes before it all went to hell in a 52-24 loss in Waco. Can the 'Cats play spoiler for Baylor's similar aspirations this time around?
Probably not. K-State has been breaking in new starters on defense, and it has showed on more than one occasion. In two losses this year, the Wildcats have allowed more than 200 yards rushing and about five yards per rush.
That's less than half of what Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk averages.
Baylor will get its points. The question will be whether the Bears can slow down K-State if Daniel Sams is in the game. Next to Trevor Knight of Oklahoma Sams is the best runner at the quarterback spot in the Big 12, and the Baylor defense has hardly been tested.
Sams could expose some vulnerabilities in Baylor's defense. Or he could turn the ball over four times again like he did against Oklahoma State. Either one, or maybe both.
Because Bill Snyder is a heck of a coach, he keeps Baylor under 60 points, and the Bears have to play their starters the entire game for the first time all year.
Prediction: Baylor 56, Kansas State 28
Ben Kercheval is the lead writer for Big 12 football. All quotes obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise. You can follow Ben on Twitter @BenKercheval.