Picks, Predictions and Prognosis for Every Week 8 Big 12 Football Game
Week 8 in the Big 12 is all about bouncing back.
West Virginia, Kansas and Iowa State are looking to put another check in the win column after disappointing losses—with the Mountaineers having an extra week to stew over a 73-42 loss to Baylor.
But even the Big 12 teams coming off a win—TCU, Texas Tech and Baylor—look to improve. The Frogs look to protect the football better after five turnovers in a 27-17 win over Kansas. The Red Raiders need to clean up special teams after a narrow escape over Iowa State, and the Bears survived their worst offensive performance of the season against Kansas State.
Who comes out on top in Week 8?
(All rankings reflect the latest Associated Press poll.)
TCU at No. 21 Oklahoma State
Saturday, Oct. 19 at noon ET
Oklahoma State hasn't played particularly well in two Big 12 games this season. TCU hasn't played well at all.
The Horned Frogs have been even worse on the road: They have an 0-3 record away from Amon G. Carter Stadium. Had TCU played anyone other than Kansas at home in Week 7, the five turnovers committed by the Frogs probably would have cost them the game.
Oklahoma State, meanwhile, has to be more opportunistic when forcing turnovers. The Pokes took the ball away five times in a 33-29 win over Kansas State in Week 6, but were only able to convert those turnovers into nine points.
The matchup to watch is Oklahoma State's passing game against TCU's stellar secondary. The Cowboys have relied heavily on the pass, producing about 300 yards through the air per game. They also have three tremendously talented wide receivers in Josh Stewart, Tracy Moore and Jhajuan Seales. Can those three get loose from cornerbacks Jason Verrett and Kevin White and safety Sam Carter?
OSU may need to rely on the run game more against the Frogs than it has in recent games.
Prediction: Oklahoma State 34, TCU 24
No. 16 Texas Tech at West Virginia
Saturday, Oct. 19 at noon ET
West Virginia upset a highly ranked team in Oklahoma State at home in Week 5. Can the Mountaineers do it again against No. 16 Texas Tech?
The Red Raiders had a sloppy game on special teams against Iowa State in Week 7 that allowed the Cyclones to stay alive. WVU is going to need similar breaks if it's going to have a chance to beat another ranked opponent. Otherwise, Tech's defense is too good, and WVU's offense isn't nearly good enough to keep pace.
Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro torched the Mountaineers' vulnerable secondary a year ago with five catches for 156 yards and a score before sustaining a season-ending injury. But West Virginia's defense is significantly better this year, so will Amaro have another big day?
If he does, there's little hope for the Mountaineers. To counter, West Virginia has to get pressure on Texas Tech's quarterback and force bad decisions.
Prediction: Texas Tech 33, West Virginia 21
No. 18 Oklahoma at Kansas
Saturday, Oct. 19 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops has never lost a game following the Red River Rivalry. Kansas hasn't won a Big 12 game since a 2010 victory over Colorado. Don't expect either of those things to change this year.
The Jayhawks should run right up the middle on OU just like Texas did. Kansas' strength on offense is in the ground game, anyway. And with OU linebacker Corey Nelson and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips out with injuries, the Jayhawks should be able to run with some success.
Similarly, the Sooners need to keep their ground game going to set up the pass, which was mostly nonexistent against Texas.
The talent disparity will be too much, as OU will score more than 20 points in a Big 12 game for the first time this season. Easily, too.
Prediction: Oklahoma 35, Kansas 10
Iowa State at No. 12 Baylor
Saturday, Oct. 19 at 7:00 p.m. ET
Iowa State came close to shocking another Top-25 team in Week 7 in a 42-35 loss to Texas Tech. The Cyclones have another opportunity in Week 8 against Baylor, the Big 12's best team.
Meanwhile, the Bears faced their first real test in a 35-25 win over Kansas State, a game in which the offense looked little like the point-a-minute group we've seen this season. There are also concerns about Baylor's defense after K-State racked up 327 yards rushing.
Will Iowa State quarterback Sam Richardson and running back Aaron Wimberly take advantage? That'll depend on ISU's defense.
Iowa State's best offense comes from running the ball, and if Baylor can get back to putting up more quick points on offense, the Cyclones may have to abandon that game plan quicker than they would prefer.
Interesting stat, however: Iowa State is one of four Big 12 teams—Baylor, Texas and Texas Tech being the others—averaging more than 30 points in Big 12 games.
But back home after a disappointing showing against K-State, Baylor will roll.
Prediction: Baylor 54, Iowa State 24
Ben Kercheval is the lead writer for Big 12 football. All quotes obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise. You can follow Ben on Twitter @BenKercheval.