Picks, Predictions and Prognosis for Every Week 11 Big 12 Football Game
So, any big games this week?
The Big 12 will have the spotlight partially to itself on Thursday when Oklahoma travels to Baylor for a Top 10 matchup with significant conference title and BCS implications.
The rest of the league's top teams just need to survive another week. Oklahoma State will host Kansas, and Texas travels to Morgantown to play West Virginia. With the Cowboys and Longhorns playing each other next week, both need to take care of business on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Texas Tech must beat Kansas State if it wants to keep its increasingly-dim Big 12 title hopes alive.
Who comes out on top in Week 11?
(All rankings reflect the latest BCS standings.)
No. 10 Oklahoma at No. 6 Baylor
Thursday, Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m. ET
And away we go.
Finally, Baylor should get the proper test a team of its supposed caliber deserves. Both teams are coming off bye weeks and should be well-prepared. Baylor had no trouble against Kansas in Week 9, and Oklahoma had its best win of the season against Texas Tech.
Baylor's keys to the game include a heavy dose of running the ball and capitalizing on any turnovers it can get. Oklahoma has reached into its bag of tricks over the past couple of games, so don't be surprised if the Sooners come out playing with a little bit of reckless abandon.
The Bears are a two-touchdown favorite over the Sooners, according to VegasInsider.com. But Baylor has been so good this season that a "close" game would, in context, mean one that's not over by halftime.
We should have a close game on Thursday. Baylor's offense is one of the best and most balanced in all of college football, but in respect to relative strengths and weaknesses, the Bears and Sooners are more alike than you may think. Both teams can run the ball well, yet the middle of their respective defenses has been a vulnerable spot.
Both teams may attack that area, and by design, that may "slow" the scoring rate.
Baylor has one of the scariest teams in the country, so it wins. Just not in a blowout.
Score prediction: Baylor 45, Oklahoma 35
TCU at Iowa State
Saturday, Nov. 9 at noon ET
Here's a game between two teams that desperately need a win.
TCU, at 3-6, needs to win its final three games just to be bowl eligible. Iowa State, at 1-7, needs a win because hugs are nice and all, but they're just not making the Cyclones feel any better.
The Frogs actually got off to a nice start on offense against West Virginia last week before succumbing to more poor offensive-line play. Had it not been for several self-inflicted wounds, TCU probably would have beat the Mountaineers.
TCU should be able to find some confidence that it can, in fact, move the ball on offense with quarterback Casey Pachall. Also, Iowa State's defense has been porous.
TCU head coach Gary Patterson says changes are coming. In the meantime, the Frogs change their losing ways against Iowa State.
Score prediction: TCU 34, Iowa State 23
Kansas State at No. 25 Texas Tech
Saturday, Nov. 9 at noon ET
Texas Tech is losing some momentum after dropping its last two games. Kansas State is gaining it after winning its past two.
A big reason Tech is winless since starting the season 7-0 is its inability to stop the run. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State averaged around 280 yards on the ground against TTU. Lo and behold, K-State loves to run the ball.
Texas Tech should know what's coming, though that doesn't mean it'll necessarily stop it. Saturday's game could come down to which team takes better care of the football; both rank among the worst in college football in turnover margin.
If the Red Raiders want to keep any hope of a Big 12 title alive, they have to beat the Wildcats. Tight end Jace Amaro has another big day and Tech gets it done...barely.
Score prediction: Texas Tech 31, Kansas State 28
Kansas at No. 14 Oklahoma State
Saturday, Nov. 9 at 4:00 p.m. ET
Will this be the week Kansas breaks its 0-for-forever losing streak in Big 12 games?
A Jayhawk fan can certainly dream, but this feels like the Cowboys will be playing the part of Freddy Krueger.
Oklahoma State has been on a roll ever since it found a running game against Iowa State, and the defense has been excellent all year at taking the ball away.
Not to mention there's an indisputable talent difference favoring OSU and the game is being played in Stillwater. There is, barring major injuries, nothing that favors Kansas in this game.
Score prediction: Oklahoma State 45, Kansas 17
Texas at West Virginia
Saturday, Nov. 9 at 7:00 p.m. ET
West Virginia got its signature Big 12 win last year when it went to Austin and beat Texas 48-45. It's been mostly downhill for the Mountaineers ever since.
Texas knows a thing or two about struggles after starting the season 1-2. But the 'Horns have been outstanding on defense and have utilized the run game much more effectively.
West Virginia's run defense actually isn't as bad as the numbers (77th nationally) indicate; thank Baylor for that. But WVU's offense has a hard time staying on the field, so defensive depth becomes an issue for the Mountaineers as a game wears on.
That's not a good thing, since Texas has two excellent running backs in Johnathan Gray and Malcolm Brown. That should open up the passing game, and quarterback Case McCoy has made a few nice throws in recent weeks.
As long as the Longhorns hold on to the football, there's no reason to think they can't handle their first trip to Morgantown.
Score prediction: Texas 31, WVU 21
Ben Kercheval is the lead writer for Big 12 football. You can follow him on Twitter @BenKercheval.
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