Picks, Predictions and Prognosis for Every Week 14 Big 12 Football Game
There are two weeks left in the season, and there's still plenty to be decided in the Big 12 title race. That's what should make Week 14 exciting.
That, and deep-fried turkeys. Or turducken. Or whatever it is you're into.
It all kicks off on Thanksgiving night when Texas Tech tries to stop a four-game losing streak on the road against Texas. The Longhorns' conference championship hopes aren't dead yet, so they need a win just as badly as the Red Raiders—if not more so.
Two of Saturday's games should be about taking care of business. Kansas State will shoot for seven wins against Kansas, and Baylor must beat TCU to avoid back-to-back losses that would make a BCS at-large spot practically unachievable.
Then, there's Iowa State and West Virginia, both playing for pride and for seniors to end what has been a disappointing season for both teams, to say the least.
So, who comes out on top in Week 14?
(All rankings reflect the latest BCS standings.)
Texas Tech at Texas
Thursday, Nov. 28 at 7:30 p.m. ET
A win for Texas Tech would be a nice way to end the season after dropping four games in row. However, Texas can't afford to get behind in the race for the conference title. A loss to the Red Raiders would mean the Longhorns would have to beat Baylor on Dec. 7 just to be in the picture for a possible tiebreaker and a share of the championship.
Long story short, it's must-win time for Mack Brown—in more than one way.
Texas Tech has to take better care of the football. That's been a problem for this team all season, but only over the past month has it actually resulted in losses. The 'Horns are good enough to take advantage of those mistakes.
On the other side, Texas can't afford to get too behind. Senior quarterback Case McCoy has pulled out some miracles in his day, but this team is far better when its offense is running the ball well. In fact, history says that whoever runs the ball better in this game will win.
In addition to the turnovers, Tech has had a hard time stopping the run lately. That ends up being the difference on Thursday.
Score prediction: Texas 35, Texas Tech 28
Kansas State at Kansas
Saturday, Nov. 30 at noon ET
Kansas State saw its four-game winning streak snapped by Oklahoma on Saturday. Kansas saw its one-game winning streak snapped (in the frigid night air of Ames, Iowa) by Iowa State.
The Wildcats should be able to rebound. VegasInsider.com has K-State as a 16.5-point favorite over the Jayhawks. As long as K-State can stop Kansas' running game, it should be okay.
Jayhawks coach Charlie Weis said Monday during the Big 12 coaches teleconference that he won't disclose which quarterback will start: Jake Heaps or Montell Cozart. Cozart showed promise two weeks ago against West Virginia but was stuffed by the Cyclones. However, the Wildcats showed a lot of vulnerability against the run in the loss to OU, so Weis could go with Cozart on that principle.
Whoever starts could be playing from behind. K-State has been rolling on offense lately, and wide receiver Tyler Lockett is playing out of his mind.
Score prediction: Kansas State 34, Kansas 17
No. 9 Baylor at TCU
Saturday, Nov. 30 at 3:30 p.m. ET
The loss to Oklahoma State is in the rear view mirror for Baylor. The best way to get back on track is to win.
That shouldn't be an overly difficult task for the Bears against TCU, provided that they take better care of the football. The Frogs have the athletes in the secondary to make life harder on the Baylor passing game, so it could be up to Baylor's running game to get the job done. That will fall on the shoulders of quarterback Bryce Petty and running back Shock Linwood.
It's not clear if fellow running backs Lache Seastrunk (groin) and Glasco Martin (knee) will be available to play.
Baylor's defense got gashed by the Cowboys, but TCU isn't nearly as good. It starts up front, where TCU's offensive line has struggled all year to protect the quarterback. If Baylor gets out to a lead, you can bet defensive coordinator Phil Bennett will tee off on quarterback Casey Pachall.
Both defenses are good enough that this shouldn't be a high scoring game (by Baylor's standards). It might even be close for a while, but if TCU's offense can stay on the field, momentum is eventually going to swing Baylor's way.
Score prediction: Baylor 31, TCU 20
Iowa State at West Virginia
Saturday, Nov. 30 at 4:00 p.m. ET
The season comes to a close for Iowa State and West Virginia on Saturday. Suffice to say, neither team wants to lose any more games than they have already.
There's no bowl on the line, so both teams will be playing for pride. Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen said during Monday's conference call that the teams should play for 14 seniors "who have gone through a lot of change and given a lot. They have great attitudes."
Of course, that doesn't erase the fact that West Virginia's injury report is longer than most Christmas lists. Quarterback Clint Trickett has been cleared to play after suffering a head injury against Texas, but defensive backs Darwin Cook and Daryl Worley are still questionable.
Defense is where the injuries are hitting the hardest.
If West Virginia can lean on running backs Charles Sims and Dreamius Smith (like it should do every game), it should be enough to get the job done in what could be an ugly game.
Score prediction: West Virginia 24, Iowa State 21
Ben Kercheval is the lead writer for Big 12 football. All quotes obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise. You can follow Ben on Twitter @BenKercheval.