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Big 12 Football: Nebraska, Oklahoma State Move Into the Top Spots

Mike WehlingAnalyst IOctober 29, 2016

Big 12 Football: Nebraska, Oklahoma State Move Into the Top Spots

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    Eric Francis/Getty Images

    What a crazy week in Big 12 football.

    Texas falls to Kansas State. Oklahoma gets upset by Texas A&M. Missouri gets upset by Texas Tech. Kansas has a ridiculous rally to beat Colorado. Oklahoma State outshoots Baylor. Nebraska narrowly avoids the upset against Iowa State.

    So with that quick recap, where do the Big 12 teams rank after Week 10? (Note: I will update the national rankings when they are released.)

12. Colorado Buffaloes

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Record: 3-6 (0-5)

    Big 12 North ranking: sixth

    National ranking: yeah right

    Only Colorado could blow a 28-point lead in the fourth quarter. The Buffaloes were dominating the game until a couple of turnovers ended in Kansas' scores. Quarterback Cody Hawkins was not great today (29 of 44 for 322 yards, three touchdowns, two interceptions). Colorado started off this season hot and it looked like it would finally get to a bowl game. Now the Buffaloes have three games that they have to win, and they won't be favored in any of them. If this does not end Dan Hawkins's coaching career, I do not know what will.

    Colorado player of the week: Rodney Stewart had 175 yards and two touchdowns, both of which are season highs.

     

    Week 11 opponent: Iowa State

    Prediction: Loss. Colorado seems to be disorganized, and Iowa State is looking for win No. 6.

11. Kansas Jayhawks

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Record: 3-6 (1-4)

    Big 12 North ranking: fifth

    National ranking: N/A

    Turner Gill won his first Big 12 game in epic fashion. Playing with third-string quarterback Quinn Mecham, the Jayhawks rallied in the fourth quarter to score 35 unanswered points. The Jayhawks were able to force two crucial turnovers in the fourth that both led to scores. They were able to make a goal-line stand to seal the win. Mecham was 23-of-28 passing for 252 yards and two touchdowns and two interceptions, and I think he will start the reminder of the season. This is a big win for Turner Gill and his Kansas team.  Unfortunately, they have to win out to become bowl-eligible, and all of the remaining teams are ranked.

    Kansas player of the week: James Sims had 123 yards rushing and four touchdowns, both of which are career highs.

     

    Week 11 opponent: @ Nebraska

    Prediction: Loss. Turner Gill comes home to Nebraska, but his team does not match up well with the Huskers.

10. Texas Longhorns

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Record: 4-5 (2-4)

    Big 12 South ranking: sixth

    National ranking: N/A

    Wow. Texas may not even get to a bowl game; the last time that happened was in 1997, John Mackovic's last season. Texas dropped another game to Kansas State, a team with whom they have issues. This 39-14 loss was never close. Texas had five turnovers—all Garrett Gilbert interceptions—that led to great field position for the Wildcats. The Longhorns racked up yards, but could not put up points until the fourth quarter to make it less embarrassing. Mack Brown needs to try something to get his team going. They only have one gimme game against Florida Atlantic and will have to upset either Oklahoma State or Texas A&M to go to a bowl game.

    Texas player of the week: Mike Davis had 109 yards receiving, which is a career high for the true freshman.

     

    Week 11 opponent: Oklahoma State

    Prediction: Loss. Texas does have a good secondary, but they won't be able to stop wide receiver Justin Blackmon, and the run defense won't be able to stop running backs Kendall Hunter and Joseph Randle.

9. Iowa State Cyclones

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Record: 5-5 (3-3)

    Big 12 North ranking: fourth

    National ranking: N/A

    So close, but no YouTube sensation this year. Iowa State almost had another upset over Nebraska, but an interception on a fake PAT prevented the upset in overtime. The Cyclones held the Taylor Martinez-less Huskers to 314 yards and had two turnovers that led to scores. Quarterback Austen Arnaud was 21 of 32 passing for 203 yards with three touchdowns. He threw two interceptions, with one of them being returned for a touchdown. Arnaud, along with Alexander Robinson getting for 164 yards on the ground, gave the Blackshirts fits. They took Nebraska to the limit, but in the end a gutsy call that failed to work sealed the loss for the Cyclones.

    Iowa State player of the week: Austen Arnaud tallied 266 total yards and four touchdowns that took his team from a 14-point deficit to the almost upset.

     

    Week 10 opponent: @ Colorado

    Prediction: Win. Iowa State is a good football team, and Colorado looks like it is in disarray.

8. Texas Tech Red Raiders

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Record: 5-4 (3-4)

    Big 12 South ranking: fifth

    National ranking: BCS No. 38

    Texas Tech pulled off a huge upset against the 12th-ranked Missouri Tigers. Steven Sheffield started the game at quarterback, but it was Taylor Potts that came out to pull off the upset. Potts was 19 of 28 passing for 188 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. The Red Raiders started slow, but were able to pick it up in the second half. The addition of Baron Batch's running made the offense too difficult to handle for the Tigers. The defense got run over in the first half but in the second half, the Red Raiders only allowed 47 total yards—very impressive. Tommy Tuberville has his team one win away from a bowl berth, and with Houston and Weber State still on the schedule, they should have it. Also, they should wear those camo jerseys every game—they were cool.

    Texas Tech player of the week: Potts got benched to start the game in favor of Sheffield, but came back and orchestrated the win for the Red Raiders.

     

    Week 10 opponent: @ Oklahoma

    Prediction: Loss. Oklahoma is bad on the road, but they are near impossible to beat at home.

7. Kansas State Wildcats

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Record: 6-3 (3-3)

    Big 12 North ranking: third

    National ranking: BCS No. 24

    Kansas State is bowl eligible for the first time since 2006. They dominated the Longhorns on their way to a 39-14 victory on Senior Night. While they were nearly double up in total yardage, the Wildcats picked off Texas QB Garrett Gilbert five times. Carson Coffman did not play at quarterback, but Collin Klein was able to manage the game and ran for 127 yards and two touchdowns. Daniel Thomas added 106 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. The defense was definitely the key to this crucial victory.

    Kansas State player of the week: It's a tie between Ty Zimmerman and Tysyn Hartman, each of whom had their first two interceptions of the season.

     

    Week 10 opponent: @ Missouri

    Prediction: Loss. I just do not see Kansas State pulling off the upset. They are not road-tested as they have only played two away from home this year, and Missouri is a more sound team than Texas.

6. Baylor Bears

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    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Record: 7-3 (4-2)

    Big 12 South ranking: second

    National ranking: BCS No. 26

    Yikes, I was wrong on this game. Baylor got crushed by Oklahoma State, 55-28. That score only looks respectable because of the touchdowns Oklahoma State gave up in garbage time. Baylor was plagued by drive-killing turnovers, and Oklahoma State wore out their defense. While Baylor was able to come back and score, Oklahoma State answered every time Baylor scored with a score of its own. It just came down to Baylor not being able to keep up with the Cowboys. They still have a shot at the Big 12 South title if they win out and Oklahoma State loses twice, but they are still in it.

    Baylor player of the week: Jay Finley (91 yards, two touchdowns)

     

    Week 10 opponent: Texas A&M

    Prediction: Win. This should be another shootout between Big 12 South teams, but it's at home and coach Art Briles will get his team to rebound from the loss.

5. Texas A&M Aggies

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Record: 6-3 (3-2)

    Big 12 South ranking: third

    National ranking: BCS No. 25

    Texas A&M upset Oklahoma and got their first win against the Sooners in eight years. Mike Sherman made the difficult choice to bench Jerrod Johnson last week, but it paid off as the Aggies are now bowl-eligible under new quarterback Ryan Tannehill (19 of 32, 225 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions). The defense was awesome against the Sooners. They held the Sooners to 362 yards and kept them out of the end zone for most of the game. They also had a huge goal-line stand in the final minutes with Von Miller tackling DeMarco Murray behind the line of scrimmage. The Aggies are riding a hot streak going into the Baylor game.

    Texas A&M player of the week: Cyrus Gray had a career-high 122 yards rushing and a touchdown.

     

    Week 10 opponent: @ Baylor

    Prediction: Loss. It will be a shootout between two good offense, but A&M is 1-2 on the road and 0-2 when the opponent is ranked.

4. Missouri Tigers

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    Eric Francis/Getty Images

    Record: 7-2 (3-2)

    Big 12 North ranking: second

    National ranking: BCS No. 17

    Missouri struggled again on the road again. In the first quarter, it looked like last week against Nebraska, only the reverse. Missouri had runs of 69 and 71 yards for touchdowns. In the second half, it all fell apart as they could get nothing going on offense and the defense could no longer hold in a 24-17 loss. What made no sense was Missouri giving up on the run game. It was working really well, as opposed to Blaine Gabbert, who was 12-of-30 passing for 95 yards. The run game got 260 yards and two touchdowns, yet in the second half they gave up on it for Gabbert's arm. With the loss, the Tigers need Nebraska to lose twice so they can claim the North. If Missouri loses again, it will all but seal it for Nebraska.

    Missouri player of the week: Kendial Lawrence's 71-yard TD run was his career long, and he had 96 yards rushing.

     

    Week 10 opponent: Kansas State

    Prediction: Win. Missouri should win this game, but should be on upset alert after what Kansas State did to Texas. If Missouri can play like they did in the first quarter, they should win.

3. Oklahoma Sooners

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    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Record: 7-2 (3-2)

    Big 12 South ranking: fourth

    National ranking: BCS No. 16

    Bob Stoops had to know from the first snap that this game was going to go badly. On the first play, the Oklahoma center snapped it over quarterback Landry Jones's head for a safety. The Sooners proceeded to give up 19 unanswered points. The Sooners did come back to within two, but ended up losing 33-19.  What was really confusing was Stoops seeming to give up when his team could have come back. He did not run the hurry-up and was content with the run after it didn't work twice inside the red zone. Jones had a bad night, going 36-of-69 passing for 290 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The run game was also getting stifled, only amassing 72 yards on 44 carries. The good news for Oklahoma is they are still in the Big 12 South title race, and their next game is at home. 

    Oklahoma player of the week: Jamell Fleming had two interceptions against the Aggies.

     

    Week 10 opponent: Texas Tech

    Prediction: Win. Oklahoma is almost impossible to beat at home, and I do not see the Red Raiders snapping that home winning streak.

2. Oklahoma State Cowboys

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Record: 8-1 (4-1)

    Big 12 South ranking: first

    National ranking: BCS No. 10

    Oklahoma State has moved into the driver's seat for the Big 12 South with their 55-28 win over Baylor. The Cowboys racked up 725 total yards. Brandon Weeden was 34-of-42 passing for 435 yards and three touchdowns. Weeden's favorite target was back this week, and Justin Blackmon made the most of it, catching 13 passes for 179 yards and a touchdown. The rushing threat that Kendall Randle and Joseph Hunter provide makes this offense very unpredictable. They had a couple of trick plays in their arsenal, using the Statue of Liberty play and the flea flicker, both of which worked very well. Oklahoma State has very good shot at their first-ever Big 12 South title.

    Oklahoma State player of the week: Justin Blackmon, had 179 yards receiving with a touchdown, and 69 yards rushing for a score off the Statue of Liberty play.

     

    Week 10 opponent: @ Texas

    Prediction: Win. This offense seems unstoppable but the last time they played a good defense, they lost. I think the Cowboys will run up the score on the Longhorns.

1. Nebraska Cornhuskers

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    Eric Francis/Getty Images

    Record: 8-1 (4-1)

    Big 12 North ranking: first

    National ranking: BCS No. 8

    It was not pretty, but Nebraska escaped Ames with the win. Eric Hagg intercepted a fake PAT to seal the win for the Huskers. Nebraska was led by third-string quarterback Cody Green, showing why he is the third stringer. Green was 7-of-12 passing for 79 yards, with some terrible passes and had several fumbles that he recovered. Rex Burkhead played more snaps at quarterback in the Wildcat formation than Green, and he saved Nebraska. Burkhead had 129 yards rushing with two touchdowns, and running back Roy Helu added 99 yards with a touchdown. The Blackshirts had two key interceptions with Hagg's and Austin Cassidy's pick-six. A win is a win, but this was a bad performance for the Huskers. If they want to win out, Nebraska needs Taylor Martinez to get healthy quickly.

    Nebraska player of the week: Austin Cassidy had his first career interception and took it all the way back.

     

    Week 10 opponent: Kansas

    Prediction: Win. Nebraska should have Taylor Martinez back and be able to defeat the Jayhawks pretty easily.

Bowl Projections

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    Fiesta: Nebraska

    Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma State

    Alamo: Oklahoma

    Insight: Missouri

    Holiday:Baylor

    Texas: Kansas State

    Pinstripe: Texas A&M

    Dallas Football Classic: Iowa State

    Texas Tech will get picked up by someone.

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