Big 12 Preview: Week Ten

Big 12 Preview: Week Ten

The muddled race for positioning behind first place Kansas State could begin to clear with this week's conference clashes in the Big 12.

SCRAMBLE FOR SECOND

While Kansas State has a leg up on the rest of the league in the race for the Big 12 championship, not much else is decided, or even likely, in terms of conference positioning and bowl possibilities. Five teams still have realistic chances at second place in the league, and only Kansas, with seven losses, has been eliminated from bowl consideration.

Given an entirely reasonable set of game outcomes on Saturday, every league team other than Kansas State could have two losses by the end of the day.


QUICK STRIKES

Big 12 teams have combines for 68 scoring drives that took less than a minute through Oct. 27 games. Overall, the league boasts 127 touchdown drives consisting of five or fewer plays. Scoring from long range has also been constant, with 36 scoring plays of 50-plus yards and 15 of 80-plus yards.


DEFENSE STILL MATTERS

WHile Big 12 offenses continue to pile up publicity almost as fast as yardage and points, its instructive to note that the three teams which have given up the fewest points this year in league games are the three at the top of the league standings. Kansas State (94 points) Oklahoma (72) and Oklahoma State (79) hold down positions 1-3 in the standings, and also are the top three stingiest defenses to date.

Those numbers may change due to the opposition to be faced in the coming weeks, but it shouldn't be a mystery as to why those three teams have a combined two league losses to date.


PICKS

  • Oklahoma must rally from the massive disappointment of a home loss to Notre Dame as it visits Iowa State. The Cyclones have won just five games out of 76 played in the series, but they have the defense to get to a half-dozen. Call this the upset of the week.

  • West Virginia hosts TCU in an elimination bout for an upper-half league finish. TCUs quarterback and youth are question marks, but are they any more severe than West Virginia's problems, which now extend to both sides of the ball? Give the Mountaineers a very slight edge based on home field and the feeling that it can't get any worse.

  • Kansas and Baylor duke it out for the cellar. Kansas had victory within its grasp last week, and this game likely depends on how the Jaykawks treat that loss. The guess here is that it's a motivational springboard, and that KU wins its first game since opening day.

  • Texas Tech hosts the Longhorns in a similar game as the WVU - TCU contest -- the loser is likely staring at a lesser bowl game and a disappointing leage season. The Red Raiders seem more enthusiastic at this point, even after a thumping by Kansas State. The Double T is the pick at home.

  • Oklahoma State will ride into Manhattan with high hopes, but that won't be enough to topple a K-State team playing at the peak of confidence. The Wildcats move to 9-0 and strengthen their grip on the conference title.


    BAYLOR
    (3-4, 0-4)
    vs Kansas
    Sat 11/3
    3:30 E / 2:30 C
    FSN
    Baylor's offense has averaged at least 6.0 yards-per-play in each of the last 13 games including 6.7 vs. Iowa State

    QB Nick Florence passed for 426 yards against Iowa State, the sixthbest single-game total in program history. Florence has passed for at least 289 yards in all seven games this season.

    Sirius/XM: 112/200


    IOWA STATE
    (5-3, 2-3)
    vs. Oklahoma
    Sat 11/3
    12:00 E / 11:00 C
    ABC
    Iowa State's 557 yards against Baylor are its most in a regulation-length conference game since Nov. 22, 2008, at Kansas State.

    QB Steele Jantz tied two school records with 36 completions and five touchdown passes in the Cyclones' win over Baylor.

    Sirius/XM: 117/202


    KANSAS
    (1-7, 0-5)
    at Baylor
    Sat 11/3
    3:30 E / 2:30 C
    FSN
    HB James Sims has rushed for 100 yards in each of his last four games which is the first time a Jayhawk has accomplished the feat since 1991.

    Kansas' 98-yard scoring drive in the second quarter was its longest of the season and the longest since a 99-yard drive against New Mexico State in 2010.

    Sirius/XM: 112/200


    KANSAS STATE
    (8-0, 5-0)
    vs. Oklahoma State
    Sat 11/3
    8:00 E / 7:00 C
    ABC
    The victory over Texas Tech gave K-State its third 8-0 start in school history and the first since 1999.

    K-State was 6-of-6 in the red zone on Saturday with four touchdowns and two field goals. The Wildcats are 41-of-46 in the red zone this season.

    Sirius/XM: 92/194


    OKLAHOMA
    (5-2, 3-1)
    at Iowa State
    Sat 11/3
    12:00 E / 11:00 C
    ABC
    Oklahoma has outscored its last three opponents 104-25 in first halves and 152-52 overall this season in the first two quarters. The OU defense has allowed just three touchdowns this season in the first half.

    WR Jalen Saunders broke the OU record for most receptions in a quarter with eight in the first period vs. Notre Dame. His 15 receptions for the game tied a school record.

    Sirius/XM: 117/202


    OKLAHOMA STATE
    (4-2, 2-1)
    at Kansas State
    Sat 11/3
    8:00 E / 7:00 C
    ABC
    Going back to Oklahoma State's game at Kansas on Oct. 13, the Cowboy defense has allowed only four offensive touchdowns in its last 12 quarters of action.

    RB Joseph Randle has passed the 100-yard rushing mark in six of seven games this season. He finished with 126 rushing yards and a TD against TCU.

    Sirius/XM: 92/194


    TEXAS
    (6-2, 3-2)
    at Texas Tech
    Sat 11/3
    3:30 E / 2:30 C
    ABC/ESPN2
    Texas is 3-0 on the road this season and has won 37 of its last 44 true Big 12 road games.

    During Mack Brown's 15 seasons at Texas, the Horns have registered 27 second-half comebacks, including 16 in the fourth-quarter. The win over Kansas was the second comback victory of the season.

    Sirius/XM: 117/202


    TCU
    (5-3, 2-3)
    at West Virginia
    Sat 11/3
    3:00 E / 2:00 C
    FOX
    Elisha Olabode's 11-yard interception return for a touchdown was TCU's fourth pick six in its last 18 interceptions. Olabode has at least one takeaway in five of TCU's eight games.

    TCU's streak of 14 consecutive road conference victories was snapped. It had been the longest in the nation and third-best in the NCAA since 1996.

    Sirius/XM: 138/203


    TEXAS TECH
    (6-2, 3-2)
    vs Texas
    Sat 11/3
    3:30 E / 2:30 C
    ABC/ESPN2
    QB Seth Doege's 331 yards passing vs. K-State made him the first signal-caller to pass for over 300 yards against the Wildcats this season.

    Wide receiver Eric Ward recorded 11 catches for a career-high 161 receiving yards. His previous career-high was 151 yards against Baylor last season.

    Sirius/XM: 137/198


    WEST VIRGINIA
    (5-2, 2-2)
    vs TCU
    Sat 11/3
    3:00 E / 2:00 C
    FOX
    Prior to his third-quarter interception against K-State, QB Geno Smith set the NCAA season record for the most pass attempts without an interception at 272 passes.

    With 233 all-purpose yards vs. K-State, Tavon Austin pushed his career total to 5,789 and now owns the WVU career record.

    Sirius/XM: 138/203

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