Football

I’ve Been Everywhere: Week 9 in the Big 12

My Week 8 Game of the Week was #9 Oklahoma @ TCU. There weren’t a lot of games to choose from last week and at least 52-27 and benching Shawn Robinson was more exciting than Tech whipping up on Kansas 48-16.

Week 9 Game of the Week:

Texas Tech @ Iowa State

The Red Raiders are headed to Ames, a place that has classically been a nightmare for Red Raider fans. By many accounts, Kliff has had this game circled for a long time and he wants this win badly. Not only is this a chance to right some wrongs of the past, but it’s a chance to make a national statement against a top 20 defense that the Red Raiders are not a gimmick but their offense is the real deal. I think this one could be a great game pitting a great defense against a great offense. I’m glad to see Texas Tech is back healthy and all of their pieces are in place. Iowa State’s offense is no slouch either with David Montgomery as a capable back and freshman quarterback Brock Purdy now with the reins.

There’s been a little confusion in the comments about this chart so I’ll explain as best as I can. I’m trying to track my picks from each week’s Road Trip here. A checkmark denotes a correct pick by me, an x an incorrect pick by me. Early in the season, every team played non-conference opponents so there were up to 10 games a week. once we moved into Big 12 play I began recording picks only for the home team rather than count a pick twice (once for home and again for away). An “N/A” is when a game was canceled.

KEITH’S PICK RECORD

 

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

Week 7

Week 8

Baylor

@OU

@KSU

@UT

BYE

Iowa State

N/A

@TCU

@OSU

BYE

Kansas

@BU

@WVU

BYE

@TTU

Kansas State

@WVU

BYE

Oklahoma

@ISU

BYE

@TCU

Oklahoma State

@KU

@KSU

BYE

TCU

@UT

BYE

Texas

@KSU

@OU

BYE

Texas Tech

@OSU

BYE

@TCU

West Virginia

N/A

@TTU

@ISU

BYE

Totals

7-2

9-1

4-4

5-1

4-1

2-2

4-0

2-0

Season Total: 37-11

Baylor @ #13 West Virginia

                              

Last Week: Baylor (4-3, 2-2) The Bears were idle last weekend but in week seven they traveled to Austin and fell to the Texas Longhorns 23-17, and yes it was as close as it sounded. Both teams were shut out in the fourth quarter, but Baylor mounted a 13 play 80-yard drive that ended when time expired with three incomplete passes from the Texas 17 yard line. Charlie Brewer went 20/39 for 240 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. Brewer was also the leading rusher with only 22 yards on 13 carries as the Bears struggled to get anything going
West Virginia (5-0, 3-0) The Mountaineers were idle last weekend but in week 7 they made the trip to Ames, IA and lost to the Iowa State Cyclones 30-14. After a difficult game the week before giving up 3 interceptions and a fumble to Kansas’s nation-leading turnover defense, senior quarterback Will Grier was held to 11/15 for 100 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. The Mountaineer offense combined for only 152 offensive yards all day, 375 yards below their season average, and was also shut out in the second half. The score could have been even uglier for West Virginia had they not blocked an Iowa State field goal and returned it 72 yards for a touchdown.
Date & Time: Thursday, October 25, 6:00 p.m.
Location: Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, WV
Television: FS1
Line: West Virginia -13.5
All-Time Record: BU 2-0-4 WVU
Overview & Breakdown:

Baylor has certainly taken a step forward this season and put themselves in a position to beat anyone in the conference on any given weekend. The Bears gave Texas all they could handle and knocked Sam Ehlinger out with a sprained shoulder and faced Shane Buechele for most of the game. The Bears struggled to move the ball against the ‘Horns punting 7 times on the day. Even so, Baylor had a chance to win the game and it was intense pressure from Texas that sealed the win. All that to say, Charlier Brewer and the Baylor offensive line are susceptible to pressure and the mistakes it can force.
Biggest Question: Can the offensive line protect Charlie Brewer? The Mountaineers are #109 in the country in sacks allowed, giving up 18 this season. Fortunately for the Bears, West Virginia is #72 in the nation in sacks this season and hasn’t shown much creativity or success with their defensive front 7.
West Virginia has the #24 total offense and #10 passing offense in the country. However, their rushing offense is #95 and they’re #91 in first down offense. While that doesn’t guarantee a defense any success with Will Grier tossing the rock to weapons like Davis Sills, Marcus Simms, and Gary Jennings. Turnovers have been a problem for this offense, even before struggling against Kansas.
Biggest Question: Can West Virginia get the running game going? The Mountaineers average 162 yards per game in wins, but in their lone loss, they were held to 52 yards on the ground. The Bears’ rush defense is #98 in the country giving up almost 190 yards per game. 
My Pick: 
I don’t think West Virginia is an elite team, but I also don’t think Baylor is going to be the team to expose them, especially in Morgantown. I like the ‘Eers in this one and I think they’ll cover and then some.

Texas Tech @ Iowa State

                             

Last Week: Texas Tech (5-2, 3-1) The Red Raiders hosted the Kansas Jayhawks in Lubbock last week and took them down 48-16. Multiple injured Red Raiders returned to action including center Paul Stawarz, left guard Travis Bruffy, wide receiver T.J. Vasher, and quarterback Alan Bowman. The offense took some time to find a rhythm but Bowman ended the day with 36/46 of 408 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Texas Tech rushers combined for 142 yards on 26 carries as well. The Red Raider’s defense allowed Kansas’s highest passing yardage total of the season at 221 yards but also held the Jayhawks to their second-lowest point total. Texas Tech stopped Kansas three times inside the red zone by holding them to a field goal, forcing a fumble, and snagging an interception in the end zone.
Iowa State (3-3, 2-2) The Cyclones played host to the West Virginia Mountaineers, handing them their first loss of the season 30-14 behind a strong defensive performance and fourth quarter shutout. Iowa State held West Virginia over 375 yards below their season average on offense. Quarterback Brock Purdy brought another strong performance going 18/25 for 254 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception. He also chipped in 39 yards rushing on 11 carries as well. David Montgomery led the way rushing for the Cyclones with 189 yards and 1 touchdown on 29 carries. Montgomery is now #16 in the nation averaging over 105 yards per game.
Date & Time: Saturday, October 27, @ 11:00 a.m.
Location: Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, IA
Television: ESPN 2
Line: Iowa State -5
All-Time Record: TTU 11-0-5 ISU
Overview & Breakdown: Texas Tech has been a team of ups and downs this season. While they got a win against TCU behind a strong defensive performance, it wasn’t the same team we watched defeat Kansas due to the sheer number of offensives starters that were out for injury. So this is the big test. The Red Raiders have seen a variety of teams and seen some reasonable success. They’ve found answers and wide receiver and at quarterback and we’ve seen the defense improve this season. But Iowa State will be a big one and will truly pit strengths vs. strengths. The Cyclones boast the #20 total defense in the nation and Tech the #3 pass offense. A separator could be that Texas Tech comes in #10 in 3rd down conversion percentage while Iowa State is #96 in 3rd down defense. The Cyclones are also #8 in sacks, so the Texas Tech offensive line will have their work cut out for them in protecting Alan Bowman this week.
Biggest Question: Can the Red Raiders move the ball effectively and consistently? Texas Tech’s rushing offense hasn’t been consistently strong as they ride the hot hand each week of various backs. The Cyclones are #16 in rush defense and the effectiveness of that unit could be the difference-maker in this game in opening up the offense for Alan Bowman to overpower the Cyclones’ pass defense.
Iowa State came into this season with high expectations and while their defense has been strong it’s taken time to get their offense rolling. Brock Purdy seems to be the answer that Zeb Noland was not as they’ve won back-to-back Big 12 games and completely shut down West Virginia. Although, Texas Tech’s defense shut down West Virginia too in the second half. The Mountaineers don’t have much of a rushing game at all so perhaps there’s a theme there with a balanced attack being a key to success.
Biggest Question: Which unit will own the day? Really this will come down to whether the Cyclones can stop Texas Tech’s new more balanced version of the evolved air raid. The Cyclones defense is no joke, but Texas Tech’s offense and defense are stronger than other teams Iowa State has faced when they’re healthy and in rhythm.
My Pick: This one is really tough for me to figure out. I think the 11 a.m. start plays into Tech’s hand instead of playing a night game there. I also think that when the offense is rolling Texas Tech is extremely hard to beat but playing in Ames makes me very nervous, as does that defense. I know Kliff has had this one circled and players say he wants it bad, he’s been extra salty. I think the team rises to the occasion and gets the rare W in Ames.

TCU @ Kansas

                                            

Last Week:  TCU (3-4, 1-3) hosted the Oklahoma Sooners and fell to them 52-27. The Horned Frogs made a change at quarterback after only gaining 25 yards and their only score coming on a 99-yard Kevontae Turpin kickoff return for a touchdown. Former Penn transfer Michael Collins came in to replace ineffective starter, Shawn Robinson. TCU was held to 275 yards of offense and scored their only two offensive touchdowns in a three-minute span after the quarterback switch. The Frogs allowed two 100 yard rushers for the Sooners. Trey Sermon and Kennedy Brooks combined for 278 yards and 3 touchdowns on 35 carries.
Kansas (2-5, 0-4) made the trip to Lubbock to face the Texas Tech Red Raiders. They fell to Tech 48-16 and Pooka Williams, Jr. was held under 100 yards rushing by the improved Red Raider defense. Quarterback Peyton Bender went 18/41 for 221 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Kansas didn’t score a touchdown until time expired in the third quarter and their only other was at the end of the game.
Date & Time: Saturday, October 27, 2:00 p.m.
Location: David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, KS
Television: FS1
Line: TCU -14
All-Time Record: TCU 22-4-8 KU
Overview & Breakdown: TCU is riding the struggle bus in a big way right now, but that doesn’t mean they should be fully counted out. The Horned Frogs will be riding the arm of Michael Collins the rest of the way as Shawn Robinson is undergoing season-ending surgery. Kevontae Turpin has been dismissed from the team following an arrest stemming from an assault charge. This removes a powerful powerful offensive weapon for the Horned Frogs, even if they can protect Collins and he protects the football there may be a lack of weapons for Collins to connect with. The TCU defense is still one of the tops in the Big 12 and it can be a difference-maker for the Horned Frogs.
Biggest Question: Can Collins lead the offense to success in the 2nd half of the season? Robinson was a turnover machine week in and week out, the TCU offense will see an uptick in efficiency simply from protecting the football if Collins can move the ball downfield.
Kansas has put together some surprises this season. They won their first road game in years and have a real talent for the future in Pooka Williams, Jr. Their defense has also become an interesting story as they lead the nation in turnovers and turnover margin, a fact which kept a game with West Virginia much closer than expected as they picked off Will Grier three times and recovered a fumble. Watching the Jayhawks in person though it is clear that this is not a talented football team. They struggle to execute anything on offense, they’re terrible converting third downs, and their defense misses a ton of opportunities.
Biggest Question: Can Kansas keep it close at home against a down TCU team? The Jayhawks are certainly no world-beater at home, but their turnover-happy defense can keep things close, especially against a turnover-prone team. The TCU defense, however, is far superior and can hold Peyton Bender and Pooka Williams in check.
My Pick: I’ll take the Horned Frogs here, I think their defense will be too much for the Jayhawks to overcome and Michael Collins will take much better care of the football than Shawn Robinson did.

Kansas State @ #8 Oklahoma

                             

Last Week:  Kansas State (3-4, 1-3) took down the Oklahoma State Cowboys 31-12 in Manhattan. Running back Alex Barnes stole the day rushing for 181 yards and 4 touchdowns on 34 carries. Barnes also had 3 receptions out of the backfield for 51 yards. Quarterback Skyler Thompson went 11/22 for 130 yards passing and chipped in another 12 carries for 80 yards on the ground. The Wildcats held Cowboy quarterback Taylor Cornelius to 17/35 for 184 yards and 2 interceptions through the air. Cornelius was also the leading rusher with 55 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
Oklahoma (6-1, 3-1) bounced back from their loss to the Texas Longhorns in the Red River Rivalry and took down the TCU Horned Frogs in Ft. Worth 52-27. The Sooner defense under the new direction of Ruffin McNeill held the Horned Frogs to only 275 yards of offense on the day but gave up two quick scores after Michael Collins came in for the benched Shawn Robinson. The Sooners also allowed a 99-yard Kevontae Turpin kickoff return for a touchdown. Kyler Murray went 19/24 for 213 yards and 4 touchdowns, Murray chipped in another 51 yards in 9 carries on the ground. Two Sooner rushers broke the 100-yard mark combining for 278 yards and 3 touchdowns on 35 carries.
Date & Time: Saturday, October 27 @ 2:30 p.m.
Location:  The Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Norman, OK
Television: FOX
Line: Oklahoma -24.5
All-Time Record: KSU 19-4-75 OU
Overview & Breakdown: Kansas State has put together impressive rushing performances on the back of Alex Barnes who rushed for 250 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 3 point loss at Baylor and now rumbled to 181 yards and 4 touchdowns against the Cowboys. The Wildcats have all but abandoned the passing game at this point, only throwing enough to keep opposing defenses honest. While the strategy isn’t foolproof, it does seem to be putting them into a position to win which is certainly a better situation than their early season woes.
Biggest Question: Can the KState big uglies push around the Sooner defensive front? If the Wildcats are going to subsist on the running game then the trenches are where success will be found. I’m not convinced the KState line has what it takes to open those holes and gash the improving Sooner defense.
Oklahoma bounced back from a last-second loss to Texas to take care of the TCU Horned Frogs in resounding fashion. The Sooners haven’t lost back to back regular season games since 1999. OU’s defense appears to have found a new stride as they were flying to the ball and linebacker Kenneth Murray was impressive once again with 11 tackles (8 solo), 1 sack, 2 tackles for loss, and 1 pass defended. Quarterback Kyler Murray continues to put up Heisman-level performances and the Sooners still control their Big 12 Title destiny and possibly a College Football Playoff appearance as well.
Biggest Question: Will the Sooners falter or are they back on track? After almost losing at home to Army and dropping the Red River Rivalry to Texas, soundly beating TCU was a welcome sign of getting back on track to the Sooner faithful. KState is always good for a surprising win playing spoiler each season though, are the Sooners primed for a letdown?
My Pick: I don’t think this one will be close. The Kansas State defense won’t be able to contain Kyler Murray or Oklahoma rushers and while Alex Barnes my run wild it won’t be enough to counteract the OU offense.

#6 Texas @ Oklahoma State

                              

Last Week:  Texas (6-1, 4-0) had a way-too-close win over the Baylor Bears 23-17 in Austin. Quarterback Sam Ehlinger went out early with a sprained shoulder and did not return. Shane Buechele came in in his place and went 20/34 for 184 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. The Longhorns combined for 170 yards on the ground led by Keontay Ingram with 110 yards on 19 carries. Texas gave the Bears a chance to win as Charlie Brewer led his team on a drive from his own 3-yard line to the Texas 17. But Texas brought the heat and Brewer’s final three passes were rushed under intense pressure.
Oklahoma State (4-3, 1-3) dropped a game in Manhattan, KS to the Kansas State Wildcats 31-12. The Cowboys had no answer for Alex Barnes and the Wildcat rushing attack allowing KState rushers to combine for 291 yards and 4 touchdowns on 55 carries. Quarterback Taylor Cornelius went 17/35 for 184 yards and 2 interceptions. He was also the Cowboys’ leading rusher with 55 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Justice Hill was bottled up all day and only managed 41 yards on the ground. The Cowboys have lost in back to back seasons to the Wildcats for the first time since 2003.
Date & Time: Saturday, October 27 @ 7:00 p.m.
Location:  T. Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, OK
Television: ABC
Line: Texas -3.5
All-Time Record: UT 24-0-8 OSU
Overview & Breakdown: Texas is 100% solidly overrated my friends (shocking I know). I mean a #6 ranking is just silly for this team that dropped a season opener at Maryland and dang near lost to Tulsa, Baylor, and Kansas State. I get it, wins are wins and kudos to the Longhorns for finding ways to survive, but this is not an elite top 10 team in my opinion. The Longhorns consistently let teams hang around in games that shouldn’t be due to sloppy defense and inconsistent offensive play. Until the Oklahoma win, they were hanging their hat on “back to back wins over ranked opponents.” Well, USC is 4-3 and TCU is a mess so I’m not super impressed by that at this point. The OU win was a good one, but rivalry games are always a grain of salt situation.
Biggest Question: Which Texas team will show up? Will the Longhorns bring the 100+ yard rushers and will Ehlinger (who is supposed to be back) execute at a high level as he had been? Or will we see the team that let Baylor hang until the end and only beat Kansas State 19-14?
Oklahoma State is not great this season. Taylor Cornelius has been driving the struggle bus all season and he doesn’t appear to be making any changes. The Cowboy offense just can’t get anything going passing or rushing the ball and their defense struggles as well. It’s just a down year for the Cowboys, I’m just surprised that Mike Gundy found himself in a position to be rolling with a walk-on quarterback from Bushland, TX rather than recruit in a stud.
Biggest Question: Can they rise to the occasion at home? Oklahoma State is 3-2 at T. Boone Pickens Stadium this season, will they fall to .500? The Cowboys just don’t have the offensive weapons or execution to compete at a high level. The question is though, is Texas a Tier 1 team?
My Pick: I’m taking the Longhorns here but it’s going to be close. The Cowboys are just hapless on offense and I think Texas has just enough weapons to pull away when it’s needed. I do think that once again we’ll see that Texas is “back” against sub-par competition.

 

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