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Big 12 Football Picks: Second Place, Cotton Bowl Bid Are In Kansas State's Sights

SB Nation staff writers Chip Rouse and Chris Schumerth preview the conference games every week and provide their picks and snapshot analyses on the key game factors that will affect the outcomes.

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Star wide-receiver Tyler Lockett of Kansas State is out, but the Wildcats have plenty of other weapons that they will be counting on as they close out the regular season at home Saturday vs. Iowa State.
Star wide-receiver Tyler Lockett of Kansas State is out, but the Wildcats have plenty of other weapons that they will be counting on as they close out the regular season at home Saturday vs. Iowa State.

Again this week, Kansas City SB Nation staff writers Chip Rouse and Chris Schumerth preview and provide insight on the conference games and their personal picks on the game outcomes. They may not be in lockstep on every game, but that's no matter because they have "agreed to disagree."

Iowa State @ Kansas State

Chip: It would be easy to dismiss this season-ending home game for Kansas State (8-2, 6-2) as an easy win for the Cats, especially given that three games separates the two teams in the standings. I do think that Bill Snyder's squad will prevail in this contest, but it would be a mistake to base that prediction on wins and losses alone. While there is a wide difference in the standings, statistically Kansas State and Iowa State are more equally matched than you might think. K-State runs the ball better, but only by an average of 15 more yards a game. The Cyclones have a substantive edge in passing, however. Defensively, the two teams are fairly comparable, but the Cats are better so far as keeping their opponents off the scoreboard. Scoring defense and special teams will prove to be the difference.

Prediction: Kansas State 28, Iowa State 17

Chris: We agree on this one in that the Wildcats will win, but that it won't be a blowout. In my opinion, Kansas State is the most disciplined team in the Big 12. The teams that beat them are better than them. No letdowns. They got the most out of their talent, and the credit for that should go to head coach Bill Snyder and to junior quarterback Colin Klein, who has cleared the 1,000-yard mark in rushing. Iowa State, on the other hand, has shown that it is good enough to beat Oklahoma State or bad enough to lose to Kansas (they didn't, but it was very close). It doesn't help that this one's on the road for the Cyclones.

Prediction: Kansas State 34, Iowa State 16

 

Oklahoma @ Oklahoma State

Chip: Although this Sooner State rivalry game doesn't have quite the luster it had much earlier in the year, there is still a lot at stake for both teams and you can be assured that both teams will come to play. Weather conditions are not expected to be favorable in Stillwater Saturday night, which will throw conventional comparisons out the window. Both teams feature largely passing offenses, but this game most likely is going to be decided on the ground, on turnovers (where the Cowboys are the runaway leaders in the conference at plus-18) and special teams in establishing critical field position. It would be easy to pick the Pokes in this one (after all, they're due, right?), but I feel OU's dominance in this rivalry (the Sooners have won the last eight and are 82-16 all-time) will play in their heads, and if the game is close, that will become even more of a factor.

Prediction: Oklahoma 34, Oklahoma State 31

Chris: Despite late-season letdowns by both of these teams, this game is still one of the more interesting games this weekend. It's a complete toss-up, but I'm going with the home team, who has more to play for. A SEC Championship slip-up by LSU could help a victorious Cowboy team into the BCS championship. Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden will also be making his last plea to Heisman voters. I think Oklahoma State wins a high-scoring affair on a last-minute field goal.

Prediction: Oklahoma State 34, Oklahoma 31

 

Texas @ Baylor

Chip: Texas, not surprisingly, has dominated this series, winning 73 of the 100 games played between these two in-state rivals. That statistic won't really come into play in this game, however. This contest will boil down to how well Texas, the No, 1 defense in the Big 12, will do in slowing down Baylor's big-yardage offensive attack. Baylor's ability to score is much more prolific than the Longhorns. Much will depend on whether the Bears' Heisman Trophy candidate, Robert Griffin III, is able to play and/or perform up to his true ability a week after suffering a concussion. Although the Bears didn't show much drop off when backup QB Nick Florence took the reins in the second half against Texas Tech. Baylor showed last week it can get it done on the ground as well as through the air, springing loose senior running back Terrence Ganaway for 246 yards on a school-record 42 carries. Baylor could finish third in the conference with a win, but the proud Horns won't let that happen.

Prediction: Texas 28, Baylor 24

Chris: Ah, yes, one more disagreement to end the season. My guess is, Griffin is ready to go and he terrorizes the Texas defense. If you don't think he can win at Texas, you might do well to chat with the Oklahoma Sooners. Chances are, they remember his game-winning toss a couple weeks ago. It's also true that Texas has faltered down the stretch, losing two of their last three. I think the Bears will make it three out of four for the Longhorns. I've enjoyed our regular season disagreements, Chip!

Prediction: Baylor 38, Texas 28

 

Missouri, Kansas, Texas Tech and Texas A&M have completed the regular season.

 

For more information:

 

Big 12 Conference official website