Continuing this week and for the remainder of the Big 12 football season, 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."
Texas A&M @ Kansas State
Chip: How could you not be impressed by the gutsy and gritty offensive performance put up by Kansas State on the road vs. now No. 2-ranked Oklahoma State last Saturday. The Cats rolled up 502 yards of offense, 375 of that from junior quarterback Colin Klein. K-State is an underdog again this week, even though the game is in Manhattan. This matchup will feature the third (Kansas State) and fourth best running teams in the conference, both averaging over 215 yards a game, against the second (K-State) and third best rushing defenses in the league. The Wildcats are ranked higher nationally (14th in BCS) than the unranked Aggies and will play like it on Saturday.
Prediction: Kansas State 31, Texas A&M 27
Chris: Kansas State was indeed impressive, even as the Wildcats fell short against Oklahoma State. Their job gets slightly easier against an A&M team that is better than its record shows. Both teams have lost two straight and are desperate for a win. Led by the steady leadership of Klein, I, too, like K-State in this one. It will take a lot points to do it, but Wildcat running game and defense will eventually win out in this one.
Prediction: Kansas State 42, Texas A&M 34
Texas @ Missouri
Chip: Texas is one of the big reasons Missouri elected to walk away from its 105-year affiliation with what is now the Big 12 Conference. Both teams like to run the ball, but the Longhorns defend the run much better than the Tigers. Missouri is averaging right at 500 yards of offense per game, while Texas leads the conference in total defense, giving up an average of 310 yards a game. The Texas offense has gotten some rhythm in recent weeks with blowout home wins over lowly Kansas and in-state rival Texas Tech. Where I see this game turning is on defense. The two teams have comparable offenses, but Texas is much stronger on defense. Bevo and the Horns by a field goal.
Prediction: Texas 30, Missouri 27
Chris: This may be Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel's last chance to beat Texas, considering the pending conference move. Mizzou's defense has been all but absent at times this season, but perhaps a freshman quarterback (Texas's David Ash) will provide a good cure. You're right, Chip, that a strong running game sure helps Ash's cause, but look for the Tigers to stack up on the pass game and force the Longhorns to win the game in the air. With the "Is Missouri leaving for the SEC?" distraction finally over, I like the Tigers chances at home to pull a sentimental upset.
Prediction: Missouri 38, Texas 30
Baylor @ Kansas
Chip: This is not a good matchup for Kansas. The fact that the game is being played in Lawrence in front of the KU faithful only makes matters worse. If you think Oklahoma State's high-flying offense is one of the best in the nation, this just in: Baylor's is even more potent. The Bears' per-game average of 577 yards of total offense ranks second in the nation, just ahead of OSU. Counter that with the equal and opposite standing Kansas holds as the country's worst defensive teams (120th out of 120 FBS teams), and you've got one ugly battle picture. Baylor is nearly a three-touchdown favorite in this one, and that's probably a conservative number.
Prediction: Baylor 52, Kansas 24
Chris: Baylor proved me wrong last weekend against Missouri, but I won't make the same mistake again. The Bears' fast-moving offense-led by Robert Griffin III's 74% completion rate and 26:4 touchdown to interception ratio-will score early and often against the hapless Jayhawks, who gave Iowa State its second conference win last weekend. I'm with you, Chip: Baylor puts up 50+ points and wins easily.
Prediction: Baylor 63, Kansas 21
Oklahoma State @ Texas Tech
Chip: Ordinarily, I would say Oklahoma State will score and score and score and bury the Red Raiders, even on Tech's home field. But I just don't know what to make of this Texas Tech bunch. One week the Red Raiders are knocking off powerful Oklahoma at OU, and the next week they're getting blown out in Lubbock by an Iowa State team that up to that point had not won a conference game. This could be a trap game for the Cowboys, but I don't see it going that way. OSU will do the trapping and stay unbeaten, and Tech will continue to hang its hat on that great win of three weeks ago over the Sooners.
Prediction: Oklahoma State 49, Texas Tech 21
Chris: Will Texas Tech stun both Oklahoma teams this fall? I don't think so. More and more, the Red Raiders' win against the Sooners looks like a fluke. And this Oklahoma State team (#2 in the BCS standings) looks pretty focused, evidenced by a 52-45 win over a strong Kansas State team last Saturday. Cowboy quarterback Brandon Weeden (72% completion, 26 touchdown passes) has been playing his way into the Heisman conversation by directing the second best offense in the nation. Texas Tech can and will score, but not enough.
Prediction: Oklahoma State 59, Texas Tech 24
Oklahoma and Iowa State have byes this week.