While K-State is the clear number one and Oklahoma is number two, Texas may have enjoyed the best win this weekend.
After several weeks of mixed results, The Jug knocked last Saturday’s predictions out of the park. The only whiff was predicting a K-State/Alabama match up in the national championship, although even that scenario remains a possibility if the Tide win the SEC, Oregon loses one of three games it has left against top-20 teams, and Notre Dame finally receives the loss it deserves. As tantalizingly close as the BCS championship game participant announcements are, there’s still a lot of football left to play. But before we get ahead of ourselves, a quick evaluation of the past is on tap:
Straight Up: 5-0 (26-7)
Against the Spread: 4-1 (18-15)
Iowa State at #22 Texas (-10)
Prediction: Texas 33, Iowa State 21
Final: Texas 33, Iowa State 7
On paper, this looked to be a better game than what transpired on the field. As easy as it was to hate on the Longhorns early in the season, they’ve been a model of consistency since starting off 2-2 and now stand at #15 in the BCS standings. The Cyclones continue their plunge since losing a close game to K-State early in conference play, and must fight for bowl eligibility by winning one of their next two games. One of those games is against Kansas, but Jake Knott may be sorely missed if KU maintains its damaging ground game. Texas’s embattled quarterback David Ash had a stellar game, and finished 25-of-31 for 364 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions.
Kansas at #22 Texas Tech (-25)
Prediction: Texas Tech 36, Kansas 20
Final: Texas Tech 41, Kansas 34 (2OT)
The Jug is on the KU bandwagon. KU will likely endure another winless Big 12 season, but they’re merely a victim of conference affiliation. No other conference offers the depth of the Big 12, and they Jayhawks would own at least one or two wins in any other conference (even in the SEC, which offers cupcakes such as 1-9 Kentucky and 2-8 Auburn). Yet while Kansas is good enough to challenge many teams, Texas Tech shouldn’t be one of them. The 25 point line seemed a little ridiculous, but there’s no reason for Tech to need two (TWO!) overtimes to put the Jayhawks away. The lackluster play obviously created tension on the sidelines, as coach Tommy Tuberville was caught on camera slapping a graduate assistant (Kevin Oliver). And while Tuberville’s postgame apology implied otherwise (he claimed to merely be pulling the assistant off the field), the tape doesn’t lie. The Red Raiders may be without their head coach when they visit Stillwater this Saturday, which doesn’t bode well for a team fighting to stay ranked.
Baylor at #12 Oklahoma (-21)
Prediction: Oklahoma 41, Baylor 23
Final: Oklahoma 42, Baylor 34
The Jug designated Baylor as officially the most dangerous team that will never beat anyone going into this weekend. And while the Bears did nothing to relinquish their status, KU is moving in for a share of the title (Baylor beat KU earlier this season in a battle of the basement dwellers). As it stands, Baylor is a mere 4-5 and must do some serious work to earn a bowl bid with K-State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State left on the schedule. Yet even the winner of this game is struggling to gain much bowl love. While standing at #12 with seven wins and two losses, there’s still a chance that surging Texas supplants Oklahoma as the Big 12’s second BCS game representative (assuming the conference has two). This is the same Texas team that the Sooners walloped earlier this year. Fun fact: the combined losses of the two teams Oklahoma lost to this season is zero (just something to chew on).
West Virginia at Oklahoma State (-10)
Prediction: Oklahoma State 33, West Virginia 22
Final: Oklahoma State 55, West Virginia 34
Oklahoma State may be the most dangerous offense in the Big 12 right now, and that’s not just because they scored over 50 points against West Virginia. The Cowboys did so with their third string quarterback, and have now scored over 50 points in over half their games (five out of nine). West Virginia’s free fall continues, and it may require their season-ending game against KU to halt the plummet. Remember when Geno Smith was the Heisman frontrunner and the West Virginia/Oklahoma held a strong chance of determining a national championship participant? The Jug is just as baffled.
And now, for your weekly Easy Pick’em, where the Jug identifies the most baffling line out of Vegas and points to the easy game to put money on. And unlike the past two weeks, wherein the Jug’s pick’em not only failed to cover the spread but also failed to even pick a winner, this one truly was a no brainer.
#2 Kansas State (-7) at Texas Christian
Easy Prediction: Kansas State 37, TCU 22
Final: Kansas State 23, TCU 10
Looking back, Collin Klein probably wasn’t 100 percent on Saturday health-wise Yes, TCU’s defense is bigger and faster than your average bear, but Klein didn’t even resemble his junior year self – he resembled the sophomore passer that debuted with a two completion performance against Texas. It may be unfair to expect perfection out of Klein, but his play has led to greater expectations than a zero touchdown, one interception outing K-State’s offensive line seemed to break down once the offense got into scoring range, and the Wildcats only found the endzone in one of their three trips to the red zone. And while the Horned Frogs were shut out until a field goal cut the score to 23-3 with seven minutes to play, they still outgained the Wildcats in yardage 274-260. The performance was reminiscent of K-State’s 2011 campaign wherein the Wildcats won several games in spite of a disadvantage in yardage gained. That’s the type of thing a Cotton Bowl team can do as long as it wins the special teams and turnover battle. Not a national champion. Expect Snyder to turn up the heat in practice this week, and for an already reeling Baylor team to run into an absolute buzzsaw on Saturday.